Virginia's Northern Neck
and its early Culpepers
Northern Neck is the northernmost of three peninsulas (traditionally
called "necks" in Virginia) on the western shore of the Chesapeake Bay
in the Commonwealth of Virginia. This peninsula is bounded by the
Potomac River on the north and the Rappahannock River on the south.
Historically the proprietary grant for the Northern Neck included all
land between the Rappahannock and Potomac rivers. Today, the
southeastern or lower portion of the Proprietary remains quite rural. It
is the only part that is still referred to as the Northern Neck
and most of it is shown in the modern-day roadmap at the right.
Including the birthplaces of George Washington, James Madison, James
Monroe, and Robert E. Lee, it spans the five present-day counties of
King George, Westmoreland, Richmond, Northumberland, and Lancaster.
In 1649, exiled King Charles II gave the Northern Neck to seven of
his supporters including John, First Lord Culpeper. At John's death in
1660, interest passed to his eldest son, Thomas, Second Lord
who over the years purchased the shares of the others. At the death of
Thomas in 1689, the Northern Neck Proprietary passed to Lord Culpeper's
sole legitimate child, Catherine Culpeper who one year later married
Thomas, Fifth Lord Fairfax.
Marker Photo at right provided by Patrick John Culpepper.)
Thomas, Sixth Lord Fairfax, retained control of the Proprietary
through the Revolutionary War because he was not recognized as a British
loyalist. At his death in 1781, however, the Commonwealth of Virginia
considered Fairfax's heirs as loyalists and claimed control over the
Proprietary. Ownership of Northern Neck Proprietary was finally decided
in favor of Virginia in 1816.
In his 1926 treatise,
Proprietors of the Northern
Neck, Fairfax Harrison provides "The evidence for the participation of the Culpepers
and their descendants in the planting of Virginia."
This work spans the period of 1475-1800.
While Culpeper nobles were actively involved in the establishment of the
Northern Neck, none lived there for any significant time, and no modern
day Culpeppers are descended from them. The Culpeppers who established a
permanent family presence in Virginia did so in Lower Norfolk County in
the far southeastern corner of the state, and it is from them that most
living American Culpeppers descend. Prior to entering Lower Norfolk,
they were noted in records of the Northern Neck's Lancaster County, as
Immigration and Land Patents, 1664-1681
If land grant, the date of the grant.
If land grant, the location of the grant
Generally, an immigrant or traveler, but not in every case.
|*24 Aug 1664
||Rappahannock Co &
Northumberland County, Virginia
|Richard Webley, Robert Davis & Thomas
Freshwater, 7221 acres. p 106 (603). Transport 145 persons.8
|25 Sep 1665
||Rappahannock County, Virginia
||Robert Davies, 2580 acres. p. 397 (457).
Transport 52 persons.9
||Rappahannock County, Virginia
||John Prosser & Henry Creighton, 4246
acres. Transport 85 persons.11
|23 Apr 1681
||Nansemond County, Virginia
||John Johnson, 350 acres. Transport
seven persons: John Culpeper, six times, and Curtis Land, once.17
8 Nugent, op. cit., Vol. I, Patent Book 4, p. 430.
9 Nugent, op. cit., Vol. I, Patent Book 5, p. 523.
11 Ibid., p. 90.
17 Nugent, op. cit., Vol. II, page 93; and Patent Book 7, p.
Lancaster Co. Records, 1658-1659
Lancaster County was established in 1651 from
Northumberland and York counties. See the page for
early Norfolk for Lancaster
County transactions involving Henry Culpeper in 1658-1659 and John Culpeper in 1659.
02 Jan 2015