Handley Chipman’s Thanksgiving & The Chipman Family of Virginia / The Mayflower Compact & List of Mayflower Pilgrims who died the First Winter / Handley Chipman’s son Stephen writes a family history / John Howland’s first step / The search for the origins of Elder John Chipman
“[The Mayflower pilgrims] … saw them the vessel after the boat’s return came up to the place of their intended settlement and they all landed and prepared huts for to live in, but poor distressed souls they being disappointed of other vessels coming over to them for a great while to supply them with provisions and other necessities as expected
“Sundry of these poor distressed people died and all was in imanent danger of perishing, if it had not been for the Clams they found on the shores and dugg up at low tide, but it was especially from the Supp & turkeys obtained in quantities [from] the native Indians … which corn they ate and paid the Indians for the spring after as soon as they had gained acquaintance with them who had been very shy of them.
“My said Grandfather John Chipman born 1615 Married a Daughter of the aforesaid Mr. Howland and settled at Barnstable, the next Town but one which is Sandwich, to their Said Plimouth further on the Said Cape Cod, Plimouth being being at the head of the Bay. he my Said Grandfather was an Elder in Minister Russels Congregational Church, in said Barnstable, and if I am not mistaken removed and lived in Said Sandwich the Latter part of his Day. He died aged 88. He had or left 10 children of which my honored father was the Youngest. his children generally lived to grow up and Marry and from whom proceeded a very Numerous offspring. As my Grandfather was the only one of the name of Chipman and my Grandmother Daughter of the only one of the name of Howland in New England or any of the now States of America, so the Chipmans are all on this Continent Related as well as the Howlands, and are all of them by reason of my Grandfather and grandmothers Marriage together Related to one another, and so near that Long Since my Remembrance my dear father and the Howlands used to call Cuzzens and the Howlands was often conversant at my house and my fathers house &c.
“My Dear and Honored Deceased father John Chipman, married one Capt. Skiffs daughter of said Sandwich, by whom he had 9 children that all Lived to grow up to the years of Men and Women, from whom has sprang a very large offspring. Their names were Sons, James, Perez, John, Ebenezer and Stephen. The Daughters names were Bethia and Mary, twins, as was also the Son Said Stephen with the next daughter Lidia, the others name was Deborah. They had all entered into the Marriage State and had generally Large families of Children, Except said Stephen, who had no Children by his wife, Dying Master of a Vessel young in Nevis in the West Indies. They were mostly of more than middling size. James was a clothier by Trade, Perez was a Blacksmith as was also Ebenezer, John was a farmer and Stephen a cooper by trade. They scattered much in their Settling in families.
“My dear fathers first wife dying at said Sandwich, Leaving said nine children, He some time after, it may be two years, married her that was my dear Mother, at Capt. Popes at Dartmouth, her first husband was his oldest Son, her second husband was one Capt. Russel, with whom I have been told She lived about 17 months, at Rhode Island or near there about…. She had no Child or Children that Lived by Either of these husbands. by my dear father She had my Self, her son Handley, and my dear sister Rebecca. Soon after her birth my dear Father removed from Sandwich to Martha Vineyard, where he lived it may be 7 years.
“Just about a year after my dear Mothers Death, my dear Father married the Said widow Case at Newport on Said Rhode Island. She had had two husbands, one a Griffin, the other said Capt. Case. by said Griffin She had a daughter who lived to grow up and Married my Said dear father Son Stephen, who died in Said West Indies Leaving no Child. My Mother in Law’s maiden name was Mary Hoockey, and after my dear father had Lived with her 19 years She died also with the Consumption. She was a Baptist. My dear father soon after he thus Married at Rhode Island, sold his farm at the Vineyard, to one Mr. Norton for L1200, money then at s5/pr. ounce. he removed then to Rhode Island and Let his money to Interest, but it depreciating fast, he called it in and went to shopkeeping.
“He was when he lived at Sandwich, Crowner or Coroner, a Capt. Lieutenant, and a Representative to the General Assembly at Boston, as I find, by his Commission Left. While he lived on the Vineyard he was Justice of the Peace and one of the Judges of the Inferior Court, &c.
“After he removed to Rhode Island Government, he was for some time the first of the Governors Council, and was also Chief Judge of the Superior Court or court of Equity, as it was then called, and continued in said office until he was about 70 years old when he of choice flung up all offices by reason of his old age, and soon after my Mother in Law dying he Left off his Shopkeeping, broke up housekeeping, and went to live with my own Sister who had married a worthy person, a Capt. Moore.
“My dear and Honoured Father was born March 3d day, A.D. 1670. He departed this Life at Newport on Rhode Island, January 4 th day, 1756, in my house, where he had lived some years, after he broke up housekeeping, he went and Lived at Capt. David Moors as aforesaid who married my own only Sister, but she dying in a few years after, he then came to Live with me.
“I would before I conclude the Pedigree of my dear fathers family just mention that I have divers times inquired after the family of the Chipmans coat of arms but never could get Intelligence of it. And am lately informed that Ward Chipman, Esq. Solisiter General in our Neighboring Province of Brunswick Government, when he was in England a few years past, made very thorough Search after our family coat of arms, and finds we have none at all, &c.
“But the Chipmans in America are very Numerous indeed. they are, we are, Sure all related, for they are all of them descended from my said Grandfather. we find they are Spread even from Canso * Eastward to Virginia Westward, if not farther both ways.”
* A fishing village on the eastern tip of mainland Nova Scotia.
[“A Chipman Family History,” by Handley Chipman (1717-1799) of Newport, R.I., and Cornwallis, Nova Scotia, composed ca. 1790, in:
Roberts, Gary Boyd; ed. (1985). Genealogies of Mayflower Families From The New England Historical and Genealogical Register Volume I Adams-Fuller. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing Co., Inc.
Handley Chipman’s statement validates the Chipmans of Virginia as authentic descendants of John and Hope (Howland) Chipman, but supporting documentation still needs to be assembled.]
For Mayflower history & genealogy see:
Philbreck, Nathaniel. (2006). Mayflower A Story of Courage, Community, and War. New York: Viking Penguin Group.
Philbreck, Nathaniel; Philbreck, Thomas; eds. (2007). The Mayflower Papers Selected Writings of Colonial New England. New York: Penguin Group.
Roser, Susan E. (1995). Mayflower Increasings 2nd Edition. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing Co., Inc.
Stratton, Eugene Aubrey. (1986). Plymouth Colony Its History & People 1620-1691. Salt Lake City: Ancestry Publishing.
(The text of The Mayflower Compact, by which the Pilgrims intended to be ruled, signed by 41 of 50 male passengers shortly before landfall on 11 Nov 1620.)
THE MAYFLOWER PILGRIMS WHO DIED THE FIRST WINTER AT PLYMOUTH IN 1620/1
John Allerton, Richard Britteridge, Robert Carter, James Chilton, Richard Clarke, John Crackstone Sr., Thomas English, Moses Fletcher, Edward Fuller, William Holbeck, John Langmore, Edmund Margesson, Christoper Martin, William Mullins, Degory Priest, John Rigsdale, Thomas Rogers, Elias Story, Edward Thompson, Edward Tilley, John Tilley, Thomas Tinker, John Turner, William White, Roger Wilder, Thomas Williams.
Mary (Norris) Allerton, Dorothy (May) Bradbury, the wife of James Chilton, Sarah Eaton, the wife of Edward Fuller, Mary (Prower) Martin, Alice Mullins, Alice Rigsdale, Rose Standish, Ann (Cooper) Tilley, Joan (Hurst) Tilley, the wife of Thomas Tinker, Elizabeth (Barker) Winslow.
William Butten, John Hooke (age 14), Ellen More (age 8), Jasper More (age 7), Mary More (age 6), Joseph Mullins, Solomon Prower, the son of Thomas Tinker, two sons of John Turner.
26 men, 13 women, and 10 children didn’t survive the first winter at Plymouth. They came seeking freedom to practice their own religion, and being unprepared for the harsh New England winter, 49 of “these poor distressed people” died. The given and maiden names for 3 of the married women are unknown, as are the given names of 3 of the children. Surviving the first winter didn’t mean the Pilgrims were out of danger: in the following spring of 1621, Governor John Carver died, and his wife Katherine that summer.
The First Amendment shouldn’t be taken for granted. The motives of these 49 Martyrs who died at Plymouth were Spiritual rather than Temporal, unlike the earlier settlements at Jamestown and New Amsterdam. The story of the Mayflower is one of incredible courage. We honor the Pilgrims by maintaining religious freedom for all as a core American value.
The following map of the Cape Cod area is from:
Huiginn, E.J.V. (1914.) The Graves Of Myles Standish And Other Pilgrims Revised and Enlarged. Beverly, MA: The Author.
The Chipman family has long had an interest in genealogy. Between Handley Chipman’s manuscript of ca. 1790 and Richard Manning Chipman’s pioneering efforts in the second half of the 19 th century, there’s this item, sent to me by the late William G. Chipman of Greenville, MS.
Dated 1832, it’s in the collection of the Public Archives of Nova Scotia, and was written by Handley Chipman’s son Stephen Chipman. The following are extracts from this manuscript (call no. MG100 Vol. 120 #53a). Stephen Chipman’s portion consists of 19 pages, with an additional 2 by other writers, and 2 photocopies of an old newspaper clipping concerning celebrations at Plymouth in honor of the Mayflower.
“Sketch of the History and Genealogy of the Chipman Family (particularly the branch who settled in Nova Scotia) descended from John Chipman The Pioneer. Written by Stephen Chipman Annapolis, N.S. 1832 –
“The C.’s from my G.G. Father [John Chipman who m. Hope Howland] are spread into N.S. New Brunswick, the Northern States Virginia & Vermont &c.
“May they still be blessed as heretofore, still experience Gods peculiar Providence; and may we all at last join as one in the holy train of our dear Redeemer in singing his praises.
“I begin … with my GG Father John C. who came to New England when young, from Dorsetshire England In the reign of Charles first, married a daughter of Mr Howland who was the first settler who landed at Plymouth in 1620, being the first to spring from the boat belonging to the first ship that came to P[lymouth] with settlers, being driven from their native country, by the persecutions against liberty of Conscience in the exercise of their religion.
“The stone Mr. Howland landed on I have been informed has been removed to the third street of the town of P[lymouth] to keep in memory the immigration of their forefathers and the day is celebrated by public thanksgiving and rejoicing.
“In consequence of this marriage the opulent & honored family of the Howlands in New England are related to us – He had ten children … was an elder in Minister Russells church Barnstable Cape Cod, and died aged 88 years.”
[Material in brackets mine.]
The tale of John Howland stepping onto Plymouth Rock is dramatic, but is it true?
In 1863, Abraham Lincoln established the holiday of Thanksgiving, enshrining the Mayflower Pilgrims as our most recognizable national icons. Everyone loves the Pilgrims because Thanksgiving kicks off a four day weekend.
The story of Plymouth Rock dates to 1741, about 120 years after the Pilgrims landed. 95 year old Thomas Faunce claimed he’d been told by his father, who’d immigrated to Plymouth in 1623, that the boulder now known as Plymouth Rock was where the Pilgrims had first landed. So in 1774, the Sons of Liberty, led by Col. Theophilus Cotton, arrived in Plymouth and dug the Rock from beneath a pier. While attempting to load it onto a waggon, it split in half.
They left half of it where it lay and deposited the other half in the town square beside a Liberty Pole. In 1834, the piece of the Rock in the Plymouth town square, much abused by souvenir-seeking tourists, was moved to Pilgrim Hall. In the process, the Rock fell to the ground and once again split in two. Cemented back together, it was mounted in front of the Hall.
Just before the Civil War, the Pilgrim Society bought the wharf containing the other half of the Rock. They didn’t want two competing Plymouth Rocks, so in 1880 the half ensconced at Pilgrim Hall was transported back to the waterfront and the halves were reunited.
As Nathaniel Philbrick puts it: “Today Plymouth is a mixture of the sacred and the kitsch, a place of period houses and tourist traps, where the Mayflower II sits quietly beside the ornate granite edifice that now encloses the mangled remains of Plymouth Rock.”
John Howland was from Fenstanton, Huntingdonshire, the son of Henry and Margaret Howland. He took passage on the Mayflower as Gov. John Carver’s indentured servant. As Fate would have it, his employers, the Carvers, died in the first spring and summer, and Howland had no masters—and perhaps received a portion of the Carver estate.
Howland is best known for being blown overboard during the Mayflower passage. Though submerged, he held onto a halyard and was hauled to safety. If anyone was going to step onto Plymouth Rock, Howland was a natural candidate, probably eager to feel terra firma beneath his feet.
The story isn’t mentioned in contemporary accounts. While I’m certain Mayflower passengers did step onto the boulder (it was difficult to ignore), whether it was the first spot stepped onto at the landing may be more myth than history.
Chipman historians refer to our immigrant ancestor John Chipman as “apprenticed” to his cousin Richard Derby. He was in fact Derby’s indentured servant, probably employed as a carpenter. That may have endeared him to John Howland, who allowed Chipman to marry his daughter Hope.
John Chipman had two sisters, “Hannor” and “Tumsum,” of whom nothing is known. It’s possible that some relations of his still exist in Britain. The Chipman home was at Brinspittle about five miles from Dorchester in Dorsetshire. John’s father Thomas owned property worth 40-50 pounds per year and held by entail in Whitechurch Canonicorum, a strange place where the church had a grope-hole to touch saintly relics. Domesday Book, compiled 1086/7, records the church at “Whitchurch Canonicorum” as held by the Church of Saint-Wandrille, so it was a place of some antiquity. Of course Thomas managed to lose the property in an annuity or loan scheme, and so began the saga of the Chipmans in North America.
Without going into details gleaned from the meagre sources, suffice it to say Whitechurch Canonicorum was the actual home of the Chipman family, Brinspittle being merely the place Thomas Chipman was dumped after the loss of his property. John Chipman’s mother (name unknown) was living when John set sail for the New World.
The Dorset History Centre has significant holdings relating to Whitechurch Canonicorum, and those records should be searched. A check of the UK “a2a” database for the period of 1450-1650 shows no mention of a Chipman at Whitechurch Canonicorum. Some of the parish of Whitechurch Canonicorum and the related manor of Marshwood Vale found its way into the hands of Queen Mary, who on 24 Oct 1553 made a grant to Gertrude, Marchioness of Exeter. The manor of Whitechurch Canonicorum can be traced in records dating well into the medieval period.
Several “a2a” entries show a Chapman family living in Whitechurch Canonicorum prior to the time John Chipman emigrated to Plymouth ca. 1637, and this item contains some family details:
A lease for 99 years dated 3 Oct 1638 between Thomas Chapman, aka William Chapman *, of Whitchurch, Dorset, yeoman, son of Thomas Chapman, son of Thomas Chapman late of Haydon, Dorset, and the estate of William Vinacombe the elder and the estate of William Love alias Megges; land located in Axminster, Devonshire; fine 10 pounds.
[* The name by which he was usually known.]
“Chipman” is a spelling variation of “Chapman,” so an alleged connection to a “de Chippenham” family living at the time of William the Conqueror is fantasy. In English records even simple surnames have many variations—of the same person from record to record or within the same record. The search for the truth about Thomas Chipman, father of John Chipman, should focus on localities rather than the exact spelling of the surname. Since our family was of yeoman rather than gentry stock, extending the known pedigree may prove difficult.
“Chipman” might just have been Elder John Chipman’s preferred spelling of his surname, his ancestors having been known as “Chapman” or “Chepman,” etc. The tale of his father Thomas losing a substantial property in Whitechurch Canonicorum remains to be independently documented. It first appears in a deposition given 2 Mar 1641/2 by Ann Hinde, wife of William Hoskins, at Plymouth, and is repeated and amplified in a statement of John Chipman dated 8 Feb 1657/8, also at Plymouth. It’s an “emigration tale”—and many families have one. What is not stated, but probably the truth, is that Thomas Chipman lost his property due to indebtedness. It’s quite a coincidence to find a Thomas Chapman at Whitchurch in Dorset in the precise time when these alleged events transpired. Is it possible that Thomas Chapman, who in 1638 took a 99 year lease on land in Devonshire, was John Chipman’s father?
I’ve outlined in “Page f.” the descent of Mary Minor, wife of James Chipman (grandson of John and Hope) from Aethelred II, King of England. The connection with the Giffards through whom the descent passes had some standing with the Chipman family. After the death of Hope (Howland) Chipman, John Chipman married Ruth (Sargent) Winslow Bourne, daughter of Rev. William Sargent. Sargent’s 3rd great-grandparents were John Giffard and Agnes Winslow, an ancestry shared with Alice Freeman, Mary (Minor) Chipman’s 2nd great-grandmother.
John Chipman had no children by Ruth, but following his death on 8 Apr 1708 she had him interred in the Bourne cemetary plot in the Sandwich Old Burying Ground.
His first wife Hope (Howland) Chipman is buried in Lothrop Hill Cemetary in Barnstable. Her grave marker is the second oldest grave marker on Cape Cod.
~ by Jeffrey Thomas Chipman on June 24, 2016.