Saturday, March 27, 2010

Which Sarah Whipple b. 1641?

Recent posts to's Whipple Message Board show ongoing confusion about the two Whipple families of Ipswich, Massachusetts and nearby Dorchester (now a part of Boston). A recent thread began on 9 Feb 2005:
Looking for the ancestral line for Sarah Whipple, born 28 Feb. 1641/2 - Pawtucket, Providence, Rhode Island; died 23 July 1681- Dorchester, Suffolk, Mass. She married Joseph Goodhue 13 July 1661. Joseph was born 1639 - Ipswich, Essex, Mass; died 21 Sept. 1697 - Ipswich, Essex, Mass. Thank you.
A response was posted yesterday (five years after the first query):
I have a source for ancestors of Sarah Whipple. Would like to know if you are still persuing such a treasure. Please let me know.
The following is offered in response to both posts:

There are actually two Sarah Whipples born in 1641, three months apart, 35 miles apart, in Ipswich, Massachusetts (point A on the map below) and Dorchester Massachusetts (point B on the same map). You can drive from Ipswich to Dorchester in 47 minutes on a good day:

View Larger Map

(You may need to click on the map and "drag" it--or zoom out--to see both points A and B at the same time.)
  1. The first Sarah was born 3 Nov 1641 in Ipswich, Massachusetts. She married Joseph Goodhue. You can find her in the Whipple Genweb at Before her death on 23 Jul 1681 in Ipswich, she wrote a "valedictory" to her husband. You can read that valedictory on the Whipple Website. (Scroll to the bottom of both pages cited in this paragragh for sources of information.)
  2. The second Sarah Whipple was born the same year, 35 miles to the SSW in nearby Dorchester. Her baptism (christening) date was 6 Feb 1641/2. (I'll briefly mention the slash in that date later in this post. It is not an indication of uncertainty.) She married John Smith in Providence, Rhode Island in 1659. (She had moved with her family from Dorchester to Providence the year before.) I don't know Sarah's date of death, but she was still alive in Providence on 12 May 1710. Sarah number 2 is in the Whipple Genweb at
Note that both Sarah's are daughters of fathers named John. Most (?) online databases (including those at incorrectly "merge" those John's into a composite. (For what it's worth, I--the writer--am a descendant of the Dorchester/Providence John; my wife is a descendant of the Ipswich John. See Two Immigrants Named John on the Whipple Website.)

Slashes in Colonial Dates:

The slashed year 1641/2 is not an indication of uncertainty, but is an exact year. In those days, the new year started on March 25, not on January 1. 6 February 1641/2 was actually three months (and 3 days) after 3 Nov 1641. Both Sarahs (and public records of the day) referred to 6 Feb 1641/2 as 6 Feb 1641 (without the slash), and knew that it was after 3 Nov 1641, because in those days the new year started on March 25. (The day following 24 Mar 1641 was 25 Mar 1642.)

England changed from the Julian Calendar to the Gregorian calendar in September 1752, by declaring that 2 September 1742 would be followed by 14 September 1752. Also, for the first time, the day following 31 December 1742 would mark the beginning of the next year--1 January 1743. (See my article "Making Sense of Dates in Colonial America" on the Whipple Website.)

To summarize: When we see a date that looks like 6 Feb 1641/1642, we should realize that
  1. New (and old) Englanders of that period referred to the date as 6 Feb 1641 (in their public records), and knew that it was after 3 Nov 1641.
  2. The "/1642" was added for the benefit of people of our day, to remind us that in 1641, February followed November.
Unfortunately, most people don't realize what the slash is for (so the use of slashed dates fails miserably [sigh] ... :)

(One more note: When you see slashed years in dates between 25 March and 31 December before 1752, you should investigate them further--they are probably in error.)

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

H. P. Lovecraft and His Legacy

I was just made aware of a blog dedicated to H. P. Lovecraft and his Legacy. H. P. Lovecraft "was an American author of horror, fantasy, and science fiction, especially the subgenre known as weird fiction." (See the article on Lovecraft in Wikipedia.)

Lovecraft is also a Whipple: H. P. Lovecraft(1), Sarah Susan Phillips(2), Whipple Van Buren Phillips(3), Jeremiah Phillips(4), Esther Whipple(5), Benedict(6), Benjamin(7), Benjamin(8), John(9). (See Lovecraft's page in the Whipple Genweb.)

One of Lovecraft's books, The Case of Charles Dexter Ward, is reviewed on the Whipple Website. Among its characters is Captain Abraham Whipple (generally known as Commodore Whipple to this generation). A link to the review appears at the bottom of The Commodore's Page.

This post was motivated by emails from Blaine Whipple, referencing posts mentioning Whipple Van Buren Phillips on the H. P. Lovecraft blog. As you can see by scrolling down on H.P. Lovecraft's page in the Whipple Genweb, Whipple V. Phillips was Lovecraft's maternal grandfather. (Whipple V. Phillips is at in the Whipple Genweb.)

If you're interested in Whipples, the history of Rhode Island and Massachusetts, and the Salem witch trials, you might want to try reading The Case of Charles Dexter Ward.


Monday, March 15, 2010

A Whipple Vampire? (Revisited)

(Note: The following was originally posted November 1, 2008. The embedded YouTube video was removed due to a copyright claim by A&E Television Networks. It has also been modified to include a link to Simon's new page in the Whipple Genweb.)

Stephenie Meyer's Twilight series has sparked considerable interest in vampires. (The interest promises to heighten further as Twilight the Movie appears in theaters on the 21st of this month [November 2008].)

The History Channel recently aired a series on Vampires in America. The second episode of the series mentioned a Simon Whipple Aldrich, who was thought to have been a vampire. [YouTube video appeared here in original blog entry.] Simon's headstone in Union Cemetery Annex, Great Road, North Smithfield, Rhode Island, bears this inscription:

In memory of
Simon Whipple,
Youngest son of
Col. Dexter Aldrich
& Margery his wife,
who died May 6,
aged 26 years.
Although consumption's vampire grasp
had seized thy mortal frame

FamilySearch lists a Simon W. Aldrich born 13 Apr 1814 in Smithfield, RI, the son of Dexter and Margery Aldrich. We probably ought to add Simon to the Whipple Genweb? [Thanks to one of the Whipple Genweb's major genealogical contributors, Simon Whipple Aldrich now appears in the Whipple Genweb. Simon's sister, Hannah Aldrich, married John Dexter, a direct descendant of Captain John Whipple, of Providence, R.I., who immigrated to New England in 1632.]

By the way: I'm planning on going to see Twilight the Movie when it appears later this month. Are you? (No, it doesn't mention anyone named Whipple ...)

[P.S. Did anyone go see New Moon--the sequel to Twilight?]

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Sarah Whipple (b. 1701)

This morning I received the following email from Dave Tower, Past President and Genealogist, Tower Genealogical Society. (The Whipples and Towers intermarried extensively in colonial--and later--Rhode Island).

Have you ever seen or heard of a reference that dicusses the obvious contradiction of facts for the following: (abbreviated references)

A. Sarah Whipple married Isaac Bucklin in Rehoboth, MA 8 March 1721/22. They had 5 children born between January 1723 and August 1742
  1. International Genealogical Index (R)
  2. Vital Record of Attleborough, Massachusetts
  3. Attleboro Marriages, p. 351
  4. p. 65, VR 2-136, Rehoboth Marriages
  5. Bucklin Society Website
B. Sarah Whipple married Jonathan Salisbury 29 August 1725 in Providence RI. They had 9 children born between April 1721 and November 1739. She then married Obadiah Ballou 26 December 1740. They had three children born January 1741 to July 1747.
  1. New England Families Third series, vol. IV, p. 2285
  2. Vital Record of Rhode Island, 1636-1850 vol. 2, pp. 163 & 198, VR 1-45, Providence Marriages
  3. An Elaborate History and Genealogy of the Ballous in America

Obviously the two Sarahs above can not be the same person. However from all the records she is supposed to be...

Sarah Whipple (4) born 26 December 1701 in Attleboro, MA, The Daughter of Israel Whipple and Mary Wilmarth. [Israel 3, David Married to Hannah Tower 2, John 1)
  1. New England Historical And Genealogical Register, Volume XXXII, 1878, Page 406
  2. A History of the Descendants of EDWARD BOSWORTH who arrived in America in the year 1634 page 147
  3. Vital Record of Attleborough, Massachusetts
If I can ever be of help with Tower questions please feel free to contact me.

I haven't yet responded to Dave. (I will as soon as I finish this blog entry.) Unfortunately, the Whipple Genweb is full of entries similar to this one. (If you follow the links above, be sure to scroll to the bottom of each person's page in the Whipple Genweb to see my sources--in some cases additional sources not given above are cited.)

If there are two separate Sarah's (and there must be, because they were both bearing children during the same time interval), who are the parents of the Sarah that isn't the daughter of Israel Whipple and Mary Wilmarth? If you figure this one out, please comment on this blog!

One possibility we shouldn't overlook: Could "Whipple" be the married name of one of the Sarahs? (If so, she couldn't have been married long to a first husband--named Whipple--before the first husband died ...) Might a first husband have died in an accident or been lost at sea?

When I encountered the Sarah who married Isaac Bucklin last year (when going through the 2009 publication entitled The Arnold Family of Smithfield, Rhode Island by Richard H. Benson (Boston: Newbury Street Press), p. 163), I initially considered merging the two Sarahs ... but didn't (and won't).

Any ideas or suggestions?

Weldon Whipple, Webmaster