Weldon Whipple, Webmaster, Whipple Website
11 Nov 2002
Identifying the parents of Captain John Whipple's two grandson's named William is a task that has challenged genealogists for well over 100 years. Thanks to the research of numerous genealogists (two of whom, Joanne Lahr-Kreischer and Charles Whipple, have submitted pages to the Whipple Website), we are learning more about those two cousins with matching names.
This page attempts to state the reasoning for the information about the two Williams as they currently appear in the Whipple Database. (Click to display the pages for the William with 17 children and his cousin by the same name.)
Please feel free to question any of the information that appears in the Whipple Database! We welcome your input in correcting and completing the information in the Whipple Website.
Page 255 of the Providence volume of James Arnold's Vital Record of Rhode Island, 1635-1850 (Providence: Narragansett Historical Pub. Co., 1891-) lists a William Whipple born to Daniel and Hannah Whipple on 27 May 1685.
Joanne Lahr-Kreischer gives a birth date for William Jr. (i.e. William, the son of William, who was the son of Captain John Whipple) of 27 May 1695 and cites two secondary sources:
Charles Whipple estimates William Jr.'s birth about 1691, based on a cemetery inscription that gives his death in 1776.
If we add ten years to William's age, he (with his wife Elizabeth Wilmarth) could have more reasonably conceived a son at 18 1/2 years of age. Identifying the William who lived in Attleboro and married Elizabeth Wilmarth as the William listed by Arnold, born 27 May 1685, seems to make sense.
This suggests that the William who lived in Attleboro was the son of David, not William Jr.
Large families were common in the early eighteenth century. However, because of the high mortality rate, it was unusual to have seventeen living children. Henry E. Whipple writes that "he had the largest family of any of the Whipples on record." (See his A Brief Genealogy of the Whipple Families Who Settled in Rhode Island (Providence: A. C. Greene, 1873), 48.) Henry, like Joanne, concludes that the William with 17 children was the son of David.
The occurrence of "Junior" in Smithfield records when referring to William--as well as mention of some of his 17 children by name--suggests that the William of Smithfield (who was the father of 17 children) was the son of William, the son of Captain John Whipple.
If you have an alternate explanation of how the William who married Elizabeth Wilmarth in Attleboro could have been someone other than the son of David, (the son of Captain John), please send your sources and explanation to the Webmaster.
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