The October Ancestry Challenge 2013 is 23 posts in 23 days (Monday through Friday) about 23 ancestors. It’s still not to late to join us. Come on, you can catch up.
Ancestor #3 – John Culpeper of Culpeper’s Rebellion
Long story short, the people were fed up with the government and fought back—a story we’ve heard a hundred times. This story, however, is different because John Culpeper, the leader of the rebellion, was my uncle. He was brothers with my 9th great grandfather Henry, sons of my 10th great grandfather John Culpepper the Merchant, who was the subject of my Ancestor #2 blog.
The government of the Carolina colony, set up by His Royal Highness King James I and ruled in 1677 by His Royal Highness King Charles I, consisted of eight Lords Proprietors, the head being deputy governor Thomas Miller, who was also the tax collector. The people were increasingly unhappy with Mr. Miller as they had been taxed nearly to death, and he was severely limiting their freedoms. The final straw came when England passed an act regulating and taxing the shipping of goods to and from the colonies. It sounds like we’re leading up to the Boston Tea Party, but not yet. That didn’t happen until 1773—almost 100 years later. Maybe the people who currently tax us should take a look at history and see the results.
Anyway, young whippersnappers John Culpeper and George Durant, captured and imprisoned Thomas Miller and the members of his cabinet and held them in prison for two years while John stepped in and acted as governor. Fortunately King Charles was too busy partaking in pleasures to worry about those disorderly colonies, so they were free to convene their own legislature and exercise all powers and duties of their own government.
No one cared much about the governing of the colonies, but when the Crown heard rumors that John was acting as tax collector/treasurer and was handing the money inappropriately, he was summoned to England to plead his case. One shouldn’t embezzle from the Crown. When he arrived, he was arrested for treason and embezzlement. He was put to trial, but he was found not guilty as he was acting under the orders of a properly elected assembly …namely his own cabinet. huh? It probably didn’t hurt that daddy was a lawyer and highly esteemed in the colonies.
Culpeper’s Rebellion was a step towards American independence, fanning the flames that would 100 years later become the Revolutionary War.