Governor Samuel Stephens from “John Culpepper, Esquire”

JC Esquire (1)In place of my usual Saturday Snippet for the next few weeks, I’ll be writing about the people and places from the third book in the Culpepper Saga, “John Culpepper, Esquire,” which will be released July 2015. If you missed the first or second books, you can see them HERE and HERE.

 

In the book, due to unforeseen circumstances, John finds himself as patriarch of the Culpepper family, suddenly with two young nieces to watch out for. He marries twenty-year-old Anna off to Christopher Dansby and eighteen-year-old Frances off to an up-and-coming politician named Samuel Stephens (photo).

Gov_Phillip_Ludwell

Samuel Stephens was born in Jamestown, Virginia in 1629. He lived on a 1350-acre plantation called Boldrup in Newport News, Warwick County, Virginia.

Upon Stephens and Frances’s marriage in 1652, she had only been in America for two years. She had been raised in great splendor in England as the Culpepper family were wealthy aristocrats, but following the English Civil War (1642-49) the family needed to escape from the country before they were beheaded. Her uncle John rescued them and brought them to Virginia. Needless to say, the amenities in Virginia were not quite the lands and manors Frances was accustomed to. Upon marrying Samuel Stephens, she surely reverted back to her rich comforts.

Stephens served as the Commander of Southern Plantation (later northeastern North Carolina) 1662-1664, and later became the governor of Albemarle (later North Carolina) from 1667-1669. He was the first native born governor in America. He died in office at the age of forty. They had no children. Frances inherited all of his wealth.

After his untimely death, Frances married Sir William Berkeley in 1670. Berkeley was the governor of Virginia and a childhood friend of her uncle John’s. He was nearly twice her age, but the two made a likely political team. In 1671, the Berkeleys sold Boldrup to William Cole, a member of the Virginia Council.

Today, Boldrup Plantation is a 42-acre historic archeological site and on the U.S. National Register of Historic Places and the Virginia Landmarks Register. The site includes the graves of William Cole and two of his wives.

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