The Family of
Joseph Marks Whipple
In the wooded hills of Hampshire County,
Massachusetts, near the town of
Greenwich, Joseph Marks Whipple was born August 24,
1752, to Jonathan
Whipple. The Greenwich town records recorded
Joseph Marks son to Jonathan Whipple and Anne his wife born August the
24th 1752. Attest: Abraham Gibbs, Par. Clerk1
Before he was two years old, however, he was
adopted by John and Mary (Wheeler, Kidder) Marks, also of Greenwich,
which suggests that his parents, Jonathan and Anne Whipple, had died.
Since Joseph was given the middle name Marks at birth it suggests Anne's
maiden name may have been Marks. Nothing more on Jonathan and Anne
Whipple has yet been found.2
John Marks, the son of Joseph and Mary Marks, was born September 21,
1715, in Brookfield, Massachusetts.3 His wife Mary Wheeler was the
sister of Ephraim Wheeler, Elizabeth (Wheeler) Ramsdell and Sarah
(Wheeler) Emmons all of Greenwich. Mary Wheeler first married John
Kidder August 26, 1736 in Brookfield, Worcester County,
Massachusetts.4 John Marks and Mary (Wheeler) Kidder were married
September 14, 1743, at Brookfield.5
John Marks, listed as “husbandman” in an 1742 deed, was a successful
farmer near the small town of Greenwich. Greenwich had been set out by
the Massachusetts General Court as “Quabbin” in 1739, it became Quabbin
Parish in 1749, and it was incorporated as the town of Greenwich in
1754. “Quabbin” was the Nipmuck Indian name of the area which meant
“many waters.” Branches of the Swift River flowed through the valley and
provided power for a few early mills. Greenwich, then located in the
eastern part of Hampshire County west of the town of Hardwick, is now
inundated by the Quabbin Reservoir built in 1939.
The area was dotted with many ponds and, typical of land in New England,
the soil was fertile, but rocky. One history describes the area as
“difficult of cultivation” because of the stones, so we can imagine that
Joseph grew up surrounded by farm fences made of stacked stone, all of
those stones removed by hand from pastures and grain and hay fields. Picking stones out of the fields was commonly a chore for children, a
chore Joseph surely did often.
John and Mary Marks had adopted Joseph when he was a baby. On September
24, 1754, John Marks was very sick and wrote his will because he
suffered “under a grievous wound which threatens my life, not knowing
how Soon or Suddenly I may be called out of time into Eternity.”
He recovered from this wound and lived at least another nine years,
but his will shows that Joseph was living with the Marks' in 1754.
I give & bequeath to the boy Joseph (about two years old) who now lives
with me the fifty acres of land in Greenwich which I bought of Robert
Emmons . . .6
Although Joseph had lived with the Marks since before he was two years
old, he was almost four years old when he was baptized. A church record
from the Greenwich Congregational Church of Christ shows:
Joseph Marks adopted son of John and Mary Marks was
baptized in Greenwich, August 15, 1756.7
During his childhood, Joseph may have had a teen-aged step-brother still
living at home. John Kidder, born in 1737, was the son of Mary Marks and
her first husband, John Kidder.8 Later, John and Mary Marks adopted a
daughter, Mary, who was baptized in 1763.
1763 Oct ye 9th Mary Marks an Adopted Child of John
Marks and Abraham Rugg son to John Rugg were Baptized.9
We don’t know her age at her baptism in 1763, but since she is not
mentioned in the 1766 wills of either John nor Mary Marks nor the
guardian/administration papers probated in 1766, Mary may have died
Although Joseph may not have grown up with any siblings, he did have a
large extended family of Wheeler and Marks aunts, uncles and cousins in
the area. The Marks most likely were closest to the Ephraim Wheelers
because they were closely related: sister and brother had married sister
and brother. Ephraim Wheeler was the brother of Mary (Wheeler, Kidder)
Marks, and Hannah (Marks) Wheeler was the sister of John Marks. In John
Marks’ will he left 50 acres of land to “my brother [in-law] Ephraim
Wheeler.” In Mary (Wheeler, Kidder) Marks’ will she left jewelry to her
Wheeler sisters and nieces.
Between 1763, when their daughter Mary was baptized in Greenwich, and
October, 1766 when their wills were probated, John and Mary Marks had
moved west from Greenwich in Hampshire County to the Partridgefield area
in Berkshire County. The 1766 administration papers for the probate of
John and Mary Marks’ estates show that they were “late of Number Two
So-Called in the County of Berkshire.”10 Newly settled Township No. 2
was near the town of Partridgefield in Berkshire County, Massachusetts.
Partridgefield later became the town of Peru.
John Marks may have died in Partridgefield, in Berkshire County, for no
death record appears for him in the Greenwich town or church records.
He must have died between October, 1763, when his name appears in
the baptism record of his adopted daughter Mary, and August 5, 1766 when
his will was probated. John died before his wife Mary since she calls
herself “widow” in her will. Mary did not present John’s will to the
Hampshire County probate court until August 5, 1766, the same day she
wrote her will which stated she was then a resident of Northampton,
Hampshire County, Massachusetts.
In her will Mary Marks left several small legacies to her Wheeler
sisters and nieces, and the rest of her estate to Joseph.
I give to Joseph Marks Whipple & to his Heirs &
Assigns forever if he shall live to the age of twenty-one years all the
remainder of my Estate Real & Personal.11
There is no mention of her son John Kidder, nor her adopted daughter,
Mary. Mary (Wheeler, Kidder) Marks died four weeks later in Greenwich,
according to the Greenwich Church of Christ Church records.
1766 Sept ye 6th the Widdow Mary Marks Departed this Life.12
Inventories of the estates of John and Mary Marks show them to have been
successful farmers for the time and place and prosperous enough to make
loans of cash to neighbors. There are three entries of money
loaned, and two of the three appraisers of the Marks’ inventories had
borrowed money from them and owed the
estates 15s and £3.
Neither livestock feed nor food for the family were
listed in the inventory of John Marks, but in Mary's inventory there are "one stack
of hay, 6 bushels of grain, 10
bushels of Indian corn, 1 load of pumpkins,
and 14 bushels of potatoes." Pewter
feather beds, three punch bowls, one great coat,
one wig, spectacles and a portmanteau are included on the fascinating
inventories, all of which Joseph should have inherited. The
Joseph was brought up in
Joseph Marks Whipple was only 14, still a minor, when his adoptive
mother Mary Marks died. The Probate Court of Hampshire County appointed
lawyer Woodbridge Little of Pittsfield, Berkshire County, as
administrator of both John and Mary's wills, but children 14 years and
older were allowed to chose their guardians. Joseph chose Woodbridge
Little, the lawyer, as his guardian.14 There had been Little families in
Greenwich, so perhaps the Marks family already knew Woodbridge Little.
Whether Joseph at age 14 lived with his Uncle Ephraim and Aunt Hannah
(Marks) Wheeler in the Greenwich area or was apprenticed out in
Pittsfield in Berkshire County where the lawyer Woodbridge Little
practiced is unknown. Yet, John Marks gave 50 acres of land to Ephraim
Wheeler in his will, so John may have expected Ephraim to care for
John’s family if necessary.
Joseph probably lived in Greenwich with the Wheelers. In August of 1770,
Joseph would have been eighteen and old enough to inherit the land left
him by John Marks in his will, land he was probably already farming. In
August of 1773 Joseph was 21 years old and could inherit the estate left
him by Mary Marks. The amount of this estate has not yet been found in
Hampshire County court records. If the guardianship records exist, they
should tell us where Joseph spent these years and the amount of his
In 1775, Joseph Marks Whipple, 22, had moved to Sharon, Litchfield
County, Connecticut, about 70 miles southwest of Greenwich in Hampshire
County and 50 miles south of Partridgefield (Peru), Berkshire County,
Massachusetts. In March, 1775, he sold the 50 acres of land in Greenwich
left to him in the will of John Marks for £30 to Elijah Blood of Carlton
in Worcester County, Massachusetts. In the deed Joseph signed his name
as Joseph Whipple, leaving out his middle name Marks.
To all people to whom these presents shall come greeting,
Know ye that I Joseph Whipple of Sharon in the County of Litchfield and
Colony of Connecticut of New England yeoman, for and in consideration of
the sum of thirty pounds lawful money to me in hand before the ensealing
hereof well and truly paid by Elijah Blood of Carlton in the County of
Worcester and Province of Massachusetts Bay New England, yeoman, the
receipt whereof I do hereby acknowledge and am myself therewith fully
satisfied and contented . . .
. . . and by these presents do freely, fully and absolutely give grant
bargain sell alien convey and confirm unto him the said Elijah Blood his
heirs and assigns forever
A tract of land of fifty acres being more or less lying in the township
of Greenwich in the County of Hampshire and Province of the
Massachusetts Bay New England called the After or Second Division which
bounds are as follows: namely, beginning at a pitch pine tree running
from thence to white oak standing by the side of a brook, and from
thence to a stake standing in the top of a [?], and from thence to a
heap of stones upon the side of hill and from thence to the first
mentioned? bounds the No 41 which lot fell to ye said Joseph Whipple by
a will from John Marks deceased of Greenwich, further references to be
had by the proprietor’s book of records in Greenwich . . .
In witness whereof I have hereto set my hand and seal this Fifteenth Day
of March Seventeen Hundred and Seventy Five and in the fifteenth year of
His Majesty’s reign,
Signed sealed and delivered in the presence of us John Ashley Jr., Mary
[signed] Joseph Whipple & Seal
Berkshire SS [County, MA], Sheffield [Town], on March 15 1775 then
Joseph Whipple personally appeared and acknowledged the above written
instrument to be his free act and deed.
Covan: John Ashley Jr: Jus: Pas:
Excd and Registered June 3, 1777
from the Original, Edwd Pynchon, Regr.15
We don’t know how Joseph invested his money from the 1775 sale of the
Hampshire land, but according to county land records he did not buy
property in Litchfield County, Connecticut, nor in Berkshire County,
Living in Sharon Joseph probably served in the local militia, and may
have been called to active service in the summer of 1776 when General
George Washington needed a large force to meet the British Redcoats at
Danbury, Connecticut, just thirty-five miles south of Sharon.
In August of 1777, Joseph Whipple enlisted in the “regular” Continental
Army as a private for the duration of the Revolutionary War. Joseph’s
son Marks believed that Joseph was at the Battle of Saratoga and the
taking of British General Burgoyne in 1777. Marks wrote that Joseph used
to tell about being one of the guard that marched the prisoners from
Saratoga to winter barracks at Cambridge, Massachusetts. His unit is
listed as one which then spent the winter at Valley Forge.
At the end of the war Joseph returned to Sharon, Connecticut for a few
years, but then moved northwest to Green River, New York. The rest of
Joseph’s life in New England was spent in the small towns around the
junction of Connecticut, Massachusetts and New York.
At Green River about 1788 Joseph married Mrs. Mary (Virgil) Smith, widow
of John Smith, a Revolutionary War veteran, and step-daughter of Elijah
Hatch, her mother’s second husband. Mary Virgil’s father was William
Virgil who had died when she was small.
Joseph and Mary did not
settle in Green River, but moved east to Otis, Massachusetts, then
called Louden. In 1805 when their youngest son Marks Whipple was born,
they were living in Sandisfield, Massachusetts. About 1816 they moved to
Tyringham Township, now called Monterey, Massachusetts, and the
eight-person family appears in the 1820 census there.
A Berkshire County, Massachusetts, mortgage deed of 1828 shows that
Joseph and his son Abijah were paying off a mortgage by providing
charcoal to a local forge. There were many small iron forges in the area
and locals made a living by producing charcoal from their own pits for
By 1830 all of Joseph and Mary Whipple’s children except Patty had
married and left home. About 1833, Abijah, Samuel, Zilpha, Sarah, and
Marks moved to Trumbull County, Ohio, taking Joseph and Mary with them. In 1840, Joseph, 87 years old, and Mary, 82 years old, were living with
their son Marks at Johnston, Trumbull County, Ohio.
Joseph died June 10, 1843 aged 90 years. Mary died March 27, 1848, aged
89 years. No burial or cemetery records have been found for them.
Friends and relatives who gave statements for Joseph’s pension
application papers repeatedly mention that the Whipples were very poor
people and "earned all they ever had by their own labor."
Marks wrote that his father was a "diffident, backward man, talked but
little and kept as much from the world as possible, going away from home
only when absolutely necessary."
Joseph was described as a modest, singular man
esteemed "as a very honest, upright man, a man of truth and a Christian,
although very poor." A neighbor in Johnston described Joseph as
"so independent in spirit that he never wished or would receive a favor
from anyone without rendering an equivalent if in his power. He was a
very honest, upright, conscientious man and everyone who knew him had
full confidence in his statements."
01 Greenwich, (Mass) Births, Marriages, Deaths,
1747-1900, LDS FHC #0186151, Item 1, Births, np. “Joseph Marks son to
Jonathan Whipple and Anne his wife born August the 24th 1752. Attest:
Abraham Gibbs, Par. Clerk.” Joseph’s “middle” name of Marks was unusual
for the time. Could his mother Anne Whipple have been a Marks?
02 There are several Jonathan Whipples in the area whose families are
known. So far, nothing has been found about this Jonathan Whipple.
03 Temple, J.H., History of North Brookfield, Massachusetts (1887)
04 Vital Records of Brookfield, Massachusetts to the year
1850 (Worcester, MA, Rice, 1909) pp355, 366.
05 Vital Records of Brookfield, Massachusetts to the year
1850 (Worcester, MA, Rice, 1909) pp355.
06 Will of John Marks pro. 05 Aug 1766, Hampshire Co., MA, v10, p318.
07 Vital Records of Hardwick, Massachusetts to the Year 1850 (Boston,
NEHGS, 1917) p74, “Marks, Joseph, adopted s. of John and Mary, bp. in
Greenwich, Aug. 15, 1756. C.R.”
08 Vital Records of Hardwick, Massachusetts to the Year 1850 (Boston,
NEHGS, 1917) p65, “Kidder, John, s. of John and Mary, bp. in Quobbin
[now Greenwich], Dec. 7, 1737. C.R.”
09 Church Records, 1760-1935 [Greenwich, Massachusetts] LDS FHC
#1871030, p. 19, “1763 Oct ye 9th Mary Marks an Adopted Child of John
Marks and Abraham Rugg son to John Rugg were Baptized.”
10 Probate Administrations of the Wills of John Marks and Mary Marks, 22
Oct 1766 / 04 Nov 1766, Hampshire Co., MA, v10 p324.
11 Will of Mary Marks pro. 14 Oct 1766, Hampshire Co., MA, v10, p325-6.
12 Church Records, 1760-1935 [Greenwich, Massachusetts] LDS FHC
#1871030, p. 33, “1766 Sept ye 6th the Widdow Mary Marks Departed this
13 Inventories of John and Mary Marks’ estates. 13 Nov 1766 & 28 Jan
1767, Hampshire Co., MA, Probate v10, pp332-334.
14 Guardianship of Joseph Marks Whipple, 22 Oct 1766 / 04 Nov 1766,
Hampshire Co., MA, v10 p324.
15 Deed. Joseph Whipple to Elijah Blood, 15 March 1775, Hampshire Co.,
MA, Deeds v14, p464. LDS FHC #845698.
Clip Art from Google Images.
Joseph’s story from his move to Sharon on is from his Revolutionary War
Pension application papers, United States National Archives and Records
Service (USNARS), Washington, D.C. 20408, military service record for
Joseph Whipple, R11389. This pension application, which was
rejected, is 100 pages with family information given by Marks Whipple,
Joseph’s youngest son.