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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 and Anne Whipple.  The Greenwich town records recorded his birth.

       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 before 1766. 

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 plates, six 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 inventories indicate that Joseph was brought up in good circumstances.13

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 inheritance.

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 Ashley

[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, Massachusetts. 

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 the forges. 

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) p680. 
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 Life.”
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.



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