Saturday, December 2, 2017

Surname Saturday ~ GUPPY of Salem, Massachusetts


Reuben Guppy (about 1601 – about 1684), my 10th great grandfather, was first recorded in the New World in Ipswich, Massachusetts in 1641.  That same year he was recorded in Salem, too.  In 1641 he was also in court “for running away to the eastward from his wife, who was about to be confined in childbirth and for stealing, blasphemy, lying and swearing”.   He was sentenced to be whipped. 

See this letter in the John Winthrop Papers, Vol. 1 -5, 1557 - 1649 database at, Winthrop Papers, volume 4, pages 323 – 324.

"Thomas Gorges and Edward Godfrey to John Winthrop
To the Right Wor[shipfu]ll John Withrope Esqr. these present speed in Boston
Aggamenticus 1 March 1640/1
Most honoured Sir, one Reuben Guppy of late comminge into our plantation and pretendinge much Religeon and great zeal for the Ordinances of God was entertained by a planter, but since ther haue come diuers reports unto vs of his misdeameanors with you, and that fear of punishment doue him away, and likewise this day I haue reccaued a letter from Captain Vnderhill which expresseth the desier of Mr. Endicott to haue him returned which letter I haue sent you heerinclosd.  the desier we haue to satisfy his request, and to ridd such fellows out of our Prouince, which haue brought such a scandall on it haue caused vs to omitt noe opportunity of sendinge him, therfore by Sampson Salter, M[aste]r of the Makeshift you shall receaue him. resolued we are that this Prouince shall be noe refuge for Runnaways, for none comminge from another Plantation shall be entertained heer without a Certificate of good demeanour, or vppon the knowledge of some of the Inhabitants.  thus with our seruices tendered to you; commendinge you to the protection of the Almighty we Rest Yourse in all due respects

Reuben Guppy is a terrific Black Sheep ancestor, who was in and out of court records for the rest of his life.  He left a lot of records for theft, lawsuits, dodging rent, and for turning in his neighbors for various crimes.  My favorite was a record by Sargeant Dixie who had seen Guppy stuff a hen in his breeches. [Essex Antiquarian, Volume 3 (1899), page 191 from Salem Quarterly Court Records, dated 30: 1: 1641] In another interesting case in 1657 he accused his neighbor Richard Pitfold of bestiality. [Essex Antiquarian, Volume 11 (1907), page 135]  However, the origins of Reuben Guppy are still unknown, and his exact birth and death dates are still undiscovered.

By 1650 he owned a lot of land which he deeded to his son John in 1681. This land was left to the granddaughter, Bethia Guppy who married Thomas Marston.  The land left the family when it was sold to Mr. and Mrs. Marston, of Boston, in 1769 for three pounds, six shillings and eight pence [Essex Register of Deeds, Book 125, leaf 278].

In 1648 Reuben Guppy was in Agamenticus again (now York, Maine) where he was found to be estranged from his wife and brought back to Salem, Massachusetts by the authorities.  That same year the court ordered “That the 2 eldest children of Reuben Guppy be placed out, the boy till the age of 21 years and the mayde till the age of 18 years.”  The girl was probably my 9th great grandmother, Mary Guppy, who was placed with the Verin family, and then with the John Porter, Sr. family.  Mary Guppy married John Glover in 1661.

The Guppy family was involved in a famous 1684 robbery of 500 pounds known as “The Corwin Robbery” [History of Salem, by Sidney Perley, Volume III, pages 184 – 188].  Reuben Guppy, his son John Guppy, and Abigail (wife of son John) were all accused. John, a former servant in the home of George Corwin, and several other former servants, an African slave named David, and several neighbors, plotted to steal the money.  John Guppy was named as an accessory to the crime. Two others, William Godsoe and his wife, were sentenced to be branded with the letter B in the forehead. Thomas Gatchell, Nathaniel Pickman and John Collier were sentenced to pay treble damages, be severely whipped 39 stripes or pay ten pounds (I wonder which one they chose?)  According to History of Salem,  page 187“The branding was done by constable Flinder, for which he was paid two pounds. The Godsoes disappeared from Salem”. 

Reuben Guppy was still living in 1684.  He had deposed in court in 1665 that he was 60 years old, which would place his birth at about 1605.

Some GUPPY resources:

The History of Salem, by Sidney Perley
The Genealogical Dictionary of New England by James Savage, 1969, Volume II, page 324

My GUPPY lineage:

Generation 1:  Reuben Guppy, born about 1601 probably in England, died after 1684 in Salem, Massachusetts; married Eleanor or Ellen.  Four children.

Generation 2:  Mary Guppy, born about 1640; married 2 January 1661 in Salem to John Glover, son of Charles Glover and Elizabeth Unknown.  He was born about 1638 in Salem, and died May 1695 in Marblehead, Massachusetts. Eight children.

Generation 3:  Jonathan Glover m. Abigail Henderson
Generation 4:  Jonathan Glover m. Tabitha Bacon
Generation 5: Daniel Glover m. Hannah Jillings
Generation 6: Tabitha Glover m. Thomas Homan
Generation 7: Betsey Jillings Glover m. Jabez Treadwell
Generation 8: Eliza Ann Treadwell m. Abijah Hitchings
Generation 9:  Abijah Franklin Hitchings m. Hannah Eliza Lewis
Generation 10: Arthur Treadwell Hitchings m. Florence Etta Hoogerzeil
Generation 11: Gertrude Matilda Hitchings m. Stanley Elmer Allen


Heather Wilkinson Rojo, “Surname Saturday ~ GUPPY of Marblehead”, Nutfield Genealogy, posted December 2, 2017, ( accessed [access date]). 

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