Lawrence County Arkansas Genealogy Trails
Ol’ Lawrence County
The Northern Families
The Daniel Culp Family
The Culp family originally came to America’s Susquehanna Valley and the
Chesapeake Bay in the 1650’s; landing at the ports of Baltimore and Annapolis,
Maryland and made their way inland quickly. The earliest family members, of Mennonite
faith, originally from Germany and Holland, would purchase a large tract of land from
William Penn that was some 12 miles long and 6 miles deep. The tract’s southern
boundary rested right on the Original Mason – Dixon line of southern Pennsylvania. This
parcel of land, many years later, would become the scene of one of the most bitter battles
of the American Civil War; The Battle of Culp’s Hill.
Daniel Culp, born in 1740, came from a branch of this family that settled in
Annapolis, Maryland and he had many family ties to Annapolis long after he had traveled
beyond the Potomac to the Blue Ridge and Berkeley County, Virginia where he met and
married Esther Chapline. She was the daughter of Moses and Jane (Caton) Chapline. Jane
or Janette Caton and her family were also from the Annapolis Area. Esther Chapline was
born in 1750 in Frederick County, Virginia. Moses Chapline, originally from Maryland
had purchased a large tract of land just west of the western shore of the Potomac River in
Berkeley County, Virginia after Esther’s birth. The Washington’s Farm was just
downriver on the eastern shore of the Potomac where George Washington and his brother
lived during their childhoods. The river itself lay in the Potomac River Valley at the
eastern foot of the Blue Ridge and was used as the eastern boundary of Berkeley County.
It was an extremely picturesque and very beautiful land.
Daniel Culp and Esther Chapline were married in Berkeley County in 1770. Soon
after their marriage, they traveled back to the Annapolis Area and Esther remained there
with the Caton and Culp families while her husband went back to Berkeley County to
build their homestead. While there in Annapolis later on in 1770, she gave birth to their
first born son, George Culp. When the homestead was complete enough, Daniel went
back to Annapolis to retrieve his wife and new son George about 1771 / 1772. Daniel and
Esther settled into Martinsburg Court as it was called then; Martinsburg today. (It was
also during this period of time in 1773 that John Milligan, an Irish Immigrant from
County Down, Ireland, initially moved into Berkeley County after spending his first 2
years as a young Brogueish Irishman in Pennsylvania.)
Daniel and Esther resumed building their family and lived a fairly normal life.
Daniel Culp Jr. was born to them here in 1776, Josiah Chapline Culp was also born in
Martinsburg to them on 25 Aug. 1777 and Mary Culp was born in 1780 in Shepardstown,
the same year Daniel Culp and his brothers would go to Kentucky to seek out a new
parcel of land on the Cumberland Plateau where he and his family could live. The other
two of the Culp children, Lydia and Sarah were probably born between 1771 and 1776
also in Martinsburg but we couldn’t find any reliable information about their birth years.
Also we believe that their daughter Sarah was named after Sarah Robinson in honor of
the friendship Esther Chapline and Sarah Robinson enjoyed with each other during their
early years together in the Martinsburg area of Berkeley County.
Daniel and Esther Culp as well as these other Berkeley County families, lived
during the period of time I like to refer to as “The Jane Austen Years” of early
Americana; roughly from 1730 up to the American Civil War years when folks were
“People of Family” and were from well bred English and European stock; transplanting
themselves to the Colonies for a variety of reasons.
This Pre-Revolutionary period of American history was filled with political
happenings that eventually lead to War a bit later in the 1770’s. Daniel was only 13 years
old for instance, when the French and Indian War erupted in North America during late
spring of 1754. Then Virginia Governor, Robert Dinwiddie, sent the young Militia Major,
George Washington to the Ohio River Valley to deliver an ultimatum to the French:
Leave the land which Great Britian Claimed (and colonial land speculators coveted) or
face a military consequence. The French refused to leave and the newly, promoted to
Lieutenant Colonel, George Washington returned to the Ohio River area in May of the
following year to the French stronghold of Fort Duquesne (Pittsburgh today) with 160
armed Virginians. Not far from there he built a very crude outpost they called Fort
Necessity which the French stormed in great numbers and after Washington lost a third of
his men, he surrendered the entire region.
It wasn’t until 1756 when William Pitt became the British Prime Minister did the
tide of this war turn and even as fighting begun in Europe that year, Pitt kept his focus on
the fighting in the American Colonies. He was very successful in his English “Global”
war strategy but it basically bankrupted the British treasury. So to offset these costs, Pitt
had his British officers in America start taking Americans into British service as soldiers
after he had already sent large numbers of British Red Coats to fight there. Also he
authorized his Officers to confiscate supplies the army needed from the civilian
population. This enraged the colonists so much that in 1757, in New York, the colonists
erupted into a riot. Pitt relaxed these policies after the riot and began reimbursing the
colonists for the commandeered supplies. The real turning point in this war came on Sept.
13, 1759 when Daniel Culp was 18 years old; hearing that General Wolfe defeated the
Marquis de Montcalm at Quebec. A year later, at Montreal, the remainder of the French
Army surrendered to Jeffrey Amherst and all of Canada passed to British Control. Also at
the signing of “The Treaty of Paris” in Feb 1763 (that confirmed British control of
Canada) the French let the British acquire French Louisiana, which were lands located to
the west of Spanish Florida and claimed by the French “east” of the Mississippi River.
They had already ceded the lands in West Louisiana to the Spanish so New Orleans, even
though it was on the eastern shore of the Mississippi, was never part of the deal and it
remained a Spanish possession. It was also this Treaty that gave the British possession of
the Forts at Detroit, Pittsburgh, Cincinnati, Kaskaskia (southern Illinois on the
Mississippi River) and Cahokia, also in Illinois and others which in effect brought the
US/Canadian border down to the Ohio River Valley.
It was also during this period that Daniel Culp and other colonists saw the
enactment of England’s Revenue Act (1764 tariffs on sugar), The Stamp Act in 1765
(taxes on printed matter; legal documents, marriage licenses, newspapers etc.) The
Quartering Act (Colonial assemblies were to furnish British Troops with housing and
provisions) and the Townsend Acts (May 1767 New taxes on glass, lead, paints, paper
All of these new taxes and other laws being enacted by the British, somewhat
stifled the Eastern seaboard lifestyle and Daniel Culp like many young men who wanted
to get out and create their own lives, moved west and away from the larger cities. The
biggest difference between the eastern and western lifestyles was that out in the western
frontier, living was more relaxed and less restrictive. True it was allot more difficult in
the west as there weren’t many of the conveniences people found in Annapolis, Baltimore
and Alexandria but a man could purchase a plot of rich, fertile land cheaply and build his
own life; his own house and homestead where he could engage in farming and grow what
he ate and there was plenty of fresh game to hunt and eat as well. So we find Daniel Culp
moving to Berkeley County in the late 1760’s and by 1770 at 30 years of age, he would
take his wife and marry Esther Chapline, the twenty year old daughter of Moses Chapline
and Janette Caton who the Culp Family may have known in Annapolis.
Daniel Culp and his brothers, like John Milligan I, were all tanners by trade and I
am starting to think many men were or knew how to make leather products such as shoes,
deer skin clothing, winter coats and other articles out of the animal skins they harvested
in the woodlands of the mountains. If a person could build his homestead on a good piece
of land that had a running spring on it, he could build a small tannery of his own. Tree
bark, with its tannic acidic qualities, which was readily available everywhere, had to be
harvested and then all a person had to do was build the various deep vats along the
stream, each one lower and below the last as they went down the slope (gravity water
fed), that were needed in the tanning process. This could be done by digging them into
the slopped ground next to the spring so the spring could fill them. Then support the
walls of the in-ground vats with natural stone (like a walled, deep well) of sorts. Place the
tree bark in the first vat and let it “Season” leaving its tannic acid in the water, remove
the spent bark and then place the skins over straight sticks and let them hang into the
tannic acid solution in the vat, the process would be started. Then with a series of other
vats, each one a progressively lighter in the solution of tannic acid, the skins would be
hung into and moved over time from vat to vat until they rested in clear, clean water. A
crude process at the time but not many could afford the large above ground, wooden vats
that one would find in the larger cities back east where the process worked the same
The 1770’s was a difficult time for everyone in the Colonies. With King George
III and William Pitt wanting to pay for the costs of the French and Indian War in the
1760’s with the creation of the various tax acts they were enacting, the Colonists started
to once again rebel because they had no representation in English Parliament who were
taxing everything in the colonies so much that people couldn’t afford to buy anything;
much like the gasoline and cigarette taxes are today in our own society. People back then
couldn’t even afford the cost of Tea which used to be a staple in everyone’s homes and
So in the early years of the 1770’s, ideas of the colonies becoming a self
governing society were picking up steam in approval by everyone (except the British of
course, and their sympathizers). By 1773, about the time John Milligan moved into
Berkeley County (Martinsburg, Hedgesville area) himself from Pennsylvania, Daniel
Culp brought Esther and his son, George out to their new homestead in Martinsburg.
There weren’t allot of people here during the time but Martinsburg was becoming a
settlement much like Shepardstown was a few miles to the south. Another family living
in the Hedgesville area was the Robinson Family. Israel Robinson and his family had
lived on Tomahawk Run in the Robinson’s Gap for years and his son James would go on
to build his own homestead just UP the valley from his fathers place. James’ own
daughter, Sarah Robinson and Esther Culp must have become great friends even before
they would meet and marry their husbands. The Chapline family knew just about
everyone in the Martinsburg and surrounding areas of Berkeley County. They were well
known by many.
The people here knew each other either through Church services, social
gatherings, visits from one neighbor to another for a dinner or a dance party, town events
or through their work as Daniel Culp would eventually meet John Milligan as both were
tanners and had their work in common. People looked out for each other and helped
where and when they could. I fully expected, during our research, to find out that Esther
Chapline’s Brother, Moses Caton Chapline helped Daniel Culp build his house and
homestead, up the Mountains from his father’s place in the valley but no such evidence
ever came to light.
We know already that John Milligan would use this time (1773-1775) about a
year and a half, to build his own homestead before he enlisted in Capt. Hugh
Stephenson’s rifle company after the Battle of Bunker Hill in 1775 and march off
northeast to Lexington and then on to The Boston Neck at Roxbury. His first enlistment
was for one year.
Dan Culp also enlisted in the Military and received his commission as a 1st
Lieutenant on Feb, 9, 1776 and served in Captain William Darke’s 8th Virginia Regiment.
Later on May 9, 1777 he resigned his commission and chose to stay in Berkeley County
at his homestead to fight the British on the Blue Ridge if such an attack should come
from the West. Fighting the British forces here and to the west of the Blue Ridge, weather
you were a settler or in the military, was quite a bit different then fighting with General
Washington’s Continentals in the east. The British allied themselves with the
Confederated Indian Tribes (Read about the Shawnee Chief, Tecumseh) that wanted to
keep the encroaching White settlers out of their lands and after the French and Indian
War in the 1760’s, the British took over and fortified the old French Military outposts
they had won in Detroit, Pittsburgh, Cincinnati and in Southern Illinois at Fort Kaskaskia.
The fighting that occurred in the Ohio River Valley and the Cumberland Plateau of the
Ken-tuck-ee would be fierce and sometimes devastating Indian massacres of the white
settlers would take place. Daniel Culp, like John Milligan, came back from the War to
Berkeley County in the early spring of 1777.
Historical Note: (sorry, we have to put this in here) The first 3 years or so after the
signing of the Declaration of Independence, Congress was quite independent of state or
popular control. The members raised a national army, issued currency and took on
foreign relations without any real set of procedures or any obligations to anyone or any
country. After their Declaration of Independence from Great Britian in July of 1776, they
all realized the time had come for a more formal (and Legitimate) Alliance among all of
the new “States”. This new entity of states was penned, “The United States of America”
and was established under a set of rules called “The Articles of Confederation”. Congress
adopted these articles in Nov. of 1777 and each of the 13 “States” ratified them by Feb.
of 1781. These Articles meant for instance that each state was responsible for paying
their fair share for the national army. Also, what we need to realize about them, for this
document’s purpose anyway, is that 7 out of the 13 new States would cede the lands on
their western boundaries west of the Appalachian Mountains all the way to the
Mississippi River. Virginia, for Instance ceded all of the land that later would be
Kentucky. The same held true for North Carolina as well by ceding all of the lands that
would later become Tennessee and so on. This episode was really unfair because there
were 6 states that didn’t have any additional lands ceded to them at all. So, in order to
remedy this “Unfairness” all of the 7 states that enjoyed this extra land windfall, would
submit these western claims to the “New Federal Government” that was based on these
new “Articles of Confederation” and by February 24, 1781, Maryland, the last Holdout
state ratified the articles and 3 days latter, on the 27th, Congress declared the new federal
government of The United States of America to be in effect.
For Daniel Culp’s family this was great news. The new lands called Ken-tuck-ee
were legally opening up for settlement west of the Allegany Mountains, even though the
Revolutionary War waged on.
These were also the years of Daniel Boone and he was exploring the central
portion of Kentucky by coming up from the south via his “Cumberland Gap” but like the
Culp’s in 1780, there were also allot of White settlers, mostly new Immigrants that had
settled in Berkeley County, Virginia and Pennsylvania who were crossing The Allegany’s
into Kentucky from the Northeast thru Charleston and southwestward on toward areas
like Cynthiana (where the Culp’s initially settled) and to the Hopewell Settlement south
of Cynthiana in Bourbon County. So in about 1779 we discover Daniel Culp and his 2
brothers, all tanners, making preparations to go into the new Kentucky wilderness.
Daniel had purchased lot #29 in Shepardstown from Esther’s brother, Moses
Caton Chapline. He was afraid of leaving his wife and children on their wooded
homestead in the Martinsburg area during the war years with himself leaving to go to
Kentucky to set up their new home. He must have thought Esther and the children would
be much better off living in the Shepardstown settlement as news coming out of Kenttuck-
ee was of harsh Indian attacks. There were plenty of men around for the defense of
Shepardstown if it became necessary to fight and he wouldn’t have to worry so much
about their safety and taking Esther and his children into the hostile Kentucky wilderness
was out of the question.
Even John Milligan came home from the War in the East right after the Battle of
Trenton in early 1777 probably to help safeguard his new wife to be, Sarah Robinson and
their homestead from the potential of the British lead marauding Indians. Between him,
the Robinson’s, the Hedges and other Family’s, their defenses would be sufficient if the
British and the Indians came calling this far east.
The Culp brothers found land, as most did, in the area of Cynthiana (township) in
southern Harrison County, Kentucky and the area to the south of there was Bourbon
County at the western foot of the mountains. Cynthiana was almost 10 miles due north of
the Hopewell settlement of Kentucky that would later, after the Rev. War, change its
name to “Paris” in honor of the French who took up the patriot cause by sending their
Navy to America to help them win their war against King George’s forces in America.
Vive La Libertie!
These were not easy times however for new settlers to this area of Kentucky and
Daniel Culp found himself once again building a new home and securing reliable food
sources before he could even go back to Shepardstown in Berkeley County and bring
Esther and their family back with him. Not only that; but Daniel, like all of the early
settlers here, accomplished their settlement of this area during the worst of the Indian
attacks that occurred in one settlement or another almost regularly. Some of these attacks
lead by the British Commanders out of their Ohio River Valley Forts, where nothing
short of Massacres of the white settlers especially those of Ruddell’s and Martin’s
Stations only a few miles (about 10) away.
The Indians were brutally fierce during these attacks as we will discover in a
following chapter. This was the type of fighting that the Revolutionary War years offered
to people west of the Allegany. It was fighting against the Confederated Indian tribes lead
by British Commanders. The height of these attacks was in 1780 and 1781 and didn’t
cease until George Rodgers Clark lead an expedition to Fort Kaskaskia in southern
Illinois and gave the British there the ultimatum to stop their incursions into Kentucky or
face a military consequence. After this successful Clark Expedition, the settlers in eastern
Kentucky stopped seeing the very large numbers of Indians during these attacks.
Sometimes there were upwards of 7 and 8 hundred Indians involved in these attacks not
counting the British red coats or their cannon support. The British and Indians from
Southern Illinois stopped finding their way to eastern Kentucky to fight but the fiercest
Indian attacks were yet to come from the Fort at Detroit in 1780.
The tribes at the eastern end of the Ohio Valley had already lost their lands east of
the mountains around the Chesapeake Bay during the 1600’s. The graves of their
Grandfathers had already relinquished themselves to the plow of the white European
settler. They didn’t want these settlers to come any farther west and take their new lands
from them as well.
After 1781 and the end of the Revolutionary War, life started to go back to
normal. The Indian attacks, for the most part, had stopped and people were starting to
build commodity businesses like tan yards, flour mills and saw mills for lumber and
tobacco warehouses etc.
It wasn’t until 1785 that the Culp’s would give birth to their next child, James M.
Culp and then their last child, Thomas B. Culp b. 1787; both being born in Bourbon
County, Kentucky. With all of the Culp family now living in Bourbon County during the
mid 1780’s, the Culp children would grow and “their” generation of the family would
eventually move the family name into Barren County, Kentucky, Gibson County, Tenn.,
Cooper County, Missouri. Mary Culp would get married and she and her husband would
end up in the Batesville area of the Missouri Territory in 1814 and her younger brother
Thomas B. Culp, less than a year later, would make his own way to find them there in
1815 almost a full year prior to John Milligan II’s arrival there in 1816.
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The Ruddell Family
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