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John Fripp Sr.
bef 1680 - 1742

John Fripp was appointed High Sheriff of Colleton County by 1702. This is confirmed in "Journals of the House of Assembly 1702, p. 43-44". However, it is still uncertain if this was John Fripp Sr., or his father, known as John or Johannes the immigrant. It is not even certain if John Sr's father was John or William Fripp, as some descendants claim that the original immigrants were two brothers, named John & William. Records show that William was the proprietor of a tavern at Charleston in 1709. If John Sr. were his son, it would explain why he was not known as John Junior.

John Fripp Sr. was buried on St Helena Island on 29 May 1742. His age was estimated to be 69, but it is thought he was older. Most family legends claim that he was probably born in Bristol, England, and came to South Carolina with his widowed father, John or Johannes, between 1670-1690. His father is reported to have been presented with a grant for land on St Helena Island, by King Charles II in 1662. However, these claims have yet to be proven. See here for further details.

His first wife was said to have been a daughter of William McPherson, probably also known as William MacFashion, who assigned his cattle and hogs to John Fripp in 1698. If so, John could have gained the property and cattle as a dowery. This would also date his first marriage at about 1698. She died early and he next married Sarah. She was probably the daughter of Richard Frampton, as on 22 March 1692 after extensive litigation, he was awarded the right to the administration of Frampton's estate and the guardianship of his minor children. Other documents also appear to show that she was Sarah, daughter of Richard Frampton of St. Helena. Frampton owned Hunting Island at one time, and may have purchased it from John Fripp, said to be the first owner.

John Fripp Sr. lived on a 480 acre plot in the North East of St. Helena Island. He purchased this land from John Cowen in 1724, who was originally granted it on 6 Mar 1706. His first home stood either on or near Fripp Point, in his 480-acre "Point Place," which was bounded on the northeast and southeast by Richard Rannels (Reynolds) and on the southwest by land originally owned by John Cowen. His second home lay just beyond Cedar Grove from Coffin Point, between Seaside Road and the creek, and near the present Highway 21.

In 1733, John registered 4 tracts of land, as required by the Quitrent Act of 1731. These consisted of 2 tracts on Edisto Island, totalling 470 acres, originally granted to William McPherson; the 480 acre plot on St. Helena Island; and 500 acres in St Helena parish, Granville County, originally part of a 48,000 acre plot granted to John Bailey Esq. in 1698. The exact location is difficult to pinpoint, but this latter plot could be his 500 plot on his Hunting Island, just south of St Helena Island. Or it could be the second home mentioned above, although this second home could be the land he left to his wife and other grandchildren. (see below)

These plots appear to be the same land mentioned in his will, dated 1 May 1742, and proved 12 Aug 1743. He left equal halves of the 480 St Helena Island plot to his grandsons, William and Paul (named as sons of his deceased son, John Fripp Jr.). He also left equal halves of his 500 acre plot on his Hunting Island to the same grandsons. If both William & Paul died before the age of 21, the land would be inherited by their elder brother, John Fripp (III).

One third of the land where he "now" lived, plus a third of his negroes & stock, were left to his wife, Sarah. The other two thirds were left to the remainder of his grandchildren. This could be the 470 acres on Edisto Island that he registered in 1733.

John's son died 3 years before he made his will. The only relatives mentioned are his wife and grandchildren, so it is assumed that he had no living brothers or sisters.
The Executors of his will were his good friends; Thomas Wigg, John Barnwell, John Edwards, and grandson John Fripp.
The Witnesses were; William Davis, John Evans, William Wiscoat (his mark). John Evans could be the father of John Evans Jr. (1748-1775), who married his granddaughter, Sarah Fripp, in 1766.

The full will is found in Will Book Vol.5, Charleston, SC, in the Historical Commission, Columbia, SC. and can also be viewed online HERE

The earliest known FRIPP genealogy chart is held with the "South Carolina Historical Society" at Charleston. It was compiled in 1875 by Ed. St. James Fripp, who was then a cotton broker in Charleston. He noted on the chart: "The elder John, a widower, with an only son also named John, came to America in 1670 with grant of land on St. Helena Island. One brother William remained in England. Their family there is represented by William Fripp of Bristol and W.C.Fripp of London and W.C. Fripp Sr. of London Graphic."

It is not known if this was based on any documented evidence, but seems unlikely, as if it had survived through the previous 200 years, it would surely still exist today. Some of this information may have been found in notes made by William "Good Billy" Fripp, when he returned from a trip to England in 1836. William was a great grandson of John Fripp Sr., and 2nd cousin 1x removed to Edward St. James Fripp.

Most of "Good Billy's" papers were passed down to his great grandson, Frampton Erroll Ellis (1882-1973), who published, in 1905, a booklet titled; "Some Historic Families of South Carolina". All of Frampton's research, which may include "Good Billy's" original papers, are presently in the posession of one of his grandsons. A high proportion of these have not yet been studied in great detail.

Frampton's booklet gives an excellent account of the early Fripp families in South Carolina, however, some of the information about William's trip to UK in 1836 is inaccurate. It says that while in Bristol, UK, he met Edward Bowles Fripp, who was then Mayor of Bristol. Edward was never a Mayor, although his 1st cousin, William Fripp, was mayor in 1836. He also mentions W.C. Fripp of London Graphic (as on Ed. St. James Fripp's chart). However, no records of a W.C. Fripp have been found for that period. This information was probably confused with Charles Edwin Fripp (1854-1906), who was an artist and correspondent for the London Graphic.

A letter from "Good Billy" to Edward, dated 17 Nov 1838, shows that he had no knowledge of his ancestry prior to his grandfather, John Fripp III. However, he does state that it was his Great Great Grandfather who first settled in South Carolina. This would be John Fripp Sr.

Other Sources

Many researchers have devoted a huge amount of time, effort and expense, trying to unravel the mysteries of the first generations of this family. Some have submitted their entire research to this website. See Reports. While others are still very active and updating me with their latest resorces. I am most grateful for all your help.

The following list is a chronology of articles referring to John Fripp Sr. or the immigrant.

"SEA ISLAND DIARY, A History of St. Helena Island" by: Edith M. Dabbs, Page 82 "Feb. 10, 1706 - This day John Fripp, Wm. Whippey & John Jenkins executed bond to Gov. Johnson for proper admistration of estate of Thos. Cuby by Margarett Ladson, widow & relic."

Published 1983 by The Reprint Company, Spartanburg, SC.

Marshall B. Shore gives a detailed account of his research HERE and includes a list of all the sources he has studied.

Apparantly, most of the official county records for this area were lost in a fire in Washington, D.C. during the Revolutonary War. They were supposed to have been shipped there for safe keeping. [The British burned Washington and that fire must have included the national archives at that time]

Details of the first generations of Fripp are found in the South Carolina Historical and Genealogical Magazine, Vol.13, p.67, 128 & 228; Vol.10, p.25 & 244; Vol.23, p.67.
The Will book, Charleston, 1740-1747, p 180. All located in the Charleston, SC Historical Society Archives.
St. Helena's Parish Register, 1725-1825 were filmed by the Mormon Church and available on LDS film # 0023296.

The following notes are from Jackie Brooks' files:

There is documentary evidence that shows one John Fripp was living on St. Helena early 1690. Fripp Island & Inlet were named for him. He purchased a plantation on Edisto Island in 1696 and registered his stock mark. He was administrator of the estate of Richard Frampton in 1699 and was High Sheriff of Colleton County in 1701. He was mentioned in an Act ratified June 12, 1714, apparently he was living on Edisto at that time. Records show he owned about 500 acres on Edisto and about 1000 acres on St. Helena.

SOME HISTORIC FAMILIES OF SC; Frampton Erroll Ellis, 1962; SC 929.3; Beaufort Public Lib. FRIPP
John Fripp was the first of the family who came to America. He was born in Wales as early as 1673 for on Feb.5, 1695, he had a plantation on Fripp’s Island and registered his cattle marks from there. On May 12, 1699 he registered his marks from Edisto Island, and on June 12,1714 an act was passed by the Assembly authorizing the laying out of a road from John Fripp’s place in Edisto to Wilton. In 1702 he served as High Sheriff of Colleton County. His wife Sarah was probably the daughter of Richard Frampton, because on Mar. 22, 1699 after extensive litigation, he was awarded the right to the administration of Frampton’s estate and the guardianship of his minor children. He also owned Hunting Island and several plantations on ST. Helena, where he died and was buried May 29, 1742. The St. Helena Parish Register estimates his age at 61 at death but he was at least 69 at that date. The will of John Fripp was dated May 1, 1742 and proven Aug.12, 1743. It mentions his wife Sarah, his son, John Fripp,Jr.’Lately deceased” and his grandsons, John, William, Paul. Sarah Fripp died and was buried on St. Helena, Jan.9,1756.

SC Hist. Mag; Probate Ct. book 1747-52 pg.200;St Phillips Register;Will Book Charleston 1740-47 pg 180

SOUTH CAROLINA DEED ABSTRACTS 1719-1772 VOL. I, Clara Langley,1983;F268 .L36;VA Lib pg.261
Book Q, pg.87,May 17,1736, Deed of Gift
John Stuart, planter,of St. Helena Port Royal Parish, Granville Co., to his friend & son-in-law James Meget, planter , of same Parish, for love & affection, 350 ac. on St. Helena Island bounding NW & SW on Richard Reynolds; NE on Mr. Stuart; SE on marsh between island & the hunting island.
Wit; Joseph Wright, John Frip, James Reynolds(Runnells). Before Thomas Wigg, J. P.

CHRONICLES OF THE SOUTH CAROLINA SEA ISLANDS, Nancy Rhyne, pub. John Blair, Winston-Salem, NC, 1998

pg.131...John Fripp started out on Fripp Island in the late 1600s. He and his wife, Sarah, came to be the largest landowners on St. Helena. They began planting around 1725. One of the largest families on the island, the Fripps owned more than twelve thousand acres on St. Helena and the surrounding islands by 1860. Tidalholm, an elegant townhouse in Beaufort, was the property of Edgar Fripp.

Fripp Island was named for the same John Fripp who planted some of the fields of St. Helena Island. Fripp was a British privateer who used his namesake island as a base of operations in the late 1600s. In fact, he was so successful that King George gave him the island.
Many of Fripp's descendents still live in South Carolina. Some are buried in nearby island churchyards. No one knows just where John Fripp is buried, but it is said that his ghost occasionally returns to Fripp Island. Unexplained boot prints have been seen on the sandy beach, leading romantic beachcombers to believe that Fripp has come back for his buried treasure. In fact, one man puts so much faith in the tale that he refuses to stay in his luxury home alone.......

Text: (Cites St. Helena Parish Records 1722-1816, p. 116, and FRIPP GENEALOGY by Albert Newton)

From Bell's & Allied family trees: page 56


John Fripp, Sr., (great-great-great-great grandfather of John Bell) was born in 1681, "buried 29 May 1742 aged 61." His wife Sarah was buried 9 Jan. 1756.

John Fripp, Jr., (great-great-great grandfather of John Bell) son of John Fripp and wife Sarah, was born in South Carolina and resided there until 1739. He was buried Dec. 2, 1739 at Beaufort. He was High Sheriff of Colleton County in 1702. (Journals of the House of Assembly 1702, p. 43-44) He married Martha, probably Jenkins, and had seven children. For names, births, etc., see S. C. Historical and Genealogical Magazine, Vol.23, p. 66-67.

John Fripp, III, (great-great grandfather of John Bell) son of John Fripp, Jr. and wife Martha, was born March 15, 1721, "baptized Aug. 3, 1730 by Jones." He was elected a Justice of the Peace by the General Assembly March 30, 1776. (Journal of the General Assembly of S. C., March 26, 1776, April 11, 1776, p. 17) He married April 19, 1747, Elizabeth Hand, spinster (daughter of John Hand and wife Martha), born Nov. 22, 1725.

Other Links
SCDA&H   South Carolina Department of Archives & History.
Grants Explained   Information about early South Carolina Land Grants, Plat Records, Memorials and More.
First Fleet   Names and details of the first settlers to arrive in 1670.
Map of St Helena   Map of plantations on St Helena c.1862.

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