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The Fripp family of South Carolina


John or William Fripp (see notes)

Several conflicting reports have been produced surrounding the roots of South Carolina's branch of the Fripp family. Most agree that the progenitor of this line was John Fripp, a widower from England who arrived in South Carolina between 1670-1690, with an only son named John. This son, known as John Fripp Sr., owned a large amount of land and became High Sheriff of Colleton County in 1701. However, it is quite possible that it was this person (father of John Sr.) who was High Sheriff of Colleton.

John Sr. Fripp's life is well documented and is detailed in the following accounts and other locations on this website. However, no official records have been found to mention his father, or verify which John is which on the pre 1730 land records.

Other accounts suggest his father was William Fripp. This would explain why the son was known as John Sr. rather than Jr. This version is also given some credence, as a newspaper report in 1704 or 1707 (origin being sought) tells of a dispute involving William Fripp, a tavern proprietor of Charleston. He could be a brother of John the immigrant, as some researchers claim that two brothers, John and William, were the first Fripps to settle in South Carolina.

Alternatively, this William may have been a son of John the widowed immigrant, thus putting another generation between John Sr. and John the immigrant. I am inclined to favour one of the last two options, but hope that solid evidence will surface to settle this dispute.

Another early South Carolina record shows the marriage of Eliza Fripp to William West on 8 April 1712. Could she be a sister of John Sr.? She does not appear on any current Fripp family trees, and was not mentioned on John Sr's will in 1742.
See: http://ftp.rootsweb.com/pub/usgenweb/sc/marriages/scmv053a.txt

LAND GRANT of 1662
The grant for a tract of land on St. Helena Island, Beaufort, was apparantly awarded to John Fripp by Charles II of England in 1662. I have no doubt that this grant exists, as there are numerous reports of it being seen by members of the Fripp family as recently as the 1960's. It was then sold to William Elliot Esq., an antiques dealer from Atlanta, Georgia. He has since died and the location of the grant is now being sought.

However, I am uncertain regarding it's authenticity. Perhaps it is genuine and the date is wrong, but it is unlikely that it would have been given in 1662, as the first grants were not issued until 1663, after Capt. William Hilton first landed at St. Helena Sound.

The Carolinas were given to 8 men, known as the Lord's Proprietors, who later issued grants for land to the first settlers in 1667. The first expedition to survey the coastlands south of "Charles Town" took place on 16 June 1666. Two small vessels, the Speedwell and the Rebecca, made the voyage, commanded by Lt. Col. Robert Sandford. They returned the following month, on July 12. Robert Sandford's official account is contained in a 32 page pamphlet. Another account was made by Joseph Woory, one of the crew. A full transcript will be added to this website, but there is no mention of a Fripp in the crew or owning land.

At that time, St. Helena, and surrounding islands, were inhabited by the Yemassee Indians, who seemed willing to accept the English during their visit. Before returning to Charleston, they left behind one of their company, Dr. Henry Woodward, a young English surgeon, to settle among the Indians and to learn their language and culture. The first settlers arrived four years later, but decided to move north after being warned of Spanish threats. The first settlement was formed at Spanish Point in 1685 by a group of 148 Scotts, and was named "Stuart Town". However, it was raided by the Spanish the following year and burned to the ground.

It is thought that the immigrant Fripp arrived at St. Helena about 1690. The first documented evidence of the name "Fripp's Island" was in 1694. See below ....

I am very grateful to everyone who has helped with this fascinating history and submitted their detailed research to this website. Please read the following reports and make your own conclusion. Any further information would be most welcome.

Research / Notes from Marshall B. Shore: Marshall's full dissertation can be read here
JOHN FRIPP (1st), Progenitor of the Fripp family in South Carolina. According to a Colonel Francis Stuart Fripp of London, England, who obtained from a genealogist of note, a sister of the late Sir Alfred Fripp - (Blandford born, personal surgeon to King Edward VII) revealed that the Fripp family came into England with the Viking invasions in the 9th Century. They settled around Bristol, Gloucester and for 400 years this family prospered and increased.

Hypothesis- Using a hyopthesis to try and solve the John Fripp Family mystery. If John (Johannes) Fripp was the first to come from England with a son, age 17, in 1690, he would be the first Fripp (John Fripp 1st) to come to South Carolina. Therefore, his son, John would be John Fripp 2nd. Several history books give the title to John Fripp 2 as John Fripp Sr. Not to be confused with other writings, we now resort to dropping the Johannas and go to simply, John Fripp 1st, version to keep from confusing the long string of John Fripps who follow.
The Fripp Island Resort Community Management Company extolls Fripp Island as being acquired in Colonial times by Captain Johannes Fripp, a hero in the battles against the Spanish. They must have some historical record of these events. They have not answered my queries.
Historian, Edith M. Dabbs in her "SEA ISLAND DIARY, History of St. Helena Island" relates that the first John Fripp from County Dorset, England in 1690. (more to follow).

The spelling of the name John Fripp is sometimes found as a [legendary] Johannes Fripp or Frypp. Not knowing his exact birth and death dates we have to substitute dates which best appear to fit the records available. I will use the German spelling for JOHANNES even though all American records show only John Fripp. Johannes Fripp is the name used by the Fripp Island Management Company in all of their brochures. Surely they have had someone research this family to have come up with this name. I am certain that this spelling does not go back to records in England, however. But this method will serve to distinguish this man from the following many John Fripps that become somewhat confusing in all conversations and in the reporting of their lives by their following ancestors in family histories, long past filed in South Carolina archives. Most of these family histories have confused this man who was the progenitor of the Fripp family on St. Helena island, Beaufort County, South Carolina with his son, JOHN FRIPP, who lived and died on St. Helena Island.
It has been said that a Johannes Fripp was awarded a grant to an island off the coast of South Caroline by King Charles II in the year 1662. Family legend has him coming to Carolina in year 1690. (old Fripp family bible.)
A JOHN (JOHANNES) FRIPP (1st) purchased a plantation on Edisto Island in year 1696 and became an important and distinguished citizen there. Given these dates of record we place the date of his birth about 1631 and in Bristol or that immediate area.
Fripp was a widower when he came to Carolina in 1690 with his son, JOHN FRIPP (2nd), age 17. It was common during the mid 1600's in England [especially along the southwest part of England] for affluent men to invest in the outfitting of sailing ships for use by local Privateers, better known as Pirates, to prey on the Spanish sailing vessals carrying gold and precious gems being taking out of Mexico and the Caribbean countries back to Spain. The bounty reaped by these Pirates such as Blackbeard, Edward Teach by name, and possibly our Johannes Fripp of lesser fame was shared with the well to do outfitters who supplied them with a ship and money to outfit a crew.
There was competition for settlement of colonies in the new land by the French, Spanish and English. It was in the successful defense of an early British Colony at Beaufort, South Carolina prior to 1662 that was made by Captain Johannes Fripp, the Pirate, that came to the attention of King Charles II. Johannes Fripp was supposed to have sunk two Spanish ships (or men-of-war) in Beaufort Harbor during this time. The "deed" to Fripp Island followed shortly. It was written on vellum or heavy parchment which carried the seal of King Charles II.
However, My research to date shows that the first time the name of Fripp Island appears in old records is from a document: "A Book for Recording of Cattle Marks and others Given by the Honorable Smith, Esq'r, Governor, in September 1694":
"Feb 5, 1695 - This day came Richard Bonett (Benett) of FFrips Island and recorded his marke for cattle & Hogs as followeth - halfe of ye Eares Cutt off & Two peaces cut out". Thos. Smith, Landgrave & Governar." (Governor Thomas Smith was appointed by the English Proprietors to administer the grant of land they had received from King Charles II, which covered land from Florida to Virginia.)

Another record of Fripp Island is recorded in "Jonathan Dickinson's Journal, or 'God's Protecting Province', a narrative of shipwreck, Indian captivity, and rescue by the Spaniards of Saint Augustine, Fla. who furnished the group with a boat. --- Friend Jonathan Dickinson (a Quaker) wrote on Dec 21, 1696: ".... We set forward and rowed all day until one o'clock in the afternoon of the 22nd day. At which time we got to the first settlement in Carolina, belonging to one Richard Bennett, who received us kindly, and provided plentifully for us of good food and good drinks."-".... Leaving Fripp Island, "we went hence in company of some of the inhabitants." They rowed all day "having passed by several plantations, then rowed until an hour or two before day (evening), by which time we got to Governor Blake's house" on Edisto Island. (From Jonathan Dickinson's journal)
Richard Benett was either the owner or was a renter on Fripp Island. He and Johannes Fripp, both registered their brands in the same manner at the governors office. There was a three year difference in their filing, but the wording and purpose is similar. According to the book: "Warrants for Lands, 1672-1711" Richard Bennett was given three warrants for land about this time. When Richard Bennett filed in 1695, Johannes Fripp most probably was still living on St. Helena island as he did not purchase land on Edisto island until 1696 from William MacFashion and soon moved over there to make his permanent home. (William MacFashion was a recipient of warrants for many acres of land on Edisto Island prior to 1695.) Two years later Johannes registered his brand near his new home as follows:
"May 12, 1698 - This day came John FFripp & Recorded his Marke for Cattle & Hogs wch is a cropp & Hole in ye right eare & a Cropp and Slit in ye left, being formerly ye Marke of Wlm. MacFashion upon Edistoe Island & by him assigned to ye s/d FFripp for all Cattle & Hoggs on ye sd Island of that Marke. - Test. Henry Wigington." [The wording of this document would seem to inicate that John (Johannes) Fripp must have purchased his Edisto Island plantation in 1696 from a Mr. Wm. MacFashion and that he also took over the MacFashion cattle marks used on that island after he moved there and was raising his own cattle.]

To date the two cattle mark documents are the only valid record we have found that would substantiate the story of a Captain Johannes (John) Fripp having come to South Carolina in 1690. A continued search for more definable records is ongoing and contact is being made with every possible archive, library, and interested historian with potential knowledge of these people and events. Meantime we are recording what data we do have to flesh out the pedigree charts and family group sheets to form a hypothesis of the Fripp family coming to America in 1690. We are attempting to obtain records or details of the grant from King Charles II in 1662.

It seems as there are more legends connected with this lovely little island than any other on the South Carolina coast. The island has numerous Indian mounds, and various relics of the Red man's occupancy have been uncovered. Much Indian activity on St. Helena and the outer barrier islands has been recorded during the early periods parallel with the coming of the white man.

It has been written that Johannes Fripp buried his treasure deep in the sand on Fripp Island at a location known only to him. Later when he needed ready money he would row over to the island to replenish his coffers. Although several have attempted to locate this treasure, none have been successful.

No records seem to exist of any houses ever having been on the island, save one, "Old House". This small sturcture was said to have been a summer place for one of the Fripp family, and for many years it was used for house parties by the young people. This house could have been the home of Richard Benett when he was there in 1695.

When cotton was planted on the island, the slaves were sent over from St. Helena in large row boats to work the land.
A modern tourist brochure carries this brief legend: "Captain Johannes Fripp--the island's namesake--did little to secure a reputation for island hospitality ....... Whenever he needed funds, Fripp allegedly took a helper with him and sailed to the island. He always returned alone." [This sounds like a story of a real estate promoter to me]

(Note to other researchers: Records of the churches on Edisto Island should be found to try and find more information on the life and associations that John Firpp 1st had while he lived on Edisto Island from 1688 to about 1730. I have not had time to find these. Start with the LDS F.H. Library in Salt Lake. Marshall B. Shore)

See: "Sea Island Diary, History of St. Helena Island" by Edith M. Dabbs, The Reprint Co. Publishers, Spartanburg, SC. 1983, Chapter X, Kingdom-by-the-Sea.
Also: "Some Historic Famiies of South Carolina" by Frampton Errol Ellis, (1905. reprint: 1962); St. Philip's Church Register; Prabate Court Records, Book 1747-52.
"Warrants for Lands in South Carolina 1672-1711" ed by A. S.Salley, Jr.

Extract from SEA ISLAND DIARY, A History of St. Helena Island, by Edith M. Dabbs, The Reprint Company, Publishers, Spartanburg, S.C. 1983, Chapter X, Kingdom-by-the-Sea, contains the following information word for word, p. 81:
"The continuity of the Sea Island life-style was badly jarred by the Revolution and the resultant economic depression. Except for shifting agricultural emphases, however, the physical appearance of St. Helena was little changed through the first two decades when her planters were recovering from the effects of war.
John Fripp's possessions covered not only most of the northeast corner of the island but several plantations to the southward along the eastern shore. He had also taken out or bought up other acreage diagonally across St. Helena on the southwestern shore along the river. But new names had appeared and as the old families absorbed the news it became very difficult to distinguish one from the other. By another generation, everybody seemed to be related to everybody else.
(There is a legend among some of his descendants that the first Fripp came from County Dorset, England, in 1670, armed with a grant from King Charles II, dated 1662, written on vellum or heavy parchment and carrying his seal.) According to the old Fripp Bible, however, the first John Fripp was a widower who brought his only son, John, to Carolina about 1690. His royal grant gave him an enormous stretch of land in the latitude of St. Helena, which runs through the island very near and parallel with the present Church Road. He also bought a large plantation on Edisto Island in 1696 and became an important and distinguished citizen there, serving as high sheriff of Colleton County in 1701. 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". This is the last record we have found for John (Johannes) Fripp who lived on Edisto Island and, therefore, would lead us to assume that he lived to this date and died somwhat after this date (1714) on Edisto Island, SC.

Incidental notes:
"Brigadier General Count Casimer Pulaski was wounded on 9 Oct 1797 leading his American troops against General Benjamin Lincoln at Charleston, S.C. He died aboard ship two days later and one report said that he was buried on Fripp Island. A monument was started by Lafayette in Savannah in 1824 and completed in 1855 in honor of General Count Casimer Pulaski. Polaski was a Polish officer who was expelled from Poland and came to America and enlisted under General Washington in 1772. He distinguished himself at Brandywine, made a Brigadier General and recruited his own force to go south in defending Charleston, May 1779.

The hurricane of August 26, 1686. Two of the three vessels used by the Spanish in their attack on Lord Cardoss's settlement at Beaufort were blown ashore near Bear's Bluff, South Carolina, on the North Edisto River during this hurricane. They were unable to get one of the vessels off, so the retreating Spaniards set fire to the vessel. Mr. Edward Bowell, brother in law of Joseph Morton (Governor of the Province), had been taken prisoner during the attack and was in chains and was burned alive in the vessel. (Note: The vessels were variously described as "perreauoess," half galleys, galleys and ships. John Lanning in his book "Spanish Missions of Georgia" states that one of the vessels which was driven ashore was the ROSARIO, flagship of Thomas de Leon, and that all of the people aboard her were lost. The Spanish "Commander in Chiefe, Senior Alexandro," was among the dead.)
------ See: "Shipwrecks of South Carolina and Georgia by E. Lee Spence. ------

END OF MARSHALL'S REPORT.... His full dissertation can be read here

Please, also, see research by James Sinkler Tison II here

From old genealogy chart in FRIPP file , SC Historical Society, Charleston:
John Fripp came to Carolina from England sometime between 1670-1690. A record made in 1875 by E. James Fripp who at that time was a cotton broker in Charleston said "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."
We have not been able to prove this by any documentary evidence extant. However 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, 171, 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. His will dated May 1, 1742. His son predeceasing him so his property was left to his grandchildren.

Query Page of Beaufort Co-SCGENWEB
Johnnas (John) Fripp, (b. abt 1630, d. aft 1714, SC) Privateer, Pirate according to legend, living on Edisto Island m. Elizabeth Grive of Ladys Island abt 1695. Son John Fripp = Sarah Frampton of St. Helena Island. Must talk to others who are researching this family. Important developments pending. No firm evidence has been found of the original John Fripp, Pirate, Privateer, in England. Cooperative searches now being made to discover primary records of this colorful man in England and USA. He gave his name to Fripp Island about 1690.

THE STORY OF AN AMERICAN FAMILY-Stephen Barnwell,1969, Beaufort Public Lib.,SC Room;9/1999(Barnwell Genealogy) pg 26...orbit of families who had large holdings on St. Helena's Island, the Fripps, Hanns, Chaplins, & Popes......

FRIPP Family File 30-4, SC Hist. Soc. Letter from Carolyn Fripp Barron, June 4, 1858 John Fripp came to Carolina between 1670-1690 with land grant on St. Helena's Island from Charles II. Fripp Island mentioned 1696

Marriage 1 Spouse Unknown
John FRIPP , Sr. b: ABT. 1681 in Dorset, Wales
Sources: Jackie Brooks, personal communication, 2000
Text: (Cites Frampton, Erroll Ellis, SOME HISTORIC FAMILIES OF SOUTH CAROLINA, p. 71-76)

Message on Ancestry.com from RON - 30 Aug 2000

Fripp, in Carolina by 1696
Our grandsire, John Fripp with his son, John emigrated from Bristol, England about 1690. John Fripp I purchased land on Edisto Island in 1696 and registered his stock mark in 1699. In 1700 he was administrator of the estate of Richard Frampton. He was high sheriff of Colleton county in 1701. The Fripps were among the first settlers of St. Helena Island. John Fripp II born 1681 died 29 May 1742
married Sarah Frampton, Sarah died Oct. 13, 1756 and is buried in churchyard on St. Helena Island. Among the children of Sarah Frampton and John Fripp II were:
John Fripp III born 1704 died 2 Dec. 1739 he married ca. 1724 Martha (thought to be Jenkins)
Martha marrried second Thomas Hall of St. Helena Island on March 3 1740 and died within a year. Among the children of John Fripp III and his wife Martha were:
Sarah b. 26 Oct 1726
Martha b. 31 May 1728 married (1) Isaac Waight (2) Isaac Wetherly.
John IV b. 15 Mar 1729 married Elizabeth Hahn (Hand) 19 Apr. 1747
William married (1) Tabitha Edings (2) Magdalen Meggett.
Elizabeth married Benjamin Green
Paul married Amelia Reynolds b. 17 Apr 1752.

John Fripp I or John Fripp II had a plantation on Edisto Island. The settlement on the east bank of the Edisto River above Edisto Island was known by two names, New London and Willtown. In the next act ratified 12 June 1714, both names are applied to the town. In section 1, a road is ordered to be laid out from John Fripp's plantation on Edisto Island to Wilton.

John Fripp i
John Fripp ii = Sarah Frampton
John Fripp iii = Martha Jenkins?
John Fripp iv = Elizabeth Hahn (Hand)
Elizabeth Fripp = Thomas Chaplin, son of William Chaplin Sarah Saxby.

In the Jenkins portion they mention a Martha Jenkins or thought to be Jenkins who married John Fripp III, but there is no idea of who her parents might have been.

Fripp Island history (from website)
The History Of Fripp Island

In the days of yore, this majestic 3,000-acre island was a popular oasis for world explorers and a quiet retreat for treasure-hunting pirates who sailed the seas preying on ships of all nations. Because of its reputation for being a pirate's hideaway, stories about buried treasure on the island persist.

History did not record a name for Fripp Island until the 17th century when the island was deeded to Captain Johannes Fripp, a swashbuckling privateer, who like other letter-of marquee men and pirates of that time, sailed the Seven Seas in search of gold and treasures. Captain Fripp was a big powerful man whose reputation as a skillful sea warrior marked him as a fearful foe. For reasons unknown, Captain Fripp never gained the notoriety of Blackbeard and other scurrilous pirates of the time. Being a privateer of sorts made it possible for Captain Fripp to take sides with any nation paying the highest price for his services. England needed all the help she could get at the time, so King Charles of England made Captain Fripp an offer he couldn't refuse.

It proved to be a good arrangement for both England and Captain Fripp. Fripp was given the responsibility of defending the British encampment located in nearby Beaufort against marauding Spanish and French, which he successfully did. With the French and Spanish unable to penetrate the English stronghold in Beaufort, the English had time to reinforce their coastal defenses which eventually led to the successful defense of Beaufort. On behalf of England, King Charles officially deeded this island to Captain Johannes Fripp.

The island became known as Fripp's Island and this is where Captain Fripp settled, married a woman by the name of Martha Scott and had a family. The Fripps became one of the wealthy southern families prior to the Civil War. Unfortunately, most of the records of the Fripp family were destroyed when the courthouse burned during the Civil War. Several descendants and namesakes of Captain Fripp still live in the Beaufort area.

Eliza Fripp (See Notes)

No records have been found to show how Eliza is related, but I have included her here so that she is not left out. She was one of the first Fripp's in South Carolina.

It is officially recorded that Eliza Fripp married William West on 8 April 1712, in South Carolina. See: http://ftp.rootsweb.com/pub/usgenweb/sc/marriages/scmv053a.txt

Assuming she was aged at least 15 years, that would mean she was born before 1697. She is not mentioned in the will of John Fripp Sr, and he was said to have only had one son (John Jr.) That leaves us with three possibilities.
1. She was a sister of John Snr.
2. She was a daughter of John Snr's 1st marriage to William McPherson's daughter.
3. She was a daughter of William Fripp, who was possibly a brother of John Snr or John the immigrant.

She is not mentioned in the will of John Snr, dated May 1, 1742, recorded Aug 14, 1744 (Will Book Vol. 5, p. 180.