J. L. BELL is a Massachusetts writer who specializes in (among other things) the start of the American Revolution in and around Boston. He is particularly interested in the experiences of children in 1765-75. He has published scholarly papers and popular articles for both children and adults. He was consultant for an episode of History Detectives, and contributed to a display at Minute Man National Historic Park.

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Saturday, April 25, 2015

After John Jupp Came Home to Shirley

Yesterday I introduced the couple of John and Mary Jupp—he a deserter from the British army who had made his way to Shirley, she a woman in her late thirties who apparently had some property but no husband.

They married in late 1774 and had a daughter the following year. But in March 1777 John Jupp enlisted in the Continental Army for three years. Given that separation, could their marriage last?

Legally it did, but Pvt. John Jupp didn’t. He was discharged on 9 May 1780, recorded as having served 33 months and 22 days. (Presumably the army had deducted some time from his three years when he was away from the army recovering from illness.)

Jupp returned to Shirley and died there half a year later on 17 November. The vital records label him as an “Englishman.” James Parker’s diary records plowing and other occasional chores for Mary Jupp in the following years.

In 1785, Mary Jupp remarried to Nathan Smith, whose first wife had died the year before. Smith had seven children, his oldest sons only a few years younger than Mary. Four of those sons had served in the same regiment as John Jupp. Two, Nathan, Jr., and Sylvanus, had become captains.

On 11 Sept 1786, Parker wrote in his diary: “Nathan Smith [Jr.] marched some men to Concord In order to stop the Court Seting.” This was part of the Shays Rebellion. Though Capt. Smith made a fiery speech and was named in an arrest warrant issued that November, he didn’t emigrate from Massachusetts as other members of the movement did. Instead, he died in Shirley in 1834 at the age of ninety-six. A local historian stated that he was “coarse in habit and undisciplined in temper,” and “lost an eye in a rencounter with one of his neighbors.”

After the elder Nathan Smith died, Mary bought a new farm for herself, which she eventually passed down to the daughter of her first marriage and her grandson, Samuel Hartwell. Presumably that land eventually became the Hartwell Farm dairy in Shirley. Mary Smith died in 1826, aged 91.


G. Lovely said...

I'm confused by the chronology. You say Mary died in 1826 at 91, but bought a farm after the elder Nathan Smith died. But you state he died in 1834, aded 96. What am I missing?

J. L. Bell said...

The younger Nathan Smith, the one who had become a captain in the Continental Army, died in 1834. He was nearly as old as his stepmother, who died eight years before.

For the older Nathan Smith, none of the sources I found could give a death date, but that appears to have happened before his widow Mary moved to the land she left to her heirs.