The story of the Lupo family in North America began with the earliest settlers in Virginia and was led by two sons of royal musician Peter Lupo. His marriage to Katherine Wicker is recorded in the parish of St. Botolph’s without Aldgate 27 October 1575. It was preceded within a month by the christening of his second daughter and the burial of his first wife, both named Katherine. Given the date of the christening record of the younger Katherine Lupo and the date of her mother’s burial, Peter’s first wife must have died in childbirth, or as a result of it. The events followed one another very closely, the younger Katherine’s baptism on 29 September, the elder Katherine’s burial on 11 October, and Peter’s marriage to Katherine Wicker, who’s identified in some records as a widow, on 27 October. The haste in getting married was probably due to Peter’s having two small children at home, one of whom was a newborn. A busy court musician who had to be available whenever and wherever the Queen required his services would have had little time to care for a family on his own.
In a letter to a colleague, dated 18 March 1578, Peter states he found his oldest daughter sick with the Plague when he returned home from Hampton Court, a royal residence, on the first day of Lent. History confirms that there was an outbreak of the Plague in England in 1578. The younger Katherine died around January of 1577, and Peter’s letter is dated March of the following year. Peter did have another daughter, Jane, who was older, and who Peter probably was referencing in his letter. Jane’s burial is recorded in 1583, not long after another outbreak of the plague in London, meaning that over an eight year span, Peter lost his first wife and both his daughters by her. Between 1577 and 1588, Peter and his second wife, Katherine, had six children, Thomas (1577), Albyanus (1579), Elizabeth (1581), Phillip (1582), Ferdinando (1585), and Mary (1588), most of whom appear to have survived to adulthood. After 1600, records on the family appear in Kent, where, in 1604, Phillip married Mary Comes, who most likely belonged to the Comey family of court musicians. Peter died in Kent in 1608.
Albyanus/Albiano Lupo, 1579-1626
Other than his christening record, not much information has been found on Albiano in England. His name was most likely derived from Albion, an archaic name for England. A number of researchers state that he married Elizabeth Bassano, who was born in London around 1593, but no marriage record has been found to support this conclusion. Records from Virginia show that his wife’s name was Elizabeth, and that she was considerably younger than Albiano, suggesting she could have been his second wife, though Albiano appears to have left behind no family in England. In all probability, they married in the colony, since Elizabeth would have been a young teenager when Albiano went to Virginia, and didn’t follow him for six years, which would have been quite a lengthy separation for a young bride. One of the individuals Albiano is said to have sponsored is Elizabeth Hayden, but no information has been found on who she was or what became of her. It would not have been the first instance where a man sponsored the woman he eventually married. The Bassanos and Lupos did intermarry at least once, and Albiano’s brother Phillip appears to have married a member of another musical family, the Comeys, but for now, Elizabeth’s family origins remain a mystery.
What’s more certain is what brought Albiano to Virginia, and that was opportunity. King James of England granted a charter to the Virginia Company in 1606, and charged them with colonizing the “new world”. The result was the settlement of Jamestown in 1607. The Virginia Company was a joint stock corporation with the power to appoint governors and other officials, and it had the responsibility of insuring that settlers had the necessary supplies and support to successfully manage in their new homes. Published records from the company show that Albiano and his wife were shareholders.
Colonizing the “new world” came with much risk. A previous settlement of 110 people on Roanoke Island, the infamous “lost colony” disappeared without a trace between 1587 and 1590, and an earlier attempt in 1584 failed after encountering supply difficulties and hostilities from the native tribes. When those first settlers stepped off the boat and onto the shores of what would become Virginia, they were, figuratively speaking, as far away from the world they knew with all its conveniences and protections as were the first men to land on the moon. As had been demonstrated with Roanoke, by the time word of difficulties reached England and help returned to the colony, there might not be much left to find. Jamestown itself nearly folded during its first few years, and it was only saved by the last minute arrival of supplies from England.
Albiano Lupo was among the second wave of settlers in 1610, arriving onboard a ship called The Swan, and preceding the Pilgrims by ten years. Albiano was among the first settlers of Keccoughton, later known as Elizabeth City County, one of the earliest colonies in Virginia after Jamestown. Albiano came to the colony under an indenture, presumably to Stephen Sparrow, as that’s who requested Albiano’s release in 1619. At that time, Albiano received a grant of one hundred acres, and was later given the office of Lieutenant, which pretty much insures that he was Protestant, or at least viewed as such by those in charge. Early settlers to Virginia were also entitled to fifty acres of land for indentured servants whose passage they sponsored. By 1622 Albiano had sponsored several individuals including John Slaughter, John Hayes, Hester Wheeler, Daniel Palmer, and Elizabeth Hayden, entitling him to a total of 350 acres in Elizabeth City. Individuals who settled in Virginia prior to 1616 and survived the “Indian massacre” of 1622 were referred to as “Ancient Planters”.
Elizabeth Lupo arrived in 1616, according to a census listing in 1624, and later was granted fifty acres of land in her own right. If she was the Elizabeth Hayden Albiano sponsored, perhaps she earned the fifty acres via their marriage, or by coming to the colony in order to get married. Early on, men greatly outnumbered the women in the colony, so eligible women were encouraged to emigrate. In 1621, Albiano’s brother Phillip arrived onboard a ship called the George, along with incoming colonial governor Sir Francis Wyatt. Neither Phillip’s wife nor his children joined him in the colony at that time, which may have indicated he did not plan to stay and there’s no record that he received a grant of land for traveling to Virginia as did Albiano.
From the start, English relations with the native tribes were tenuous at best, forming the template for centuries of mutual hostilities and bloodshed. On 22 March 1622, the unified forces of several tribes, led by Opechancanough, the uncle of Pocahontas, undertook a large scale attack against the colonists in Virginia. Characterized in colonial accounts as a surprise attack, the aim was to drive the white settlers from the land and in the resultant slaughter 347 colonists were killed. Remaining settlers sought shelter in forts and larger towns where many succumbed to illness. A census taken in 1622/23 which lists the living and dead in Elizabeth City County bears the name of William Lupo listed “among the dead”, though his age or how he might be related to Phillip and Albiano is not reported. The massacre of 1622, combined with numerous financial problems, led to the dissolution of the Virginia Company and the transfer of Virginia to royal oversight around 1624.
It was during this early period of royal oversight that land was granted to the Lupos by Sir Francis Wyatt. The 350 acres of land that Albiano owned adjoined 50 acres owned by his wife Elizabeth on one side and the land of John Bush on the other, and was bordered by “the main river”, which was presumably the James. Albiano and Elizabeth’s parcels were divided by a creek which for years was known as “Lupo’s creek”. Though the county has long since vanished, the land on which Elizabeth City County stood today forms the independent city of Hampton, Virginia near the coast of the present day state.
Around this same time, Phillip Lupo appears to have left the colony, as no further record of him in Elizabeth City has been found. Parts of Elizabeth City formed Nansemond County, one of the burned counties that lost most, if not all its early records. Albiano died in Virginia around 1626 and his will was probated in Jamestown shortly thereafter. Elizabeth Lupo married John Chandler, who is listed as owning the land belonging to Albiano in deeds from around 1645. Descendants of the Chandlers can be found throughout the U.S. to this day. Albiano and Elizabeth had a daughter named Temperance, born in 1620 in Virginia, who may have been the first Lupo born on American soil, but it is not known what became of her. Albiano Lupo appears to have had no surviving male heirs in the colonies, so the story of this pioneering Lupo ended with his death in 1626.
Phillip Lupo, 1605-1670
Though Phillip Lupo apparently left the Virginia colony around or after 1624, his son, also named Phillip, returned and founded a family line that would thrive in Virginia for over 150 years and that survives to the present across the U.S. Evidence of this comes from what is perhaps the most important document in the history of the early American family, the will of Phillip Lupo of Isle of Wight County, Virginia, dated 8 March 1668 and probated 9 February 1670. No other single document gives as many clues on the origin of the family or tells so much about its author as the few paragraphs of Phillip’s will and the accompanying inventory of his estate. It tells us that his father’s name was Phillip and that he was a goldsmith in London, his brother was James and and his sister was Katherine Morecroft. Further, Phillip tells us his wife was Marie, his sons were Phillip and James, and his daughter was Mary Ryall, though her husband’s name has not been identified. He appoints both his sons as administrators of his estate, which lets us know the youngest son, James, was at least fourteen years old, which is the earliest age at which a male could be appointed an administrator in Colonial Virginia. Phillip’s will also states he’s headed back to England to look after the estates of his father, brother and sister.
Records from England indicate Phillip’s brother, James, was christened 21 December 1617 in Maidstone, Kent and died before 16 February 1669 in Yorkshire, as that’s when his will was probated. In 1648, James married Maria (or Mary) Askham in Ledsham, Yorkshire and the parish records show two daughters and a son born to their family, all of whom appear to have died in infancy. The court records state that Katherine Lupo married first a Mr. Lowndes and had a son Thomas, who Katherine outlived. After her first husband’s death, she married Mr. Morecroft (possibly John) but had no children with him. No christening or marriage records have been found for Phillip or Katherine, but records from Kent indicate that they had a sister, Mary, born in 1612, who died in 1617. Given that we’re dealing with multiple individuals named Phillip, I will refer to the elder Phillip from Isle of Wight County as Phillip Senior, his son as Phillip Junior, and his father as Phillip the goldsmith.
Accompanied by his namesake son, Phillip Senior returned to England, where he discovered that property his sister Katherine had received from her son, Thomas Lownes, had been willed after Katherine’s death to James, then to James’ widow after his death. Phillip Senior, the oldest of Katherine’s siblings and therefore the rightful heir under existing law, challenged the inheritance in court. While Phillip Senior was visiting his sister-in-law in Yorkshire, he died, and Phillip Junior took up the suit on his behalf.
In depositions given before the Chancery Court, important information was revealed about Phillip Senior’s life in Virginia. Edmund Ayres, a former neighbor of the Lupos in the colony, testified that Phillip Senior lived near the James River and had three children, all born in Virginia. John Exum testified that Phillip Senior lived in Maidstone, Kent upon his return from the colony and that Phillip Junior’s mother died in Virginia “about 16 or 17 years ago” (approximately 1654-1656).
The situation, while detailing Phillip Senior’s activities while in England, leaves us with still more unanswered questions. Namely, why did it take Phillip Senior sixteen years to return to look after his father’s estate? Evidence suggests that Phillip the goldsmith died around 1652, as that’s when a burial record is recorded for a “Phillip Luprue” in St. Botolph’s Bishopsgate. This man was seventy at the time of his death which is consistent with Phillip the goldsmith’s birth in 1582. In testimony given by James’ widow at the Chancery proceedings, she claims that James had stated that his brother had gone to Virginia and “was long dead”.
The wording of his will makes it fairly clear that Phillip Senior didn’t have much information about what was happening with his family in England, though he was aware that his sister had married Mr. Morecroft, although this could have occurred before he left England. He seems to be saying he’s headed over to deal with whatever he finds there, without being certain who is alive or dead. At the time he made out his will, his brother James would have still been alive. Sailing the Atlantic between the colonies and England was lengthy and hazardous, not to mention filled with numerous difficulties. Many who made the trip died along the way, and there was no way to predict how long the journey would take, from a matter of weeks to several months, which is probably why Phillip Senior felt it prudent to make out a will before departing.
The date of Phillip Senior’s birth and when he arrived in Virginia is unknown. After 1624, the first official mention of a Phillip Lupo in Virginia comes from land records in Isle of Wight County around 1664, where Phillip Lupo appears as witness to a deed. No records have been found that detail when Phillip Senior came to the colony, who accompanied him, or whether he paid his own passage or was sponsored by someone else. Given that his wife is said to have died in Virginia around 1654 and that his children were all born there, he must have been married, but no record has been found to indicate whether he married in the colony or before in England. Phillip Junior, who accompanied him to England was most likely no younger than eighteen to twenty when they set sail, and no marriage or other records have been found on him in Isle of Wight County. Following the death of his first wife, Phillip Senior married Mary Hodges Higgins, widow of Francis Higgins who died around 1657. Mary and James Lupo are later mentioned in the will of Roger Higgins, who identifies Mary Lupo as his “mother”. Records from England show Phillip Junior died in England around 1672. The outcome of the trial is not known.
There is a record from 1643 where Sir Francis Wyatt, former governor of the colony, received 50 acres of land for sponsoring the passage of a William Lupo, but it is not known if this was yet another relative of the family who arrived late, or if this is the same William Lupo who is listed as having died in Elizabeth City County in the Massacre of 1622. Headrights were often claimed years after they had been earned and were frequently sold several times before being claimed. Francis Wyatt was temporarily governor of Virginia during 1643, though, so the possibility exists that this William Lupo was a later arrival, though no records have been found to show what became of him. Records from England show that Joseph Lupo’s son, Horatio had a son named William, born in 1624 in London, who would have been 19 in 1643, but it is not known if this is the William who went to Virginia. Horatio Lupo died in London around 1650 and apparently remained in royal service at least until the outbreak of the English Civil War which was waged from 1642-1649. It is also possible that this could have been another name for Phillip Lupo, who does appear to have arrived in the colony around this time, though no record has been found to support this possibility. Regardless, no mention of a William Lupo has been found in Virginia records for several generations, until the will of Phillip Senior’s great-grandson James in 1789.
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