A Tupper Coat of Arms

of the
Tupper Family

The surname Tupper first appears in England in Anglo Saxon times--around the year 800.

Sometime during the next 500 years someone in the family acquired a coat of arms for some unknown knightly service. The emblems, three boars and three scallop shells, would seem to indicate service both on land and on sea. The crest appears on a helmet preserved among the Norman relics in Battle Abbey and on mantelpieces of houses occupied by members of the family at least as early as the 1400's.

Before 1500 the family was firmly settled on lands around Bury, Chichester and Bignor in Sussex. The farm at Bignor is still in the family, and there may be seen some of the best-preserved remains of a Roman villa to be found in the British Isles.

Thereabouts also was born Thomas Tupper in 1578. Thomas became a seaman, a ship's carpenter, and he is said to have been a member of the crew on the second voyage of the Mayflower to America in 1621. In subsequent years he made several more voyages to the New World, staying for a year around 1624. He finally settled in the Massachusetts colony in 1631 and at the age of 59 was one of the founders of the town of Sandwich in 1637,

This is the ancestral home of all Tuppers in North America. Built in 1637, it was lived in for more than 275 years. In 1916 it was re-purchased by members of the Tupper Family and restored. It was later destroyed by an incendiary fire, and the Family is making plans to rebuild it to its original design and condition. Tupper House, Sandwich

Thomas Tupper had three children: a son Robert, who returned to England, A daughter Katherine, who married Benjamin Nye and established the Nye family of America, and a son Thomas, who married Martha Mayhew, daughter of Thomas Mayhew, governor of Martha's Vineyard, and whose seven sons firmly established the Tuppers as a major American family.

Around 1740 several Tupper households left Lebanon, Connecticut for Nova Scotia, and their descendants now account for about a third of all Tuppers in North America. Sir Charles Tupper, active in Canadian political life for more than 60 years and sometimes called "The Father of the Dominion," was from that Nova Scotia stock.

The Tupper Family in North America falls generally into three groups--those who stayed in and around New England, the Canadians, and those who pressed hard on the Western Frontier. I am of the latter stock. My grandfather's great grandfather Charles Tupper broke new ground in Western New York shortly after the Revolution and planted his seed prolifically throughout the early Mid-West (possibly as many as 24 children by three or four wives). My grandfather's grandfather died in the great cholera epidemic on the Oregon Trail in 1852 and was buried between the wagon tracks somewhere in Western Nebraska. His family continued west and helped tame the Willamette Valley and the Columbia Gorge. Two sons of the family had come to Oregon already in the summer of 1847, participated in the pacification of the Cayuse after the Whitman Massacre at Walla Walla in November of that year, and made a brief foray to the gold fields of California in 1849. One of those sons was the groom in the second recorded marriage in Washington County, Oregon.

Other Tuppers, not of the North American Stock but all deriving from the same Sussex stem, can be found around the world. The Guernsey Island branch produced that popular poet of the 19th Century, Martin Farquhar Tupper. Other Tuppers settled in Chile, Australia, New Zealand and elsewhere.

 Tupper Family Association of America
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