Michael Upchurch Jr (II) Born Four Years Before Previously Thought
By Mae Davenport Cox
I have stumbled into some very interesting data that certainly gives
pause to rethink some of our UPCHURCH history.
(1624-1681) is fascinating to me and in putting together a book
about his life, I began pulling every document or record that I
could find about him. In so doing, I discovered that he was listed
in the annual tithable records, beginning in 1668. Though not all
records during Michael's lifetime are extant,
there are numerous ones in which he's
listed from 1668 through 1679.
In their books,
both Belle Lewter West and Olive A. Morgan described the 1683 tithe
record listing Frances Upchurch for her son Michael as being
the first time Michael Jr. had been reported and that he had
therefore just reached his sixteenth birthday. West wrote:
Co., Va., seems to have been the youngest son of Michael and Frances
UPCHURCH. He was first mentioned in records as a tithable at Lawne’s
Creek Parish Church by his mother, FRANCES, on the 12th of June 1683,
indicating that he had
just reached the age of sixteen….
basically followed suit using the same information as West. Down
through the years, we've accepted that the suggested year of birth
for Michael II was about 1667. There seemed to be nothing to dispute
it — at least until now.
1679 Tithable record for Lawne's Creek Parish of Surry County,
Virginia, Michael Upchurch is listed.... and SO IS HIS SON,
MICHAEL. I have a copy of the actual record in my hand as I
speak... and it's quite clear and easy to read:
Michaell Upchurch & Michaell
his Son..... 2
This 1679 tithe
record confirms that Michael Jr. had attained the age of sixteen by
that June 10th entry. Since he wasn’t listed in the 1678
tithes, he would likely have been born after mid-1662 and before
June 10, 1663, 16 years prior to when the 1679 tithes were recorded,
and about four years before the 1667 date endorsed by West and
That may not sound like such
a big deal, except when you consider that Michael Jr. could possibly
be the father of John, William, and James, instead of Richard (abt.
1658-1700). When we thought Michael Jr. wasn't old enough to have
fathered John (born 1678), it made sense that Richard was the
father. But if Michael II was about fifteen or sixteen when the
first son was born, it’s a stretch, but a possibility he could have
been the father.
One thing that has bothered
me about the 1691 documents having to do with Frances Upchurch (d.
Abt.1691), is that Michael Jr. is listed as being her administrator.
If Richard was the older (and possibly the heir) why wasn’t he the
one appointed as their administrator.
This was still the era when the older son stood to inherit his
father’s estate. . Could it be he was actually younger than Michael
I've not researched Michael
and Frances’ two sons in depth, and am therefore not sure if Michael
Jr. would or could have been our ancestor in lieu of Richard
Upchurch, I (1658-1700). This finding to pinpoint Michael Jr.’s
birth does, however, open the door for speculation.
NOTE: Tithes listing Michael
Jr. were recorded each year following the initial entry in 1679… at
least through the ones I’ve identified as far as 1699. If you’d like
a copy of the 1679 Tithe record cited here,
email me and I’ll send you a copy.
Article Copyright © November 2010 by Mae D.
Cox. All rights reserved. No part of this article may be
reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means,
electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording,
or by any information storage and retrieval system without
written permission from Mae D. Cox, except for the inclusion
of quotations in a review, or for other historian's own
personal use and not for profit.