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   Article published in Upchurch Bulletin
      January-December 2010, Vol 31, No. 1, page 25

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.

 Michael Upchurch (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:

Michael Upchurch II, in Surry Co., Va., seems to have been the youngest son of Michael and Frances UPCHURCH. He was first mentioned in records as a tithable at Lawneís Creek Parish Church by his mother, FRANCES, on the 12th of June 1683, indicating that he had just reached the age of sixteenÖ.

Morgan 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 ó at least until now.

In the 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 [tithes]

This 1679 tithe record confirms that Michael Jr. had attained the age of sixteen by that June 10th entry. Since he wasnít 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 Morgan!

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, itís 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 wasnít he the one appointed as their administrator. This was still the era when the older son stood to inherit his fatherís estate. . Could it be he was actually younger than Michael Jr.?

I've not researched Michael and Francesí 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.ís birth does, however, open the door for speculation.

 *****

NOTE: Tithes listing Michael Jr. were recorded each year following the initial entry in 1679Ö at least through the ones Iíve identified as far as 1699. If youíd like a copy of the 1679 Tithe record cited here, email me and Iíll 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.