A Blupete Biography Page


William Pepperrell 1 (1696-1759).

Pepperrell came from a much respected New England family. "Messrs. William Pepperrell" owning a sizable fleet of ships, dealt in the local commodities of timber (pine boards, planks, oak staves and hoops) and fish; the Pepperrell family also dealt in goods from the West Indies (rum, molasses, and sugar); and in naval stores; and in other goods which were brought in from England.2

The Pepperrells had a "spacious house" at Kittery Point. Kittery Point is in the state of Maine, on the coast, just a few miles northeast of Portsmouth, New Hampshire. Back in 1745 all of this territory was part of Massachusetts. (The Pepperrell mansion, still stands today, in tribute to the Pepperrell family.)

While Pepperrell received little in the way of a formal education, he "had received that splendid practical training of an old time merchant, whose dealings brought him into contact with men of all conditions in his own country, and with many foreigners. ... Any man whose dealings extended from the lumber camp and the fisheries to the transportation and exchange of their products in the markets of the world, a man of wealth and of position, must possess great influence in any community, the people of which are largely dependent on his activities."3

Scarcely twenty-one, Pepperrell was made a justice of the peace. Eight years later, at twenty-nine years of age, though he had no formal training as a lawyer (as was the case for most all the judges back then), Pepperrell was made a full judge. (It is said he had a most impressive legal library.) In those days, too, being a judge didn't stop a person from continuing to attend to both his personal affairs and the affairs of the community.

Pepperrell represented Kittery, his home town, in the provincial legislature (the General Court) which met at Boston; in this position he served for 32 years, until his death at age 62. Like all the civil leaders at the time, Pepperrell had "a religious turn of mind." So, too, like all leaders in the community, Pepperrell became a colonel in his local militia regiment. (It is reported, that Pepperrell designed his own uniform, which included a bright scarlet tunic.) Shirley's choice to put Pepperrell in charge of the colonial expeditionary force that was sent off to Louisbourg in 1745 was thought to be a wise choice. Pepperrell immediately engrossed himself in the business of promoting and organizing the campaign against Louisbourg; enlistment became widely popular; and the success of the campaign under his leadership and that of Warren, his ocean going counterpart, is part of our larger story.

In 1746, Pepperrell returned from Louisbourg a war hero. He was to receive accolades from home and abroad. After a time Pepperrell returned to the life he had led prior to 1745, and was to live out his final years at Kittery as a much respected country gentleman.

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FOOTNOTES:

[1] See the further Portrait of Pepperrell which we have scanned in.

[2] See DCB; and see Parkman, A Half Century of Conflict (vol. 2) at p. 75; and see, too, the brief biographical note at p. 153 in Macdonald's work. A descendent of William Pepperrell, Phillip Pepperrell, having come upon my page wrote: "The William you are referring to was ... the son of William Pepperrell, born ca. 1648 in Revelstoke, a fishing village near Plymouth, Devon, England. William Pepperrell the Elder received no formal schooling and, like most men in his village, he became a fisherman (it was probably on one of his fishing expeditions to Newfoundland that he decided to become an American colonist). William the Younger went to the village school in Kittery to learn the three Rs, he was taught to survey land and to draw up legal documents. ... The source of my [Pepperrell's] information is an excellent book entitled 'Pepperrell Posterity' by Virginia Browne-Wilkinson published in 1982 and registered with the Library of Congress."

[3] McLennan, pp. 129-30.

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Peter Landry
(1998)