- Paul David Nelson
Culpeper, Thomas (1635–27 January 1689), colonial governor of Virginia and second Lord Culpeper, was born in England, the son of the first Lord Culpeper, John, a landed aristocrat, and his second wife, Judith Culpeper, the daughter of Sir Thomas Culpeper. Upon his father’s death he assumed the title of second Lord Culpeper and inherited the family estate, which included Leeds Castle in Kent. He was given a share in the proprietorship of the Northern Neck of Virginia, consisting of 5.7 million acres, under a patent issued in 1649 and reconfirmed in 1669. He married Margaretta van Hesse in The Hague in 1659; they had one daughter. He also had two daughters with his mistress Susanna Willis; he lived openly with her in London while his wife remained at Leeds Castle. Because he had helped King Charles II to secure the English throne in 1660, he became a favorite of the monarch. He was appointed captain and later governor of the Isle of Wight and in 1671 was named to the Council for Foreign Plantations. Two years later he and Henry Bennett, earl of Arlington, were granted the quitrents of the entire colony of Virginia for thirty-one years. In the early 1680s Culpeper enlarged his Virginia proprietorships by buying out Arlington and the surviving patentees of the Northern Neck lands. Although Culpeper and Arlington had neither the desire nor the resources to assert their claims, the Virginians looked upon these favorites of the king as troublesome adventurers....