257 Years Ago Today

On February 28, 1756, two hundred and fifty-seven years ago today, Solomon Lapham (1730-1800) and Sylvia (Lapham) Whipple (1731-1805), my 6th great grandparents, were married, it is claimed, in Dartmouth, Bristol Co., Massachusetts.

Marriage Record for Solomon Lapham and Sylvia (Lapham) Whipple
Marriage Record for Solomon Lapham and Sylvia (Lapham) Whipple

Although it is widely accepted and published as their marriage date in various publications regarding the Lapham family, the above record, it is worth pointing out, states that February 28, 1756 was the date for which Solomon and Sylvia entered their “intentions of marriage.” I have not yet located the actual marriage record, nor have I found any proof that they were actually married on this same date. It is my belief that this date is maintained as their marriage date because this is a case in which only a marriage intention exists to prove that their union took place. (To read about marriage intentions, see the entry on the subject in the Encyclopedia of Genealogy.)

It should also be noted that although the above marriage record refers to her as “Silvia Whipple,” she was in fact Sylvia (Lapham) Whipple, being first married to Ephraim Whipple (ca. 1725-?). The nature of how her marriage to Ephraim ended remains something of a mystery, as only sketchy information has been found. Some accounts, including Bertha Bortle Beal Aldridge’s Laphams in America (1953), claim that Sylvia and Ephraim were divorced and that Ephraim also went on to marry a second time (to Priscilla Appleby), while others claim that Sylvia was Ephraim’s widow at the time of her marriage to Solomon. No definitive death date appears to have been found for Ephraim Whipple as of yet, nor has a marriage (or marriage intention) record for a second marriage for him been found.

Given that her maiden name is Lapham, she and Solomon were related. Research shows that Sylvia was Solomon’s 1st cousin, 1x removed, with both being descendants of John Lapham (1635-1710) and Mary Mann (1640-1712). Sylvia was John and Mary’s great granddaughter (through their son John, and his son Thomas), while Solomon was their grandson (through their son Nicholas).

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