According to family-based resources, Albany resident Benjamin Whipple was born in November 1754. Thus, he was the son of David and Martha Reed Whipple of Providence, Rhode Island. The first American Whipple came to Massachusetts during the 1630s. As with many transplanted New Englanders, we have been able to uncover considerable information on his origins and path to Albany. He is almost the exact contempory of a different same-named Massachusetts Revolutionary soldier.
Reaching adulthood at the outbreak of hostilities, he is said to have served as a seaman or marine on the ship Providence commanded by one Abraham Whipple. In February 1780, his ship was destroyed in Chrleston harbor and he was captured. He suffered while imprisoned on the notorious prison ship Jersey. As a result, he sustained permanently debilitating injuries. His wartime service became a part of his legend. In 1813, he was among the several hundred area residents who subscribed for a new book entitled Remarkable Shipwrecks.
In January 1783, he married Susanna Hall in Wrentham, Massachusetts. Perhaps, the marriage produced ten children. By the late 1780s, this budding Whipple family had settled in Albany.
In 1788, his first ward holdings were assessed moderately. The first Federal census of 1790 showed that his second ward household included nine family members. A decade later in 1800, eight people were counted at what became his permanent address of 61 Maiden Lane. Other community-based documents revealed that his address was the same as the Masters Lodge.
From the 1790s on, this mainline newcomer was known as a tailor. By 1801, he also held the appointment as doorkeeper of the New York State Assembly. He retained that post for the rest of his life. Traditional sources tell us that he was given that position because he had been crippled during the war.
Benjamin Whipple died at the end of April in 1819. The newspaper obituary briefly noted he was sixty-four and was, for many years, doorkeeper of the State Assemby. Afterwards, his widow removed to her son's home in northern New York and died in Adams, Jefferson County, in 1840. A grandson became a notable cleric, missionary, and author.
Sources: The life of Benjamin Whipple is CAP biography number 6872. This sketch is derived chiefly from family and community-based resources. IRS sweep: October 9, 2012.
first posted: 7/10/12