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Hepbron-Jackson family papers

Identifier: MS 3270


This collection contains correspondence, farm records, wills, deeds, financial records and a genealogical compilation of family history related to the Hepbron and Jackson families of Kent County, Maryland and Loudon County, Virginia, circa 1677-1958.


  • 1677 April 30-1958 August 3


Conditions Governing Access

This collection is open for research use.

Conditions Governing Use

The reproduction of materials in this collection may be subject to copyright restrictions. It is the responsibility of the researcher to determine and satisfy copyright clearances or other case restrictions when publishing or otherwise distributing materials found in the collections. For more information visit the MCHC’s Rights and Permissions page.

Biographical / Historical

A note on the spelling of the name

The spelling of the name "Hepburn" has gone through many variations. Generally "Hep" was understood by many recorders of documents, but "burn" was variously spelled as "borne", "born", "bourn", "bourne", and "bron". The first settler, James Hepburn, was recorded as "Hepborne" when he entered the colony of Maryland. His will gives the name Hepbourn, as do the wills of his sons, James and Joseph. It is not until the fourth generation that the ending "bron" becomes fairly well established. This was generally accepted by the family until the time of Reverend Sewell Stavley Hepburn, who made an effort to restore the name as it was known in the British Isles. (Rebecca D. Hepburn)

The first Hepburn to arrive in the colonies was James Hepbourn (1640-1709), who arrived in 1665 and settled in Kent County, Maryland. He married Elizabeth Hodgson (1640-1722) and the couple were parents to John, James, Elizabeth, Thomas, Sarah, Mary, and Joseph.

Thomas Hepbourn (1687-1709) was the third son of James and Elizabeth Hepbourn. He married Catherine Wilkerson (-1785), and the couple were parents to Mary, James, Catherine, Leah, Rachel, Elizabeth, and Thomas. Their only child to survive infancy was their youngest son, Thomas (1725-1786). Thomas Sr. died intestate in 1762, and Thomas Jr. served as the administrator of his father's estate.

Thomas Hepbourn Jr., married Mary Anne Sewell (1735-1780), and the couple had five children: Thomas, Nancy, Sally (Sarah), John, and Joseph. Their son John Hepbron (1764-1834) married Mary Redgrave Stavely (1767-1828), and the couple had at least 11 children, including Col. Thomas (1788-1851), Nancy (1790-1793), Elizabeth (1792-1843), Joseph (1794-1829), James (1797-1840), John (1797-1825), Samuel (1799-1826), Mary (1801-1835), Cassandra (1804-1834), Sewell (1806-1879), and William (1809-1830).

Colonel Thomas Hepbron, mentioned in this collection, had just one daughter, Mary Anne Elizabeth (1811-1889), who remained unmarried. His younger brother Sewell married first to Jane Cavender (1807-1829), with whom he had one son, Lewis (1829-1890). With his second wife, Martha Priscilla Maslin (1813-1882), Sewell had six more children: Thomas Maslin (1833-1854), Margaret Elizabeth (1834-1891), Norval Wilson (1836-1846), Mary Laura (1841-1844), Sewell Stavely (1845-1932), and Edward Wroth (1847-1919). Sewell Stavely, later Reverend, is notable for being the grandfather of Hollywood icon Katherine Hepburn.

Edward Wroth Hepburn, the youngest son of Sewell and Martha, was born in Missouri, as his parents had emigrated there sometime in 1837. The family lived in Madisonville, and remained there until the 1850s, after which point they returned to Maryland. Edward married Mary Alice Jackson (1850-1929), of Loudoun County, Virginia. Mary Alice was one of eight children born to Rebecca Thrift Dulin (1810-1868) and William Boyd Jackson (1808-1881). William was himself the son of Benjamin Jackson (1780-1843) and Elizabeth Clapham (1787-1843), also of Loudon County, Virginia.

William Boyd Jackson's two eldest sons, Benjamin and Samuel, both fought for the Confederacy during the Civil War. His eldest son Benjamin was a private in the 8th Regiment, Virginia Infantry, and was killed at the Battle of Gettysburg on July 3, 1863. Letters from both Benjamin and Samuel survive in this collection.

Edward Wroth Hepburn and Mary Alice Jackson were married on December 15, 1874. After their marriage they lived on the Hepbron family estate in Still Pond, Maryland, in Kent County. The couple had six children: Rebecca Dulin (1875-1960), Martha Sewell (1877-1917), William Jackson (1878-1958), Edward Clapham (1880-1941), Alice Elizabeth (1883-1965), and Edith Martin (1885-1972). Alice Elizabeth's daughter, Clara Lu Bell, is the donor of this collection.


1.04 Linear Feet (3 boxes)

Language of Materials


Immediate Source of Acquisition

Gift of Lu Bell, October 2005.

Related Materials

MS 2410, Sewell Hepbron correspondence, 1837-1853

Scope and Contents

The Hepbron-Jackson papers consists of four series: Hepbron family, Jackson family, Clapham family, and Miscellaneous. The folders within the first two series are further divided into subseries based on the individual family member, and arranged according to date. Series I, Hepbron family, consists of papers related to the Hepbron family of Kent County, Maryland. Many of the records in this series are legal documents such as deeds, bonds, and wills. One item of note in Subseries C, Mary Ann Elizabeth Hepbron, records in 1867 the enslaved individuals in her custody as part of the Kent County Slave Statistics. The document lists the names of seven enslaved people and notes their age, sex, physical condition, and term of servitude. Their names are: Matilda Tillerson, Mary E. Parker, George W. Parker, Orlando S. Parker, Harriette M. World, Samuel Tillerson, and Joseph A. Tillerson.

Also in Series I is correspondence from Sewell Hepbron to his brother and niece, Col. Thomas Hepbron and Mary Ann Elizabeth Hepbron, circa 1837-1853. In 1837, Sewell and his wife had moved to Madisonville, Missouri with their three eldest children. They remained there until 1853, at which point the family (which had grown to include three more children), moved back to Maryland. Sewell's letters to back home include descriptions his family's life in Missouri, particularly in regards to farming. On December 5, 1840, he writes to his brother, "There is uncommonly large crops of everyting that grows raised this year. I have raised about 300 barrells of corn on 60 thousand cornhills which is worth at this time 1.25 cents per barrell but is thought will be higher in the spring." In August 1841, he writes again of a dry season, but salvages his crop by keeping the ground constantly stirred.

Sewell's letters also express his anxiety at being so far away from his family, particularly in moments of bereavement. In a letter of April 14, 1843, he writes to Col. Hepbron, "I had before noticed the deaths of John Henry and our sister Elizabeth in the Kent News and looked forward with a great deal of anxiety for a letter from you giving an account of their deaths. I did hope to visit you all and to see all my family and friends alive and in health but death has made sad havoc among them in the last six years." He often writes anxiously regarding the health of his remaining family, and gives frequent updates on his own health and that of his wife and children in Missouri. On August 7, 1843, he again writes to Col. Hepbron, "We are all well at time. I am just now recovering from a slight attack of the billious. Martha is likewise recovering from a late confinement. She had a very fine large child, much the largest we ever had about 3 weeks ago. It did not live more than 5 or 6 hours. She is now out a visiting." Such casual updates on the death of infants is very typical of the time, when infant mortality was a common occurance.

Series II, Jackson family, consists of papers related to the Jackson family of Loudoun County, Virginia. These papers are included in the collection as the combined inheritance of the Hepbron-Jackson descendants. To preserve the integrity of the collection, the papers of this Virginia family remain with the papers of the Maryland family.

Included in this series is the Civil War correspondence from Benjamin and Samuel Jackson, brothers who both joined the Confederate Army. Their letters, most of which they addressed to their father William B. Jackson, describe their living conditions and various encampments. While Samuel's correspondence mostly consist of updates on his horse, Benjamin's letters in particular reveal the stark reality of of life in the Confederate Army. On September 12, 1862, he writes, "We had a hard time on our retreat especially after the battle of Williamsburg. We marched all night through mud and water nearly up to our knees that night." On December 22, 1862, Benjamin confesses to his father that he doesn't expect to make it home before the end of the war. He was killed 7 months later at Gettysburg.

Much of William B. Jackson's incoming correspondence consists of letters of concerning Benjamin's death. In October 1863, William Jackson received a letter from John George, informing him of the manner in which his son died. "Benjamin was laying down upon the ground when he was struck in the left breast by a piece of shell. When struck he asked to be carried off of the field which was done immediately...he asked for water often, he did seem to suffer very much from pain, but complained of the weather being very warm. He received every attention that was possible to save him, but his wound was mortal, and from the loss of blood he sank away quietly in death in abotu three quarters of an hour after he was struck." Various letters of sympathy lament the loss of young life, and also praise the nobility of the cause.

Series III, Clapham family, consists of four folders of records related to the Clapham family, also of Loudoun County, Virginia. This series notably contains a pocket journal belonging to Samuel Clapham, in which he primarily lists financial transactions for the year 1772. Also included are typed transcripts of Clapham family correspondence, and genealogical research conducted by Rebecca Dulin Hepburn.

Series IV, Miscellaneous, contains Loudoun County land agreements, the will of Edward Dulin, an estate inventory, and photographs of an unidentified home.

Guide to the Hepbron-Jackson family papers
Mallory Harwerth
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description

Repository Details

Part of the H. Furlong Baldwin Library Repository

H. Furlong Baldwin Library
Maryland Center for History and Culture
610 Park Avenue
Baltimore MD 21201 United States