Week 12 – Misfortune

I’m sure many of my ancestors have had misfortune. Hasn’t everyone? The person I’ve chosen to write about this week is my seventh great grandfather, Corpe Essex. 

Corpe Essex was born 23 July 1752 in East Greenwich, Rhode Island. He was born to Hugh Essex (abt 1725-1808) and Rebecca Corpe (1729-?). His father was a prominent citizen in the town of Warwick. Hugh and his father were clothiers and were involved in all steps of making cloth. They even carded the wool for the family spinning wheel. They also had a grist mill in which they ground grain. The grist mill was located on the Hunt River in the Potowomut section of Warwick. 

I travel that area often – at least 3 or 4 times a week. Until now, I never knew the name of the river, or about the grist mill. The arrow is pointing at the river, but also at Essex Road. Surely that’s named after one of my Essex ancestors. 

Corpe served in the Revolutionary War under Captain Squire Millerd. Corpe married Mary Matteson 27 July 1783. Mr Matteson may have been holding a shotgun on Corpe, as their first child, my 6th Great grandmother Martha, was born not quite 3 months following their marriage… I am only aware of 5 other children, Thomas (1787-1855), Richard (1790-1815), Susanna (1795-1822), Rebecca (1798-?), and John (1800-1821). In her will, Susanna makes bequests to her brother Thomas, and her 3 sisters. Richard and John had already passed. If there were any other children, they must’ve died before 1822

Corpe operated his father’s grist mill, and had a small sloop with which he made trips to obtain grain, or rather, grist for the mill. (Sorry, I couldn’t resist!) On 28 December 1821, Corpe and his son John were returning from a trip to Bristol, Rhode Island with their sloop full of grain. Almost at their destination, the boat overturned in what is now Apponaug Cove, Warwick, Rhode Island. Both Corpe and John died.

Corpe’s gravestone reads, “Sacred to the memory of Mr Corp Essex who perished by the sinking of his boat Dec. 28, 1821 in his 69th year. 

If that’s not misfortune, I don’t know what is! 

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