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This article is from the Dictionary of North Carolina Biography, 6 volumes, edited by William S. Powell. Copyright ©1979-1996 by the University of North Carolina Press. Used by permission of the publisher. For personal use and not for further distribution. Please submit permission requests for other use directly to the publisher.

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Lepper (or Leper), Thomas

by Mattie Erma E. Parker, 1991

d. ca. July 1718

Thomas Lepper (or Leper), Council member, marshal, and justice of the County Court of Albemarle, County Court of Bath, and Perquimans Precinct Court, was in the North Carolina colony by August 1679, when he was marshal of the Palatine's court in the government recently established by the Lords Proprietors following the uprising called Culpeper's Rebellion. He may have come to the colony from Virginia, to which a Thomas Lepper had immigrated by October 1669.

Lepper sympathized with the losing faction in the Culpeper uprising, although he apparently had taken no active part in it. In 1680 he signed a petition to the king alleging that the "rebels" still controlled the government and seeking the king's aid in suppressing them. Like many other opponents of the rebels, Lepper belonged to the Quaker faith.

Insofar as surviving records show, Lepper's chief political activities began in the late 1680s. From February 1689 through April 1690 he was a justice of the Perquimans Precinct Court. In 1690 and 1691 he was a member of the Council of the colony. From July 1692 through February 1694 he was a justice of the County Court of Albemarle, which was then the highest court of law in the colony. In 1701 and 1702 he was a justice of the recently created court for Bath County.

In or about the fall of 1679, Lepper married Ann Kent, widow of Thomas Kent. He lived many years on Yeopim Creek, in Perquimans Precinct, where he held 470 acres of land, part of which had been patented by Thomas Kent and had come to Lepper through his marriage. In 1697 he sold his Perquimans plantation and moved to Bath County. Lepper appears to have had no children of his own, although he had several stepdaughters.

At the time of his death, Lepper was living in Craven Precinct, Bath County, where his will was proved on 22 July 1719. With the exception of bequests to two unidentified women, Ann and Catherine Nuss, he left his estate to his wife Ann.


Albemarle Book of Warrants and Surveys (1681–1706), Albemarle County Papers (1678–1714), Colonial Court Records, Council Minutes, Wills, and Inventories (1677–1701), Perquimans Births, Marriages, Deaths, and Flesh Marks (1688–93), Perquimans Precinct Court Minutes (1688–93), and Will of Thomas Lepper (North Carolina State Archives, Raleigh).

J. Bryan Grimes, ed., Abstract of North Carolina Wills (1910).

J. R. B. Hathaway, ed., North Carolina Historical and Genealogical Register, 3 vols. (1900–1903).

Nell Marion Nugent, comp., Cavaliers and Pioneers, vol. 2 (1977).

Mattie Erma E. Parker, ed., North Carolina Higher-Court Records, 1670–1696 and 1697–1701 (1968, 1971).

Records of Perquimans Monthly Meeting and Symons Creek Monthly Meeting (Quaker Collection, Guilford College Library, Greensboro).

William L. Saunders, ed., Colonial Records of North Carolina, vol. 1 (1886).

Ellen Goode Winslow, History of Perquimans County (1931).

Additional Resources:

Minutes of the Perquimans Precinct Court of North Carolina. Precinct Court (Perquimans Precinct). February 05, 1694. Volume 01, Pages 392-396. Available from


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