This is a rare name which in its various spellings has been found in North America since the early days of independence. It's origin is French and derives from Surplice, the gown of a priest and refers to one who manufactured such a garment or is a nickname for one who adopted a "priestly" appearance or posture. The latter is considered to be the most likely original source as traditionally surplices were made by the Nuns from wedding dresses donated by parishioners. The name recordings include the following examples: John Surpless who married Polly Spicer at Richland, Ohio on June 24th 1821, whilst Catherine Surpliss was also recorded at Richland, on September 5th 1875. Earlier on July 11th 1870, one Richard Surplice married Libbie Davie, at Newago, Michigan. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Robert Surphlet, which was dated March 14th 1785, who was married Margaret Pike at Wayne, Detroit, during the reign of Presidency of George Washington, (1789 - 1797). Surnames became necessary when governments introduced personal taxation. In England this was known as Poll Tax. Throughout the centuries, surnames in every country have continued to "develop" often leading to astonishing variants of the original spelling.
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