A Phipps Cluster Near the Iowa/Missouri Line

Appanoose County, Iowa sits on the Missouri state line adjacent to Putnam County, Missouri. Putnam County is where Jesse Phipps, born about 1786-1788, of Ashe County, North Carolina and later Owen County, Indiana, died in 1865.

A collection of marriage abstracts in Family Search called “Iowa County Marriage Records” is described in the following way: “Most of this collection consists of marriage licenses and certificates, including a few marriage declarations and marriage stubs. The records cover the years 1838 to 1934.”

In that collection is an abstract of the marriage of Andrew J. Phipps to Eva E. Helms on 11 Dec 1893 in Appanoose County, Iowa. Andrew was 23, and Eva was a daughter of Andrew Helms and his wife Polly Greene. Eva’s estimated birth year is given as 1874.

Andrew’s parents are listed there as Jesse Phipps and his wife Delilah Helms. That Jesse was not the one who came from Ashe County, North Carolina. The older Jesse from Ashe County had a son Jesse, born about 1811 in Virginia, who married Mary and is assumed to have been the father of Ambrose D. Phipps, born about 1839 in Clay County, Indiana. That Ambrose was the father of another Jesse, born about 1873 in Missouri, according to the 1880 census.

Then another Jesse, born about 1840 in Indiana, married Caroline Delilah Helms. They are presumably the Jesse Phipps/Delilah Helms mentioned in the marriage record, above, of Andrew J. Phipps to Eva E. Helms. That Jesse lived in Sullivan and Livingston Counties, Missouri.

That Jesse is buried in Avalon Cemetery, Avalon, Livingston County, as is Delilah, where they share one tombstone. Livingston County is in northwestern Missouri, a couple counties from the Iowa line and adjacent to Chariton and Grundy Counties, where Phipps records have been found. Livingston is situated, diagonally, about a county away from Putnam.

Returning to Appanoose County, the 1860 census shows a Catherine “Phips” who was born about 1796 in Virginia. Who was this Catherine? In the same household was also 23-year-old Elizabeth Phips, also born in Virginia.

1860 Census, Taylor Township, Appanoose County, Iowa, 6 July 1860, P.O. Moravia, p. 87, 597/570:

  • Conrad Show [could be Shaw, but looks like Show], 45, M, day laborer, real est. [blank], pers. est. $200, PA, could not read and write
  • Jane “, 27, F, VA, could not read and write
  • Thomas I [or J?]. “, 5, M, IA, attended school
  • Ann “, 3, F, IA
  • Catherine Phips, 64 [b. abt 1796], F, VA

[page break - same date:]

  • Elizabeth Phips, 23 [b. abt 1837], F, VA, could not read and write

This Catherine and Elizabeth would appear to be the same individuals of those names who appear in the previous census, the 1850 census, in Mercer County, Missouri. Mercer County is also located along the Iowa state line, and is adjacent to Putnam (as well as Grundy and Sullivan, both of which counties were mentioned above).

1850 Census, Mercer County, Missouri, 4 Oct 1850, 382/4:

  • Catharine Phipps, 53 [b. abt 1797], F, real est. blank, VA
  • Jane Phipps, 19 [b. abt 1831], F, VA
  • John Phipps, 16 [b. abt 1834], M, VA
  • Elizabeth Phipps, 14 [b. abt 1836], F, VA

Who were these people? And were they somehow related to the Jesse (born 1786-1788) who was a son of Samuel Phipps of Ashe County, North Carolina?

Ambrose D. Phipps was mentioned above, who appears to have been a son of one of the Jesses. Another Ambrose D. Phipps was born about 1805 in Kentucky, according to the 1870 census (Harrison Township, Clay County, Indiana). The later Ambrose was also supposed to have been living in Clay County, Indiana.

The earlier Ambrose D. received a land patent on 8 Dec 1831. This was to Ambrose D. Phipps of Clay County for land in Clay County. He then appears in the 1840 census, as abstracted in “Hanson” (presumably a misreading of Harrison) Township in Clay County.

The 1860 census shows him as living in that same township. He’s also listed as “Ambers” D. in the same township in the 1870 township. Blanchard, in his 1884 history of Clay and Owen Counties, calls him “Ambress D. Phipps.”

The 1870 census shows him as married to Catherine. Catherine, according to that census, was born about 1796 in Kentucky. Was the Catherine born about 1796 in Kentucky the Catherine born about 1796 or 7 in Virginia, as listed in the above records?

This would seem probable. Census records often varied in terms of birth place, for various reasons.

Is the name Ambrose uncommon enough that there could possibly be a connection of some sort to another Ambrose, the one who was born about 1805 in North Carolina according to the 1850 census, which shows him as living in Orange County, North Carolina?

That Ambrose was apparently the son of Dudley Phipps, born about 1781 in North Carolina. He is listed in the 1830 census inWake County, North Carolina and in the 1840 and 1850 censuses in Carroll County, Tennessee.

The William T. Phipps Letters

The website of the Online Archive of California includes a guide to the William T. Phipps Letters, covering the period from 1871 to 1905. According to the description of this collection, William T. Phipps was born 2 Mar 1859 in Chariton Co., Missouri.

In Apr 1878 he moved to California. He lived in Yuba City, then entered a law school in 1880. He graduated in 1883 and began a practicing lawyer. In 1891 he moved to Marysville and then to Sacramento in 1899.

He died 12 Nov 1936, leaving his wife, Mary E. (Mayhew) Phipps, and his son Donald.

Oddly, although this collection is described in the “Online Archive of California,” none of the papers from the collection are online. They are housed in the California History Room in the California State Library in Sacramento.

A brief biography of William T. Phipps also appears in the Social Networks and Archival Context Project website. There his middle name is given as Thomas, and essentially the same biographical details appear.

William’s wife Mary E. (Mayhew) Phipps, for her part, is the author of Friendship, Hope, and Other Poems, a book published in 1921. She is also discussed in the court case known as Hardy v. Mayhew, which was a 1910 California Supreme Court case. The report of that case also mentions W.T. Phipps as her husband. (The case is also reported here.)

Mary is buried in the San Francisco Columbarium, according to a Find A Grave page. So is her husband, according to the same source.

Grass Widows

The term “grass widow” was frequently used in the 19th century to refer to a divorced woman. The Worthington Times, a newspaper in Worthington, Greene County, Indiana noted that a train hit a carriage at “McCullar’s crossing,” killing those in the carriage.

Those killed were Mrs. Emma Phipps, Mrs. Blanche Phipps, and a boy named Frank McComb. Evidently both Emma and Blanche had earlier been married to the same man, Daniel Phipps, but had divorced him.

The paper noted that “The Phipps are grasswidows, both having been divorced from Daniel Phipps a few years ago.” This was reported in a collection of miscellaneous short news items headed “Spiced and Pickled Are the Indiana News Items in this Column” which appeared on 28 July 1892.

More About Phipps, Harris, and Essex, England

A prior post referred to the 1564 will of John Phipps of East Tilbury in the county of Essex, England. A web page titled “Combs &c Families of East and West Tilbury, Essex, England” includes a couple Phipps references.

That page abstracts the will of John Camber, gentleman of East Tilbury in Essex, dated 6 Mar 1602. That will refers to his godson Thomas “Phippes,” and to his cousin Isabel Harris.

The last couple posts referred to the connection between John Phipps and William Harris. They were surveyors who came from England to Virginia in 1621. Evidently these men were from Essex.

The formatting of the web page is confusing, but evidently the will abstract continues past the point where the block indenting stops. Assuming that this is so, then the will continues to refer again to Isabel “Harrys,” but also to Thomas Phippes, but this time referred to as “my cousin,” so apparently a different Thomas Phippes.

Then mentioned in commentary providing probate information is a reference to Edward “Phippes,” described as “next of kin of the deceased.”

The wife of the John Camber who left the will was named Anne. The Essex Record Office has the record of an indictment dated 1602 involving Anne, wife of John Camber of East Tilbury.

East Tilbury, like the Hornchurch mentioned in the last post (both in Essex), is very close to London. A book of abstracted London marriage licenses lists for 3 Dec 1586 a marriage of William Parker, who was a yeoman, to Philippa Phippes, the widow of Edward Phippes, late of St. Martin in the Fields.

Edward Phippes was referred to as a merchant tailor. St. Martin in the Fields is in the city of Westminister, which is an inner London borough. Could there be any possibility that he could have been the Edward Phippes mentioned in the 1564 will of John Camber? Note that the will does not say where Edward was living. Also, the marriage license is dated 22 years after the will.

The same marriage license abstract, by the way, appears in various forms in various places on the Internet.

Information taken from receipts associated with the churchwardens at St. Martin in the Fields includes a 1592 reference to an expense for “coffine and cloth” for the burial of Edward Phippes in October. Obviously this would have been a later Edward Phippes than the one who left a widow in 1586.

Then a 1681 record in the Essex Record Office refers to yet another Edward, with surname this time spelled Phipps. This was Edward Phipps, a blacksmith.

The record concerns an indictment of Edward Phipps, blacksmith, and his wife Mary, Edward Phipps, and another blacksmith named George Phipps. All were of Chipping Ongar.

Chipping Ongar is a small town in the civil parish of Ongar. This is in Essex County.


Also involved was William Holgate of Harlow, a tailor, and it’s interesting to note that the Edward who left the widow Philippa who remarried in 1586 was also a tailor. Of course, this was nearly a century later, however.

The record description appears to be poorly typed, but seems to refer to an assault, with James Phipps serving as a witness.

Then a later record refers to the burial of Sarah, wife of Edward Phipps, on 20 Apr 1705, in the parish of Ongar in Essex.

More About John Phipps, Jamestown Surveyor

Another post in the HARRIS-HUNTERS-L Archives mentions John Phipps, the early Jamestown, Virginia surveyor who was there by the 1620s. The writer notes that William Claiborne hired surveyors under his appointment and that they were referred to as “servants” in the records pertaining to their importation.

She pointed out that genealogists naturally assume that the “servant” reference means that they were apprenticed, when this wasn’t the case. The post refers to the surveyors who Claiborne imported, those being William Harris, Anthony Burrowes, William Morris, and John Phipps.

We had noted earlier that William Clayborne/Claiborne received a land patent on 3 June 1624 in James City County for importing surveyors including William Harris and John Phipps. John Phipps arrived in 1621 onboard the Tyger, and William Harris a bit earlier on the George.

We also noted, however, that on 6 Apr 1654 Robert Holt received another land patent in the same county for importing another John Phipps. Then, as mentioned in the last post, in 1657, Elizabeth Harris who had a son named John Phipps apprenticed him out at the age of 4.

Obviously the 4-year-old couldn’t have been either the one who had arrived in 1621 or the one who had been imported by 1654. (Land patents were sometimes awarded some years later.)

All of this suggests the presence of at least 3 individuals named John Phipps, all in the area of James City County.

Also, as previously noted, unconfirmed information says that the John Phipps who arrived in Virginia in 1621 was 19 at the time, hence born about 1602. A 1652 county levy in Surry County shows credit to John Phipps and William Harris, listed together.

We can, for purposes of discussion, identify these 3 individuals named John Phipps with letters A, B, and C as follows:

  • John A: The surveyor who arrived in 1621, imported by William Clayborne and associated with William Harris
  • John B: The child who was apprenticed in 1657 by his mother Elizabeth Harris
  • John C: The individual imported by Robert Holt

for the surveyor, the child, and the individual imported by Robert Holt, respectively, then these dates suggest the following:

  • About 1602, England: John A is born
  • 1621, James City Co.: John A arrives with William Harris, both as surveyors
  • 1624, James City Co.: William Clayborne receives patent for importing John A and William Harris
  • 1652, Surry Co.: County levy mentions John Phipps and William Harris
  • About 1653: John B is born to Elizabeth, later known as Elizabeth Harris
  • 1654, James City Co.: Robert Holt receives patent for importing John C
  • 1657, Surry Co.: John B, son Elizabeth Harris, is apprenticed out

Of course, all of this, in turn, suggests the following as a likely, but not definite, scenario, regarding John A:

  • Born in England about 1602
  • Came to James City Co., Virginia in 1621 to work as a surveyor with William Harris
  • Shows up in Surry Co., Virginia by 1652, the same with William Harris, although likely simply because of county boundary/name changes
  • Married Elizabeth by 1653 and had a son, also named John
  • Presumably died sometime before 1657, likely in Surry Co.
  • John Sr.’s widow Elizabeth remarried to William Harris
  • Elizabeth apprenticed out her son John, Jr. in 1657 in Surry Co.

The fact that both William Harris and John Phipps appear in a Surry County record by 1652 doesn’t mean that they moved. Surry County was formed in 1652 and took in land formerly designated as James City County, that land being south of the James River.

Then in 1720, Brunswick County was formed from Prince George County and, in 1732, took in more land from Surry County. This might explain at least some of the Phipps records in Brunswick County.

We’ve also noted in past posts the presence of Phipps records in Albemarle Parish (not to be confused with Albemarle County). Albemarle Parish was created in 1738.

As the Family Search Wiki explains it, James City County was formed in 1634, and was located both north and south of the James River. Then, in 1652, Surry County was formed from the part of James City County that was south of the James.

At the time of the creation of Surry County, according to the wiki, Surry County contained two Episcopal (Church of England) parishes, which had existed back before the county’s formation. These were Southwark and Lawne’s Creek.

As already noted, then, part of Surry County was added to Brunswick County in 1732, as mentioned in the wiki. In 1738, both of the earlier parishes, Southwark and Lawne’s Creek, were restructured.

As a result, the area north of the Blackwater River became known as Southwark Parish. The area to the south from the Blackwater then became known as Albemarle Parish. We’ve noted a number of Phipps references which then surface in Albemarle Parish records.

The part of Surry County was south of the Blackwater River then became Sussex County in 1653/1654. From that point on, only Southwark Parish was in Surry County, with Albemarle Parish then being located in the new Sussex County.

The Church of God parishes were done away with around the time of the Revolutionary War, as the wiki points out. This was presumably because of anti-England sentiments.

Some additional thoughts:

Regarding these individuals named John, could there be any relevance to the 1663 Virginia land grant to John “Phips” for land in what is now Caroline County, on Peumansend Creek?

Another consideration might be that more information about William Harris may or may not provide some clues relevant to the Phipps family. Unconfirmed data in a genealogist’s page about William Harris suggests that one of his children was born in New Kent County, Virginia, which seems odd since the same page says that William died about 1656 at Jamestown.

The location for that birth isn’t explained, but if William Harris did die in 1656, that would make sense. The obvious question, if Elizabeth Phipps remarried to William Harris, would be why he wouldn’t take better care of his family then to have a four-year-old apprenticed out. If Elizabeth’s first husband John Phipps had died, and now her second husband William Harris, then that might better account for this.

That same page suggests that William Harris was born at Willingale Doe, Essex (County), England. Could John Phipps have been from the same area?

Unconfirmed genealogists’ pages note that John Phipps “appears” to have also come from Essex, specifically from Hornechurch in Essex. This is discussed at length in a web page headed “William Harris of Jamestown.” That page refers to William as William IV (as does the other page) and, again, being from the village of Willingale Doe.

That page also refers to the John Phipps who came to Virginia in1621 as having been from Hornechurch, Essex. Today this is Hornchurch, a suburb of London. An earlier post discussed this in some detail. This John was a son, apparently, of Alexander Phipps and his wife Agnes Bright.

Can this Alexander be placed in a larger family context?

John Phipps of Jamestown

Past posts have focused on John Phipps, early Virginia surveyor. A forum post in the HARRIS-VA-L Archives discusses William Harris of Isle of Wight County and Surry County in Virginia. One theory, as mentioned, is that this William Harris had a connection to the Elizabeth Harris who had a son named John Phipps.

We’ve noted before that Elizabeth Harris, while living in Surry County, apprenticed her four-year-old son John Phipps in 1657. He was apprenticed to James Murrey, who was a Surry County planter.

William Harris and John Phipps came from England to Virginia in 1621 as surveyors, as we’ve noted earlier. The Harris page notes that speculation has been raised as to the possibility that William Harris of Jamestown, who came to Virginia from England with John Phipps, may have married John Phipps’s widow. Actually, Harris and Phipps came on different ships but in the same year, 1621.

The Harris page notes that the John who was a son of Elizabeth was of proper age to have been the John who received a patent in 1672 for land in James City County. This land, according to the same source, was “very” near the “original” William Harris land near Jamestown.

The two or more individuals named John Phipps in the general vicinity of Jamestown were discussed in an earlier post. Not discussed there, however, is this 1672 patent that the Harris page mentions.

Julia Ann (King) Phipps of Brunswick Co., VA

A 2010 list of recently added archival materials at the Library of Virginia includes a reference to the papers of Julia Ann King.

This collection, consisting of 6 leaves and 2 pages, includes receipts and accounts of Julia Ann (King) Phipps from the late 19th century. The records have to do with sales of cotton.

As we’ve noted earlier, Julia Ann King married Winfield Phipps in 1837. Winfield was born about 1801 in Virginia.