John Meshack Phipps Leases His 1,200 Acres, 1859

A number of earlier posts have detailed the life of John Meshack Phipps or Phips (1812-1916), son of Jesse Phipps (Ashe County, North Carolina to Owen County, Indiana to Putnam County, Missouri, died 1865). Jesse was a son of Samuel and Elizabeth (Reeves) Phips who died in Ashe County, North Carolina. Numerous deeds, land grants, court records, newspaper articles, and other materials pertain to John, but here is one which seems particularly interesting. This is from Nodaway County, Missouri Deed Book 7, pp. 25-26, It’s an “article of agreement” between John Meshack Phipps and David Yeisley, both of whom were living in Nodaway County at the time. Nodaway County, Missouri is on the Iowa state line, not far from Putnam County, Missouri, which also sits adjacent to Iowa. John Meshack Phipps’s father Jesse Phips or Phipps died of smallpox in Putnam County in 1865.

In the agreement, John leased his farms to Yeisley, with the option to buy. The farms were located on both sides of “the Hundred and two River” and consisted of 1,200 acres. This river is what’s known as the One Hundred and Two River, which is a tributary of the Platte River. John agreed to do various bits of work on the property first, including plastering in the house. The One Hundred and Two River, or 102 River, is believed by some to have derived its name from the Mormon Trail migration of 1847, and from the river being 102 miles from the Mormons’ previous camp. John and his twin brother Eli Shadrack Phips or Phipps were notorious outlaws, members of the infamous Long/Phips outlaw gang, and had earlier used the Mormon settlement at Nauvoo, Illinois as a hideout. Previous posts have mentioned related Mormon connections in Iowa and in the vicinity of St. Joseph, Missouri involving John Meshack Phips or Phipps.

The vast acreage owned by John Meshack Phipps, 1,200 acres in all, was leased to David Yeisley. Yeisley then transferred the lease to John Elsworth.  David Yeisley was born 30 December 1826 in Ashland County, Ohio. He came to Iowa in 1848 and to Missouri in 1857. David Yeisley became a prominent farmer of Nodaway County, Missouri. Yeisley’s first wife was Olivia Elsworth, daughter of John Elsworth, perhaps the same John Elsworth to whom Yeisley transferred his lease. (See A Biographical History of Nodaway and Atchison Counties Missouri, Chicago: Lewis Publishing Co., 1901, pp. 526-527.)

From Nodaway County, Missouri Deed Book 7, pp. 25-26:

Article of an agreement Made and concluded this the thirty first day of August 1859 By and between John M. Phipps of Nodaway County Missouri and David Yeisley of the Same place, Witnesseth that the said Phipps has this day leased or Rented to said Yeisley his farms of about twelve hundred acres situated in Nodaway County and Lying on both sides of the Hundred and two River for the term of two years from the first day of March next for the sum of four hundred and fifty dollars, Which Rent has this day been paid to Said Phipps by said Yeisley in full The Said Phipps agrees to plaster and put the House in good order also put the fences in good Repair Raise the Barn frame and furnish nails to finish the Same and pay for the Shingles at the machine cut the logs for all the Lumber and pay for Sawing the Same and deliver to Said Yeisley D. Elsworths note for finishing the Barn and pay all Taxes and assessments on Said farm during said term and plow furrows around the fields on West side of the River The Said Yeisley shall have a right to cut all the fire wood that may be necessary for the farm use from down timber Only and Cut from any timber whatever may be necessary to keep in Repair the fences, and Buildings and for farm use. And the Said Yeisley agrees to finish the Barn in a good Workin [i.e. working] an [i.e. and] like manner as specified in a contract with D. Elsworth and keep the whole property in like good Repair, Natural wear and decay and acidents [i.e. accidents] by the elements Excepted And the Said Phipps hereby agrees to give the said Yeisley the Privilege of Purchasing the Said farms at any time with in one year from the date hereof at Eight dollars per acre by paying one fourth of the purchase money at the time and securing the Balance by Mortgage on the same in Payments in one two three and four Equal and yearly payments from the date with interest and in case of a purchase the said Phipps agrees to apply the Rent  four hundred and fifty dollars as part payment on the farms. To the above We both agree and in testimony of Which we hereunto subscribe our names the day and year first above written.

John M. Phipps
David Yeisley

In presence of
W. P. Howard

[p. 26:] For a Valuable consideration I hereby garrantee [i.e. guarantee] the Performance of David Yeisley on the above Contract August 31st 1859

John his X mark Elsworth

In presence of
W. P. Howard

For Value received I hereby Sell and Transfer all my Right to the above Lease to John Elsworth And authorize him to act for me in all cases or in his own name and Receive all Rents and Benefits of Said property during the whole term of two years from the first day of March next as by consent of J. M. Phipps

David Yeisley

I consent to the above assignment. Witness my hand and seal.

John M. Phipps (seal)

The last foregoing Article of Agreement was received by me for record on the 17th day of September A. D. 1859

Jas. B. Prather
Recorder

See also:

Bounty Land Application File, Heirs of Jacob Phipps

Excerpts from the bounty land warrant file of Henrietta Phipps et al., minor heirs of Jacob Phipps, appear below. Testimony indicates that the family lived in Delaware County, Ohio, but that late in life Jacob moved to Winamac, Indiana, which is located in Pulaski County. Jacob Phipps is listed in the 1840 census in that county:

Jacob Phipps: Free white males: 2 10-15, 1 40-50 [born about 1790-1800]; free white females: 2 under 5, 2 5-10, 1 10-15, 1 15-20, 2 20-30 [born about 1810-1820]

He also appears in the index cards to War of 1812 service records:

Phipps Jacob
Detachment 3 Reg’t [i.e. Regiment] (Renick’s), Ohio Mil. [i.e. Militia]
(War of 1812.)
[Rank at enlistment and at muster out:] Private | Private . . .

Daughters of Jacob Phipps applied for bounty land based on their father’s War of 1812 service, but they applied in the 1890s, long after his service. One of the claimants was Henrietta Phipps. Her Ohio death certificate notes that she was born 25 July 1837 in Ohio, a daughter of Jacob and Margaret (Gotshall) Phipps. Jacob’s birthplace was referred to as unknown, and that of Margaret as Pennsylvania. Henrietta died 27 December 1919 in Franklin Township, Morrow County, Ohio and was buried in Maple Grove Cemetery, location not stated, on 29 December 1919, according to the same record.

The following appears on slips of paper in the file, apparently written by an employee or employees of the Pension Bureau. The source of the information was not stated. In the first item, the “D” likely stands for “dead,” or “deceased,” and the “C” presumably stands for “claimant.”

2″ wife – [i.e. 2nd wife]
Henrietta Phipps born July 25 37 [i.e. 1837]. C
Margaret M – ” ” Dec 14. 39 – C
Ann C – ” Mch 25. 42. D.
Keziah ” ” Jan 22. 45. D.
Emma C ” ” Aug 21.47. C

Polly [? (unclear, looks like “Burp” or “Bump” or “Burrs”)] (Phipps) died Jan 1879 leaving 7 children now living – she made no application – [Note: Polly was a common period nickname for Mary]

On another slip of paper, the following appears:

note –

This claimant obtained report of service of Adj Gnl. [i.e. Adjutant General] Ohio, and evidence of identities is not good.
1st signatures are not similar.
2″ – clmts [i.e. claimants’] fathers 1st marriage occurred in Jan 1814 in a middle Co. of Pa. and the soldier enlisted in a middle Co. of Ohio, and his service occurred but a few months prior to clmts [i.e. claimants’] fathers marriage.

The following appears on another slip of paper headed “Bureau of Pensions:”

child. Henrietta Phipps born. 1837 –
Margaret M. ” 1839 –
Emma C – ” 1847 – . . .

Children as per fam records
Polly Phipps (1st mar.) born Oct 2’34. D –
Henrietta ” (2″ mar) clmt. born 1837
Margaret M. ” ” ” 1839
Emma C ” ” ” ” 1847
Mary K ” dead –
by record family . . .

all children [in margin: “1st wife -“]
1. Saml. W Phipps born. Dec 1/14.
2. Nathanl ” ” [Dec?] 21. 15.
3. James ” ” Apl 13. 17 D –
4. Nancy. ” ” Dec 20. 18.
5. Aaron ” ” Oct 12. 20. D.
6. Moses. ” ” Jan 1. 22. D –
7. John ” ” Aug 31. 23 D –
8. Elizabeth ” ” Aug 9. 25
9. Ruth [or Rush?] ” ” Oct 12/27 D
10. Darius ” ” Oct 16 29
11. Luanna [or Suanna?] ” ” Feb 20. 32 D.
12. Polly. ” ” Oct 2. 34 D.

The following are letters in the file:

Chesterville
Morrow Ohio
County. Oct 19th 1894

Department of the Interior.
Wm. Loch[ron?] Washington. D.C.
Commissioner. of Pensions. Sir
We received yours of Oct 6th yesterday. In the matter of our claim [Ows?] N. Div. [U.?] Esr. B. L. No 337.683.
Henrietta And others Minor heirs of Jacob Phipps, our father. We have written to Norton Delaware Co Ohio for information concerning our father Jacob Phipps where he lived when a boy. Mr John Brundige of Norton Delaware Co Ohio writes. And Says I was well acquainted with your Father he and I Joined farms. And I now own the farm that your father Jacob Phipps once owned. And Says also if I could be of any Advantage to you I would be glad to do so. And Says I am close to 80 yrs and can scarcley [i.e. scarcely] Steady a pen. but he died last fall. And cannot help us now. And All of the Old inhabitands [i.e. inhabitants] are dead We have writen [i.e. written] All over And have not found one Inhabitant yet over 80 yrs living. And that is the way that we come to write to our half brother. Brothers Samuel Phipps of Chesterhill Morgan Co Ohio And Darius Phipps of St Josep [i.e. St. Joseph] Mo. And Mrs Nancy De moss of Kansas City Kansas, Our half siter [i.e. sister] for their affidavits to Confirm our words. And Concerning Our fathers 1st marriage It was a love affair like a great many marriages are now days I have often heard my mother Say that our father and his first wife ran away and were married her father Nathaniel Wyatt was unwilling for them to mary so young and so they ran away. And I suppose that is the way that they Come to be married in a middle county of Pennsylvania. you said that we Should learn exactly where Our father enlisted He enlisted At Ft Wyatt near Norton Delaware Co Ohio. his father in law Nathaniel Wyatt owned a large brick house And he had it fortified during the war of 1812 and that is where our father Jacob Phipps enlisted and where he got his first wife We have learned through the Post Master of Norton Ohio Who has been a resident of Norton Ohio Since 1858 this letter that we received from this Post Master Was dated Dec 6th 1893. he Says that all of the old inhabitants are dead All of the Wyatts, Brundiges rejecting such testimony [i.e. testimony]. minor heirs
Henrietta Phipps. Emma C Phipps
Margaret Matilda Hammond

Letter 2:

Alvin Texas
Feb. 4th 1895

Mrs. Margaret M. Hammond
Dear Madam
Received yours of Jan 23 on feb 2 and seat my self to reply to your questions I was well acquainted with Jacob Phipps but I cannot say that I [? (looks like “how”)] of his being a soldier in the war of 12 that I cant say where they got there Lisence [i.e. license] you can find out by writing to his Daughter Martha Marple in Fredrick Town in Knox Co Ohio or to his oldest Son Samuel Phipps [yo?] can find out by by [word repeated] him all the question you have asked of me his Post office is Park[ers?]ville ohio you see Matty and she can tell you all
Robert Patton

I [? (looks like “Dam”)] to know [his?] ones the Wyatt farm it belonged to Samuel Wyatt [heires?] the last that I knew of it the farm if about 1 mile from the town of Norton North
I can Say this much for you that there was no other Jacob Phipps in that part of the Country, of delaware. I Do not know off [i.e. of] any old Soldier now living [? (looks like “aare”)] the war 12 you find Sam and Matty you see that I left that part of the Stat [i.e. state] in 59
R Patton

And Pattens are dead. Where we have written any letters all of the old habitants are dead Mr Layer. James Olds of Mt Gilead Ohio Says I was well acquainted with your father Jacob Phipps when he lived at Norton Delaware Co Ohio and also when he moved to Winamac Ind.
After Our fathers first marriage with Elizabeth Wyatt her father Nathaniel Wyatt gave his daughter Elizabeth Wyatt and our father An 80 acre farm at Norton Ohio where he still lived when he married Our mother Margarett [i.e. Margaret] Gotshall and where Henrietta Phipps was born and where he lived untill [i.e. until] he moved west and there he lived when he died February 17th 1848 near Winamac Indiana [Note: Winamac is in Pulaski County]. Our fathers Signature Corrisponds [i.e. corresponds] with his writing in Oaur [i.e. our] old family Bible we sent you a coppy [i.e. copy] of the family record it was a correct coppy of the reccord [i.e. record] and not of the writing
Very Respectfully
Henrietta Phipps Et al
minor heirs of Jacob Phipps.

Letter 3:

Chesterville Morrow Co Ohio Feb 12th 1895
Mr Wm Lockren Commisioner sir
Henrietta Phipps ul.;d [as written] we the minors of Jacob Phipps write we have been buisy [i.e. busy] writing to find some of the old Soldiers of the War of 1812 but have failed to do so we send you there letters we resceived [i.e. received] of the oldest persons we could find that knew our Father Jacob Phipps pleas [i.e. please] read those letters hear what they have to say about him, we confess we made a mistake about the Fort it is called Fort Morrow it was always called Fort Wyatt to us Children, these letters we send will prove that it is called Fort Morrow
concerning our Father Jacob Phipps first marriage to Elizabeth Wyatt the daughter of Nathaniel and Anna Wyatt we have the record of their marriage in Jacob Phipps old Family Bible now in our possesion [i.e. possession] but to where they were married we cannot tell the Jacob Phipps that married Elizabeth Wyatt is our Father that married our mother Margaret Gotshall the Daughter of Micheal [i.e. Michael] and Catharine Gotshall of Mt Vernon Knox Co Ohio this is the same one Soldier Jacob Phipps that served in Lieut Addison Carvers Company, Lieut Col James Reincks [i.e. Renick’s] 3rd Regiment Ohio Vol Infantry 4th Brigade 2nd Div of the War of 1812 this Company was from Delaware Co Ohio, our Father Jacob Phipps enlisted in the War of 1812 at Norton in Delaware County Ohio Marlboron [as written] Township the letters Addressed to Margaret M Hammond is the Second Daughter by the second Marriage of Jacob Phipps to Margaret Gotshall Phipps, Mr Robert Patton in his letter Says that they [as written] was no other Jacob Phipps lived in Delaware Co but our Father Jacob Phipps we will look up Jacob Phipps and Elizabeth Wyatt where they were married if we can find theire [i.e. their] marriage Licenses we will send them on to Washington, but where shall we go to get our Fathers Comrades for Witness for us must we go to the other World and bring the dead back to life again to Testfy [i.e. testify] for us before we can get our Father Jacob Phipps Bounty Land to which we have made aplication [i.e. application] for we have bout [i.e. about] made up our minds we cant find eny [i.e. any] of his Comrades a living in this World that was in the Same Company our Father Jacob Phipps was See how old They would be if they were as old as our Father, 100 years old take the average Age of Man they would not be meny [i.e. many] a living now that served in the War of 1812
being every Soldier in the War was entitled to a Land Warrant we think Jacob Phipps Land Warrant or his Just dues belongs to us Minor Children being Father nor Mother never got eny [i.e. any] thing for his servis [i.e. service] in the War of 1812 look at the big Pensions that Thousands get that is well to do in the World they have plenty of this Worlds goods we are poor and always had to make our own living for Father died when we ware [i.e. were] young their [i.e. there] are some we know living near us gets Pensions that dont deserve a Pension no more than you think we do very likely our Father [appears to jump to p. 26] had to undergo. As many hardships as the Soldiers did in the late War of the re Bellion that signature of Jacob Phipps we think Corsponds [i.e. correspondents] with his writing in the Bible that we have that was our Father Jacob Phipps we have his Bible and you have the Copy of the Family Record yours with respect the Minors of Jacob Phipps

Henrietta Phipps and Others, minor hiers [i.e. heirs] of Jacob Phipps . . .

Letter 4:

Chesterville Ohio
Feb 21th [as written] 1895.
Mr Wm Lochern.
Commissioner of Pensions.
Washington D. C.
Dear sir
Answer to your last letter to us, that we returned to you Feb. 13th. The question concerning our fathers first marriage Jacob Phipps our father and Elizabeth Wyatt his first wife were married in Columbus, Ohio and got their license there
January 19th 1814.
Yours Respectfully
Henrietta Phipps.
Et al. minor heirs
of Jacob Phipps.

Letter 5:

Waldo Marion, co. O. [i.e. Ohio] Dec 23d. 1894

Miss Emma C Phipps
Dear Miss
in answer to yours of the 20th my Mother Hariett [as spelled] [Y?] Mahan says she was well acquainted with Jacob Phipps but she knew nothing of him being a soldier. Mothers father was a Captin [i.e. captain] of a company that went from here in 1812 but the company roll I guess is lost now for he died some 45 years ago. His name was William S Drake
My Mother says she cant remember your Mother but Mother & my self can remember of your father selling to Valentine Coleman for she had a Sister living on the west side of the crick [i.e. creek] by the name of Coldren then but now ded [i.e. dead]. You wanted to know whether their [i.e. there] was any of the Wyatts Pattens of Duttons would remember your father Robert Patten was alive the last I herd [i.e. heard] from him & old man, he lives in the west some whare [i.e. somewhere] you can get his address of his daughter Mrs Harvey Wilson Marion Ohio & John B Wyatt Prospect Marion co Ohio. The older Duttons are in California. The old Nathaniel Wyatt farm was about 1/2 mile from Norton and Mrs Mary Wyatt owns where the fort and brick house stood this I saw when a boy. you are a little mistaken about it being Fort Wyatt it was called Fort Morow. This is the best information I can send you Patten & Wyatt. I am 63 years old and they are some older. your most obedient Servant
C S. Jones

John Jones Phips: From Virginia to Western North Carolina by 1797

John Jones Phips is discussed at length in a letter by Waightstill Avery, written in Burke County, North Carolina on 31 May 1797. That letter, along with a lengthy document written by John Jones Phipps, appeared in the North Carolina Journal, published at Halifax, dated 3 July 1797, p. 4. Based on information traced below, it would appear that John Jones Phips was born about 1755 or earlier.

One possibility, but not the only one, as to the identity of this John Jones Phips is that he could possibly have been the John Phipps of Virginia, then North Carolina, and finally Kentucky, for whom a Revolutionary War pension file is extant. That John Phipps was born in Charles City County, Virginia in 1753, so the dates fit. He later lived in Surry County, Virginia, then, after the war, in Orange County, North Carolina until he moved into Kentucky, so the locations fit.

John Jones Phips was well acquainted with boating on the James River, a river which runs past both Charles City County and Surry County, Virginia. He later appears in western North Carolina. John Phipps of the Revolutionary War pension application came into Orange County, North Carolina and later moved to Hopkins County, Kentucky. In between, he could possibly have been in Burke County, North Carolina.

In his letter, Waightstill Avery refers to the James River and “the Atkin river.” What is now known as the Yadkin River was, at one time, known as the Atkin River. The Yadkin flows for 215 miles and is one of North Carolina’s longest rivers. Most of the letter’s focus, however, is on the Catawba River, which flows from western North Carolina into South Carolina. Both the Yadkin and the Catawba have their origins in the Blue Ridge Mountains.

The will of Waightstill Avery, by the way, is extremely lengthy and begins by discussing his college degrees. He also refers to pondering “Standing before the throne of God, of beholding Jesus Christ in glory.” The will was written in Burke County on 20 February 1819 and is the first in a collection of loose wills covering the period 1793 to 1905.

To the Printer of the North-Carolina Journal.

By means of your useful paper, I request you to convey to the inhabitants of Mecklenburg, Iredell, Lincoln and Burke, the information contained in this letter and the enclosed certified opinion of John Jones Phips, in respect to clearing the Cataba [i.e. Catawba] river for inland navigation.

Mr. Phips has spent a great part of his life in boating on James river, was one of the first who successfully navigated the Atkin river, and is reputed to be a good Judge of, and well skilled in the business. His opinion appears to correspond in many particulars, with the opinion of those Commissioners appointed by the county courts, in virtue of the acts of 1784 and 1785 (Iredell’s Revisal, pages 536 and 563) and also with the opinion of those appointed in the year 1795, by the General Assembly. Those were in both instances appointed for each county for a distinct part of the river detached from the other parts: And those appointed for one part, did not examine all the other parts of the river: And although the gentlemen appointed in 1795, made an attempt to assemble, and form a general meeting from the four counties, I have heard that some members failing to attend, a general meeting was never assembled; so that no one of them took into view the whole river and all its parts, or made any statement of the comparative expence as Mr. Phips has done, in his large statement that would have been too long for publication in your paper. But leaving out the smaller shoals of little account, by comparing the several parts of Mr. Phip’s certificate and the said acts of 1784 and 1785, it will appear, that Mr. Lemburg will have to clear one half of two out of thirteen of the most expensive rapids and shoals – say equal to the entire expences of one only.

The author, at this point, notes specific amounts of work to be done in each of the separate counties of Iredell, Lincoln, and Burke. Reference is made to conveying wheat and tobacco. He continues with other benefits to be derived from clearing the river. The letter is signed,

WAIGHTSTILL AVERY.
Swann Ponds, Burke county, May 31.

This is immediately followed by the testimony of John Jones Phips regarding the matter:

I John Jones Phips do hereby certify, that on request of several gentlemen n Burke county, I have examined the Cataba [i.e. Catawba] river, from Col. John Carson’s, in the upper part of Burke, to South-Carolina; paid particular attention to the rapids and shoals, and made an estimate of the expence for clearing them for boat navigation – The ten shoals and rapids most expensive to clear as as follow: . . .

. . . I do further certify, that being well acquainted with boating on James river, and the Atkin river, it is my opinion that the Cataba river will, when cleared, be better for boating than the Atkin, and as good as James river; and that the expence of clearing, will not exceed the former estimate, reported to the General Assembly by the Commissioners, viz. 3200l. [i.e. 3200 pounds] but may be considerably less.

I do further further certify, that I have this day viewed and examined four shoals and rapids in Col. Avery’s district of six miles, which have been thought difficult to clear, and I am of opinion that he hath cleared them sufficiently for a boat with ten hogsheads of tobacco to pass up or down at a common time, with perfect safety, and as much ease as common river boating, and that he hath completed about one half the labor of clearing out eight shoals and rapids in his district of six miles.

I am further of opinion, that on a division of the river into twenty five districts of six miles each, eight of those districts would be worse and more expensive to clear than Col. Avery’s, and that the other sixteen would be better and less expensive to clear; and that Col. Avery will be able completely to finish his district before the last of July with no greater exertions than he has already made, if the season proves favourable; and that equal exertions of others who live near the river, would clear out the whole, from Col. John Carson’s to South Carolina, by the last of August. Certified this 31st of May, 1797, by me
JOHN JONES PHIPS.

Based on area naming conventions of the era, a close relationship between John Jones Phips and the Jones family can be assumed. That relationship could have involved a blood relationship, such as perhaps his mother’s maiden name. Jones is obviously a common name, yet we have noted an unusual concentration of occurrences of the Jones name in connection with the Phips, Fips, Phipps, etc. name in Virginia.

In addition, the documents by Phips and Avery indicate that Phips had spent “a great part of his life,” as Avery termed it, “in boating on James river.” This would, of course, indicate that John Jones Phips had come from Virginia.

Avery wrote of efforts to clear the Catawba River, making way for navigation along that river in the North Carolina counties of Mecklenburg, Iredell, Lincoln, and Burke. The published documents emphasized Burke County.

Burke County, North Carolina was created in 1777 from Rowan County. Then in 1791, parts of Burke and Rutherford County became Buncombe County. Later, in 1833, parts of Burke and Buncombe Counties became Yancey County.

As we noted in an earlier post, William Jones was born in Henrico County, Virginia about 1760, according to Revolutionary War pension records. He enlisted in Henrico County, Virginia and moved to a part of Buncombe County which later became Yancey County. He died in 1835 in Yancey County, North Carolina.

William Jones had married a woman named Dorothy. Dorothy’s sister was Nancy Phipps. Nancy Phipps, according to pension records, was born about 1778 in Wythe County, Virginia. Nancy was living in Yancey County in 1855, when she was 77.

Yancey County was, as already noted, created partly from Burke County. The present-day counties of Yancey and Burke are not adjacent, but are very close to each other. John Jones Phips, again, appears to have been closely associated with Burke County after living in Virginia.

It would appear likely that this John Jones Phips was related in some way to Nancy Phipps, sister of Dorothy who married William Jones. It would also also appear that John Jones Phips had moved into Burke County or that area after previously living on or near the James River in Virginia.

The James River flows through or alongside the present-day Virginia counties of Alleghany, Botetourt, Rockbridge, Amherst, Appomattox, Nelson, Buckingham, Fluvanna, Cumberland, Goochland, Powhatan, Henrico, Chesterfield, Charles City, Prince George, Surry, and James City. As already noted, William Jones was born in Henrico County, and we have noted various Phips connections in several of these counties, especially Buckingham, Cumberland, Goochland, Charles City, Surry, and James City.

John Jones Phips, it would seem, was likely the same individual who appears in other records in Burke County, North Carolina as John Fips, Fipps, Phipps from 1791 to 1800. Assuming that this was the same John, then it would appear that John Jones Phips must have been born about 1755 or earlier.

A Josiah Phips also shows up in Burke County, in the 1800 census. Since he was born about 1775-1784, a likely scenario would be that he was perhaps the son of John Jones Phips. The name has been carefully examined in the 1800 census and is clearly that of Josiah, and not that of the more common given name Isaiah. A George Fipps, born about 1766-1784, appears in the 1810 census in Burke County. Jacob Phipps sold Burke County land in an 1824 deed which was not recorded until 1832.

A Burke County, North Carolina timeline:

  • 1791: John Fips signed order for road from “Buck to head of the Adkin” (i.e. Atkin, later the Yadkin) in Burke County
  • 1793: John Fipps signed Burke County petition for road from Indian Grave Gap in Wilkes County to iron works being built on Gunpowder Creek
  • 1795: John Phipps in Burke County tax list with 3,981 acres
  • 1797: John Phipps in Burke County tax list with no acreage listed
  • 1797: John Jones Phips in Burke County, with extensive experience on the James River in Virginia, testified regarding navigability of the Catawa River in North Carolina
  • 1800: John Fipps in census in Burke County: Free white males: 2 under 10, 1 16-25 [born about 1775-1784], 1 45+ [born about 1755 or earlier]; free white females: 2 under 10, 1 10-15
  • 1800: Josiah Phips in census in Burke County: Free white males: 1 16-25 [born about 1775-1784]; free white females: [none]
  • 1810: George Fipps in census in Burke County: Free white males: 1 under 10, 1 26-44 [born about 1766-1784]; free white females: 1 under 10, 1 16-25 [born about 1785-1794]
  • 1824: Jacob Phipps sold land on Cox’s Creek in Burke County to Jacob Honeycutt, not recorded until 1832

Another Word About the Sword

The last post concerned the pirate sword found by John Phips or Phipps. Another previous post which dealt with the sword was one titled “John A. Phipps of Owen Co., Indiana, Discoverer of Pirate Sword.” In addition, the sword is discussed in an article which appeared on the first page of the Columbus Republican on 9 December 1875:

Damascus Heard From.
DISCOVERY OF AN OLD AND HISTORIC BLADE THAT LED A BLOODY CAREER TWO CENTURIES AGO.

A most satisfactory proof that this country had a prehistoric greatness was deposited a few days ago with Prof. Cox, for the benefit of the archaeological archives. It is an old sword, very rusty and minus a hilt, but undoubtedly a genuine Damascus blade. It speaks of a dim past, when mastodons, Frenchmen and Spaniards took turn about in depleting red skins and rooting around among fields and forest for the necessities of life. In Owen county there has been a tradition from time immmemorial in the neighborhood of Freedom about a mysteriously wonderful sword supposed to be hidden in the trunk of an aged oak. The story went that the legend was most firmly believed in by the Indians, whose superstitions had been worked on by some strolling band of Spaniards and who diligently interviewed all the oaks in a circuit of ten miles, hoping that it might turn out that the sword, when discovered, would either be found to possess remarkable properties, or else to point, like a needle, to some hidden heap of wealth. The oak in question was known to be located on a bluff above White river, and the sword had been dropped into its hollow heart through a knot hole some twenty feet from the ground. For many years the search was kept up, and the tradition passed down from father to son, but never had the slightest trace of the relic been seen. In July last, however, John A. Phipps had revealed to his inner consciousness, while he was ploughing a field in that immediate neighborhood, that it would be the thing for him to investigate the recesses of an old oak which had deposited its trunk in the ground and allowed it to go to inglorious riot [Error for “rot”]. He did so. Tearing away the decayed bark and reaching the core of the tree, imagine his surprise to find the sword of antiquity which had worried the denizens of that district for many generations. The sword bears the date of 1640, and as much of the inscription as can be deciphered, reads as follows: “No-Me-Salves-ason” – the first letters of the last word being erased beyond redemption, even by a steam doctor. Various attempts have been made to solve the riddle, but the most plausible one suggests a reading, Notice me, salves sine, which, being translated, means, “Know me (that is trust me) and you are safe without” – something to be imagined. Mr. Phipps, who did not happen to own the land on which he was ploughing, outraged all rules of archaeological propriety, by grinding up the venerable sword into a corn cutter, till he was prevailed upon by Prof. Corbett to make a donation of it to the State’s collection of relics.

Essentially the same article, with the same title, appeared in the Indiana State Sentinel in Indianapolis on 8 December 1875, p. 7. There, the word “riot,” found above in connection with the tree, is rendered “rot” instead, which makes far more sense. The inscription is there rendered as “No-Me-Salves-Sin-ason,” but with, again, no explanation as to what a “steam doctor” would be. In both articles, no explanation is given as to why mastodons would be roaming in the 16th century, or why the 16th century would be considered “prehistoric,” or who Professors Cox and Corbett were.

More on Indiana Pirates

An especially interesting comment was recently posted by one of our readers. That comment appeared in response to the earlier post titled “Freedom, Indiana: Flatboats, Pirates, and Buried Treasure.” The earlier post discussed a sword which was found by an unidentified John Phipps, and the suggestion was made in that post that perhaps this was John A. Phipps or Phips, son of Mathew Phips of Clay and Owen Counties, Indiana. Mathew was a son of Jesse and Jennie (Spurlin) Phips, who in turn was a son of Samuel and Elizabeth (Reeves) Phips of Ashe County, North Carolina.

The comment refers to this John as a son-in-law of a certain “Mr. Dyer.” That would make it seem more likely that John was indeed John A. Phipps (John Andrew Phipps), since the 2nd of his 4 successive wives was Mary E. Dyar, who he married in Owen County in 1871. John is pictured with one of his wives, probably his 4th wife Blanche E. (Morris) Phipps.

John A. Phipps and wife, probably his 4th wife

Thanks to our reader for posting the following:

My name is Michael Wentz and I live close to Freedom as a transplant Hoosier. I thought the story was interesting when researching my new home state, so I’ll add what I found about the sword:

From two 1875 Indianapolis newspaper articles I believe John Phipps was working on his father-in-law’s land, Mr. Dyer, when he found the sword and ground it down to harvest corn, not understanding his discovery. It would have been lost to history but the Indiana State Geologist assistant John Collett was preparing an 1875 survey of the White river in Owen County Indiana and must have met Mr. Phipps, who gave him the sword. . . .

I contacted the Indiana State Museum and received the following email in reply:

Hi Michael,

I got both of the articles you sent and read through them. I went and looked through our edged weapons collection and did not find anything that matches the description in the articles. Since we don’t have paperwork from the 1870s, I can’t even confirm if it was donated to us or just on display for a period of time. And I’m speculating here, but if it had been part of the collection, given the poor condition described in the article (covered in rust and missing the handle) I could see it having been deaccessioned (the process by which we remove artifacts from the collection) at some point in the last 100 years. Especially if the sword had been separated from its history, which can happen without paperwork. And record keeping was so very different back then there’s not going to be much of a paper trail, if any.

But now that it’s on my radar I’ll keep an eye out for any reference to it.

Let me know if you have any further questions.

Take care,
Katherine

Katherine Gould
Curator of Cultural History
Indiana State Museum and Historic Sites . . .

P.S. The sword was put on display for a time in the Indiana geologic room of the State House (no longer there), carried a Latin inscription and a date of 1640

Michael Wentz

Izah Phipps and the Cherokee Removal of 1838

Izah Phipps applied for bounty land because of his service during the Cherokee Removal of 1838. His application was rejected, apparently he was a teamster rather than a soldier. Teamsters tended to operate as non-military individuals under contract to the army. The issue appeared to be one of who paid such individuals. The application file includes a letter which evidently was from the firm which handled his application:

Washington D.C. Oct. 23, 1857

Hon. Geo. C. Whiting
C[?]t. of Pensions

Sir,

In regard to the claim of Izah Phipps, Teamster, for service during the Cherokee removal in 1838, filed under Act of 1855. – No. 276.258. you state in your letter dated Oct. 21st that service as teamster during the Cherokee removal does not entitle to Bounty land. –

Would you be pleased to inform us – 1st Why Teamsters are not allowed for said service. – 2nd – Are not soldiers entitled for said service. – 3d. Why distinguish between the two classes of claimants. –

Yours respectfully
Tucker & [Sliza?]

The declaration form submitted by Izah Phipps was filled out in Murray County, Georgia on 30 May 1857. Izah Phipps was, at the time, 38 years old, so of course would have been born about 1819. The form says that he was a teamster in a company under Capt. Isaac Hicks in a volunteer regiment under Col. E.D. Lewis. He said that he volunteered at “Old Fort” in “McDowal” (McDowell) County, North Carolina, to serve for two years. He said that he was discharged at Ashville, North Carolina, and signed the form with an “X.” The form was witnessed by George Edmondson and William Latch, both of whom were living in Murray County, Georgia.

Who was this Izah Phipps? He appears to have been the “Isaah Phipps” referred to in a Murray County, Georgia marriage record dated 1868. A look at census records suggests that this was a second (or subsequent, anyway) marriage. The marriage record states that a marriage license was issued 20 April 1868 for the marriage of “Isaah Phipps and Harriet J. Phipps.” Then a minister named B.M. Hipp noted in the same record that he joined the two together in marriage on 3 May 1868. The record appears on p. 184 of a county record book labeled “Marriage License,” Vol. 2, 1860-1871.

Earlier, the census on 4 November 1850 in Murray County shows him as “Izaia Phipps,” age 32 (born about 1818), a farmer who was born in North Carolina. Nancy [S.?] Phipps, presumably his wife, is listed as born about 1826 in North Carolina. His three children listed were all born in North Carolina. They were William, born about 1844, Joseph, born about 1846, and Thomas, born about 1848. This indicates that the family moved from North Carolina to Georgia between about 1848 and 1850.

As already noted in an earlier post, another Phipps family appears further down the same page. This is the family of Abner and Fanney Phipps and their children, all of whom were born in North Carolina. Abner was born about 1804, and Fanney about 1794.

In the census on 25 July 1860 in Murray County, “Isah Phipps” appears at age 45 [born about 1815) with apparent wife Nancy E., born about 1824, both of whom were born in North Carolina. Birthplaces of children in this listing suggest that the family moved from North Carolina to Georgia about 1848 to 1851.

In the 1860 census, the next page shows the family of James and Elisabeth Phipps, along with their children. James was born about 1813 in North Carolina. Elisabeth was born about 1822 in Georgia. Their children, born about 1845 to 1858, were all born in Georgia.

One of the children listed in the household of James and Elisabeth Phipps in 1860 was Columbus Phipps, born about 1858 in Georgia. A book by Hampton and Starr titled Cherokee Mixed-Bloods, p. 344, refers to Columbus Phipps, son of James and Elisabeth, as marrying Amanda Ross in the Cherokee nation in Indian Territory (later Oklahoma). Amanda was listed in the Dawes Roll. This couple were discussed in earlier posts, here and here

On 22 June 1870, the census shows “Isiah Phipps,” born about 1820 in North Carolina, living with his subsequent wife Harriet. She was born about 1838 in South Carolina. One of their children living with them was James, as in James and Elisabeth, and another was Abner, as in the much older Abner mentioned earlier.

Both of the names Isaia Phipps and Abner Phipps appear in a Google Books “snippet” view of a 1981 book titled Official History of Whitfield County, Georgia. Whitfield County is adjacent to Murray County.

Nimrod Phipps of Iowa, Son of Eli Phipps

The Iowa death certificate of Nimrod Phipps refers to his parents as Eli Phipps and a woman whose surname was Young, both of whom were born in Kentucky. Nimrod was born 3 October 1857 in Wayne County, Kentucky according to the same source, and married a woman named Mary. Nimrod died 8 April 1934 in Rock Creek Township, Jasper County, Iowa, and was buried in Rock Creek Cemetery. The death certificate informant, Mrs. Nimrod Phipps, gave her address as Grinnell, Iowa. Grinnell is located in Poweshiek County.

Nimrod was presumably the individual of that name who appeared in the federal census in 1860 in Wayne County, Kentucky, and in 1900 and 1920 in Rock Creek Township, Jasper County, Iowa. He also appeared in the 1895 Iowa state census in Jasper County. The 1860 census in particular shows him with his father Eli, and later censuses show him with his wife Missouri.

This Missouri Phipps, wife of Nimrod Phipps, was born with Phipps as her surname. The Iowa death certificate of Missouri Frances Phipps states that she was living at Grinnell, Iowa when she died. She died 2 January 1923 in the Iowa Methodist Hospital in Des Moines. The certificate states that her husband was N.I. Phipps, in other words Nimrod Phipps.

According to the same record, Missouri was born 22 September 1861 in Kentucky and was a daughter of a man named Andrew Phipps. Her mother’s maiden name was Cooper. The death certificate was N.I. Phipps, in other words Nimrod, living at Grinnell. The certificate notes that Missouri was buried near Grinnell.

As already mentioned, Nimrod’s death certificate refers to his mother as a Young. The census in Wayne County, Kentucky on 28 June 1860 shows the family of Edward and Jane Young listed next to that of Eli and Elizabeth Phipps. Eli was born about 1814 in Kentucky. His apparent wife Elizabeth was born about 1818 in Kentucky. Eli could not read and write.

Children listed with Eli and Elizabeth were James W., born about 1837 in Tennessee, Edward, born about 1842 in Kentucky (the rest of the children were also born in Kentucky), Matilda Jane, born about 1844, William H., born about 1846, Peter, born about 1848, Sarah A., born about 1850, John G., born about 1853, Melita C., born about 1855, Nimrod, born about 1858, and Thomas R., who was 7 months old on 28 June 1860, so evidently born in late 1859.

This data suggests, of course, that Eli Phipps was living in Tennessee about 1837, but moved to Kentucky by around 1842. An online photo of the tombstone shared by Nimrod and Missouri shows an inscription which refers to them as N.I. Phipps, 15 October 1857 to 8 April 1934, and his wife Missouri F., 22 September 1861 to 2 January 1923. They were buried in what Find A Grave calls Rock Creek Liberty Cemetery in Jasper County.

In the same cemetery appears the tombstone for Eli Phipps, as the name is given in the inscription in a photo. The stone is worn and difficult to read in a Find A Grave photo, but appears to indicate that he died 17 (or 7?) June 1882 at the age of 68 years, 7 months, and 21 days. This would suggest a birthdate of around 1814, which matches the 1860 census listing. Oddly, the inscription of the tombstone for Eli’s son Edward claims that Eli was born in 1813. It reads “IN MEMORY OF FATHER – ELI 1813-1882 MOTHER – ELIZABETH 1817-1886.”

Eli Phipps was killed in a storm in Rock Creek Township. This was a major cyclone which left six dead and a number injured. Missouri was sitting in a rocking chair during the storm, holding their granddaughter Ada Belle. Reportedly, the wind picked her up, carried her over a tree, and left her lying in a field, badly bruised. The baby was gently placed by the wind in a gooseberry bush and suffered no injuries. (See the Newton Daily News, Newton, Iowa , 10 August 1957, p. 52). Eli Phipps, on the other hand, is said to have died a painful death during the cyclone.

Unconfirmed claims, without any sources cited, assert that Nimrod’s middle name was Ingram. Eli Phipps is claimed to have been a son of Peter Phipps of Wayne County, Kentucky. Unconfirmed claims also assert that Missouri Phipps, who Nimrod Phipps married, was a daughter of Andrew Phipps, who was a son of the same Peter Phipps.