Phipps, Fipps, Fibbs, Phips, Fips: Cabarrus Co., NC

The last post noted the estate of Isaac Fibbs AKA Phips in 1804 in Cabarrus County, North Carolina. He left a widow referred to as “Marey Phips alias Mary Fulham.”

Is it possible that this family connects with the family John Fips who married Caty Dry in Rowan County, North Carolina in 1801? A marriage bond for John Fips’s marriage is dated 28 July 1801.

Why would one wonder whether this family connects to Rowan County? For the following reasons:

  • John Fips married a Caty Dry in Rowan County. The Dry family just doesn’t seem to show up in Rowan County records, but is prominently visible in Cabarrus County.
  • Conversely, The Fibbs/Phips family in Cabarrus County was closely connected with the Russell family. One of the web pages discussed in the last post associates the same Russell family with Rowan County.
  • Guilford County was formed, in part, from Rowan County. As noted in the last post, the Mebane family was socially related to the Phipps family in Guilford County, and the Mebane family is discussed in one of the web pages cited as being associated with the same Russell family.
  • Although, when looking at a modern map, Cabarrus and Guilford Counties don’t look close, in 1800 Mecklenburg, in southern North Carolina, was adjacent to Cabarrus County, and Cabarrus County was adjacent to Rowan County, and Rowan County was adjacent to Guilford County.
  • The surname spellings just really didn’t matter. In records cited below, it appears clear that the same family is being discussed when the following spellings are used: Phipps, Fipps, Fibbs, Phips, and Fips. That’s five different spellings of the same surname in the same area.

The last post asked whether this Fibbs/Phips family could have migrated from Virginia down into Rowan and Guilford Counties in North Carolina, and then further south into Mecklenburg and Cabarrus Counties.

The fact that the Dry family seems to be so closely identified with Cabarrus County could easily make one wonder whether that’s the case. It also could make one wonder whether the John Fips who married Caty Dry in 1801 in Rowan County was related to the Isaac Fibbs/Phips who left an estate in 1804 in Cabarrus County, North Carolina.

We also noted a few other Cabarrus records in the last post. Note that Cabarrus and Mecklenburg were adjacent. Here’s a rehash, plus some additional data:

  • 1792, Cabarrus Co., NC | County formed from Mecklenburg County.
  • 20 Feb 1792, Mecklenburg Co., NC | Estate settlement for Isaac Phipps, in which documents a deal with James Russell, attested later by his daughter Sela/Cely Russell .
  • 10 Apr 1793, Cabarrus Co., NC | A deed from Charles Baker Fulham to Hugh Carothers, involving land on Coddle Creek conveyed from Robert Campbell to James Oliphant to Isac Fipps. Isac Fipps is referred to as the former husband of Fulham’s present wife; note that the 1804 estate (see below) of Isaac “Fibbs” refers to his widow as Marey (Mary) Phips alias Mary Fulham.” Determining whether this was a divorce or a remarriage after the death of Isaac would depend on  the death date of the Isaac in the 1804 estate records. If it was the same Isaac as the one of the Mecklenburg records in 1792, then one would assume she simply remarried after the death of her husband. Again, Cabarrus is adjacent to Mecklenburg and was formed from Mecklenburg. The fact that the deed also refers to her as the “relict” of Isaac Fipps, deceased, seems to clearly indicate that the Isaac Phipps of the 1792 estate records in Mecklenburg County is the Isaac Fibbs/Phips of the 1804 estate records in Cabarrus County. That would not be unusual. Note also the Carothers surname here: We’ve noted in the past how a close connection between the Phipps/Fipps family and the Carothers/Carruthers family is demonstrated in records in Craven and Beaufort Counties of North Carolina. From what we’ve seen of family networking and mobility, it would not at all seem that this should preclude Rowan/Guilford connections as well.
  • 17 Jan 1795, Cabarrus Co., NC | A deed from Susanna Russell to James Plunkett mentioned land on Coddle Creek near Isaac Phips. Susanna Russell inherited this land through the will of James Russell (see 1795?, below).
  • 1795?, Mecklenburg Co., NC | Will of James Russell, who made a deal with Isaac Phipps as mentioned at 1792, above. The will mentions Sela/Cely Russell as James Russell’s daughter, and Levy/Levi as his son. Levy or Levi appears to have married Sarrah Fibbs (Sarah Phips) in 1797.
  • 20 Feb 1795, Cabarrus Co., NC | Warrant to George Campbell for land, the description of which mentions the land of heirs of Isaac Fips. Also mentioned is Susannah Russell (as mentioned above), Fips’s corner, and Fips’s old survey. This was on Coddle Creek.
  • 1797, Cabarrus Co., NC | Levy (Levi) Russell, son of James Russell (see 1795?) married Sarrah (Sarah) Fibbs.
  • 25 Nov 1797, Cabarrus Co., NC | Marriage bond or marriage of Hugh Johnston to Hannah Fibbs
  • 1801, Cabarrus Co., NC | Levi Russell is listed, presumably the one who married Sarrah (Sarah) Fibbs.
  • 28 July 1801, Rowan Co., NC | John Fips marriage bond to Caty Dry.
  • 9 Nov 1801, Cabarrus Co., NC | Warrant to George Campbell for land adjoining Isaac Phips. The land description mentions Coddle Creek.
  • 1803, Cabarrus Co., NC | Bastardy bond involving Polly Fibbs with Samuel Martin as the father. Polly was an extremely common period nickname for Mary; was this the widow Mary from Isaac’s 1804 estate?
  • 1804, Cabarrus Co., NC | Estate of Isaac Fibbs/Phips, leaving a widow “Marey Phips alias Mary Fulham.” The family was involved with the Russell family; compare the Mecklenburg reference at 1792, above.
  • 17 Oct 1804, Cabarrus Co., NC | A jury was to apportion a widow’s third of land for Mary Fipps, “otherwise Mary Fullham.”
  • 1806, Cabarrus Co., NC | Bastardy bond involving Polly Fibbs with Robert Ross as the father. Again, Polly was an extremely common period nickname for Mary; again, was this the Mary of the 1804 estate records?
  • 3 Nov 1808, Cabarrus Co., NC | Warrant issued to Alexander Patterson for land adjoining Martin Phips.
  • 16 June 1810, Cabarrus Co., NC | Marriage bond or marriage of Thomas Martin to Jean Phipps.
  • 16 May 1820, Cabarrus Co., NC | Warrant issued to William Collins (Callens? See the last post.) for land adjoining Isaac Fips, deceased.

See also:

Fibbs, Phips, Phipps, Fips: All the Same in North Carolina

The family of Isaac Phips of Cabarrus County, North Carolina is outlined in an online family group sheet. That data seems to either contain some issues or raise some questions, however. For one, the sheet says that Isaac died about 1778, but an estate file exists for an Isaac in that county, dated 1804.

The sheet says that Isaac was born in Virginia and lists all his children as born in North Carolina except for one, listed as born in Pennsylvania. (Siblings, one born the previous year and another born two years later, are both listed as born in North Carolina.) Notes refer to land deeds in Guilford County, North Carolina, but with notations to the effect that these records are not proven to pertain to the same person.

As mentioned, however, a probate file does exist for Isaac Phips, also known as Fibbs, dated 1804 in Cabarrus County, North Carolina. That file refers to the family as both Fibbs and as Phips. Isaac Fibbs or Phips’s widow is identified as Marey Fulham.

One record reads as follows:

Cabarrus County Court
to the Sheriff of Said County
you are hereby commanded to Summon twelve good and Lawfull Men connected with the Parties neither by consanguinity or affinity and entirely disinterested to allot the lay of the Dower for the widow & relect of Isaac Fibbs deceased viz: One third part of the Land of which the Said Isaac Fibbs died Seized and possessed of in this County and to make a Return of Such their proceedings to our next County Court to be held on the third Monday in January next.
herein fail not and have you then & there this writ witness John Simianer Clerk of our Said Court at office the third Monday in October Ao. Do. 1804 & in the twenty ninth year of our Independence.

[signed:] John Simianer C C [Court Clerk]

Another document pertains to the survey of land belonging to Isaac. That document contains a small inset map in the upper left corner, captioned “Laid Down by a Seal of a 100 Poles to the Inch. -” The oddly bounded 7-sided shape of the land is labeled as what appears to be “Marey Phips” and “106 acres.” The accompanying text says,

State of North Carolina
Cabarrus County
Surveyd. the 11th of March – 1805 – for Marey Phips – the Widow and relix of – Isaac Phips, one hundred & Six acres, it being Subdivided from a Tract of Land belonging to the Said Isaac Phips of 319 acres Lying on the West Side of Caddel Creek Joining to William Collens [or Callins?]. Begining at a Post Oak by a Pond then Runing No. 5. Et. [i.e. East] 72 poles to a Hickory a [? (looks like Littel)] to the West of the Corner of the Fence thence No. 44. Et. 70 poles to a Black Jack to the North of the Fence thence – Running Threw the field So. 401. [or 40?] Et. 70 poles to Hickory then No. 66. Et. 52 poles to a Stake then So. 37. Et. [qr.?] [pol.?] to a Stake On or near the Old line then With Said Line – So. 66. Wt. 100 poles to a [Red?] oak one of the Old Corners then with a nother of the Old lines No. 79. [Wt.?] 117 poles to the Begining

[signed:] Geo. Alexander [(unclear abbreviations)]

Hugh Ross
James Callens [or Collins?] C. B. [i.e. chain bearers]

The above was attached to another document:

North Carolina
Cabarrus County
March The 11th 1805
We the under signed Jurors apointed to Lay off the dower of the widow and Relix of Isaac Fibbs do agree upon our Oath that it Shall be in manner and form following viz Begining at a Post Oak by a pond & runs No. 5. Et. 7[? (page torn or eaten)] to a hickory a [little?] to the West of the Corner of the fence then No. 4[? (page torn or eaten)] 70 poles to a Black Jack, to the [No.?] of the fence then running Th[rew?(page torn or eaten)] the field So. 400 [or 40?] Et. 70 poles to a hickory thence No. 66. Et. 52 poles to to [sic] a Stake, thence So. [37?]. Et. [qr.?] poles to a Stake on or Near the Old line, thence With Said line So. 66. Wt. 100 poles to a [red?] Oak, one of the Old Corners then With a nother of the Old lines No. 79. Wt. 117 poles to the Begining

Containin [sic] one hundred & Six acres which is the one third of the Land of which he the Said Isaac Fibbs died possessed of in the County Given under our hands and Seals The day and year first above written

James Smith (Seal)
James Creaton (Seal)
frances Ross (Seal)
Will young (Seal)
James Callen (Seal)
[?] Ross (Seal)
Charles Campbell (Seal)
William Callen (Seal)
John Callen (Seal)
Moses Lenander [or Senander?] (Seal)
Robt. Scott (Seal)
[Nat.?] Alexander (Seal)

The back of the above reads:

Return of the Jury
of the Dowery of –
Marey Phips alias
Mary Fulham &c

The final page in the file lists expenses associated with the probate:

The amount of the Costs that acrud [i.e. accrued] in Laying off the dower of the widow and relix of Isaac Fibbs
£ S d [i.e. Pounds, Shillings, Pence]
Geo. Alexander Survayer – 1..0..0
William young Pr. [i.e. per] 3 days – at 8/Pr day 1.4.0
Charles Campbell Pr do. [i.e. ditto] do. 1.4.0
John Callans Pr do. do. 1.4.0
William Callans Pr do. do. 1.4.0
James Smith Pr do. do. 1..4..0
Robert Scott Pr do. do. 1..4..0
Francis Ross Pr do. do. 1-4-0
Hugh Ross Pr do. do. 1-4 0
Moses Alexander Pr – do. do. 1-4.0
Nathaniel Alexander Pr 2 days – 0-16-0
James Callans Pr do. do. – 0-16-0
James Crayton Pr one day – 0-8-0
For summoning the Jurys and attending on them the Sum of – 4-8-0
Total – £ 18 4 0

Polly Fibbs is the subject of Cabarrus County bastardy bond records in 1803 and 1806, according to a published abstract. In 1803, the father was Samuel Martin. In 1806 the father was Robert Ross. In 1806, the father Robert Ross was to take care of the child.

Note that Polly was an extremely common nickname for Mary. Was the Polly of the bastardy bonds the same as the “Marey” (Fulham) Fibbs or Phips of the probate records?

Note also that the Ross name appears multiple times in the probate records, although not Robert Ross. Abstracted marriage records or bonds for Cabarrus County include one for Levy Russel to Sarrah Fibbs, dated 25 November 1797, one for Hugh Johnston to Hannah Fibbs, dated 14 September 1801, and one for Jean Phipps to Thomas Martin, dated 16 June 1810.

A different family group sheet approaches this family from a different angle, that being the Russell family connection. Again, Sarrah Fibbs is supposed to have married Levy Russell in 1797.

That sheet, oddly, associates the Russell family with Rowan County, North Carolina, where Phips, Phipps, etc. family were early on, and associates them with the Mebane family. The Mebanes might not have intermarried with the Phipps family, as far as can be immediately remembered, but they were definitely around the same vicinity as the Phipps family in Guilford County, North Carolina.

In addition, past posts have noted the presence of a “Fibbs” family in Guilford County as well as a “Phipps” family. The Isaac Fibbs family was also referred to as the Isaac Phips family in his estate file.

The Russell family in the family group sheet shows up in Mecklenburg County, North Carolina records. (One must momentarily wonder about the “Phifer” surname that shows up multiple times there, but we’ll assume it’s too dissimilar and will move on.)

When Cabarrus County was formed in 1792, it was formed from Mecklenburg County. Mecklenburg, in turn, had been formed in 1762 from part of Anson County. The first county court was held in the home of Robert Russell, according to the family group sheet, in 1792. Then on 20 February 1792 came a Mecklenburg County estate settlement, according to the same sheet, for Isaac Phipps.

This is where, as has been discussed in past posts, “Sela Russell appeared and swore under oath that she heard her father and Isaac Phips bargain that her father was to have the season of the horse for two years in said bargain to one mear [i.e. mare].”

This was sworn before William Scott, described as the executor for the “I. Phipps” estate. The family group sheet refers to an “estate paper” bearing the original signature of Isaac Phipps.

This Isaac Phipps family in Mecklenburg in 1792, however, is surely related to the Isaac Fibbs/Phips family in Cabarrus County (formed from Mecklenburg) in 1804.  In Cabarrus County, the name Robert (not William) Scott appears in connection with the estate. In Mecklenburg, a Sela or Cela Russell is closely associated with the Isaac Phipps estate, and of course the Russell family is closely associated with the Isaac Fibbs/Phips estate in Cabarrus County.

This Sela or Cela would seem likely to be the Ceily, apparently a daughter, mentioned in the (1795?) will of James Russell in Mecklenburg County. That will also refers to James Russell’s son Levi, who might have been the “Levy” Russell who married Sarrah “Fibbs” in 1797 in Cabarrus.

The Ross family, which figures prominently in the Cabarrus County estate records of the Isaac Fibbs/Phips estate, also shows up in connection with the Russell family. A 1794 Cabarrus record abstracted in the same family group sheet refers to Francis Ross as guardian of Levi Russell, orphan child of James Russell, deceased.

Again, this could be the Levi or Levy who married Sarrah (Sarah) Fibbs about 3 years later. The name Francis Ross, which appears in this 1794 record, also appears in the 1804 Isaac Fibbs/Phips estate file.

Then the same sheet also refers to a Cabarrus County deed, dated 17 January 1795. This was from Susanna Russell to James Plunkett who married Agnes Houston. The deed was for land on the south side of “Coddle” Creek near Isaac Phips. Susannah received the land by means of the will of James Russell, deceased. That will mentioned his plantation and his wife Susannah. That will was also witnessed by Abijiah Alexander. Three other Alexanders appear in the Isaac Phips/Fibbs estate file.

The family group sheet document also refers to Susannah, apparently this same Susannah, as “paid account against Isaac Phipps estate.” What this means, exactly, doesn’t seem clear. This is followed by the statement “Copy of Estate settlement found in Phipps Family file in Charles A. Cannon Library, Concord, NC.”

That’s immediately followed by a reference to a son, presumably a son of James Russell and his wife Susannah. That son was Joseph Russel, born about 1770, who (it says) married Nancy Phipps.

Then, as Nancy Russell, she and her husband Joseph are said to have told land to Robert Smith on 26 August 1796, according to a Cabarrus County deed. The name James Smith appears twice in the Isaac Fibbs/Phips estate file.

The land in the deed was said to be a sixth part (so presumably divided as an inheritance) from the land of Isaac “Fips” on the south side of Coddle Creek. Notice that here is yet another variant spelling: Fips. The abstract says that the land was descended from her father Isaac Fips, although presumably this was not actually spelled out in the deed.

That deed was witnessed by Francis Ross and George Campbell, Jr. Charles Campbell appears a couple times in the Isaac Fibbs/Phips estate file, and Francis Ross, as we just noted, appears there and as the guardian of Levi Russell (who presumably married Sarrah Fibbs).

Further, Mary Russell is mentioned as evidently another child of James Russell. She is said to have been born about 1773 and to have married George Campbell. Again, Charles Campbell’s name appears a couple times in the Isaac Fibbs/Phips estate file.

Then the author returns to Levi Russell, who married Sarrah (Sarah, nicknamed Sally) Phipps (this time, early as Fibbs). It’s mentioned that he died about 1845 in Dade County, Missouri. Also mentioned is an extant marriage bond for Levi’s marriage to Sarrah (Sally) Phipps (it’s not clear if the name is spelled that way in the document). George Campbell – that name again – was security.

A bit later another Cabarrus County deed is mentioned. This deed is dated 21 December 1798 and is from Levi Russell to James “Collens.” This is surely the name which generally appears fairly clearly as “Callens” in the Isaac Fibbs/Phips estate file. There the name appears various times.

This was for land on the south side of Coddle Creek, as has been mentioned before. One of the witnesses was Elizabeth Phipps.

Then an 1803 mention from the diary of of James Patterson, from the United Methodist Church Archives in South Carolina. Here it’s mentioned that “Brother Levi Russell” preached at a camp meeting 4 “mives” (presumably miles) above the narrows of the Yadkin River.

The family group sheet notes that a “great revival” hit Cabarrus County in 1802 and affected the whole area between the Yadkin River and the Catawba River. What is not mentioned is that the camp meeting phenomenon appears to have begun right around 1799-1801, with the now legendary Cane Ridge camp meeting in Kentucky taking place in 1801.

The 1800 census for Salisbury, Cabarrus County lists Levi Russell. In the household were 1 male under 10, 1 male 16-26, 1 female under 10, and 1 female 26-45. (A blank 1800 census form is here.)

Some research questions:

  • When the family group sheet referenced above says that Isaac Fibbs/Phips was born in Virginia, is this accurate?
  • Was this family actually in Rowan County and, if so, were they also in nearby Guilford County?
  • If the answers to the above questions are yes, then did this family migrate from Virginia down into the Rowan and Guilford Counties area of North Carolina before moving further south into the Mecklenburg/Cabarrus Counties area?

More appears here:

Fitts Connections? You Be the Judge

After the last post, a book on the Fitts or Fitz family was perused, especially the section on a certain Robert Fitts, born about 1600, described as an immigrant to Virginia. That section was approach with the assumption being that he was probably not related to the Phips or Phipps or Fips family. It didn’t take long, however, to come up with some facts to make one wonder.

Those points should be prefaced by the comment that it would appear that people of the period really didn’t necessarily care how their surnames were represented. The concept that one’s name is a part of one’s self-expression is probably primarily a modern concept. Couple that with the fact that we’ve already seen what appears to be clear documentation that members of the family did go by a remarkable range of surname variations, both in the UK and in America. Perhaps that can most readily be seen in the Irish “Phibbs” and sometimes Phipps family, with all the variations that they seem to have readily assumed.

The following could easily begin to sound like the old charts listing supposedly remarkable facts pertaining to Presidents Lincoln and Kennedy. Those coincidences are now at least partly disproven (e.g. Kennedy was shot while riding in a Lincoln car, made by Ford, while Lincoln was shot in Ford’s Theatre; Lincoln had a secretary named Kennedy, and Kennedy had a secretary named Lincoln). Still, consider the following. You’ll have to be the judge.

Here are some comparisons involving two individuals. One is John Phips, the surveyor who came from England to Jamestown in 1621 along with William Harris, another surveyor. The other is Robert Fitts (also Fitt, son of Walter Fitz), who also came from England to Jamestown.

  • John Phips, the Jamestown surveyor, was born in England about 1602
  • Robert Fitts, son of Walter Fitz, was born in England about 1600
  • John Phips may have been the progenitor of the much later John Fips family of Lunenburg, Charlotte, and Pittsylvania Counties, Virginia, which was associated with a Barnes family
  • Robert Fitt or Fitts married Ann or Anne Barnes
  • John Phips came to Jamestown in 1621 on the Tyger, with his coworker William Harris coming around the same time on the George
  • Robert Fitts or Fitt came to Jamestown sometime between 1620 and 1623 on the George
  • After arrival, records show John Phips with William Harris, his coworker, and later relative Elizabeth Harris with an orphan son John Phips
  • After arrival, records show Robert Fitt with his wife Anne and with Alice Harris, described as a poor widow

Then, after some questions in the book as to whether all noted records pertain to the same Robert, a later Henry Fitts is noted as born about 1730. He is said to have moved when very young to a part of Prince George County which became Dinwiddie County.

He married Susannah Studivant, and around 1773 they moved to Warren County, North Carolina. This county is, to some extent, almost interchangeable with the short-lived Bute County, since Bute records were absorbed into Warren. Bute is where Joseph Fipps from Brunswick County, Virginia appears in the 1770s, and this is where Henry Fitts appears in the 1770s.

This Henry Fitts, when he was in Dinwiddie, was very near the boundary of Amelia County. That’s a county which we discussed extensively in connection with Phips or Fips or Phipps individuals probably related to John Fips or Phips and family of Charlotte, Pittsylvania, and Lunenburg Counties.

The Fitts book says that Henry was in Bute County, North Carolina in 1773. The book also cites from a Dinwiddie County, Virginia deed in the same year, in which Henry “Fittz” bought land in Bute. This deed was from Isaac Howell to Henry Fittz, both of Dinwiddie County, Virginia. The deed conveyed 320 acres in Bute County, North Carolina.

Note that both men were of Dinwiddie County, Virginia when Henry “Fittz” bought this land in Bute County, North Carolina. Note also that right around the same time, Joseph Fipps bought land in Bute County, North Carolina while he was “of” Brunswick County, Virginia.

But that’s not all: That land had earlier been granted to Charles Poytheress (Poythress). That’s the same surname which we’ve found directly associated with both the Phipps and Eppes or Epps families. A few years after these Bute County, North Carolina deeds, in 1784, Meredith Poythress sold land to James Phipps in Brunswick County – perhaps the same James Phipps we’ve seen in connection with John Fips of Charlotte, Lunenburg, and Pittsylvania Counties.

Note also that an earlier Prince George County grant (Dinwiddie was formed from Prince George) in 1715 gave land to John Poythress for transporting two people, one of whom was John “Phillips.” This was on the Meherrin River. Robert W. Fitz of the last post said he was born in Dinwiddie county and moved to Lunenburg County on the Meherrin River. John Phelps of Bedford, formed from Lunenburg, from which Goochland was formed, lived in an area which was Brunswick County when he arrived there, but then it became Lunenburg.

If your head is spinning at this point, you’re not alone. This is the oversimplified version.

The Dinwiddie deed, again, was to Henry Fittz of Dinwiddie County, Virginia, from a man of Dinwiddie County, Virginia for land in Bute County, North Carolina which had earlier been granted to a Poythress, with the Poythress having direct association with the Phipps and Eppes families. An adjoining property owner was Jones – a name which of course is common, but which has been very unusually commonly represented in recent research.

As already noted, Bute and Warren are, genealogically speaking, nearly interchangeable. This Bute County deed was recorded in Bute County and later in Warren County.

This Henry Fitts or Fittz, by the way, had a son Oliver who married yet another Harris. He also had a daughter Nancy, who had a son Oliver Braume, born 1802 who married a Cabiniss. This is the surname we’ve noted earlier, which pops up in slight variations in several places.

One place is in the marriage of William Cabiness or Cabeness to Elizabeth Phipps in Brunswick County, Virginia, apparently in the 1830s. Another is in the 1732 Jamaica and North Carolina will of Rebecca Shute. That will mentions her plantation in Cape Fear, North Carolina and was witnessed by George Cavaniss, but also by John Phipps and Jacob Phipps. We’ve noted Jamaica connections, of course, repeatedly.

What does all this mean, or does it mean anything? You be the judge.

A Fitts/Fitz Family Which Appears Related

A certain Tandy Walker was born about 1760-1761, apparently in Virginia. He is said to have been the son of an earlier Tandy Walker, born about 1742, who married Sarah Cargill. That Tandy Walker was said to have been a son of an earlier Tandy Walker, born about 1714, who married Judith Langford.

John Phips or Fips appears with Tandy Walker in tax lists in Lunenburg County, Virginia in 1748 and 1750. If the birth years for these 3 successive men named Tandy Walker were at least approximately correct, then obviously the Tandy Walker associated with John Phips or Fips would have been the earliest one. This is the one who was born about 1714 and who married Judith, said to have been Judith Langford.

That Tandy Walker was still living in 1747. That is when he and his wife Judith sold 460 acres in Goochland County to Edmund Epes (Eppes or Epps) in 1747. We’ve discussed Eppes connections and Goochland County connections on numerous occasions.

The oldest Tandy Walker died by 1752. That’s when Judith, who called herself the widow of Tandy Walker, deceased, wrote a will. In that will, she names her son Tandy Walker, Jr.

Judith is said to have then remarried, to Cornelius Cargill. In 1745, Cornelius Cargill and John “Phelps” (as abstracted) were among those who took the oath of justice of the peace in Lunenburg County. Then again, in 1749, Cornelius Cargill and John “Phelps” were among those who took the same oath in the same county. This time they were joined by Peter Fontaine and Liddal Bacon (names we’ve discussed), along with a Stokes and a Bolling (surnames we’ve discussed). John Fips or Phips was apparently an overseer for Peter Fontaine.

The Langford surname, as is claimed for Judith, the wife of Tandy Walker, also appears in Warren County, North Carolina. In 1781 in that county, Thomas Poythress served as a bondsman for the marriage of a George Langford to Pattsy Mallary. Poythress is the name we’ve discussed which has been closely associated with both the Phips and Eppes families. Warren County is the county that absorbed the records of the now extinct Bute County, where records of a Joseph Phips from Brunswick County, Virginia were found.

The oldest of the men named Tandy Walker is assumed to have been the brother of Sylvanus Walker. Both appear in Lunenburg County, Virginia records. As abstracted, a 1760 deed shows that Sylvanus Walker, Jr. bought land in Lunenburg County from James Burton (note the Burton surname). Note that the older Tandy Walker appears to have been living in Henrico County, Virginia in 1737 when he bought land in Goochland County. Then in 1747, while living in Lunenburg County, he and his wife Judith sold land in Goochland County to an Eppes – Edmund “Epes.”

As we’ve discussed recently, Goochland was formed from Henrico. In 1742, Joseph and Benjamin Fipps were minor orphans bound to Josiah Burton (the Burton name again) in Goochland County. In 1760, Sylvanus Walker, Jr. bought land from James Burton. The George Reeves who was the father in law of Samuel Phips, Jr. of Ashe County, North Carolina (both men were earlier in Wilkes County) was an Eppes heir who married a Burton. Again, Tandy Walker appears with John Phips or Fips on the same property in Lunenburg County in 1748 and 1750.

Then there was a Tandy Walker FITTS, son of Robert Walker Fitts (whose name appears as FITZ on his tombstone). Tandy Walker Fitts was born 22 August 1788. That’s according to his tombstone, which appears to be a modern rather than period tombstone. That Tandy Walker Fitts married, as his 2nd wife, Sarah BURTON, born 24 June 1797. They’re buried in the FITTS Cemetery (not Fips) in Pittsylvania County, Virginia.

That Sarah Burton is said to have been a daughter of Hutchins Burton of Halifax County, Virginia. As noted in a recent post, Hutchins Burton was supposedly the father of Richard Burton who married Mary Pleasants, with Richard having lived in Wilkes County, North Carolina, where George Reeves and Samuel Phips or Fips were also living.

That Richard Burton is supposed to have been the father of John Pleasants Burton who lived in Ashe County, North Carolina and who then moved to Lawrence County, Indiana, as did some of the descendants of Samuel Phips.

That Richard is also supposed to have been the father of Jane Burton who married George Reeves of Wilkes County, North Carolina and later Grayson County, Virginia as his 2nd wife. Samuel Phips of Wilkes and then Ashe County then shows up as George’s heir when the latter died in Grayson County in 1811.

Robert Walker FITZ, the father of Tandy Walker FITTS, was born in 1755 according to his tombstone. (Again, it looks like a later tombstone.) He is buried in the same cemetery in Pittsylvania County, Virginia. He is said to have been born in Dinwiddie County, Virginia and to have died in 1840 in Pittsylvania County.

Robert W. Fitz, according to his Revolutionary War pension application (see transcription of part of it, here), was living in Mecklenburg County, Virginia in 1832. He was asked when and where he was born. He answered, “In Dinwidie [i.e. Dinwiddie] County Virginia In or about the year 1755 or 56.” Dinwiddie was formed from Prince George, and Prince George from Charles City County.

When asked where he lived after the war, he replied that he was currently living in Mecklenburg County, but that he had also been living in Halifax County. In addition, fellow soldiers testified on his behalf and said that “he was Borned in the County of Dinwidie [Dinwiddie] Virginia and partly raised there – from thence moved to Lunenburg on the Maherring [Meherrin]  river, from thence to the County of Mecklenburg from thence to the County of Halifax Va. from thence to Mecklenburg Va. again and is now living in said county.”

Note that although Fitz himself didn’t mention living in Lunenburg County, testimony by others make it clear that he did live there. A Lunenburg County deed from 1750 shows a later Fitz as apparently still living in Lunenburg County. That was a deed from Richard Witton to Henry Isbell which, as abstracted, refers to the north fork of “Twitty’s Creek,” land bounded by “Fitz’s line on the main creek.” A witness was yet another Harris.

A query from about 3 years ago refers to the Fitts family in the Virginia counties of Halifax, Lunenbug, Mecklenburg, and Pittsylvania. Specific interest was expressed in Tandy Fitts and Walker Fitts who are said to have moved from Halifax County, Virginia to Georgia prior to 1800. They are said to have then lived in the Georgia counties of Oglethorpe, Madison, and Elbert.

A forum post from 2003 focuses on a George Hampton, said to be a mulatto son of John Adams Hampton/Peggy Fitz from Pittsylvania County, Virginia, in the “Cascade area.” Cascade is the location of the Fitts Cemetery where Tandy Walker Fitts and his father Robert Walker Fitz are buried. This is rather late, however. Apparently a sister of this George was born in the 1880s.

The Tandy Walker Fitts who was a son of Robert Walker Fitz would appear to be the man who is listed in the 1850 census as Tandy Fitts. The family was living in Pittsylvania County, Virginia.

1850 Census, the Southern District, Pittsylvania County, Virginia, 25 October 1850, with a page break after Sarah:


  • Tandy Fitts, 63 [b. abt 1787], M, race W, farmer, real est. $4800, b. VA
  • Sarah H. Fitts, 50 [b. abt 1800], F, VA
  • Tandy W. Fitts, 23 [b. abt 1827], M, NC
  • Landford Fitts, 15 [b. abt 1835], M, VA, attended school
  • Edyth J. [or I.?] Fitts, 15 [b. abt 1835], M, NC, attended school


  • Allen H. Fitts, 25 [b. abt 1825], M, farmer, $1000, NC
  • Harriett A. Fitts, 25 [b. abt 1825], M, VA
  • John H. Fitts, 3 [b. abt 1847], M, VA
  • Tandy R. Fitts, 1 [b. abt 1849], M, VA

Note that the family appears to have been living in North Carolina sometime around 1825-1827, when sons Tandy W. and Allen H. Fitts were born. Note also the appearance of the name Landford, presumably an error or variant for Langford (or vice versa).

It would seem likely that this Fitts or Fitz family must have been related, and perhaps was the same family as the Fips, Phips, Phipps, Fipps, etc. family. Note the references to Halifax County, Virginia. (This county also figures prominently in Reeves/Reaves and Eppes/Epps connections.) We noted earlier a Phillips family there which looks as though it could have been of the same family as Fips, Phips, etc.

Secondary/unconfirmed sources refer to a Phillips family which appears to have emanated from Prince George County, Virginia. This is the same county mentioned above as the predecessor to Dinwiddie County, where Robert W. Fitz was born, with Prince George having come from Charles City County, a county we’ve mentioned earlier with Phips/Fips etc. connections.

Those sources also refer to this Phillips family as being related to other family members in Brunswick and Lunenburg Counties, locations closely associated with the Phipps, Phips, Fips, etc. family, with earlier ancestors in Charles City County. This Phillips family also had dealings with the Poythress family, the same family we’ve discussed as having had direct involvement with the Phips or Phipps family as well as the Eppes or Epps family.

A tentative working hypothesis, that perhaps additional research could either affirm or overturn, is that these Phillips, Fitts, and Fitz families were simply parts of the same whole – that composite known as Phipps, Fips, Phips, Phripp, Fipps, Fipp, Phyps, (not to mention the Phreep and Streep that are also claimed), etc. That’s not what everyone wants to hear, necessarily, because for decades genealogists haven’t wanted to even glance at records associated with such spellings. This may well be the crucial factor, however, that has precluded solving the mystery of the “Phipps” origins in previous decades.

On another note, and back to the oldest of the 3 men named Tandy Walker at the start of this post: He could be assumed to have been a solid citizen, but we don’t actually know that. It’s been remarked in earlier posts that some members of the Phips or Fipps or Phipps family of Ashe County, North Carolina seem to have exhibited criminal elements about as soon as they appeared in Owen County, Indiana.

That suggests that such activities must have gone on earlier, back in North Carolina, although they don’t clearly surface in the records (except for some vague “trespass” and assault records and the like). In Owen County, Phips/Fipps family members and associates seem to have even infiltrated local government to a certain extent.

All of this is noted as a sort of preface to an excerpt from the Revolutionary War pension application for the last of the 3 Tandy Walkers, as noted above. Even today that later Tandy Walker is referred to as the black sheep of the family. Was his behavior really an anomaly in his family, or could his grandfather have exhibited shady behavior as well, with it just not mentioned in the records? If so, then – who knows? – perhaps the following could have some relevance to understanding John Phips or Fips, who was associated with this Tandy’s grandfather.

Tysons 26th [or 25th?] June 1823

Dear Sir

In answer to your Letter of the 16th Inst. [i.e. instant] I think I can safely say that I am sufficiently acquainted with the condition of Tandy Walker to give you pretty full information. He came to this Country about 1785 or 6 and I have known him very well for more than 20 years past.

Soon after he came from Virginia he took up with a Sally Hinton a daughter of the Mr. Hinton who lived on the road near where Mrs. McLean now lives. They lived together & had children. They could not marry for he had a wife living in Virginia. Sally Hinton at the death of her father got one or two Negroes or perhaps some other property. Walker who never had much property & who was always involved in Law on both the civil and criminal sides of the dockets of Chatham & Moore [Counties], after the death of his wife thought it safest for many years not to marry the woman he lived with, fearing that her property would have to go to satisfy the demands against him. Some five or six years ago, however, they were married, but previous to the marriage some sort of marriage settlement (or conveyance to Trustees) of her property was made. This conveyance it was said was hastily or unskilfully drawn, but still no one called it in question, all believed the property was secured against claims that might come [page break] against Walker, and last winter Executions were taken out against his body and he took the benefit, of the act of insolvency in this County & was discharged from prison. Philip Atston [or Alston?] the Admr. of John A Ramsey had at that time a Judgment against Walker for several hundred Dollars and took out an Execution against his goods, and directed the sheriff of Moore to levy on the above mentioned Negroes and to sell, & agreed to indemnify the sheriff. Walker or some one forbade the sale on the [day?], but they were sold & purchased by Mr. J. B. Kelly the Lawyer, who I understand has them in possession. Since that a small Execution went out against him for state fees only, & no property [? (looks like “unto”)] found, & the County has had to pay it out of the county funds. So that I fully believe Walker is at this time really insolvent, and I also fully believe that the attempt made to cover the property, was solely to guard him against the sheriff & Constables, and with no eye to the pension Law. Indeed I think it probable that the conveyance I have spoken of, was made before the passage of the act of Congress under which he claims, but can say nothing with any certainty on this point.

I intended to have wrote you about this time [page break] to enquire if you had heard any thing from Messrs. John Taylor and sons of N. York on the subject of Mrs. McNairs Legacy. The poor woman is needy and often calling on me for information. I am somewhat surprised that they never [answered?] my Letter. If you have not heard from them I may jogg their memory and tell them I hoped to hear from them. I hope they will write to you if not to me

I am Dear sir most respectfully your s[e? (for servant?)]
A. M. Bry[de?]

The following is apparently from the back of this letter:

John [Hasken? or Huske?] Esquire
President of the U.S. Bank
N. C.

Phelps Equals Phips, Especially in Lunenburg Co., VA?

In reference to the last couple posts, it should be noted that there appears to be a vast amount of information on the Phelps or Felps family or families. Of that data, probably the majority appear to consist of simply records involving people named Phelps or Felps, with no recognizable associated surnames and no clear reason to connect them with the Phips or Fips or Phipps family.

Some of those records do, however, contain enough similarities to Phips or Fips or Phipps records in terms of such factors as place designations, time periods, and associated surnames, that further investigation might be warranted. Again, it’s a matter of probability: If enough of such factors coalesce, it might be a worthwhile research pursuit.

One factor that seems immediately apparent is that, like the Phipps, Fips, Phips family, some of the Phelps, Felps family were highly geographically mobile. Another factor is that they lived in many of the same places.

In addition to the places listed in the last post, we could add additional places, such as Jamestown, Virginia, Charlotte County, Virginia, Charles City County, Virginia, Rowan County, North Carolina, and Orange County, North Carolina.

We could also add Barbados, Jamaica, and other points in the Caribbean. There was even one, a Thomas Phelps, who was a sea captain sailing between Bristol, England, where Sir William Phips was supposedly from, to Barbados.

Not only did some of the Phelps, Felps family live in some of the same places, but some of them followed similar or related migration trails. Some of the Phelps, Felps family, for instance, appear to have left Goochland County, Virginia and to have come into the Lunenburg County area.

Another factor is associated surnames, surnames that have appeared in connection with the Phipps, Phips, Fips family either directly or indirectly or both. One might think that indirect associations don’t matter. Certainly they could be coincidence, but if enough of the same ones recur repeatedly enough, it eventually suggests likelihood of a connection, based on the laws of probability.

The Cocke family comes up in association with the Poythress and Eppes families we’ve discussed as having either direct or indirect involvement with the Phips or Fips family. The Cocke family was also involved and intermarried with the Pleasants family, which we’ve also discussed in recent posts, associated through the Burton family. These names come up in Phelps/Felps records discussed below.

Another family that was unnoticed, at first, in connection with the Phips, Fips, etc. family in southeast and south-central Virginia is the Jones family. An American cliche is that Smith and Jones are the most common surnames. It was only after it was realized that the Jones surname had popped up countless times in research, that it was realized that there might be some specific significance to this name in association with the Fips or Phips family. The Jones name shows up in connection with the Phelps, Felps family as well.

The Coleman family has also been noted in connection with some of the Phelps, Felps family as well as the Phipps or Phips family. We’ve noted direct Coleman connections involving the Phipps association with the estate of Frederick Ford in Amelia County, Virginia. We’ve also noted direct Coleman connections involving the Phipps or Phips family which also tie in Warren County, North Carolina. Warren, you’ll remember, was created from the now-extinct county of Bute, where we found records of a Joseph Fipps of Brunswick County, Virginia.

Other associated names as discussed in prior posts include Walker (as in Tandy Walker, directly associated with John Fips or Phips in Lunenburg County, Virginia) and Neal/Neil (involved in the Frederick Ford estate in Amelia County, Virginia in association with the Fips or Phipps family). The Barnes family appears in Charlotte County, Virginia records in connection with the estate of John Fips, who died there in 1768. These are also names that have been associated with the Phelps or Felps family.

Certainly it would have made it easier if all “Phipps” ancestors would have adhered to “Phipps” (or some other) spelling variation, and if they would have had more of a tendency to stay put. That wasn’t the way it was, however. Prior research seems to have been greatly hindered by several factors: (1) adherence to groundless genealogical claims, (2) reluctance to believe that distant families could connect, and (3) refusal to consider such spelling variations as Phelps or Phillips or Phripp.

It may be the last of these factors, in particular, which has absolutely precluded this research mystery to be finally cracked. Certainly taking Phelps and Phillips (or Felps and Philips) records into account adds to the work and, until it’s sorted out, it may also add to the confusion.

But that’s the situation, as it is. To wish it wasn’t that way is to probably cause the mystery to remain a mystery.

Certainly not all Phelps, Felps records pertain to the same family as Phipps, Phips, Fips, etc. Some of them could, however, and it appears likely that some of them do.

The idea that Phipps could be Phelps could be Phripp could be Fips, etc., etc., is probably foreign to most modern people’s thinking, but such surname variations were not at all foreign to people of the 17th and 18th centuries.

Apparently they just didn’t care, and many of them couldn’t spell anyway. It was a time when some adults didn’t even know when, exactly, they were born (or where). We don’t like that, because it makes research more difficult, but it was a fact of life.

Even in more modern times, such factors still come up. A “Bernhard” family which came from Switzerland to Illinois in the mid-19th century, for example, quickly took on the spelling “Bernhart,” before settling on “Bernhardt.”

A son who moved to Ohio, however, was always known in Ohio records as “Benhardt.” No one knows why. From 1900 until his death in 1930, he was consistently known in Ohio records as “Benhardt.” He maintained close relatives with his parents and siblings in Missouri and Illinois who called themselves “Bernhardt.”

Here are a few records to consider. This information, for the most part, is unconfirmed and comes from abstracts and secondary sources. These are just a few examples. Again, these MIGHT have been of the same family as Fips/Phips:

  • 5 Feb 1732, Goochland Co., VA | Deed from John Felps of St. James Parish to James Cocke of Henrico County. (Note the Cocke surname as well as the Goochland location.)
  • 17 June 1735, Goochland Co., VA | Deed (apparently Goochland) involving James Nevill of Goochland, witnessed by George Carrington, Joseph Hooper and John Phelps. (Note the Carrington surname. Paul Carrington’s name appears multiple times in records of the estate of the John Fips who died in 1768 in Charlotte County. Note the Hooper surname. The 1749 Amelia County tax list shows John Phips living with Nathaniel “Harolson,” presumably the Nathaniel Harrelson who had a Hooper as a bondsman or witness when he married in 1821. A Hooper was also involved with a Cocke in a 1746 Goochland County record.)
  • 2 Nov 174[1?], Goochland Co., VA | Deed from John Phelps and wife Mary to Robert Baber of Caroline County; witnesses included William Cockerham. (Note the Cockerham surname and something of a connection from Goochland to Caroline. The Cockerhams were directly and prominently involved earlier with the orphan John Phips, son of Elizabeth Harris, in Surry County, Virginia.)
  • 27 July 1744, Brunswick Co., VA | Deed from James Johnston of Brunswick County to John Mead of the same, witnessed by (among others) John Phelps and Robert Baber. The Baber connection shows that this Phelps was likely related to the Phelps family of Goochland County. (Note the Brunswick location, with apparent connection to Goochland.)
  • 5 May 1745, Lunenburg Co., VA | The county was formed, and those who took the oath of justice of the peace included Cornelius Cargill and John “Phelps.” John Fips appears with Tandy Walker in Lunenburg County tax lists in 1748 and 1750; when Tandy Walker Sr. died in 1750 or 1751, his widow remarried in 1751 to Cornelius Cargill.
  • Before 1747, Goochland Co., VA | William Phelps was married to Nancy Nail, said to be a variant spelling of Neal or Neil. (Note the Neil, Neal surname, as well as the Goochland location.)
  • Feb 1747, Goochland Co., VA | Will of John Phelps mentions land next to John Pleasants, witnessed by James Barnes. (Note the Pleasants and Barnes surnames, as well as the Goochland location.)
  • 6 June 1748, Lunenburg Co., VA | Road ordered from John Phelps’s Mill, with “the said” John Phelps appointed surveyor “from his Mill” to “the fforks” of Seneca. (Note yet another mill and yet another surveyor appointment; a similar order but in Amelia County, dated 1751, had John Phips work on a road near “his mill.”)
  • 5 June 1749, Lunenburg Co., VA | Several men were sworn as justices of the peace. These included names associated with the Fips, Phips family in Lunenburg: David Stokes, Cornelius Cargill, Thomas Bolling, Liddal Bacon, Peter Fontaine (John Fips or Phips was listed with the latter in a Lunenburg tax list). Also listed is “John Phelps.”
  • Oct 1749, Lunenburg Co., VA | Several men were elected as vestrymen for Cumberland Parish. These included names associated with the Fips family in Lunenburg: Peter Fontaine, Jr., Clement Read. Also listed is “John Phelps.”
  • 1 July 1760, Lunenburg Co., VA | Deed from William Phelps of Cumberland Parish, Lunenburg County to John Jeffries of the same, witnessed by William Jones and Samuel Phelps and Christopher Coleman. (Note the Jones and Coleman surnames as well as the Lunenburg location.)
  • 17 Jan 1763, Cumberland Co., VA | Deed from Patrick Corner of Buckingham County to Samuel Phelps of Cumberland County, a plantation on the Appomattox River, with William Walker as one of the witnesses. (Note the Walker surname; Cumberland was formed from Goochland.)
  • 1800, Caswell Co., NC | An Ambrose Phelps appears in the census, said to be a son of James Phelps and to have moved to Pulaski County, Kentucky by 1810. Caswell County was formed from Orange County, and a later Ambrose Phipps, apparently son of Dudley Phipps, was in Orange and later Granville Counties, North Carolina, beginning in 1850, with Dudley earlier in Wake County. Note the Pulaski County, Kentucky reference: Littleberry Phipps, father of John Witcher Phipps, was in Surry County, North Carolina, then Pulaski County, Kentucky, then in Lawrence County, Indiana. (See the Lawrence County references in the last post.) James Fips of Pittsylvania County, Virginia, who married Sarah, is said to have died in Pulaski County, Kentucky.

For more information:

John Phelps: Father of Samuel Phips?

There’s more to add to the last post. For one thing, it should be noted that Albemarle County came out of Goochland County, and that Buckingham County came out of Albemarle County. We’ll come back to that shortly.

For another thing, the last post (and other recent posts) noted the probability of Phips or Fips or Phipps records lying buried under an unexpected spelling variation. It appears that one (and a major one) might possibly have been found. And the two issues – Buckingham County and a spelling variation – appear to overlap.

Various web pages posted by genealogists refer to a Phelps or Felps family with some uncanny similarities to the Phips, Phipps, Fips, etc. family. Great progress has made the last few months by discarding more conventional genealogical techniques and focusing on associated families. This approach has proved useful for three reasons:

(1) This isn’t your typical family. More typical genealogical research assumes a much less mobile family. Wild, sudden connections back and forth between England and Virginia, or between Virginia and the Caribbean, or among various North Carolina and Virginia counties, is not the norm among other families, but it certainly is with this one. (2) Looking at associated families has provided clues as to places and sources where research might prove fruitful. (3) Looking at associated families, and applying rough guesstimates as to probability, may be the only way to ever get past the surname variation brick wall. If a family isn’t “Phipps” per se, but was associated with the same associated families, lived in some of the same places, and shared very similar circumstances, then there just might be high likelihood that the family really is “Phipps” (or Phripp, or Fipps, or Fips, or Phips, or Phibbs, or…)

Captain (and this designation is a factor which should ring a bell by now, if by that we mean sea captain) John Phelps is supposed to have been born in 1772 in Bedford County. This is a county which was formed in 1753 from parts of Lunenburg County, a county we’ve discussed on numerous occasions.

There was evidently another John Phelps who died in Goochland County in 1747. Genealogists have noted that both were associated with the same Baber family. One genealogist notes that they “were neighbors both in Goochland in Bedford . . . . ” It’s been suggested that these two individuals named John Phelps might have been father and son.

Some of the strongest evidence that this Phelps family might have been a Fips/Phips family comes from some of the surnames most noticeably associated with this Phelps family, those being Cocke, Coleman, and Barnes. Those are names we’ve discussed of late regarding the Fips, Phips, etc. family.

In addition – and this seems potentially even more compelling – there was a direct connection to someone named John Pleasants. We’ve discussed this very name in a very recent post (yesterday). It is presumably because of a connection to John Pleasants that the Burton family named one of its own members John Pleasants Burton. This is the individual who came into Ashe County, North Carolina, and then moved to Lawrence County, Indiana, as did some of Samuel Phips’s descendants, plus, evidently, descendants of John Fips of Lunenburg and Charlotte Counties, Virginia.

The Phelps or Felps family also had direct dealings with the Cocke family, a name which has surfaced repeatedly in our recent research. The Cocke family with whom they dealt had direct and close involvement with the Pleasants family. The name has come up in association with Poythress, epps, and Phips/Phripp etc. families.

They also had dealings with the Coleman family, which is another name which has surfaced in our recent research. The Coleman name has surfaced in connection with the 1786 Frederick Ford will in nearby Amelia County.

We discussed Burwell and Solomon Coleman, the Amelia County Minuteman, with direct involvement with Frederick Ford’s estate. Frederick Ford’s will, you will recall, was witnessed by John and Tabitha Phipps.

There was also a 1785 deed from Solomon Coleman to John Phipps. Another record from Amelia County, dated 1786, associates Burwell Coleman and John Neill, both of whom were associated with Frederick Ford, with John “Phillips,” likely a spelling variation (or simply a misspelling) for Phipps or Phips. (We could say much more about this, but you get the gist.)

Of course, any recurrence of names, especially if they’re common surnames, could just be a matter of coincidence. But when a composite of several surnames, especially surnames that are more unusual, are combined with the right places and the right time periods, at some point the scales are tipped in the direction of probability.

You can be the judge as to the likelihood of this Phelps family being the same family as the “Phips” (or similar) family. There’s no point in wasting time on a wild goose chase.

Some DNA data regarding the Phelps family is available, but whether it matches that of the Fips or Phips family or whether it doesn’t, of course one has to trust the (usually) unseen pedigree of the individual claiming to be descended from a particular Phelps. In addition, in any family it’s possible for two men to be raised as brothers in the same household and to think of themselves as blood brothers and, still, to have disparate DNA.

The 1747 will of John Phelps, Sr. in Goochland County (the Fipps orphans were bound there in 1742) refers specifically to John Pleasants, as well as his son John Phelps, Jr. He also mentions his grandchildren John, Mary, and Sarah.

More fully, that 1747 will names Margaret, wife of John Helps, sons John, Samuel and William, and grandchildren John, Mary, and Sarah.

An additional Dorothy Learwood is mentioned, but not identified as to her relationship. The Learwoods were closely associated with the Stovalls, and a Stovall lived next door to a Harris (that name yet again) in Amelis County, but nothing about the Learwoods seems definite. The Stovall name has come up before, and recently, but where?

The will was witnessed by a Barnes, and we’ve discussed the Barnes connection.

Is there any possibility that the Samuel Phelps named in the 1747 will could have been the so-far elusive Samuel Phips, Sr., apparently the father of Samuel Phips who died in 1854 in Ashe County, North Carolina? The two (Samuel Jr. and Samuel Sr.) are listed together in the 1780s in Montgomery County, Virginia, but the older man has never been located in earlier records. Could this be him?

Again, let it be emphasized that we don’t know for sure if this is a variant of the same surname at all.

One Phelps/Felps page refers to some major early trends. John of Goochland (d. 1747), it is noted, appears in what’s now Cumberland Co. Again, Cumberland came out of Goochland. Later it’s noted, “One can follow his sons William and Samuel into Lunenburg records.”

Then reference is made to John Phelps of Bedford County (again, formed from Lunenburg), who first appeared in Henrico County records. This is the county from which Goochland County sprang. He sold land to Thomas Phelps, Sr.

The same page notes that “His area of Bedford was first Brunswick Co. at his arrival and then became Lunenburg from 1746-1754.” This should immediately ring a bell if you’ve been following this blog. We’ve referred to both Lunenburg and Brunswick, especially Brunswick, on countless occasions.

In connection with this family, genealogists also refer to a William Phelps, who died in 1749 in Albemarle County, and a Thomas Phelps of Albemarle County. Albemarle County was created in 1744 from part of Goochland County.

Regarding Buckingham County, which again came out of Albemarle which came out of Goochland, we’ve noted in the past that a Judith Pendleton was supposedly born there in 1751. She married a John Harris.

Of course, we’ve noted a number of Harris connections, beginning with the work of John Phips and William Harris as Virginia surveyors in Jamestown in 1621. Another Pendleton in the same county, James Pendleton, supposedly born the same year, is supposed to have married Mary Ann Phipps, daughter of Robert Phipps, in 1771.

In addition, in Buckingham County in 1804, a Jones Phipps was supposedly mentioned in a surveyor’s plat book. As was noted in an earlier post, a discussion forum post says that this Jones Phipps may have also been known as PHELPS.

We don’t know, at this point, if this Phelps family was the same as the Phips or Fips or Phipps etc. family. Whether researching this family would be worthwhile might be based on probability. Let’s consider the following circumstantial evidence:

  • One of the individuals named John Phelps was “Capt.” John Phelps, which might indicate a maritime connection, as has been the case with various Phips individuals, as well as members of associated families
  • Some of the Phelps family were in Caswell County, North Carolina, Rowan County, North Carolina, Goochland County, Virginia, Buckingham County, Virginia, and Grayson County, Virginia, Halifax County, Virginia, Brunswick County, Virginia, and Lunenburg County, Virginia – all places that we’ve associated with the Phipps or Fips etc. family
  • A John Felps lived in Cumberland County, Virginia (formed from Goochland County) and moved to Lunenburg County in 1755; this is where John Fips or Phips shows up before he did in 1768 in Charlotte County
  • Some of the family were slaveholders, as were the Fips or Phips family
  • They were associated with John Pleasants, and a Burton closely related to the Phips family was John Pleasants Burton
  • They were associated with the Barnes family as was the Phips/Fips family
  • They were associated with the Cocke family, a name which has come up repeatedly in recent Fips or Phipps research, and the Cocke family married into the Pleasants family
  • A John Phelps was an Anglican vestryman in Lunenburg County, as were Fips or Phips associates
  • There’s even yet another indirect Thomas Jefferson connection: John Phelps of Lunenburg County appears to have served as a burgess with Peter Jefferson, who would become the father of Thomas Jefferson with, again, George Washington somewhat distantly but still definitely in the background through association

For more information:

A Goochland Rehash

The last post noted that if the unconfirmed Burton genealogies are right (or right enough), then this has far-reaching implications for researching the genealogy of the Phips/Phipps family of Ashe County, North Carolina.

Samuel Phips or Phipps and George Reeves or Reaves both lived in Wilkes County, North Carolina prior to the 1800 census. Samuel Phips of Ashe County, North Carolina then shows up as George Reeves’s heir in Grayson County, Virginia when the latter died in 1811.

Earlier, in 1742, two Fipps orphans in Goochland County, Virginia were bound to Josiah Burton.

George Reeves’s second wife appears to have been a Jane Burton. According to the unconfirmed Burton genealogies, as noted in the last post, this Josiah Burton and Richard Burton, the father of Jane Burton, were first cousins. This relationship isn’t proven, as far as is known, but is claimed and does appear to be supported with ample circumstantial evidence.

If so, then the likelihood of it being coincidence that a Burton directly associated with the Goochland County, Virginia orphans being that closely related to a Burton fairly directly associated with Samuel Phips, Jr. of Ashe County, North Carolina would surely be small indeed.

This would suggest, based on probability, that the orphans in Goochland County, Virginia in 1742 were probably related to Samuel Phips of Ashe County, North Carolina. (Ample additional connections have been traced in earlier posts, too many to suggest much likelihood of coincidence being the explanatory factor.)

Here is a reprise of some of what we know about Goochland County as far as the Phips or Fips etc. family is concerned, plus a few other directly relevant records from elsewhere. Note that various posts in the past referred to additional connections to Goochland County involving closely associated families.

Note that, for genealogical purposes, a close link exists between Goochland and other counties, due to boundary changes, but that’s especially the case with regard to Henrico County.

  • 1634, Henrico Shire, VA | Henrico became one of the 8 original Virginia shires
  • 1692, Henrico Co., VA | Nowell Hunt Burton supposedly was born; he supposedly became a planter of Goochland County and fathered Josiah Burton to whom the Fipps orphans in Goochland Co. were bound in 1742
  • About 1718, Henrico Co., VA | Josiah Burton was supposedly born; the Goochland County Fipps orphans were bound to him in 1742
  • By 1726, Surry Co., VA | Francis Eppes shows up and shortly begins to acquire land; this is the same county where the surveyor John appeared earlier with co-surveyor William Harris, as well as the orphan John Phips, son of Elizabeth Harris; see 1730, below
  • 1728, Goochland Co., VA | The county was formed from the shire of Henrico, later called Henrico County
  • 1730, Goochland Co., VA | Francis Eppes acquired a massive amount of land in Goochland County – about 10,900 acres; see “By 1726,” above
  • 1737, Goochland Co., VA | Tandy Walker Sr. of Henrico Co. bought land in Goochland Co.; see 1747 and 1748, below
  • 19 Oct 1742, Goochland Co., VA | Orphans Joseph and Benjamin Fipps ordered by the church wardens of St. James’s Parish to be bound to Josiah Burton
  • 1747, Goochland Co., VA | Land in Goochland Co. sold by Tandy Walker Sr. and wife Judith; and sold to an Epes (Eppes); also see 1737, above
  • 1748, Lunenburg Co., VA | John Phips was living on the same property as Tandey (Tandy) Walker; see 1737 and 1747, above
  • 1764, Lunenburg Co., VA | John Fipps listed as overseer in connection with Peter “Fountain” (Fontaine) in a tax list; see “About 1790,” below
  • 15 Dec 1780, Goochland Co., VA | Benjamin “Phop” or “Fop” born to Ben. “Phop” or “Fop” and his wife Mary “Reeve” according to the Douglas Register; “Phop” or “Fop” was very likely either a misreading or a spelling variation for Phip or Fip or something similar; we’ve discussed the Reeves, Burton, and Eppes intertwined connections in various other posts, and this “Reeve” was probably a “Reeves”
  • 20 May 1781, Goochland Co., VA | The Benjamin “Phop” or “Fop” of the previous listing was baptized, again according to the Douglas Register, kept by Rev. William Douglas
  • 10 Mar 1784, Goochland Co., VA | William “Phop” or “Fop,” brother of Benjamin of the previous 2 listings, was born to Ben. “Phop” or “Fop” and his wife Mary “Reeve”
  • 22 Jun 1784, Goochland Co., VA | The William “Phop” or “Fop” of the previous listing was baptized, again according to the Douglas Register
  • About 1790, Goochland & Albemarle Cos., VA | Thomas Jefferson copied, about 1790, a survey drawn by Peter Fontaine (Sr. or Jr.) showing a tract of 7,732 acres in Goochland and Albemarle Cos.; see 1764, above
  • 6 Sep 1793, Halifax Co., VA | A deed connects George Reaves (George Reeves), father in law of Samuel Phips (with both men living in Wilkes Co., NC at the time) with the Eppes family; Reeves married (2) a Burton; see the Burton, Eppes, and “Reeve” references above, at 1692, about 1718, by 1726, 1730, 1742, 1747, 1780, and 1784

Note that Josiah Burton shows up in Goochland County, Virginia records before appearing as a tithable in Lunenburg County, Virginia. Lunenburg is the same county where John Phips or Fips appears, who died in 1768 in Charlotte County, Virginia and whose descendants were in Pittsylvania County, Virginia, Wilkes County, North Carolina, Surry County, North Carolina, and Ashe County, North Carolina.

Some of those descendants appear clearly related to Samuel Phips of Ashe County, North Carolina. Descendants of both Samuel Phips of Ashe County, North Carolina and John Fips of Charlotte County, Virginia ended up in Lawrence County, Indiana. Another Burton who ended up in Lawrence County, Indiana was a Burton related to both the Jane Burton mentioned above (associated with Samuel Phips), and the Josiah Burton mentioned above (associated with the Goochland County orphans).

In addition, various Goochland County records refer to John PHELPS, and his wife Mary. For reasons that have been discussed in prior posts, it’s extremely likely that some “Phipps” records lie buried under surname variations, and this may possibly be one of them. We also noted a PHILLIPS in Halifax County, Virginia, not far away (the same place where a deed associates the Reeves, Eppes and (indirectly) Phips family, who very likely was also a “Phipps.”

Also note that the families of Burton, Rawlings (or Rollings or Rollings etc.) as well as the Epps or Eppes families were all heavily involved in the general Henrico/Goochland area around this time. The Cox family also shows up repeatedly in context with other associated families, and may connect to the Coxes who so often appear in records associated with the Phips family in Ashe County, North Carolina.