Francis Phipps, the patriarch who signed his statement to the herald during the Berkshire visitation of 1664, was buried 10 February 1667/8 at St. Mary’s in Reading. His will at the Prerogative Court of Canterbury, according to Henry Ramsay’s article “Phipps Families of Berkshire,” named John Blagrave of Arborfield and Thomas Bullocke (Bullock) of Binfield as among the executors of his estate.
On 21 September 1675 George Reeves of St. Augustine in London obtained a license to marry Anna Phipps of Lee in county Kent. She entered into marriage “at the disposal” of the same two men who were executors of her father Francis’s estate, John Blagrave and Thomas Bullock. George Reeves and Anna Phipps were then married on 23 September 1675 at St. Margaret’s in Lee.
Ramsay noted that sometime after the marriage, George Reeves “deserted her & died in Virginia.” The Francis Phipps family of Reading in Berkshire seems related in some way to the later Virginia apparent family grouping which included John Phips, the Jamestown surveyor, Joseph Phipps of Brunswick County, and Joseph’s apparent brother Benjamin Phipps of Albemarle Parish, Sussex County, as suggested by numerous records we’ve discussed in past posts.
In addition, this family appears to have been associated with the Jeaffreson AKA Jefferson family of the Caribbean and Virginia, with links from that family to the Epps family, with whom President Thomas Jefferson intermarried. Francis Phipps himself, according to heraldic sources, married Sarah, widow of Col. John Jeaffreson who had been living on St. Kitts in the Caribbean. We’ve also noted, in various posts, associations and links between the Epps and Reeves families.
We’ve also discussed a later George Reeves, the one who lived in Grayson County, Virginia while his son in law Samuel Phips lived in adjacent Ashe County, North Carolina. That Reeves was named as an Epps heir in Halifax County, Virginia while he was living in Wilkes County, North Carolina, although George Reeves does not appear to have himself lived in Halifax County, Virginia (as though that should matter).
After George Reeves married Anna Phipps in England and they separated, he remained in Virginia. She returned to England, where she lived with her sister at Lee in Kent, and where she died. Can we assume, based on all the associations and relationships that we’ve discussed in past posts, that this George Reeves was a relative of some sort to the later George Reeves who was the father in law of Samuel Phips of Ashe County, North Carolina? And can we assume that this George and Anna (Phipps) Reeves are the George and Ann Reeves said to appear in Middlesex County, Virginia?
Crisp (Visitation of England Wales, Notes, Vol. 8, 1909, pp. 156-161) says that the George Reeves who married Anna Phipps was still living in 1695. Other evidence, however, suggests that he may have been the George Reeves who appears to have died in 1688 in Middlesex County, Virginia. A genealogy web page seems to suggest that George Reeves and his wife Ann appear in county court records there on 9 October 1682, although the details are not clear.
Is this the same George Reeves, and if so does it suggest a possibility that researching Middlesex County, Virginia might turn up additional Phipps connections? We’ve discussed the enigmatic John Phripp family of Norfolk, Virginia, with multiple indications that they may have been a “Phipps” family who went by Phrip or Phripp for who knows what reason.
This “Phripp” family was very closely associated with the Corbin family. As one of the wealthiest men in America, Henry Corbin, born in Virginia in 1629, maintained his primary residence in Richland County, Virginia, and built a banqueting house in Westmoreland County, but had additional estates in Middlesex County, the same county as associated with the earlier George Reeves.
Henry Corbin’s daughter Anne married William Tayloe. (Some indications suggest that they may have been Taylor, and changed the name for, again, who knows what reason.) The godfather of Betty Tayloe Corbin, born 1764 in Virginia, was Constantine John Phipps, the one who attempted to reach the North Pole by sailing ship in 1773. Constantine was a grandson of an earlier Constantine, who was the brother of Anna Phipps who married George Reeves in England, with that George later dying in Virginia.
The Phripp family appears likely to have been connected to the Phipps family, and may have been the same family. This has been discussed in past posts. If so, the reason for the name change is unknown, although families named Phelps in Virginia have also surfaced, with again multiple indications that they are likely related in some way.
The Phripp family and the family of the earlier George Reeves were extremely wealthy. By the time we get to at least a couple of the sons of Samuel Phips of Ashe County, North Carolina and some of Samuel’s grandchildren, however, fraud and criminal activity seem to be in evidence. What happened?
We know that some Phipps family members and some of their close associates were extremely, outrageously mobile, involved in multiple trips between England and America or the Caribbean and America, because of their trade endeavors and high political and/or social status. We also know, however, that Caribbean trade dried up due to the Revolution. We also know that John Phripp and some of the Phipps family were either accused of being tories or loyalists, or were simply outright supporters of England during the Revolutionary years.
Some Phipps family members served in a notable ways during the Revolution on the American side, others on the British side. Constantine John Phipps was, again, the grandson of the Constantine who was the brother of the Anna Phipps who married George Reeves. He lived in England, but brought the dreaded tax stamps of the Stamp Act crisis to North Carolina. Col. Pownoll Phipps of England married Sophia Matilda Arnold, the daughter of the infamous (according to the American view) Benedict Arnold.
We also have the family story which asserts that an immigrant ancestor came to America because he killed someone of prominence in England during a fight. Could that (if it really did even occur) have happened in Virginia rather than England? At some point, some family members appear to have become involved in the extensive counterfeiting, slave stealing, and horse stealing network in Virginia.
Could that have happened after a family member’s economic and social status plummeted in Virginia, for whatever reason – murder during a fight, being labeled as a tory, who knows? Could that explain the move of Samuel Phips to, according to maps with modern-day interpretations, just beyond the reach of the law in what became the State of Franklin and then Ashe County, North Carolina? Perhaps some day we’ll know the answers.