John Phipps: His Revolutionary War Service

A past post or two have looked at statements by Benjamin Phipps in his Revolutionary War pension application file in which he spoke of trying to get to his relatives in South Carolina during the war. Benjamin lived in Grayson County, Virginia after the war.

While he was captured by the British, he attempted to escape and get to relatives in South Carolina, according to his own testimony. He did escape, but was once again captured, only to escape again. This time he was successful. He managed to get to “his relations in South Carolina.”

Another Phipps who spent part of his military service in South Carolina during the Revolutionary War was John Phipps.  We’ve discussed his military service before. His pension file is rich in details. When he applied for a pension, he was living in Hopkins County, Kentucky, but he was born in Charles City County, Virginia.

Here is something of a timeline of some of the events in John’s life which are discussed in his pension application file. It’s important to note that two pages of some of the most crucial testimony in his file appear to be currently missing from online copies in both Heritage Quest and Fold3. Those pages used to be present in Heritage Quest but not Fold3, but now appear to be absent from both.

  • 1753: He was born in Charles City County, Virginia, according to his own testimony.
  • 1774: He lived in Surry County, Virginia, where he volunteered for service in the Virginia militia. He helped guard Williamsburg and the surrounding area from the British in the Chesapeake Bay while serving with those from James City County (the home of Jamestown) and Charles City County. He was frequently shot at by the British from their ships in the James River. John Phipps served under James Innes.
  • 1775: He was relieved from service by the Minute Men.
  • 1776: He was living in Amelia County, Virginia, where he enlisted for 3 years. He was made a sergeant under Capt. Thomas Scott. During that fall and winter, he was in Prince Edward County, Virginia, at the home of his captain, Capt. Thomas Scott.
  • 1777: John marched through part of North Carolina into South Carolina, where he crossed the Ashley River 18 miles from Charleston. From Charleston, South Carolina, the men marched to Savannah, Georgia. There he joined the George Regiment, and remained with them until July 1778.
  • 1778: In July, John Phipps was furloughed and allowed to go home for 3 months. On his return, he met a soldier who told him that his company had moved on and was now at Augusta, Georgia. John rejoined his company in Augusta in October 1778. Not long after this, he was guarding a “cowpens” on the Ogeechee River in Georgia. This was not, however, the famous Cowpens in South Carolina where an important battle was fought. John guarded the commissioner appointed to make a treaty with the Indians. In December, he was marched back to Savannah, Georgia, where he arrived on the 24th or 26th of December. He stayed there until about the end of April of the following year.
  • 1779: John Phipps left Savannah, Georgia around the end of April. At this point, with the permission of his officers, he hired a substitute to serve out his remaining 3 months. He received a discharge and returned home.
  • After the Revolution ended in 1783: He lived in Orange County, North Carolina after the war, until he moved to Hopkins County, Kentucky. He was living in Hopkins County in the 1830s.

Additional Web Links

Here are a few miscellaneous web links. Of course some of the information may be unsourced and unconfirmed.

British Records with Variant Spellings

The phenomenon of variant spellings affecting this surname isn’t just an American issue. It surfaces in the British Isles as well.

The National Archives at Kew holds a London-area chancery court record from 1746 from a case known as Atkins v. Philp. The plaintiff was Thomas Atkins of St. George the Martyr in Middlesex. The defendants were William Philp, Sparks Philp, and John Street, gent.

Sparks Philp is identified as “alias John Phips alias Sparks Phips his [evidently William’s] son, infant (by his father).”

Then an earlier record is the will of Arden Phips, also referred to as Phippes, dated 26 September 1639. This record is also at Kew. Arden Phips or Phippes was a gentleman of Long Itchington in Warwickshire. This is a village and civil parish in the Stratford-on-Avon district, and is called by locals “Long Itch.”

The National Archives at Kew also holds the will of a certain William Phillipps. This Phillipps was also known as Phips, and his will is dated 26 June 1695. He was a mariner (hardly surprising) of Slapton in Devon, described as “now belonging unto Their Majesty’s Ship Advice.” Slapton is a village and civil parish in the South Hams district.

Another will at Kew, dated 26 July 1726, is that of William Phipps. He is described as a brazier from New Windsor in Berkshire, and was also known as William Fliepes. What is now called Windsor used to be called New Windsor, as opposed to Old Windsor, which is about two miles away. This is the site of Windsor Castle, and is about roughly 20 miles east of Reading, the city associated with various other Phipps records.

The spelling “Phips” also appears in a number of British records, and one also runs across such spellings as “Phip.” Of course, other spellings can be found, such as “Phyps,” and one has to wonder about such names as Phipping and Phippings.

Efforts to Save Early School Site Associated with Caroline Phipps

This blog has dealt in the past with the subject of Phipps Union Seminary, which was established in 1833 in Albion, Orleans County, New York, by Caroline Phipps. A news item from a bit earlier this year concerned efforts to preserve an old stone schoolhouse in Orleans County, New York. The tiny building is said to have replaced an earlier log cabin where Caroline Phipps taught.

Caroline Phipps, according to the article, began her seminary at a location “where the County Clerk’s Building now stands.” Caroline, as noted in the earlier post, was a daughter of Joseph Phipps, and was born at Rome, New York. She married Col. H.L. Achilles of Rochester in 1839.

Col. John Jeaffreson & an England-St. Kitts-Virginia Trade Triangle

The last couple posts implied that an important link may exist in the person of Col. John Jeaffreson. Two factors would determine the importance of the role played by this individual. One centers around whether reports in published genealogies are correct.

The other concerns whether he had a hand in sending young John Phips as a surveyor to Virginia on behalf of the Virginia Company. If the answer in both cases is yes, then Jeaffreson’s connection would suggest that segments of the family formerly regarded as disparate were probably more closely linked than formerly suspected.

Col. John Jeaffreson was a London merchant who, as already noted, was involved in the Virginia Company in the early 1620s. This is precisely when (in 1621) the Virginia Company sent the young surveyor John Phips of the London area to Virginia.

Since John Jeaffreson’s widow married Francis Phipps or Phips, did he have earlier Phipps or Phips connections? If so, was he responsible for choosing John Phips as Virginia surveyor, or did he at least serve to push the London-based Virginia Company in that direction? As a further note, Francis Phipps, at least in 1649, held the job title of Surveyor of Highways.

Jeaffreson died in 1660, and so did Anne (Sharpe) Phipps, wife of Francis Phipps of Reading, Berkshire, England. Francis Phipps then appears to have remarried, this time to Sarah, widow of Col. John Jeaffreson.

By his earlier marriage to Anne Sharpe, this Francis had a daughter Anna (Ann), who married George Reeves who died in Virginia. This later Ann’s twin brother Constantine had a direct descendant who became the godfather of Betty Tayloe Corbin, evidently in Virginia, who was born in 1764.

This family line rapidly becomes confusing because of multiple Constantines. The following appears to be the gist. Note the Virginia connections:

  • Generation 1: Constantine Henry Phipps, baptized 1656, twin brother of Anna Phipps who married George Reeves who died in Virginia
  • Generation 2: William Phipps, baptized 1698, son of Constantine Henry Phipps
  • Generation 3: Constantine Phipps, baptized 1722, son of William
  • Generation 4: Constantine John Phipps, born 1744; he became godfather to Betty Tayloe Corbin, apparently in Virginia, in 1764; he also attempted to reach the North Pole and may be the “Captain Fibbs” mentioned by Philip Vickers Fithin in connection with a barbecue in Virginia in 1774, since Fithin writes about Betty’s family

Jeaffreson, of course, is viewed as a variant spelling of Jefferson. Some evidence links Col. John Jeaffreson with a certain Thomas Jefferson who was in the Caribbean, living on Nevis and then Jamaica, around the same time that Col. John Jeaffreson was there. Speculation suggests that this Thomas may have been John Jeaffreson’s son, and that he may have been the Jefferson who later moved to Henrico County, Virginia.

Henrico was established as one of the 8 original Virginia shires in 1634, with the James River running through it. Eleven counties have been formed out of Henrico. The first of these was Goochland County, the county we’ve referred to over and over again in connection with the Phips or Fipps or Phipps family and associated families.

The importance of Jeaffreson to the history of the Phipps/Phips family largely hinges around the timeline below. This is also dependent on the veracity of published genealogies and related records, some of which requires verification.

Note with regard to the below that far more could be included, but in some cases it isn’t clear how certain individuals connect or it isn’t clear whether certain records bearing the same names refer to the same persons. One very odd factor is the fact that while other families seem to trumpet the successes and “prominent” nature of family members, the Phipps/Phips family seems to have almost done the opposite.

It’s only by digging through records that one finds surprising connections to nobility and to notable accomplishments. Through it all, some sort of link to William Phips, governor of Massachusetts Bay Colony, is suggested (sometimes in ways that appear impossible).

Some evidence suggests that some sort of link to this William is certainly possible, but the details are unclear. So many details regarding him appear to have been obfuscated in biographies and pedigrees, that one has to wonder whether there was something to hide. Certainly there was at least a documented close social tie between “Sir William” of Massachusetts and Constantine Henry Phipps, Lord Chancellor of Ireland, with that Constantine’s twin sister having married a Reeves who died in Virginia (!).

One factor to keep in mind about the possibility of such geographically far-flung connections is that great distances were of minimal concern to a sea captain. The writings of Christopher Jeaffreson, son of Col. John Jeaffreson, refer to “Young Constantine Phipps (the future Lord Chancellor of Ireland, and the cousin of the inventor of the diving-bell).”

The diving bell reference would clearly point to Sir William Phips, although he appears to only have improved on an earlier invention. This reference to William as “cousin” of Constantine Phipps, however, is probably based on the belief of Christopher Jeafferson’s later editor, John Cordy Jeaffreson, rather than stemming from the pen of Christopher himself.

Still, some sort of connection to William certainly seems plausible, even likely, for reasons mentioned in the timeline below. Regarding the Caribbean trading exploits of Col. John Jeaffreson and his associate Capt. Thomas Warner, it was said in an old (1903) genealogical note that “It is true that Bristol,” presumably referring to the city, “was greatly interested in the Virginia trade, and later in the West Indian.” Bristol is, of course, the seafaring city from which Sir William Phips’s family supposedly originated.

John Cordy Jeaffreson refers to Constantine Phipps and Christopher Jeaffreson as having been “brothers by affinity” (see here, p. 133). This, however, is probably based only on his lack of understanding of a somewhat complex relationship: John Jeaffreson married Sarah; he died and she remarried to Francis Phipps, with Constantine being Francis’s son by his previous marriage to Anne Sharpe.

If John Cordy Jeaffreson did not know this, then it’s hardly surprising that he would assume that Constantine Phipps and Christopher Jeaffreson were called brothers, but only “by affinity.” Certainly there was no blood relationship, but Christopher Jeaffreson’s father married Constantine Phipps’s stepmother.

Christopher Jeaffreson also referred, in his writings, to “Mrs. Reeves,” who he notes in a letter had been ill. The letter is dated 24 October 1684 in London, and could possibly refer to Ann (Phipps) Reeves, daughter of Francis Phipps and wife of George Reeves (see here, pp. 135-139, at p. 137). The very same letter, which Christopher Jeaffreson addressed to “Dear Brother,” begins by referring to “our brother Constantine Phipps,” who was recently married.

Col. John Jeaffreson and his associate Sir Thomas Warner were responsible for what has been called the first English settlement in the West Indies, at St. Kitts, during the reign of James I. Evidently Jeaffreson and Warner were backed by a London merchant named Ralph Merrifield.

Merrifield is described as having been interested in “undercover” trade with the Caribbean. Another source puts this a bit more strongly, asserting that Merrifield was interested in the “clandestine” trade with the Caribbean.

Note the various previous posts in this blog which have pointed to various indications of possible undercover mercantile adventures of the Phips or Phipps family. With Merrifield’s backing, Warner was planting tobacco on St. Kitts by 1624.

Thomas Warner is buried with Samuel Jeaffreson, Col. John Jeaffreson’s brother, in the cemetery of St. Thomas’s Anglican Church on the Middle Island of St. Kitts. This is the oldest Anglican church in the West Indies.

One online document refers to John Jeaffreson, presumably the one of our discussion, as having been the captain of the Hopewell. The ship came to the relief of early settlers on St. Kitts after a hurricane hit there in 1624.

Col. John Jeaffreson became one of the early settlers there in 1624 or 1625. (One source says 1623.) In 1625 he came to own Wingfield Estate, also known as the Red House Plantation, in what has been described as the earliest land grant in the British Caribbean. A royal patent in 1627 gave 1,000 acres in St. Kitts to Col. John Jeaffreson and one Johnson for “defeating, suppressing and conquering” the “savage inhabitants” of St. Kitts.

A footnote in an article appearing in 1922 in The Virginia Magazine of History and Biography appears to assert that Col. John Jeaffreson, which it calls Capt. John Jefferson, “lived for some years in Virginia.” That was in addition to being a London merchant. If so, then this establishes yet another Virginia connection with, of course, additional opportunity for Phips or Phipps interaction between England and Virginia.

That same footnote says that the king appointed Jeaffreson (called Jefferson) as a member of a commission in 1623. The king wanted this commission to pressure the Virginia Assembly to dissolve the Virginia Company, but Jeaffreson refused to go along with it.

A 1687 reference has the will of Richard Sanders, apparently of the London area, referring to 22 sacks of meal which he had stored in Francis Phipps’ barge. The Francis who fathered the twins Constantine Phipps and Anne (Phipps) Reeves would have died by this time, and his son Francis appears to have become a rector, but perhaps this was a relative.

The Francis of our discussion, by the way, was involved in a lawsuit involving Dame Rose Blagrave, apparently as a defendant, in 1657. When Francis died, one of his executors was John Blagrave of Arborfield. Other executors were Thomas Seikes (Seakes) of Reading, and Thomas Bullocke (Bullock) of Binfield.

The marriage license for the marriage of Francis’s daughter Ann to George Reeves in 1675 in Lee, county Kent, states that her parents were dead, and that she was “at the disposal” of two men who gave their consent. These were John Blagrave of Arborfield and Thomas Bullock of Binfield, both in Berkshire. We’ve noted a connection between Tandy Walker, associated with John Fips of Carolina County, Virginia, much, much later, but the recurrence of the name there might just be coincidence.

Although confusingly worded, it’s apparently John Blagrave who is being referred to as one of the “knights of the royal oak.” That group was described as “an order of knighthood intended to have been established by King Charles II, after his restoration, to commemorate his escape in an oak after the battle of Worcester.”

One source shows John Blagrave, esquire, of Southcote (Southcott), in a 1759 Berkshire militia list. This is late, of course, but it would certainly be a relative of the earlier John Blagrave, and Dame Rose Blagrave, with whom Francis Phipps was involved in a lawsuit, was described in a later probate record as being a widow of Southcote.

In the same militia company in which John Blagrave was a captain, John Reeves is listed as a lieutenant of Arborfield. Arborfield is the same location that the earlier John Blagrave was from, and we can suspect that he was likely related to the George Reeves who married Ann Phipps and who died in Virginia.

The earlier John Blagrave, presumably the Sir John Blagrave who served as a sheriff of Berkshire in 1623. He appears to have been the father of a later John who was a famous mathematician. The earlier one, however, may have been the one who designed a well known armillary spherical sundial called the Mathematical Jewell, which was recently recreated.

Another Blagrave, Anthony Blagrave, was High Sheriff of Berkshire in 1604, Sir Thomas Vachell was High Sheriff in 1611. Francis Phipps was referred to as “heretofore my servant,” whatever that meant, in a codicil to the will of Tanfield Vachell in 1658 in Reading in Berkshire.

As far as Thomas Bullocke of Binfield is concerned, there was supposedly an earlier Thomas Bullock (about 1500 to 1558 of Arborfield, a son of Gilbert Bullock. that Thomas is supposed to have had a son Thomas. Note that this associates Arborfield with Thomas Bullock or Bullock as well as John Blagrave.

One of the Bullocks, Gylbert Bullocke (perhaps the same Gilbert Bullock or perhaps a different one) married Phellippe Elyott (Elliott). Note that George Phipps, apparently the father of Francis Phipps, married Ann Elliott.

An obvious question would be whether the place named Binfield, associated with Thomas Bullock or Bullocke, could have had any connection with the surname Binfield. Joseph Phipps, the Quaker who came from Reading to Pennsylvania rather late – in 1682. In 1665 he married Sarah Binfield in Reading, a daughter of Andrew Binfield and Eleanor (Simonds) Binfield.

Wikipedia refers to Binfield as though it’s simply named for an “open land where bent-grass grows,” supposedly based on the Old English beonet and feld. That, of course, does not preclude the possibility of a family using this surname and associated with the area at some point.

One genealogist’s page speculates that the surname “may well have originated in the Berkshire parish of that name.” The same page refers to a Richard Benfield of Gray’s Inn in 1639. Sir Constantine Henry Phipps, twin brother of Francis Phipps’s daughter Ann Phipps who married George Reeves who died in Virginia, was admitted to Gray’s Inn in 1678.

Again, the Quaker Joseph Phipps is supposed to have married a daughter of Eleanor (Simonds) Binfield. An article about the Bullock family in Berkshire notes that the “Barkham Registers are full of the Bullock family and also of the Simonds family.” The page also notes that land in Arborfield was exchanged during the reign of John between a Bullock and a Simonds.

All of this suggests a strong possibility that Francis Phipps of Reading could have been related to Joseph Phipps, the Quaker who was imprisoned in Reading (which should be obvious anyway). If so, then we could guess that it could very well have been because of religious differences that no mention of him seems to surface in sources pertaining to the family of Francis.


  • early 1620s: Col. John Jeaffreson, London merchant involved in the Virginia Company
  • 1621: The Virginia Company sent surveyor John Phipps of the London area to Virginia
  • 1623: Col. John Jeaffreson was appointed by the king to be a part of a commission; the king wanted this commission to pressure the Virginia assembly to dissolve the Virginia Company, but Jeaffreson “took no part” in such actions
  • 1624-1625: Col. John Jeaffreson became an original settler on St. Kitts in the Caribbean; said to have also lived in Virginia
  • Aug 1640, Reading, Berkshire: Joseph Phipps, who became Quaker and became an early settler of Pennsylvania, was born in Reading; was he somehow related to the same family from which came Francis Phipps of Reading? If there were earlier non-conformist orientations in this Joseph’s family, could that family have become disowned and effectively detached from association with Francis?
  • about 1649, England: George Reeves was born, who later married Anna (Ann) Phipps
  • 1649, Reading, co. Berkshire, England: Francis Phipps of Reading was Surveyor of Highways, according to H.R. Phipps’s article
  • 1650s: Col. John Jeaffreson returned to England after amassing a fortune through his endeavors on St. Kitts in the Caribbean; bought estate at Dullingham House, co. Cambridgeshire
  • 1655-1656, prob. Reading, co. Berkshire, England: Anna (Ann) Phipps was born to Francis Phipps/Anne Sharpe, along with her twin brother Constantine
  • 12 July 1660, Reading, co. Berkshire, England: Anne (Sharpe) Phipps, wife of Francis, was buried
  • 1660: Col. John Jeaffreson of St. Kitt died, with his will dated 4 Sep 1660 and proved 1 Oct 1660 (Prerogative Court of Canterbury), and with his widow Sarah, formerly widow of Francis Phipps, still living on 4 Sep 1660
  • 1660 or later: Francis Phipps remarried to Sarah, widow of Col. John Jeaffreson, according to Caribbeana and the Notes Vol. 4 volume of Crisp, Visitation of England and Wales; H.R. Phipps says they “possibly” married
  • 1665, Reading, Berkshire, England: Joseph Phipps, the Quaker, married Sarah Binfield in Reading; again, could they have been related to Francis’s family but not recognized due to religious differences? Are there any documented ties to earlier non-conformity, and if so, could they tie into the earlier Lollard Phips family of Hughenden? Hughenden is only about 20 miles northeast of Reading, and that is not as the crow flies. Some other family members, somewhere, MUST have disowned them, and one could have walked to Hughenden from Reading (or vice versa).
  • 28 Jan 1667, apparently Reading, co. Berkshire, England: Will of Francis Phipps mentioned daughter Anna and son Constantine, among others
  • 23 Sep 1675, Lee, co. Kent, England: George Reeves of London married Anna Phipps of Lee; they (or at least he) appears to have ended up in Middlesex Co., Virginia
  • 2 Oct 1683, St. Kitts: James Phipps and Joseph Crispe appointed representatives of a general assembly for the Leeward Islands
  • 30 Dec 1685, St. Kitts: Capt. James Phipps and Capt. Joseph Crispe in list of officers of the Leeward Islands
  • 1688/1689, Middlesex Co., Virginia and Middlesex Co., England: George Reeves appears to have died in 1688 in Middlesex County, Virginia, with his will probated in London in 1689
  • 1689, St. Kitts: The French attacked the island, apparently killing Capt. James Phipps, son of Francis Phipps of Reading, Berkshire, England, in the process
  • 12 May 1708, St. Kitts: The will of Joseph Crisp (Crispe) of St. Kitts, proved 23 Dec 1713, named daughter Mary Phipps, grandson Joseph Phipps, and granddaughters Elizabeth, Mary, and Susanna Phipps

Family group of Col. John Jeaffreson:

  • Col. John Jeaffreson of Dullingham, co. Cambridgeshire, early settler on St. Kitts, said to have also lived in Virginia, died 1660
  • 1st wife: Mary Parkyns (Parkins) of co. Nottinghamshire, who he married after returning from the Caribbean, children:
    • Christopher Jeaffreson
  • 2nd wife: Sarah, who married Francis Phipps after Jeaffreson’s death

Family groups in the Phipps line:

Note that one possibly complicating factor is that children of Francis Phipps are listed as by his marriage to Anne Sharpe in The Four Visitations of Berkshire, but as by undefined 1st wife in Caribbeana. Evidently his marriage to Anne Sharpe was his 2nd marriage, not his first, with his marriage to Sarah, widow of Col. John Jeaffreson, supposedly constituting his 3rd marriage. No references to children by his 1st and 3rd marriages have been found.

It should also be noted that Pownoll William Phipps, in his book The Life of Colonel Pownoll Phipps, shows different parents for Francis of Reading, Berkshire than is shown below. He instead refers to the father of the Francis who married Anne Sharpe as being a Col. William Phipps, a yeoman of Lincolnshire. One would think, however, that the pedigree presented in The Four Visitations of Berkshire might be more authentic.

First generation:

  • Robert Phipps of Nottingham, m. Isabel Bromley, d. 1615? (administration 18 Jan 1615/6), children:
    • George Phipps of Walton Hall (Edwalton) near Nottingham, co. Nottinghamshire, m. 1606 to Anne (Ann) Elliott, widow of John Power, children:
      • Francis Phipps (of generation 2, below), b. abt 1610
      • Caleb Phips, said in the Visitations to have d. without issue, but H.R. Phipps sound that he m. Ellenor Lambe and had 6 ch. bef. 1652
      • Anne (Ann) Phipps
      • Judith Phipps
    • Anthony Phipps
    • William Phipps

Second generation:

  • Father: Francis Phipps, Sr., of Reading, b. abt 1610
  • 1st wife: Avis, widow of Foster, then Hicks, with no ch. shown in the Visitations
  • 2nd wife: Anne (Ann) Sharpe, children:
    • Francis Phipps, born 1644, became rector of Upton on Severn, m. Bridget Fleetwood; he was mentioned in 1682 in the Jeaffreson papers
    • George Phipps, baptized 1645, in London in 1674
    • James Phipps, baptized 1649, d. young, “probably” d. as infant, not to be confused with the later son James
    • Thomas Phipps, baptized 1650/1, m. Elizabeth, d. 1671; was “of Staples Inn” in London, presumably Staple Inn, which was an Inn of Chancery associated with barristers
    • Anne (Ann) Phipps, baptized 1652, buried 1656, not to be confused with the later dau. Ann
    • Capt. James Phipps, baptized 1653, apprenticed to Mr. Stamper of London (note later family connections with the Stamper family in Virginia and North Carolina), moved to the Caribbean prob. 1675, became prominent on Antigua and then on St. Kitts, killed in 1689 by the French during a siege on St. Kitts according to a couple sources, died in 1695 according to another; one of his executors was Christopher Jeaffreson, apparently son of Col. John Jeaffreson; James Phipps married Susanna Clarke of St. Kitts
    • Mary Phipps, baptized 1654 m. Rev. John Jackson, rector of Lee, co. Kent 1673, d. 1685
    • Anne (Anna or Ann) twin of Constantine Henry, married George Reeves who “deserted her & died in Virginia;” she d. 1693 according to one souce, before 3 Apr 1695 according to another, after living with her sister Mary at Lee, co. Kent
    • Constantine Henry, twin of Anna, baptized 1656, knighted, became Lord Chancellor of Ireland, at one point was agent for St. Kitts (1709); supposedly unrelated to Sir William Phips, governor of Massachusetts Bay Colony, and yet William’s widow left him a “great silver tankard;” Constantine is said to have emigrated to Maine with his uncle James, but he doesn’t appear to have had an uncle James (past posts have noted how biographies of Sir William appear suspicious at best); d. 1723 at the Middle Temple, Westminster, co. Middlesex, England; his son William married Catherine Annesley and had son Constantine, who became Baron Mulgrave
  • 3rd wife: Sarah, widow of Col. John Jeaffreson, children:

Some sources:

PS: Adding to the Last Post’s Timeline

As a P.S. to the last post, it could be pointed out that if published genealogies are correct, there was another huge connection to the Americans in the Phipps or Phips family line represented in the timeline. The Francis Phips or Phipps of Reading, Berkshire, England (who was included near the top of the timeline) appears to have had strong ties to the Caribbean. Of course, the Caribbean could have served as yet another entry point to Virginia.

Some pedigrees, such as found in The Four Visitations of Berkshire, simply show Francis Phipps or Phips as married to Anne Sharpe and living in Reading, county Berkshire – period. Other sources, such as the pedigree which appears in the multi-volume Caribbeana, shows Francis as living another life.

There he appears as having married an unnamed first wife, presumably Anne Sharpe. Then, however, he remarried to Sarah, widow of Col. John Jeaffreson of St. Kitts in the Caribbean. This has been discussed in previous posts, such as this one.) The pedigree in Caribbeana has Francis fathering Capt. James Phipps of St. Christopher (St. Kitts; see the continuation of the chart on the next page).

The connection with the Jeaffreson family opens up a whole potential can of worms. One would think that something like the ancestry of President Thomas Jefferson was clearly settled long ago, but perhaps because so many people would like to be related to him, genealogies are confused. Various conflicting claims have been made as to his ancestry.

One claim as to the ancestry of Thomas Jefferson has to do with a family from the county of Suffolk in England, with that family using the spelling Jeaffreson. This was a family with trading ties to the Caribbean.

Samuel Jeaffreson, said to have been born in 1607 in Suffolk, supposedly actually lived on St. Kitts (St. Christopher’s) and Antigua. Those, of course, are Caribbean locations which became closely identified with the Phipps or Phips family. One of Samuel’s sons, Thomas, supposedly lived in Henrico County, Virginia and was a great-grandfather of Thomas Jefferson.

Col. John Jeaffreson was a London merchant who was supposed to have come out of this same family. He is said to have been not only involved in Caribbean trade, but to have been involved in efforts by the Virginia Company in the early 1620s. That is precisely when (1621) the surveyor John Phips or Phipps was brought from the London area to Jamestown by the Virginia Company.

Several posts in this blog in the past have pointed out that it has seemed, at times, as though Thomas Jefferson was sort of looming in the background as Phips or Fips or Phipps events, or events in families close to the Phips family, unfolded. The Eppes or Epps family, so closely involved with the Reeves family, was directly closely related to Thomas Jefferson. Thomas Jefferson’s mother in law was an Eppes.

As a side note, an Elizabeth Phipps, born in 1776, married Col. Jared Mansfield. Mansfield was appointed as an instructor at West Point by Thomas Jefferson and later became surveyor-general of the Northwest Territory.

All of this, along with the information in the last post, suggests several definite or potential entry points into Virginia:

  • Through a Jeaffreson/Jefferson connection in the Caribbean and Virginia, with connections from the Jeaffresons directly to the Phips family, and from the Jeffersons directly to the Eppes family, with direct connections from the Eppes family to the Reeves family which directly connects with the Phips family
  • Through the Ann Phipps who married George Reeves who died in Virginia
  • Through descendants of Francis Phipps of Reading, including the Constantines, at least a couple of whom were evidently in and out of the Caribbean and Virginia
  • Through the surveyor John Phips, who came from the London area (as did some of Francis’s family) and who was likely of this same family grouping

We could easily expand the timeline presented in the last post by adding numerous records pertaining to the above. That would be a tedious endeavor, however, and would merely duplicate information already presented in numerous posts.

All of this seems to suggest a high likelihood of the following:

  • A strongly intertwined social and familial grouping which was interconnected in 3 locations:
    • England
    • the Caribbean
    • Virginia
  • A marked decline in finances and social standing at some point, as we go from the socioeconomic level of someone like Constantine Henry Phipps eventually down to outlaw types in some cases; this could have been due to the demise of 3 formerly lucrative factors, in turn due to the Revolution and due to political changes a bit later:
    • Demise of trade with England
    • Demise of trade with the Caribbean
    • Demise of slave importation in Virginia
  • Those 3 factors could have been coupled with, in some cases, a loyalist or Tory orientation, whether proven or not, which again could have radically affected finances and social standing
  • Earlier high-society connections could have resulted in the persistence of certain surname associations much later on, even after the family fortunes waned
  • Various records already discussed suggest some Phips or Phipps families left with little or no money by around the mid-18th century (1700s) in Virginia, resulting in orphans being bound and, in one case, a widow being dependent on public assistance

A Phips/Phipps and Reeves/Reaves Timeline

Considering how frequently the Reeves (also Ryves, Rives, Reaves, etc.) name has come up in discussions in fairly recent posts, it might be useful to revisit a matter discussed earlier. This is the 1675 marriage of George Reeves of London to Anna Phipps of Lee in county Kent in England.

A marriage license abstract, dated 21 September 1675, describes George Reeves as being of St. Augustine in London, a 26-year-old bachelor. His wife to be was Anna Phipps of Lee in the county of Kent, described as a spinster. (This was a simply a term at the time for an unmarried woman, as distinguished from a widow.) She was “about 18,” and her parents were dead, according to the marriage license abstract.

It was presumably because her parents were dead that she entered into marriage “at the disposal” of John Blagrave of Arborfield in Berkshire, esquire, and Thomas Bullock of Binfield in Berkshire, gentleman. (We might note that Tandy Walker, Sr. and his wife Judith sold land in Lunenburg County, Virginia in 1750 to Henry Blagrave of Caroline County, Virginia. John Phips appeared in tax lists with Tandy Walker in Lunenburg County in 1748 and 1750.)

The marriage license abstract can be found in Joseph Foster, ed., London Marriage Licences, 1521-1869 (London: Bernard Quaritch, 1887), p. 1124. The marriage itself is mentioned in H.R. [Henry Ramsay] Phipps, “Phipps Families of Berkshire,” The Berks, Bucks & Oxon Archaeological Journal, Vol. 18, No. 1 – New Series, April 1912, p. 17.

Then the actual marriage (rather than just the license) is noted as having taken place on 23 September 1675 at St. Margaret’s in Lee, county Kent. This is noted in Leland Lewis Duncan and Arthur Oswald Barron, eds., The Register of All the Marriages, Christenings and Burials in the Church of S. Margaret, Lee, in the County of Kent, from 1579 to 1754 (Lee, Kent: Charles Rorth for the Lewisham Antiquarian Society, 1888, p. 7.

H.R. Phipps, in his 1912 article “Phipps Families of Berkshire,” notes that after George Reeves married Ann Phipps, he then “deserted her & died in Virginia.” (An earlier post mistakenly refers to H.R. Phipps as Ramsay. His middle name was Ramsay.)

He refers to George Reeves as being “of Ln,” presumably Lincolnshire, while the marriage license calls him of St. Augustine in London. Lincolnshire is today both an historical and a ceremonial county.

Anna or Ann’s twin brother was Constantine Henry Phipps. Both are said to have been born in 1656 in Reading, Berkshire, England, their parents being Francis Phipps and his wife Anne Sharpe. John became Lord Chancellor of Ireland, which does not imply any genealogical connection with Ireland.

The statement that George Reeves deserted Anna or Ann Phipps and died in Virginia leads one to wonder whether she lived in America.

  • Abt 1610-1611, England: Francis Phipps or Phips was born, a son of George Phipps and Anne Elliott. (George, in turn, was a son of Robert Phipps of Nottingham.) Francis was referred to as about age 54 in 1664 and as age 54 on 11 March 1664/5.  (The Four Visitations of Berkshire, Vol. 57, p. 195; Crisp, ed., Visitation of England and Wales, Notes, Vol. 8, 1909, pp. 156-161).
  • About 1649, England: George Reeves was born, who later married Anna or Ann Phipps.
  • 1650s-1660s, Westmoreland Co., VA: A John “Ryves” was supposedly living in that county during that period of time. This was close to Middlesex County, Virginia, the location discussed below.
  • 1655-1656, prob. Reading, co. Berkshire, England: Twins Anna (Ann) and Constantine Henry Phipps or Phips were born, son and daughter of Francis Phips or Phipps of Reading, according to Sylvanus Urban correspondence, H.R. Phipps, Wikipedia, The Four Visitations of Berkshire, and various other sources. Constantine became Lord Chancellor of Ireland.
  • 12 Nov 1656, Reading, co. Berkshire, England: Anne or Anna or Ann Phipps, who later married George Reeves, was baptized in St. Mary’s, according to Crisp (cited below).
  • 9 May 1658, Reading, co. Berkshire, England: Francis Phipps was named in a codicil to the will of Tanfield Vachell, and was called “heretofore my servant.”
  • 12 July 1660, Reading, co. Berkshire, England: Ann (Sharpe), widow of Francis Phipps, was buried.
  • 24 Nov 1671, Virginia: A record labeled “Reeve for Administrac [with overlined “c”] of ye estate of his Bro.:” “It is ordered that ye petition of George Reeve about ye Administracon [with overlined “c”] of ye estate of his Brother Thomas Reeve & ffrancis Reve is referred to Middlesex Court there to be determined” (H.R. McIlwaine, ed., Minutes of the Council and General Court of Colonial Virginia 1622-1632, 1670-1676, with Notes and Excerpts from Original Council and General Court Records, into 1683, Now Lost, Richmond, Virginia: Virginia State Library, 1924, p. 287).
  • 25 Mar 1672, Virginia: Record labeled “Reeves administracon” [with overlined “c”]: ” . . . it appearing that the widow of ffrancis Reeves decd. . . . to administer to ye estate of her late husband who . . . Administratr. to his Brother Thomas Reeves decd. [with overlined “c”] to George Reeves brother of the sd. Tho: & Ffrancis provided hee put in good security to indemnify the honoble. John Pate Esqr. & Mr. Xopher [Christopher] Wormeley who were security for ffrancis Reeves. The sd. George Reeves confesseth Judgmt. to ye said John Pate Esqr. for 12lb 3s. [3 shillings] for ptested. bills of Exch. [with overlined “c”] according to Act:” (McIlwaine, see 24 Nov 1671, pp. 296-7).
  • 23 Sep 1675, Lee, co. Kent, England: George Reeves of St. Augustine in London married Anna Phipps of Lee. The marriage license identified George Reeves as a 26-year-old bachelor of St. Augustine in London, and Ann Phipps as a “spinster” (simply a woman who had not been married) in Lee in the county of Kent, age about 18.
  • 9 Oct 1682, Middlesex Co., VA: George Reeves and wife Ann “listed” in county court order book, according to a genealogist’s web page; it isn’t clear what is meant by “listed” or whether both parties were referred to in the record as alive and living together. It also isn’t clear from this whether this is definitely the same George Reeves.
  • 10 Oct 1684, England: Constantine Phipps, twin brother of Ann Phipps who married George Reeves, married Catherine Sawyer of London (Royal Berkshire History).
  • 1688, Middlesex Co., VA: George Reeves said to have died in Middlesex Co., VA, but is this the same George Reeves? Crisp (in his Notes, Vol. 8 to Visitation of England and Wales, 1909, p. 157, says that he was still living in 1695. H.R. Phipps says she lived with her sister Mary at Lee in co. Kent before she died, while her husband George Reeves, after they separated, died in Virginia.
  • 1689, London: Will of George Reeves said to have been probated after he died in Middlesex County, Virginia. Is this the same George Reeves?
  • 1 July 1689, Middlesex Co., VA: Administration of George Reeves estate said to have occurred, with administration granted to the widow referred to as Mrs. Phebey Reeves, according to a web page citing a published transcription. This would appear to indicate that George Reeves, assuming it’s the same one, had remarried by this time.
  • 2 Dec 1689, Middlesex Co., VA: According to the same web page cited at 1 July 1689, George Reeves’s widow Phebey remarried to John Smith, who was ordered to give to Daniel Rice certain items and a slave bequeathed by George Reeves in his will to Daniel Rice. At issue was a slave named Daniell, two mares, and all of George Reeves’s linen and woolen clothing.
  • Before 3 Apr 1695, England: Crisp says that Anne (Phipps) Reeves died before 3 April 1695.
  • 1698, Holborn, co. Middlesex, England: William Phipps, son of Constantine Henry Phipps and nephew of Ann (Phipps) Reeves, was christened at St. Andrew’s.
  • 20 Sep 1707, Middlesex Co., VA: According to the same web page cited at 1 July 1689, a deed involved Charles Reeves of Stepney, Middlesex County, England, heir of George Reeves of Virginia. The deed refers to land in Middlesex County, Virginia bought in 1664 by Thomas Reeves which descended from him to Francis and George Reeves (presumably sons of Thomas) and “now” to George’s heir Charles in England. (This would seem to suggest that the George of Middlesex County, Virginia was the right one.) The deed was witnessed by a Cocke, apparently (with evidently some transcription issues). We’ve discussed the Cocke surname, as in the marriage of Catherine Cocke to John Burton, brother of Nowell Hunt Burton whose son Josiah Burton was evidently the one to whom the Goochland County, Virginia Fipps orphans were bound in 1742. John Burton was also brother of Hutchins Burton, whose granddaughter Jane Burton married George Reeves of Wilkes County, North Carolina and later Grayson County, Virginia, with that George Reeves being father in law of Samuel Phips or Phipps of Wilkes and later Ashe County, North Carolina, evidently by that George’s first (earlier) marriage. We’ve also discussed such matters as the 1732 Goochland County land sale by John “Felps” of Goochland County to James Cocke of Henrico County.
  • 12 Dec 1710, England: Constantine Phipps, twin brother of Ann (Phipps) Reeves, was knighted by Queen Anne and made Lord Chancellor of Ireland (Royal Berkshire History).
  • 1718, England: William Phipps, nephew of Ann (Phipps) Reeves, married Catharine Annesley, daughter of James Annesley. James Annesley is apparently the one who married Catharine Darnley, illegitimate daughter (called “natural” daughter) of James II.
  • 1722, England: Constantine John Phipps, son of William Phipps (with William being a nephew of Ann (Phipps) Reeves) was christened.
  • 9 Oct 1723, London: Constantine Phipps, twin brother of Ann (Phipps) Reeves, died in the Middle Temple. The Middle Temple was one of the four Inns of Court with which barristers were associated and which called them to the bar.
  • 1744, England: Constantine John Phipps was born, son of the Constantine Phipps who was christened in 1722, with that earlier Constantine being a son of William Phipps (christened 1698), with that William being a nephew of Ann (Phipps) Reeves and a son of Ann’s brother Constantine Henry Phipps, who was Lord Chancellor of Ireland.
  • 14 May 1746, Surry Co., VA: The will of a George “Rives” was written, but it appears that the Middlesex County, Virginia George was probably the correct one.
  • 28 Mar 1764, Virginia: Constantine John Phipps, born 1744, of England, became the godfather of Betty Tayloe Corbin, born 28 Mar 1764, apparently in Virginia.
  • 1773, north of Norway: Constantine John Phipps, born 1744, attempted to reach the North Pole by ship.
  • 3 Sep 1774, Virginia: Philip Vickers Fithin wrote that he was involved by “Captain Fibbs” to a barbecue. Fithin, in his journal and letters, wrote about the family of George Lee Turberville (see 1782, below) and his wife Betty Tayloe Corbin, whose godfather was Constantine John Phipps, born 1744. Perhaps this “Captain Fibbs” was Constantine John Phipps, who may have been in the area.
  • 4 Jan 1782, Virginia: Betty Tayloe Corbin (Constantine John Phipps, born 1744, was her godfather) married George Lee Turberville, lawyer, apparently of Westmoreland and Richmond Counties, Virginia. The marriage license is dated 4 Jan 1782 in Westmoreland County, Virginia.
  • 1791, Brunswick Co., VA: Benjamin Phipps married Lucy Turbyfield or Turbyfill, said to be a variant of the same surname as Turberville, as mentioned above.