The last post included information from various pre-1850 Kentucky records. Berry Phipps and Littleberry Phipps, as noted in several records discussed in that post, would appear to be the same person.
He seems to have moved from Surry County, North Carolina, where he was associated with descendants of John and Tabitha Fips or Phips of Charlotte County, Virginia, into Indiana. He eventually moved to Lawrence County, Indiana, as did some of the family of Samuel Phips of Ashe County, North Carolina.
A past post referred to a family Bible which is supposed to contain the names of the children of Littleberry Phipps. One son of Littleberry (“Berry”) Phipps is said to have been John Witcher Phipps, presumably the John W. Phipps listed in the last post.
Conflicting genealogical claims abound on the Internet surrounding what various ancestors’ middle initials stood for. In this case, we know that the John’s full name really was John Witcher Phipps, since he is addressed as such in an 1838 land grant to him.
That grant gave him 40 acres in Lawrence County, Indiana. The document refers to him as John Witcher Phipps of the same county. The land grant is dated 5 September 1838.
Note that when John W. Phipps married in Pulaski County, Kentucky in 1836, as noted in the last post, sureties were Berry Phipps and Joseph Roy. This Berry Phipps would be Littleberry Phipps.
Leonard Roy, surely a relative of this Joseph Roy, married Frances (“Frankey” or “Franky”) Phipps or Phips, as noted in the last post. They married in 1823 in Pulaski County. The marriage record says that she was a sister of Littleberry Phipps, and that their father was around to state that she was of age.
Three days before Franky Phips married Leonard Roy, according to what appears to be a county courthouse typescript record, Joshua Roy married Sarah Hall in Pulaski County, Kentucky. Surety was provided by George Woolsey. Earlier, the family of Joseph Phipps in Brunswick County, Virginia had various direct dealings with the Woolsey family, as discussed in previous posts.
It has been suggested that Littleberry Phips or Phipps was a son of James Phips or Phipps who died in Pulaski County, Kentucky in 1827. Pulaski is not too far west of Letcher County, where Isaiah Phips or Phipps, son of Samuel Phips of Ashe County, North Carolina, was living in the 1850 census.
Isaiah, son of Samuel Phips of Ashe County, North Carolina, moved from Letcher County, Kentucky, where he was in 1850, to Lawrence County, Indiana. According to Goodspeed’s 1884 history of Lawrence County, Isaiah moved there in 1852.
Letcher County, Kentucky is adjacent to Wise County, Virginia, where descendants of Samuel showed up in chancery records the year after he died. Those records discuss Samuel’s gift of a slave girl “Vilet,” as discussed in a recent post.
Descendants of James Phips, who is said to have died in Pulaski County, Kentucky in 1827, also moved into Lawrence County, Indiana. We’ve discussed his apparent son and daughter Littleberry and Franky, in the last post and in earlier posts.
James is said to have been a brother of Elizabeth and Martha Phips, Fips, or Phipps. Elizabeth (“Betsy”) married Ephraim Witcher, and Martha married Stephen Potter, as discussed in various past posts.
Elizabeth (“Betsy”) Fips or Phips was clearly a daughter of John and Tabitha Fips or Phips of Lunenburg and later Charlotte Counties in Virginia, as discussed in various earlier posts.
This suggests the following set of relationships, with indentation intended to denote parent-and-child relationship. Surname spellings changed frequently, even for the same individual. The list uses the Phips spelling, but the Fips and Phipps spellings were used as well. Also, children are not necessarily listed in birth order:
- John Phips, married Tabitha, died about 1768 Charlotte County, Virginia
- James Phips, born about 1775 or earlier, said to have died Pulaski County, Kentucky 1827
- Littleberry (“Berry”) Phips
- Frances (“Franky”) Phips, married Leonard Roy
- Elizabeth (“Betsy”) Phips, married Ephraim Witcher
- Martha Phips, married Stephen Potter
This causes the 1819 Surry County, North Carolina will of Ephraim Witcher to make a whole lot more sense. He was married to Betsy Fips or Phips, who is referred to in the will as Betsy Witcher.
The will was witnessed by Benjn. (Benjamin) Potter and Leonard Roy. Benjamin Potter was Betsy’s brother in law, through his marriage to Martha Phips, and Leonard Roy was also Betsy’s brother in law, through his marriage to Frances (“Franky”) Phips.
We know that Littleberry Phipps must have been married before his 1842 Lawrence County, Indiana marriage to Sally Perry.
Some unsourced claims have him as married earlier to a Jane Witcher. If this is accurate, then presumably John received his mother’s maiden name as his middle name.
The 1840 census (Lawrence County, Indiana) appears to show Littleberry Phipps with a good-sized family but with no wife. This suggests that he was probably widowed (or possibly divorced) at the time.
Ten years earlier, the 1830 census lists him (presumably him) as Berry Philps or Phelps (Pulaski County, Kentucky) with a woman in the household who was probably his wife. He was 40-50, she was 30-40.
He was next door to the household of William Waddle. Note that in 1836 in Pulaski County, Thomas Phipps, son of Berry Phipps, married Rebecca “Weddle,” according to the marriage record. Perhaps Thomas literally married “the girl next door.”
Earlier, in the 1820 census (Surry County, North Carolina), he is listed as Littlebury Fipps, age 16-26, with an apparent wife who was also age 16-26.
Seven households away in 1820 was James Fipps, presumably Littlebury’s father. He was born about 1775 or earlier according to his age range in the census, assuming he was the oldest in the household.
It might be useful to note that when Matthew Phips of Wilkes County, North Carolina lost land to Thomas Cook in 1786, he appears to have then moved to Surry County, North Carolina.
This Surry County, North Carolina is the location associated with descendants of John and Tabitha Fips of Charlotte County, Virginia, as noted above and in other posts. Betsy (Fips) Witcher, the individual referred to above, sued another Cook, David Cook, in Surry County, North Carolina in 1822.
Extremely direct and obvious connections from the family of John Fips of Phips of Charlotte County, Virginia to Brunswick and Sussex Counties, Virginia have been noted in past posts. We’ve also seen how Jordan Phips or Phipps of Sussex County, Virginia came into Wilkes County, North Carolina, the location where Matthew Phips might have wanted to stay, had he not lost his land.
Samuel Phips, who died in 1854 in Ashe County, North Carolina, lived in what was earlier considered Wilkes County, North Carolina. Some of his family moved into Lawrence County, Indiana by way of Letcher County, Kentucky. Some of the Surry County, North Carolina bunch also came into Lawrence County, Indiana, by way of Pulaski County, Kentucky, a short distance west of Letcher County.
Perhaps a more direct link to Samuel might have been the enigmatic planter John. He appears in Wilkes County, North Carolina during, apparently, the 1780s and 1790s. We don’t know much about him. Who was he?
His name was John Phipps, he was married to Elender. He settled on New River in Wilkes County, as did Samuel Phips. John and Elender sold their land in Wilkes County in 1790. Samuel witnessed the 1790 deed.
Earlier, sometime during the 1778-1795 period, according to an index, John Phips or Phipps had a Wilkes County land entry. John “Fipps,” presumably the same person, bought land in Wilkes County from James Mulkey in 1783.
Earlier, in 1772, James Blevins is supposed to have bought land from James Mulkey. The Blevins name has frequently arisen in association with the Phips family in later Ashe County, North Carolina records. The Blevins family is one of the various families with members who migrated to Lawrence County, Indiana.
Where Samuel Phips was living in Wilkes County is presumably the same place on New River which shows up in records as Ashe County beginning by 1800. James Mulkey appears to have been referred to as among the Wilkes County “Cherokee Melungeons.” Some sort of more-or-less undefined mixed race identity and/or intermarriages have been noted involving family members of Samuel Phips and his father in law George Reeves.
Some Mulkey family members appear to have made the trek to Wilkes County, Georgia. We’ve discussed this location before, which is adjacent to Elbert County. Elbert County is where John Rowsey refers to his daughter Tabitha Phipps in his 1815 will.
A “grantee map” in the document “Early Settlement Along the New River (NC and VA) Basin,” from the New River Symposium in 1984 shows James Mulkey at #114. Owen Sizemore is listed close by at 113. Debate still goes on today as to whether Owen Sizemore’s ancestry was at least part Melungeon, Cherokee, or of some Native American tribe other than Cherokee.
Samuel Phips was on a road commission with Owen and George Sizemore in Wilkes County in 1795. The three were to work on a road in Wilkes County in 1796. Then in 1797, Samuel Phips was to “view” the way for a road in Wilkes County along with Owen Sizemore, George Sizemore, and a Reeves – Jesse Reeves. Samuel’s father in law was George Reeves.
Several very close associates of Samuel Phips are shown not too far to the northeast from the area occupied by James Mulkey and Owen Sizemore. These are listed as 32 (John Toliver), 34 (George Reaves or Reeves), and 35 (Moses Toliver).
Samuel Phips is not listed on that map, but would have been around this same latter group, in the area where the New River is seen on the map to make a small loop as it travels from Virginia down into North Carolina, then back up into Virginia.
The county designations on the map pertain to current boundaries. This area where George Reeves and the Tolivers are shown is labeled Alleghany County on the map, but was not Alleghany County during Samuel Phips’s lifetime.
- Berry Phipps (INLAWREN-L Archives)
- Early Settlement Along the New River (NC and VA) Basin (National Park Service)
- Early Wilkes Co., NC Settlers Who Appear Related
- Elizabeth Phipps (Message Board)
- Families Associated with Samuel Phipps of Wilkes Co., NC
- Family Bible, Littleberry Phipps of NC & IN
- Gideon Potter, Son of Martha (Phipps) Potter
- John Fips, d. 1768, and His Wife Tabitha (A Witcher Genealogy)
- John Witcher Phipps: Why that Name?
- Littleberry (“Berry”) Phipps of NC, KY, and IN
- Phips, Phipps, Fips, or Fipps: Lawrence County, Indiana
- P.S. Regarding Littleberry Phipps
- Samuel Phips of Ashe County, North Carolina: His Gift of a Slave Girl