Lewis Phipps of Elbert County, Georgia, & Others

In previous posts we looked at a somewhat enigmatic Lewis Phipps of Elbert County, Georgia. What’s been enigmatic is the presence of two individuals named Lewis Phipps, one in Cumberland County, Virginia, the other in Elbert County, Georgia. Both of them appear to have had wives named Tabitha.

In addition, Benjamin and Ambrose Witcher appear in Elbert County, Georgia at the same time as Lewis Phipps. They appear to have been related to Ephraim Witcher who married Betsey Fips or Phips, daughter of John Fips or Phips of Lunenburg and later Charlotte Counties in Virginia. That John died about 1769 and was married to yet another Tabitha.

Questions have also been raised as to whether the Lewis Phipps who was living in Elbert County, Georgia is the same as the person of that name who later appears in Lawrence County, Indiana. Lawrence is the same county where descendants and/or close relatives of Samuel Phips of Ashe County, North Carolina, of John Fips of Charlotte County, Virginia, and of the Witcher family, eventually migrated.

The probate records of the sale of the estate of Benjamin Higginbotham, in 1810 in Elbert County, Georgia, include a reference to Lewis Phipps. He bought a horse and 2 stacks of fodder, as seen in the book by Mrs. James Higginbotham in the sources listed below. The Tabitha who was married to Lewis Phipps in Elbert County, Georgia was a daughter of John Rowsey, Sr., as mentioned in his 1815 will.

In addition, the webmaster of A Witcher Genealogy recently sent a couple other pieces of data regarding Lewis Phipps in Elbert County, Georgia:

  • 1799: Lewis Phipps witnessed the will of William Bradley
  • 1807: Lewis Phips and Ambrose Witcher are listed in records pertaining to the estate of Maj. Middleton Woods

A deed abstract refers to a Phipps, with given name not stated, who was in Elbert County, Georgia as early as 1798. One would think that this likely pertains to Lewis Phipps, since he witnessed the will of William Bradley in Elbert County in 1799.

As far as Maj. Middleton Woods is concerned, he was a member of the Georgia state legislature. As such, in 1789, he voted in favor of a contract with the Virginia Yazoo Company to promote settlement in “vacant territory” in Georgia.

This is discussed in a record from Fluvanna County, Virginia which appears on p. 159 of a section titled “Virginia Yazoo Company” in American State Papers. Although the significance of Fluvanna County isn’t immediately clear, it’s adjacent to the Cumberland County which was associated with the “other” (earlier) Lewis Phipps.

Whether this is important or even relevant is unclear. Because various members of the Phips, Fips, or Phipps family from out of eastern Virginia seemed keenly interested in surveying, land sales, and even land speculation, however, this might eventually prove significant.

As far as William Bradley is concerned, whose will was witnessed by Lewis Phipps, he is said to have been born in Bedford County, Virginia (although various genealogists claim various other places). Bedford County was created in 1753 from part of Lunenburg County, which is where John Fips or Phips who appears to have died about 1769 was living before moving to Charlotte County, and whose son in law had relatives moving into Elbert County, Georgia.

Then, to complicate things further, a James “Phelps” and wife Elizabeth of Elbert County, Georgia deeded land in Campbell County, Virginia on Wreck Island Creek to William Bradley in 1800.

We’ve discussed the “Phelps” connection to Wreck Island Creek before, with indications that they could possibly have been related to the “Phipps” etc. family, if not actually members of that family. Data pertaining to this “Phelps” family abounds, only a small part of which has made its way into this blog. Wreck Island Creek appears to be, today, in Appomattox County, which is adjacent to Campbell County.

The section on the Virginia Yazoo Company appears to be a House of Representative report of that title, dated 1803. It begins on p. 157 of Walter Lowrie, ed., American State Papers: Documents, Legislative and Executive, of the Congress of the United States, in Relation to the Public Lands, Volume I, Washington: Duff Green, 1834.

Beginning as early as 1813, records connect both Elbert and Madison Counties in Georgia with either Lewis Phipps or a John Phipps. John appears in Madison County by 1820. Benjamin Witcher begins to show up in Madison County records by 1823, and John Phipps is referred to in records as being of Madison County by 1820.

In addition, a web page about Rev. John William Mills, linked below, refers to a Richard Phipps of Elbert County, Georgia who is said to have married Martha (“Patsy”) Mills in 1819 in Elbert County. This Martha was a daughter of Moses Mills, according to the same source. Moses Mills is supposed to have married in 1787 in Charlotte County, Virginia.

Charlotte County is the same county where John Fips or Phips died about 1769, as noted above. That John was, as already noted, the father of the Betsey Fips who married Ephraim Witcher, with relatives who moved into Elbert County, Georgia.

That same web page notes that Richard and Martha appear to have been Methodists. Although it might not be relevant at all, it could be good to note that a recent post observed items in the estate of Lewellyn Phipps of Robertson County, Tennessee (with an 1843 will) which suggested that the family was likely Methodist.

Was that Richard Phipps the one who later (1840) shows up as a military pensioner in Fayette County, Georgia? He is listed among those receiving a pension for Revolutionary War or other military service in connection with the 6th census in 1840.

The two men named Lewis Phipps – the one in Virginia and the one in Georgia – plus various relatives and associates are discussed in the following:

John Wyche: A PS to the Last Post

An 1825 document from Brunswick County, Virginia in the last post referred to John Wyche as witness.

He could have simply been serving merely as an attorney or court functionary. His name also appears more directly, apparently, as an ordinary witness in an 1825 Brunswick County deed transcribed earlier.  There he appears as witness alongside several others including Winfield Phipps, son of Benjamin. Benjamin was a brother of John Phipps, named in the deed.

It might be instructive to note that John Wyche appears to have been a surveyor. He also served as a justice of the peace and as a Brunswick County militia lieutenant.

We’ve noted a number of surveyor connections or associations, although the reason hasn’t yet become clear. We could assume that it likely had something to do with the apparent connection of this branch of the Phips or Phipps family with the immigrant surveyor John Phips, who arrived in Jamestown in 1621.

John Wyche had correspondence with Thomas Jefferson. Wyche wrote to Jefferson from Brunswick County, Virginia on 19 March 1809 regarding the establishment of a library. Jefferson wrote back to Wyche two months later, on 19 May 1809, as shown in a letter in the Library of Congress website.

Several posts back, in an article titled “A Few Research Questions,” other Wyche connections were noted. One of the more interesting is that the 1770 Brunswick County will of Adam Sims names Winny Wyche, Douglas Wilkins, and Edmund Wilkins.

Those two men are the ones Joseph Fips or Fipps of Brunswick County, Virginia had land transactions with in Bute County, North Carolina in the 1770s. Then there are various associations with the Sims, Simms, or Syms family.

Also, as previously discussed, Betsey Fips or Phips, daughter of John Fips or Phips of Lunenburg County and later Caroline County, Virginia, who left a 1769 estate, married Ephraim Witcher. That surname is said by some to be a variant of the Wyche surname.

 

Slaves of Benjamin Phipps, 1824-1826

Records from Brunswick County, Virginia (again, thanks to the webmaster of A Witcher Genealogy) show transactions involving slaves belonging to Benjamin Phipps. This Benjamin was presumably the one who is referred to in Mrs. Howard Woodruff’s 1972 book on Joseph Phipps and descendants as a son of Joseph. She refers on p. 4 to Benjamin Phipps as born about 1762.

Benjamin’s daughter Patsey, as referred to in the record below, would presumably be the daughter of Benjamin who Mrs. Woodruff referred to as “Marsha” Goodall Phipps. “Marsha” should be Martha, as seen in other records.

Patsy or Patsey was a common period nickname for Martha. She’s the one who married Lazarus Vann in Madison County, Alabama. She divorced and then resumed use of her maiden name.

The Coldwater Creek which is mentioned in records below recurs in various Phipps or Phips records from Brunswick County. The Thomas W. Jones of the following records may have been Thomas Williamson Jones. A collection of his letters dating from the period 1808-1836 is in the Southern Historical Collection at the Louis Round Wilson Special Collections Library at the University of North Carolina.

He practiced medicine in Brunswick County, Virginia, with family connections to Warren and Orange Counties, North Carolina. We’ve discussed those counties in various posts in association with the Phipps family of Brunswick County, Virginia. Although Jones is obviously a common name, we’ve seen an unusually large number of Phipps dealings with persons named Jones.

From a Brunswick County, Virginia deed:

[in margin – page:] 2
[in margin:]
Jones
to
Phipps

Know all Men by these Presents that I Thomas W [or M?] Jones of the County of Brunswick for and in Consideration of the sum of three hundred Dollars to me in hand paid by Benjamin Phipps of said County at [?] before the sealing & delivery of these presents, have bargained [sold?] granted and Con[?]ed to the said Benjamin Phipps, One negro

[page break]

male slave called Reubin, To have and to hold the said negro Reubin to the only proper use and of him the said Phips his heirs Exors. [i.e. executors] admrs. [i.e. administrators] &c. And I the said Thomas W [or M?] Jones for myself my heirs Exors. & admrs. will forever warrant and defend the title to said negro Slave Reubin against all & every other person or persons whatsoever. In witness whereof I have hereunto set my hand and affixed my seal this 28th day of Jany [i.e. January] 1824.

[signed:]
Thos. W [or M?] Jones (seal)

Brunswick County Court March 27th 1826
It appearing to the Court that Thomas W [or M?] Jones having departed this life and [thereby?] being no subscribing witness to this Bill of Sale John C Jones being sworn deposeth & says that he is well acquainted with the hand writing of the said Thomas W [or M?] Jones and that he verily believes that the name of the said Thomas W [or M?] Jones to the said Bill of Sale subscribed as well as the body thereof to be wholly written by the said Thomas W [or M?] Jones and the Court being satisfied thereof the said Bill of Sale is Ordered to be recorded.

Teste [signed:]
R turnbull C B Co.

Exd.

[in margin:]
Phipps
to
Phipps

[body of text:]

Whereas the mother of Amy, (Commonly called mit,) died when she was a few hours or day old and I then told my Daughter Patsey she might have the said girl child Amy if she would be at the trouble of raising it I therefore by these presents Confirm the said Gift of Amy (Commonly called mit) to my said Daughter Martha. And whereas further the boy Reubin bought of me of Dr. T M. [or W.?] Jones was paid for out of my said Daughters money and therefore should belong to her; I do therefore relinquish to my said Daughter Patsey & her heirs the said two negroes Reubin & Amy [or Amey?] and their increase: Witness my hand and seal this 4th day May 1825.

[signed:]
Benjamin Phipps (seal)

Teste [signed:]
John Wyche

Brunswick County Court March [hole in paper] 1826
This Bill of Sale was proved by the Oath of John Wyche the witness thereto and ordered to be Recorded

Teste [signed:]
R Turnbull c B Co

Examined.

Correction to the Last Post

Upon reflection, it would appear that perhaps the assumption about “Fips adm’rs” was a bit hasty. Without seeing the estate records, it seems more probable that “Fips adm’rs” should be taken as referring to the administrators of the Fips estate, rather than that Fips were administrators of the Clement Read, Jr. estate. Apologies for the error, but it would still be interesting to see if the Clement Read, Jr. estate records would contain any further information of interest.

John Phips, Paul Carrington, and Clement Read

John Fips or Phips died about 1769 in Charlotte County, Virginia, leaving a widow named Tabitha. Past posts have looked at various records from not just Charlotte County, but from several Virginia counties, all of which are associated with that same estate.

Those records were sent by the webmaster of the A Witcher Genealogy website. (John and Tabitha’s daughter Betsey married Ephraim Witcher, and Ephraim and Betsey moved into Surry County, North Carolina.)

In a prior post, we looked at some records connected with this John Fips or Phips estate which were found in Halifax County, Virginia. In one of those records, dated September 1769, a lawsuit was directed against Harris Wilson. The suit was brought by Tabitha Fips and Francis Barnes as administrators (administratrix and administrator) of the estate of John Fips, deceased.

Tabitha Fips and Francis Barnes believed that Harris Wilson owed the estate a certain amount, which looks like four (?) pounds and eight shillings. Wilson didn’t show up at the trial, however, and so it was determined that the Fips and Barnes should be able to recover the amount from Harris Wilson.

In this matter, Paul Carrington was the lawyer for Tabitha Fips and Francis Barnes. That record was immediately followed in the court order book by one referring to a John Phips, also named as John Phelps in the same record. Again, Paul Carrington was involved as a lawyer.

This time, however, Carrington was the “assignee” of Moses Terry, and as such was the plaintiff against John Phips or Phelps. This one concerned payment to a living John Phips AKA Phelps, presumably the son of the John Fips of the previous record, for coming to court and testifying as a “Witness for Champness Terry at the Suit of Powell.”

Then (in the same blog post), a Halifax County, Virginia court record from July 1770 brings Tabitha Fips and Francis Barnes into the situation involving Champness Terry. In that record, Francis Barnes and Tabitha, this time referred to as Tabitha Phips, brought a suit against Champness Terry. Again, Paul Carrington was the attorney, but was representing Francis and Tabitha, not Champness Terry.

The fact, however, that Champness Terry was involved in the last two cases mentioned would seem to suggest that the Champness Terry matter might have had something to do with the John Fips estate.

Yet another relevant record comes from neither Charlotte County nor Halifax County, but Brunswick County. Court Order Book 13, in a record dated January 1775, refers to Tabitha Phips in connection with “an Attachment against the Estate of Harris Wilson.”

You’ll recall that the 1st of the cases referred to above, from 1769, involved an action brought by Tabitha Fips and Francis Barnes in Halifax County against Harris Wilson. Now in 1775 in Brunswick County,  Tabitha Phips is noted as having received an attachment against the estate of Harris Wilson.

The record further says that Harris Wilson “removed himself.” He appears to have absconded so that the money he owed could not be obtained from him directly. As a result, the sheriff was ordered to sell a horse, saddle, and bell which, apparently, had belonged to Wilson. This was because 5 pounds, 17 shillings, and 10 pence was owed to Tabitha Phips.

From Brunswick County, Virginia Order Book 13, p. 64, January 1775:

[in margin – page:] 64

[in margin:] Order [?] [issd?]

Tabitha Phips having obtained an Attachment against the Estate of Harris Wilson who hath privately removed himself or so absconds that the Ordinary Process of Law cannot be served upon him for five Pounds seventeen Shillings and ten Pence, and the same being returned Levied on a Horse, Saddle, and Bell, and the said Defendant not appearing to Replevy the same tho. Solemnly called Therefore It is Considered by the Court that the Plaintif [sic; plaintiff] recover against the said Deft [i.e. defendant], the said five Pounds seventeen Shillings and ten Pence And It is Ordered that the Sherif [sic; sheriff] make Sale of the said Horse Saddle and Bell and out of the Money arising from such Sale pay and Satisfy to the Plt. [i.e. plaintiff] this Judgment and return an Account thereof to the Court.

A photo of a tombstone purporting to be that of Harris Wilson (1730-1808) appears in Find A Grave, but cannot be clearly read. He is said to have died in Russell County, Virginia. An 1809 Russell County deed does refer to Harris Wilson, Sr. as having died intestate in 1808.

Unconfirmed secondary sources refer to Harris Wilson as having been named  for Michall Harris, said to have been his grandmother. We’ve discussed various Harris connections dating back to the professional partnership between John Phips and William Harris in 1621 in Jamestown, and possibly earlier in England.

Harris Wilson seems to have had dealings in Goochland County, the county which has recurred in various posts in connections with the Fipps, “Fops,” Phips, etc. family. Paul Carrington and Clement Read, Jr. proved a deed from a William Harris in Halifax County in 1759.

Paul Carrington, for his part, has been discussed in past posts. He is the subject of a Wikipedia biography. While an employee of Col. Clement Read, Carrington studied law under him. In fact, Paul Carrington married Clement Read’s daughter.

Clement Read was associated with Peter Fontaine, the surveyor who John Fips was listed with in a Lunenburg County tax list. A 1771 record in Charlotte County, Virginia refers to “Fips adm’rs” of the estate of Clement Read, Jr.

A very recent post discussed the 1729-1730 Goochland County lawsuit brought by Mathew Sims or Syms against John Phelps, with various pieces of evidence suggesting that this “Phelps” may have been a “Phipps.”

That post listed various connections between the Phipps and Sims or Simms families, however spelled. It should be noted in this context that Paul Carrington, the lawyer we’ve been discussing, supposedly married Margaret Read, daughter of Clement Read, as his 1st wife, and Priscilla Sims as his 2nd wife.

Clement Read also appears to have been a burgess from Lunenburg County, as was Matthew Marable. (See the article “John Fips and His Debt to Matthew Marable” in the A Witcher Family Genealogy website).

What is meant by the brief reference to “Fips adm’rs” (administrators) of the estate of Clement Read, Jr.? Unconfirmed secondary sources have Col. Clement Read, Sr. as having died in 1763 in Lunenburg County, Virginia, and his son Clement Read, Jr. as having died in 1770 in Charlotte County, Virginia.

Charlotte County is the same county, of course, as that of the 1769 John Fips or Phips estate, and here is a reference to “Fips” administrators of the Clement Read, Jr. estate. This Read or Reade family was evidently not an insignificant family. At least Clement Sr. was regarded as a major figure. He corresponded with George Washington about matters of significance to the colony.

One of the Phips records we cited above refers to Moses Terry and Champness Terry in Halifax County. A 1761 Halifax County record associates Clement Read, Jr. as attorney with Nathaniel Terry.

Nathaniel Terry of Halifax County was captain of a volunteer company in 1755 which was led by Col. Clement Read who lived in Lunenburg County but was king’s attorney in Halifax County. Who were these Terry individuals?

What was the relationship between the Read family and the “Fips” or Phips family? How was it that a member of the Fips or Phips family was not only involved with Clement Read, Jr.’s estate, but even served as administrator?

The 1730 London Estate of William Phipps

A past post included a 12-generation Phipps pedigree extending from Robert Phipps of Nottingham, who shows up in records there by the late 1570s, to the present Marquess of Normanby. Robert was presumably the one who is listed in Wikipedia as sheriff of Nottingham in 1574-1575. (In case you’re wondering, there was evidently no possibility of any association with Robin Hood.)

In Generation 4 can be found Constantine Phipps, who became Lord Chancellor of Ireland. This Constantine was, as stated there, the son of Francis Phipps of Reading, Berkshire, who was the focus of published data from the Berkshire heraldic visitations. Constantine had a sister Anna who, as we’ve noted in the past, married a George Reeves in 1675 in Lee, Kent, with that Reeves being said to have left her and to have died in Virginia.

Constantine and his wife Catharine Sawyer were the parents of William Phipps who married Catharine Annesley. Catharine was the daughter of James Annesley, the Earl of Anglesey. She also was what is termed a “natural” daughter, meaning an illegitimate daughter, of James II, king of England.

As noted earlier, this Catharine seems to have been the subject of various writings, while her husband William Phipps seems oftentimes hardly mentioned. We’ve noted before that, according to Fielding’s New Peerage of England Scotland & Ireland (London: John Murray, [1790?], p. 287, William married Catharine in 1718.

Old newspaper reports refer to William Phipps, specifically identified as son of Constantine Phipps, Lord Chancellor of Ireland, as having left a 1730 estate. Newspaper ads began appearing which promoted an auction to be held 16 March 1730, starting at 11 am.

To be sold were items from what was termed the “rich” personal estate of William Phipps, Esq., son of the late Constantine Phipps, who had been Chancellor of Ireland. Cited in ads were fine luxury items, with reference to blue damask, fine linen and Holland sheets, tapestries, as well as fine imported cabinets, screens, and furniture items, glassware, in addition to the “newest fashion’d plate,” “valuable” jewels, clothing, guns, etc., etc., not omitting “divers very valuable Curiosities.”

Before the sale, potential bidders were urged to view the items at William Phipps’s house in Southampton Row in Bloomsbury. Catalogs for the sale could be obtained free of charge. The lavish extravagance of this auction stands in marked contrast to the sort of lowly estate auctions in frontier areas of Virginia and North Carolina which we’ve been detailing in various posts. Those tended to feature items like axes, churns, livestock, and an occasional still.

The auction took place in March. Then in April, another auction was held on the 29th, at 5 pm, to dispose of the library of William Phipps, deceased. Ads referred to him as “late of the Middle-Temple, Esq.” That library was referred to as containing the entire library of his father Constantine, who had been Lord Chancellor of Ireland.

The library contained books in “most” languages. Included were law books. A number of the books were large folio volumes, some containing prints. The library could be viewed before the sale by visiting Phipps’s “Chambers,” presumably meaning his law office, at No. 2 Brick Court, with “one Pair of Stairs.”

British History Online refers to Brick Court as located in the Temple area and mentioned as early as 1673-1675. Brick Court is evidently associated with the Middle Temple; see also the discussion of the Outer Temple in Wikipedia.

Again, catalogs were available. They could be obtained at several locations, including Oliver’s Coffee House at Westminster and a place called Nando’s at Temple Bar. Oliver’s Coffee House was located near the north entrance to Westminster Hall, and Temple Bar Gate was the entrance to London from Westminster. A coffee house called Nando’s, on Fleet Street, apparently operated at Temple Bar at least as early as 1707.

Catalogs for this and the earlier sale were also available from a “Mr. Cock,” perhaps a barrister, whose location was Broad Street, Golden Square. Various sources refer to a “Cock Court” there.

Debrett’s has William Phipps as having died 1 February 1730, and states that his widow Catharine then remarried to John Sheldon, who lived at Croydon. William’s children by Catharine were Constantine Phipps and Catharine Phipps.

Constantine was the father of another Constantine, the one discussed 2 posts back and in various other posts as a significant naval figure, who attempted to reach the North Pole and who was godfather to a Virginia birth. Burke’s also states that William died in 1730 and was succeeded by Constantine.

The line is also discussed in various other books. That includes an interesting period treatment which appears in a section on Hervey, Earl of Bristol, on p. 289 of The English Compendium: or, Rudiments of Honour, Vol. 2, London: Printed for H. Woodfall, et al., 1769.

A Few Research Questions

ORANGE COUNTY, NORTH CAROLINA

Who were the Forrest family and Bartlet Allen, who were associated with John Phipps in Wake and Orange Counties, North Carolina. For that matter, who was this John Phipps?

In 1800 in Orange County, Shadrick/Shadrack Forrest of Orange County sold land to John Phipps of Wake County. In 1800, land was sold in Orange County from Willie Ferrell to John Ferrell, with the deed having been witnessed by John Phipps and Bartlet Allen.

An 1804 Orange County deed is from Nathan Forrest of Orange County to John Phipps, also of Orange County. In this deed, John Phipps, who is called a planter, paid 300 silver dollars for a plantation adjacent to Shadrach Forrest.

First of all, who was this John Phipps? Could there be any possibility that he could have been the John Phipps referred to as a planter who appears in a 1790 deed in Wilkes County, North Carolina? That deed was witnessed by Samuel Phipps.

That Samuel was presumably the one who died in Ashe County, North Carolina in 1854. In 1790 the area which later became Ashe County was known as Wilkes County. Prior to that, part of the area appears to have been defined as Montgomery County, Virginia; see below.

The John Phipps or Fipps who was on the New River in Wilkes County in 1790 was a planter married to Elender. When they sold that land, could they have moved east to Orange County?

As to Bartlet Allen, who witnessed that 1800 deed along with John Phipps, it’s claimed that his wife was Mary Reeves. We’ve noted various Reeves connections in various posts, and the Samuel Phipps just mentioned was a son in law of George Reeves of Grayson County, Virginia. Samuel and his wife Elizabeth of Ashe County, North Carolina were named as heirs of George Reeves of Grayson County, Virginia when he died.

It’s also said that the mother of Shadrack Forrest was a Gresham. We’ve discussed how when George Reeves was named as an Eppes/Epps heir in a 1793 Halifax County, Virginia deed, an Ambrose Gresham was co-heir. In addition, back in 1747 John Fips had dealings with a Robert Gresham in Amelia County, Virginia.

Who were these Greshams, and does this represent actual family connections? If so, what exactly were those connections?

Then there was the John Phipps who we know, from his own Revolutionary War pension testimony, was born in 1753 in Charles City County, Virginia and who later lived in Amelia County, the same Amelia County where John “Fips” dealt with Robert Gresham in 1747. The John who was a Revolutionary War veteran said that after the Revolution (it ended in 1783) he was living in Orange County, North Carolina before moving to Kentucky by 1833.

From that, we know that the John Phipps who was the Revolutionary War veteran did live in Orange County, North Carolina sometime between 1783 and 1833. Could he have been the John Phipps, planter, who was named in Orange County, North Carolina deeds of 1800 and 1804?

Is there even any possibility that he could also have been the John Fipps or Phipps, planter, who was in Wilkes County in 1790? If so, was it that he was there so briefly that he didn’t mention it in his pension testimony? The John in Wilkes County was married to an Elender, but the pension application file doesn’t appear to refer to a wife or widow by name.

GOOCHLAND COUNTY, VIRGINIA

Goochland County, Virginia has been a county of genealogical significance to us, as noted in various posts in the past. We’ve noted the appearance of Joseph and Benjamin Fipps as orphans in that county in 1742 records, as bound to a Burton. That Burton appears to have been very directly related to the Burton family into which George Reeves, discussed above, intermarried as his (apparently) 2nd marriage.

Who then, was the John Phelps who appears in a number of Goochland County records prior to the reference to the “Fipps” orphans, and was this “Phelps” related to the Phipps, Fipps, Fips, etc. family? Past posts have noted that some evidence suggests this as a real possibility. If he wasn’t a “Phipps,” then who was the father of the orphans, since earlier “Phipps” references don’t seem to appear in Goochland County, just “Phelps”?

Is there significance in the fact that John Phelps was sued by Mathew Syms or Sims in Goochland County in 1729 and 1730? Is there also significance in the fact that a jury list situates John Phelps right between Sanburn Woodson and William Woodson? (Nowell Burton, relative of the Burton family discussed above, was also included.)

First, regarding Sanburn Woodson and William Woodson: Although the proximity of the names is merely circumstantial, (1) Susanah Fips proved the will of Sanburn (Sanborn) Woodson in 1756 in Cumberland County, which was formed in 1749 from Goochland. (2) Tandy Walker, later associated with John Fips or Phips in Lunenburg County, as discussed in past posts, bought land from William Woodson in Goochland County in 1737.

Second, the lawsuit brought by Mathew Sims or Syms brings to mind other instances of the Simms or Sims or Syms name. Are the following significant or coincidental?

  • The will of Joseph Phipps in Brunswick County on 21 July 1803 was witnessed by Mittinton Simms and James Wyche.
  • The will of Adam Sims in Brunswick County in 1770 names Winny Wyche in addition to Douglas Wilkins and Edmund Wilkins. In 1772 Joseph Fips or Fipps and wife Sarah of Brunswick County, Virginia sold land in Bute County, North Carolina to Douglas Wilkins and Edmund Wilkins. Also, there are said to have been intermarriages connecting Douglas and Edmund Wilkins, daughters of Adam Sims, and the Wyche family.
  • Christopher Thrower is said to have married a Simms. His land adjoined land sold to Benjamin Phipps in an 1822 Brunswick County deed.
  • An 1824 Brunswick County deed from John Phipps and wife Nancy to Joshua Clark is for land adjoining Richard Sims.
  • A 1787 Brunswick County deed from James Phips to George Johnson is for land adjoining Zachariah Simms.

MONTGOMERY COUNTY, VIRGINIA

Who were the Moses Peasley and Moses Peasley, Sr. associated with “Sammuwill Phips” and “Sammuwill Phips, Sen.” in transcriptions of an undated (about 1782) militia list from Montgomery County, Virginia?

The listing for Sammuwill Phips is immediately followed by the name Moses Peasley, and the name Sammuwill Phips, “Sen.” is immediately followed by Moses Peasley, Sen. Is this an authentic reading? If so, who were these Peasleys? Since the name doesn’t seem to readily appear in other records, could it have been something else – Beasley, perhaps?

YORK COUNTY, VIRGINIA

In the past we’ve noted the 1679 estate of John Phipps in York County, Virginia, and raised the question, could this have been the immigrant surveyor John Phips who came to Jamestown in 1621?

A 1702 York County deed traces land ownership through a John Phips and his wife Mary, referring to a 1672 deed “upon the records of” James City County, where Jamestown was located. If it was a York County deed, why would the land transaction have been “upon the records” of James City County? And was this John the same one who left a 1679 estate?

It’s been noted earlier that John Phips, apparently the surveyor immigrant, is said to have received a land patent in 1674 for 1100 acres on Powhatan Swamp “in Archer’s Hope,” wherever that was. A 1708 York County deed is from Thomas Wilkinson and wife Frances of James City County, planter, to Francis Sharp of York County, carpenter. That was for land which is specifically stated as having formerly belonged to John Fipps.

This adjoined “said John Fipps & Mr. Wilde’s plantation so formerly called,” said in the deed to be part of a land division “called Pohatan.” Could this possibly connect to the reference to Powhatan Swamp?

Evidently after a John Phipps died in York County around 1679, a later John lived there. Was he the son of the earlier John? The later one would presumably be the John Phips who was brought before the court in 1707 in York County for “absenting from the Church.” He was given the choice of either paying a fine or receiving 10 lashes on his bare back.

In addition, the 1702 will of Thomas Cobb was witnessed by Mary Fips. Since no male Fips signed with her, can we assume that she was the widow of the John Phips who was married to Mary in the reference found to a 1672 deed, as noted in the 1702 deed? Was she the wife of the immigrant surveyor John? A Richard Phips was also in York County as early as 1699. Who was he?

In addition, claims based on Charles Parish records in York County have a John Phips as married to an Elizabeth, with a son Thomas born about 1678. Is the case, and if so, which – if either – was the immigrant John of Jamestown? Or did this John simply marry twice?

Even if this marriage of a John Phips to an Elizabeth is authentic, it would not seem as though this Elizabeth could have been the Elizabeth Harris, with a son named John Phipps, who she apprenticed out in Surry County, Virginia in 1657. That’s because if Thomas was born about 1678, and this young John, legally an orphan, was old enough to have been apprenticed in 1657, there would have been a great disparity in ages of siblings.

Who, then, were these people?