Phillips/Phipps and Poythress?

As numerous other posts have suggested, a strong link seems to have existed between the Jamestown, Norfolk, Williamsburg, and eastern James River area of Virginia early on, as far as the family is concerned, with Surry County, Virginia slightly later. Most likely, it would seem, the Phipps presence in Sussex County a bit later was connected.

Phipps records, of course, show up in Albemarle Parish, which was first in Surry County and then in Sussex County. Connections seem to then link Albemarle Parish with Brunswick County. Adjacent to both Surry and Sussex Counties today is Prince George County, and some early family and associated surname references point to King George County.

The last post referred to a John Phillips in Halifax County, with some evidence that he could have been a Phipps, Fips, Phips, etc., however spelled. It would appear that individuals who went by “Phips” and “Fips” did move into this general area from the general Brunswick, Sussex, and Surry area.

Meredith Poythress and his wife Edith sold land in Brunswick County to James Phipps on 24 Jan 1784. Then on 6 Oct 1787, James Phipps sold this land to George Johnson. In 1782 in Brunswick County, according to another source, Thomas Poythress paid taxes on land in that county. By 1787, part of that land belonged to James Phipps.

Whether these two sources are referring to the same land or not is unclear without consulting the actual deed records.

Because of this Brunswick County Phipps/Poythress connection, it might be significant that an earlier Virginia land grant was awarded to John “Phillips” in Prince George County, adjacent to a Poythress.

This was a 1751 grant of 154 acres on the south side of what was called “second Swamp.” This land, according to the grant, was bounded in part by what was described in the grant as “Poythress’s Line.”

According to the second of the two sources cited, the Poythress family was involved in both Brunswick and King George Counties. Today King George County is adjacent to Sussex, Surry, and Charles City Counties, all of which we’ve discussed in the past with regard to our family.

On various occasions, this blog, including recent posts, has discussed the Epps/Eppes family. That family was in Charles City County early (by the 1690s). It may be significant – at least, it’s certainly interesting – that a web page about this family begins with references to the Poythress family.

The Phillips wiki refers to a Poythress, John Poythress, of Prince George County receiving a Virginia land grant in 1715 for transporting two persons. One of them was John Phillips. This was land on the Meherrin River, a location which has come up at various points in Phipps research.

That wiki refers to John Poythress as owning land adjacent to a “John Phillips I,” as he’s referred to, on the south side of Second Swamp in Prince George County. This would surely be the same John Phillips we referred to above.

The same wiki page says that other persons named Phillips were in Isle of Wight County around that time period. Isle of Wight is another location that has come up in Phipps research in the past.

We noted in the past that a “Phibbs” family of Ireland appeared to also go by Philips or Phillips, as well as Phipps. It really didn’t seem to matter. Was this Phillips family of early Virginia actually a Phipps, Phips, Fipps, Fips, Phibbs, Phripp, Phypps, etc., etc.?

The Phillips Family of Halifax Co., Virginia: Fips/Phipps?

Perhaps the reference to a John “Phillips” in Halifax County, Virginia in the last post is nothing, but perhaps not. One thing to keep in mind is that in earlier eras, a very loose attitude toward surname spellings often prevailed.

Often, as can be demonstrated from numerous records, Phipps etc. families settled on a particular spelling in a particular part of the country, then adopted a new spelling when they moved somewhere else. As a result, we’ve run into a wide range of spelling variations. Could Phillips, in this case, possibly have been one of them?

Based on Halifax County records – some primary and some unconfirmed and secondary – pertaining to the Phillips family in Halifax County, Virginia, consider the following:

  • The John Phillips of the 1773 Halifax County will appears to be associated with the Matthew Marable who was sued by Tabitha Fips in adjacent Lunenburg County in 1770.
  • Also mentioned in the will was a “Rawlins,” and the Rawlins/Rollins/Rawlings and Fips/Phipps families were closely associated in the Albemarle Parish and Lunenburg County areas.
  • A Cabbiness is also mentioned in the will, and a Caviness was associated with John and Jacob Phipps in the Jamaica/North Carolina will of Rebecca Shute in 1732.
  • Richard Blanks is also mentioned in the will, and was presumably the one sued by Tabitha Fips in Lunenburg County in 1770.
  • A Bond might be mentioned as well; an online abstract makes it impossible to tell. This could, however, have involved the Wright Bond who was also sued by Tabitha Fips.
  • A 1766 Halifax County deed refers to land joining John Philips, with the deed witnessed by Isaac “Turbevill.” We’ve discussed the connection to this family in past posts. (See “Phipps, Turberville: Random Notes,” “Capt. Phipps, The Turbervilles, and the History of Barbecue,” and “Virginia/England: Possible Connections” in this blog, in addition to other posts, as well as “Littleton Phipps 1803 Brunswick County Virginia” in GenForum. The latter declares that there could be no connection to Grayson County, Virginia, but doesn’t say why.)
  • A later John Phillips of Halifax County, Virginia enlisted in Revolutionary War service from Amelia County, Virginia, which would seem a likely location for someone descended from a James River area southeast Virginia environment.
  • In fact (regarding the last point), that later John’s family is believed to have come from Surry County, Virginia. This is the same county that would seem to link the family of the surveyor John Phips, who arrived in Jamestown in 1621, with the later Phipps family in the Sussex and Brunswick Counties area of Virginia, with links from there to Lunenburg, Charlotte, and Pittsylvania Counties. (Lunenburg was created in part from Brunswick.) The family is believed to have settled in Edgecombe and Halifax Counties, North Carolina (not Virginia at this point). Much more about their Surry County connection is discussed  in “Genealogical Notes and Anecdotes: Antecedents and Descendants of Whitmell Phillips (Abt 1772-1822).”
  • That same John (the later one) was related to the Swann family. The Swann family was connected closely with the Harris family in Surry County, Virginia, and was also connected with the Claiborne family of, apparently, King William and Hanover Counties. We’ve discussed the Harris/Phips direct connection in past posts, including the Elizabeth Harris who apprenticed her son John Phips in 1657 in this same county, Surry County, Virginia. (This is where, also, the Rawlings/Rawlins family, discussed in the last post, comes into play; see “Widow of John Phips, Early VA Surveyor: Quaker?” and “John Phips: A Plantation in Early Jamestown” and  “George Blow and the Orphan John Phips” among various other earlier posts.) The Claiborne name has also come up at various times in various records: William Claiborne, for instance, is the person who received a patent for transporting both John Phips and William Harris as surveyors to Virginia, both arriving in 1621. There was supposed to have also been a second-generation Phips-Harris surveying team with extensive work in northern Virginia, after the original two were brought into the colony by Claiborne.
  • For what it’s worth, some of the Phillips family went to Wilkes County, Georgia, the same county mentioned in the previous post as the destination of Elams and Marables.
  • One member of this Phillips family, Joel Sr., might have come into North Carolina, but may have then left because of being on the wrong side in the 1771 Alamance battle between the Moderators and Regulators. This could possibly have some importance or relevance, since we know of Phipps involvement in the Regulator controversy in Orange County, North Carolina, adjacent to Alamance County. Some of this Phillips family appear to have moved into South Carolina and from there into Georgia; could there be any possibility that they could have constituted the mysterious South Carolina relatives of Benjamin Phipps’s Revolutionary War pension application?
  • One member of this Phillips family died in Pittsylvania County, Virginia in 1802. This places a John Phillips right in the same area where the “Fips” family had been observed to be a few years earlier (and where perhaps some of them still were). Also, a John Phillips moved from Loudoun County, Virginia to Rowan County, North Carolina, the county which Benjamin Floyd Nuckolls said in 1914 that the Phipps family of Grayson County, Virginia had come there from. An online discussion says that no relationship between these two individuals named John Phillips is likely, based on DNA, but who knows whether the pedigrees of those tested are authentic, or whether the data is being properly interpreted?
  • That same discussion refers to a claim that at least one of these two came from Ireland to Pennsylvania, to Rowan County, North Carolina, to South Carolina. We’ve discussed claims that the Phipps family of the Ashe County, North Carolina area came from Ireland.
  • Elizabeth Reeves, who married Samuel Phips of Ashe County, North Carolina (he died 1854), was a daughter of George Reeves/Reaves of Wilkes County, North Carolina and Grayson County, Virginia. He was related to a Halifax County, Virginia family as shown in a 1793 deed.
  • A John Phillips from Amherst County, Virginia, likely the Revolutionary War soldier (since he married a Penelope) is said in that same discussion to have married a Penelope Evans. Heinegg’s 2-volume study of what he terms free African-Americans says that the Epps family of the deed involving George Reaves was sometimes referred to as Epps (Eppes), sometimes Evans, apparently because of an illegitimate birth.
  • A 1759 will of a John Phillips in Halifax County refers to land in Carolina County. This is, of course, the same county where John Fips died about 9 years later. The same will also mentions “a negro” and land in Lunenburg County. That’s the same county where John Fips appears to have been before he shows up in Charlotte County records. Of course, John Fips was also a slave owner.
  • That will also mentions a Jones. The Jones name is, of course, a very common name, yet it seems to come up with greater than expected regularity in connection with this family and the “Phipps” (or however spelled) family.

Put this all together, and what does it spell? Who knows. It would seem inevitable, however, that at some point, at least, a “Phipps” family would have gone by the name Phillips or Philips. Is this an example?

Charlotte Co., Virginia and Elsewhere: Connections

Wayne Witcher of the Witcher family blog found several early records pertaining to the John Fips family of the Pigg River area of Virginia. These records relate to the settling of John Fips’s estate after he died about 1768.

In March of 1770 in Charlotte County, Virginia, Tabitha Fips and Francis Barnes are mentioned in court records (Order Book 2, p. 224) as administrators of the estate of John Fips:

On the motion of Tabitha Fips and Francis Barnes (who made oath according to law) Administration of the Estate of John Fips Deceased is Granted them (they Giving Security) whereupon they together with Edward Elam & James Christopher their securitys [sic] entered into and Acknowledged their bond for the [due?] and faithful Administration of the said Estate.

This is immediately followed by the following:

Ordered that Peter Hamblin Francis Lindsy William Willis and John [H?]ight or any three of them being first Sworn before a magistrate do apprase [sic] in Current money the Slaves and Personal Estate of John Fips Deceased and return an account of such appraisment [sic] here to this Court

An April 1770 Charlotte County, Virginia court record (Order Book 2) refers to Tabitha Fips and Francis Barnes as estate administrators. The record seems to imply that the defendants were not living in Charlotte County, or were no longer living there:

Tabitha Fips & Francis Barnes Administrators of John Fips Decd. plaintifs [sic; plaintiffs]
against
Wright Bond & Richard Blanks Defendants

The Sherif [sic] having Returned the Second writ the Defendants are not found within his Baliwick [sic; bailiwick, or jurisdiction] and the said Defendants failing to appear, It is Considered by the Court that the plaintifs [sic] have Execution against the said Defendants for the sum of Fifty two pounds one Shilling & Eight pence Current mony [sic] [Deft? (for defendant) written above line with caret] three hundred & ninety Six pounds of [(unclear, looks like “Nell”)] Tobacco [(unclear)] one hundred & Fifty pounds of Tobacco. Costs in the writ aforesaid specified & also that they Recover against the said Defendants their Costs by them about their writ in this behalf Expended

Then another relevant record appeared on p. 365 in the same book, dated May 1770:

Tabitha Fips & Francis Barnes Administrator & Administratrix of John Fips Decd. plaintifs [sic; plaintiffs]
against
Matthew Marable & Christopher Marable Defendants

On a Petition

On fully hearing the Testamony [sic] of the Witness’s [sic; witnesses] It is Considered by the Court that the plaintif [sic; plaintiff] recover against the said Defendant Matthew the sum of two pounds ten Shillings Current money Together with his Costs by him about his Suit in this behalf Expended. For Reasons appearing to the Court this Suit is ordered to be Dismissed as to the Defendant Christopher Marable.

This is immediately followed by:

On the motion of James Barnes a Witness for Tabitha Fips & Francis Barnes administrator & administratrix of John Fips Decd. in their suit against Matthew & Christopher Marable It is ordered that the said Tabitha Fips & Francis Barnes pay him for one day’s Attendance according to Law

Finally, another record appeared in the same book (p. 404) in November 1770:

Tabitha Fips and Francis Barnes Admrs John Fips, Decd. plaintifs [sic]
against
Christopher Marable & Matthew Marable Defendants

On a Petition

The Defendant Christopher not appearing altho duly Summoned, therefore, It is Considered by the Court that the plaintifs [sic] recover against the sd. [i.e. said] Defendant Christopher Marable the sum of two pounds ten shillings Current money, Together with their Costs by them about their Suit in this behalf Expended. Memorandum that in May Court Last Judgment was entered against the Defendant Matthew for the same Debt.

The Richard Blanks mentioned above is presumably the one of that name who petitioned in 1759 to establish a ferry from his land in Lunenburg County across the Staunton River to Halifax County. (Part of the Roanoke River is known locally as the Staunton River.) Blanks was given permission to operate the ferry at Berry’s Ford. Security was provided by Mathew (Matthew) Marable, presumably the one mentioned above.

Secondary sources show the Blanks family as associated with Brunswick County, Virginia. Those sources also show a Blanks land sale to Bond (note the Bond reference above).

As noted on earlier occasions, George Reeves of Wilkes County, North Carolina and Grayson County, Virginia, who was the father in law of Samuel Phipps of Wilkes and later of Ashe County, North Carolina, was referred to in a 1793 Halifax County, Virginia deed as George Reaves of Wilkes County, an heir of an Epps family. (Earlier, the Reaves/Rives/Reeves and Epps/Eppes were extremely closely connected in southeast Virginia.)

According to another unconfirmed secondary source, a 1773 will in this same Halifax County, Virginia, the will of John “Phillips,” refers to “Mat” Marable, who was presumably the Matthew Marable discussed above.  Also named is a “Rawlins.” John Phips/Fips of Lunenburg and Peter “Rollins” are listed right next to each other in a Lunenburg County, Virginia (adjacent to Charlotte County) tax list, and we’ve noted in the past the close relationship between the Rawlings and Phipps/Fipps families in Albemarle Parish/Sussex County, Virginia.

That will, according to the secondary source, also refers to Matthew Cabbiness. We’ve noted in the past the 1732 Jamaica/North Carolina will of Rebecca Shute of Jamaica, mentioning her land, with slaves, at Cape Fear on the North Carolina coast.

That will was witnessed by John and Jacob Phipps as well as George Cavaniss, a variant form of the Cabiness/Cabbiness surname. The Cape Fear plantation likely derived its slaves from the Caribbean, by the way, suggesting yet another Phipps connection to the Caribbean.

We’ve also discussed how later, in 1848 in Brunswick County, the Cabiness name is associated with Littleton Phipps in a chancery case.

That 1773 will also refers to Richard Blanks, presumably the one mentioned above, as well as Clement Read (associated with the Pigg River area Fips/Witcher family), and a Stokes – William Stokes. We’ve noted the name Sylvanus or Silvanus Stokes in connection with the Fips family of Charlotte and Pittsylvania Counties on a number of occasions.

In the 1770s, Brunswick, Halifax, Charlotte, and Lunenburg Counties in Virginia were all contiguous counties. Could this John “Phillips” will possibly have been a John Phipps/Phips/Fips, etc. will?

By the way, the Richard Blanks who appears at several junctures above witnessed a deed, along with John Fips, from Francis Clements to Silvanus Stokes in Lunenburg County in 1764. Another 1764 deed in the same county was from Richard Blanks of Lunenburg County to “Right” (Wright) Bond (the Wright Bond mentioned above), also of Lunenburg County, for land on the north side of the Staunton River. These deeds appear next to each other in a published abstract.

As far as the James Christopher mentioned above is concerned, the will of William Christopher was witnessed by Francis Barnes in 1772 in Charlotte County, presumably the same Francis Barnes discussed above. This Christopher appears to have connected with James Burton, Jr. and Edward Moseley.

The Burton/Phipps connection in Virginia and North Carolina has been noted on numerous occasions. The Moseley family was extremely closely associated with the Phripp/Phipps/Phipps family of the Norfolk area.

An 1816 Charlotte County, Virginia estate sale record lists Francis Barnes, presumably the one discussed above, along with a Moseley and a couple Stokes. Edward Elam was mentioned above. A 1790 Wilkes County, Georgia will of an Elam names Frances (presumably Francis) Barnes of Charlotte County, Virginia as an heir.

As far as the Marables or Marrables were concerned, as discussed above, a Christopher Marable was evidently born about 1700 in James City/Jamestown. Secondary sources associate this family with James City and Surry County, Virginia, which of course is the same area associated with the surveyor John Phips who arrived in 1621, along with what would seem to be his family.

A 1779 will of Christopher Marable in Charlotte County includes the name Rawlins (Rawlings or Rollins) as a witness. Again, the Rawlings name was very closely and directly associated with the Phipps family in the Brunswick/Sussex Counties/Albemarle Parish area. Some of the Marable family ended up in Wilkes County, Georgia, the same county associated with the Elam mentioned earlier who, in turn, was connected with Francis Barnes of Charlotte County, Virginia.

Heinegg, in his two-volume study of supposed free African-Americans, refers to the Chavis family of Lunenburg County. In 1763 a suit against a Chavis was dismissed by the recommendation of a Christopher and a Marable. These were David Christopher and Matthew Marable (the same Matthew?), referred to as gentlemen.

That same Chavis, according to the same source, was arrested in 1764 for gaming. That gaming, or gambling, occurred at an ordinary (inn or tavern) which was run by David Christopher. In the same year, the Lunenburg court ordered the St. James Parish church wardens tohave Thomas Brandon bound to this same Chavis in place of Hutchings Burton.

Here, of course, is the Burton name again. One of a number of places where that name has popped up in association with the Phipps or Reeves family is in connection with the Goochland County, Virginia orphans Joseph and Benjamin Fipps in 1742, who were also bound to a Burton.

Isaac Phips, Born About 1795-1802 Washington Co., VA

Isaac Fipps, Phips, or Phipps is listed in Lee County, Virginia in the censuses of 1850, 1860, and 1860. According to the 1850 and 1870 censuses, he was born in Washington County, Virginia.

He is likely the Isaac Phipps listed in the 1820 and 1830 censuses in Washington County, Virginia, and the 1840 census in Lee County, Virginia.

His estimated year of birth varies depending on census listing, but he was born about 1795 to 1802. In the 1850 census, he is listed as Isaac Phipps, in 1860 as Isaac Phips, and in 1870 as Isaac Fipps. In 1860 he was in the western district with his post office address at Jonesville, and in 1870 he was in White Shoals Township.

In 1870, he is listed as someone who “works on farm.” He and his wife Catharine could not read or write, according to the 1850 and 1860 censuses. Catharine was born about 1794 to 1803 in Washington County, Virginia according to the 1850-1870 censuses.

Their children appear to have included at least Prudence, Sarah, Joel, and Rebecca, according to censuses. An unconfirmed secondary source lists another son, Abraham, born about 1812 in Washington County, Virginia. Another such source (about halfway down the page) lists children as Abraham, John Charlie, Peter, Prudence, Sarah, Rebecca, Joel, and Elkanah Delaney (“Caney”).

This Abraham, assuming he was a son, would be the one who was born about 1812-1815 in Washington County, Virginia according to the 1850 and 1870 censuses, and according to his Civil War enlistment. He was in Lee County, Virginia at the time of the 1850 census, when he was listed as a “Labourer.” The 1870 census shows him in Yocum Station Township, Lee County, with post office at Jonesville. That was Isaac’s P.O. address in 1860.

According to his Civil War enlistment, Abraham was 5 feet 10 with dark complexion, blue eyes, and gray hair. He served in Company G, Virginia 64th Infantry Regiment, from Lee County, Virginia at age 50. The 1870 census shows Abraham as married to Delphia, and secondary sources refer to her as Delphia Moor.

Missouri Penitentiary Records

Older records from the Missouri State Penitentiary were just today made available in the Missouri Digital Heritage website. Some of the listings are from as late a period as the 1920s, but some date from the 19th century.

The listings associate a county with the individual and typically provide an approximate birth year. One of the Phipps listings even includes a father’s name.

John and Samuel Phips of Wilkes Co., North Carolina

What is the relationship between the John Fips/Phips and the Samuel Fips/Phips listed in early Wilkes County, North Carolina tax lists, according to published abstracts?

As previously noted, Samuel was born about 1760-63 and died in 1854 in Ashe County, North Carolina. In 1782, he was listed in Montgomery County, Virginia in a militia list, along with an older Samuel listed as Samuel, Sr. (with the older man’s name spelled Sammuell Phips Sen.).

Samuel starts showing up in Wilkes County, North Carolina tax lists by 1788 but John appears there earlier, by 1782. He listed as follows:

  • 1782: John Fips, 100 acres
  • 1784: John Fipps, 110 acres
  • 1786: John Fipps, 200 acres
  • 1788: John Fipps, 160 acres
  • 1789: John Fips, 150 acres

Samuel, on the other hand, is listed in Wilkes County tax lists as early as 1788:

  • 1788: Samuel Fipps, 50 acres
  • 1789: Samuel Fipps, 50 acres
  • 1790: Samuel Fips, 50 acres
  • 1791: Samuel Fips, 50 acres
  • 1792: Samuel Phips, 50 acres
  • 1793?: Samuel Phips, 250 acres
  • 1794: Samuel Phips, 400 acres
  • 1795: Saml. Phips, 400 acres
  • 1796: Samuel Phipps, 400 acres
  • 1797: Saml. Phips, 400 acres
  • 1799: Samuel Phips, 450 acres

A relationship between these two men could be presumed, but what was that relationship?

In 1790, Samuel witnessed a deed in Wilkes County from John to Alexander Smith. John is described as a planter and as married to Elender. Presumably this was the same John.

Most research the last several decades has evidently been predicated on the assumption that these two men, John and Samuel, were brothers, and that their father was likely a man named Joseph Phipps.

Little is known about this John, however, and there is no proof that John’s father was a Joseph. Certainly no proof exists that John and Samuel were brothers, and Samuel is, again, listed in 1782 with an older Samuel referred to as Samuel, Sr.