Mathew Phips, Estray Notice, 1835, Clay County, Indiana

In 1835, Mathew Phips of Washington Township, Clay County, Indiana ran an estray notice for a light gray horse which had been appraised 21 July 1835. The ad was published on 13 August 1835 in Terre Haute.

Mathew is the one who ran a store in Bowling Green in Clay County until he suddenly disappeared in 1841 a couple weeks or so after close relatives of his robbed a competitor’s store. He was a son of Jesse Phips of adjacent Owen County, son of Samuel Phips of Ashe County, North Carolina. When Mathew disappeared, he was presumed dead. His estate included his store in Bowling Green, Clay County, and a farm in Owen County.

The ad appeared in the Wabash Courier, Terre Haute, Indiana, 13 August 1835, p. 2:

TAKEN UP by Mathew Phips of Washington township, in Clay county, one light GRAY HORSE, seven years old, sixteen hands and one inch high, shod all round, swinned in the left shoulder, has a knot on each leg, and appraised to forty five dollars by Robert Burthfield and Geo. Zenor, on the 21st day of July, 1835, before me

A Phipps Family of Clay, Sullivan, and Vigo Counties, Indiana

Moses Phipps appears in the 1840 census in Harrison Township, Clay County, Indiana, on the same page as James Phipps, Hugh Dobkins, and John and Henry Cooprider. Dobkins and the Coopriders are individuals who appear to have been associated with the Phipps family who came into Owen and Clay Counties, Indiana from Ashe County, North Carolina. Moses also lived in same township in the 1860 census, but has not been found in the 1850 census.

Hugh Dobkins married Jane Phipps in adjacent Owen County on 27 April 1845. Laura A. Phipps is said to have married Uriah Cooprider 21 April 1872, son of Henry Cooprider. Henry Cooprider is said to have been born in 1815 in Clay County, Indiana. Blanchard, in his book Counties of Clay and Owen  Indiana, 1884, p. 24, refers to “the Phipps or Cooprider place” near Clay City. This was discussed in an earlier post.

Harrison Township in Clay County is the same township where William and Sampson Phipps or Phips were living. Sampson appears in the census there in 1860, 1870, and 1880. Sampson’s father was born in North Carolina according to the 1880 census. Sampson was a son of Benjamin and Lethe (Williams) Phipps according to Blanchard, who refers to William and Sampson as brothers.

One odd factor is that Moses Phips or Phipps appears in the census in Harrison Township, Clay County, Indiana in the 1840 and 1860 census, but not in the 1850 census. An online copy of the 1850 census for that township is of very poor quality, with a few names only partly readable. Still, however, it does not appear that he was listed.

Other Phips or Phipps individuals are listed in Harrison Township, Clay County, Indiana in the 1850 census, however. One would think that they were likely related in some way to Moses Phipps. These individuals are abstracted below.

1850 census, 21 October 1850, Harrison Township, Clay County, Indiana, handwritten p. 570, stamped p. 285b:

  • James Phips, 48 [born about 1802], male, farmer, real estate $1,000, born Kentucky
  • Mary Phipps, 56 [born about 1794], born Kentucky
  • Frederick Phipes [sic; as spelled], 23 [born about 1827], male, laborer, born Indiana
  • Margaret Phips, 19 [born about 1831], female, born Indiana
  • Poley Phipes [sic], 16 [born about 1834], female, born Indiana
  • George Phips, 13 [born about 1837], male, born Indiana

Also appearing in the same township is the household of what looks like “Ambrose”(?) Phips.

1850 census, 23 October 1850, Harrison Township, Clay County, Indiana, stamped p. 287a:

  • A[ambrose?] Phips, 45 [born about 1805, male, farmer, real estate $500, born Kentucky
  • Mary Phipes [sic], 85 [born about 1765, female, born Virginia
  • Catharine Phips, 49 [born about 1801], female, born Kentucky, could not read and write
  • Henry Bolock, 24 [born about 1826], male, laborer, born South Carolina

Another family in the same township is that of Sampson (listed as Samson) Phips.

1850 census, 26 October 1850, Harrison Township, Clay County, Indiana, handwritten p. 576, stamped p. 288b:

  • Samson Phips, 33 [born about 1817], male, farmer, real estate $200, born Indiana
  • Polly Phips, 26 [born about 1824], female, born Indiana
  • Sarah Phips, 6 [born about 1844], female, born Indiana
  • Robart Phips, 5 [born about 1845], male, born Indiana
  • Charity Griffith, 15, female, born Indiana

The following page shows Mary Phips, 61 (born about 1789 in “N Carolina;” the “N” is indistinct but appears to be an “N”) and 14-year-old “Idda” Phips, living in the household of Jackson Kimmons. Further down the same page is the family of William Phips:

1850 census, 27 October 1850, Harrison Township, Clay County, Indiana:

  • William Phips, 22 [born about 1828], male, laborer, born Indiana
  • Martha Phips, 10 [born about 1840], female, born Indiana
  • William J Phips, 8 [born about 1842], male, born Indiana
  • James Phips, 7 [born about 1843], male, born Indiana
  • Moses Phips, 3 [born about 1847], male, born Indiana

Of these individuals, again, we know that Sampson and William were brothers and were sons of Benjamin and Lethe (Williams) Phipps (Blanchard, pp. 204-205, 544). We also know that this Benjamin was born in North Carolina (1880 census listing for Sampson).

A chronology of the life of Moses Phipps

Moses Phipps was born about 1806 in Tennessee according to the 1860 census, and about the same date in East Tennessee according to the 1870 census. Blanchard, Counties of Clay and Owen Indiana, 1884, p. 438, says that he was born in East Tennessee.

In the 1840 census, Moses Phipps appears in the census in Harrison Township, Clay County, Indiana. The census shows him as born about 1800-1810. The only adult female was born about 1810-1820. This was presumably his 1st wife, Catherine Griffith.

It would seem that she was likely related to Rebecca Ann Griffith, who married Eli Shadrack Phips of Owen County, adjacent to Clay County. Eli was a grandson of Samuel Phips of Ashe County, North Carolina. She was likely also related to Sarah Griffith who married a William Phipps who was born in 1824 in Lawrence County, Indiana, and the Nancy Griffith who married the William Phipps who was a son of Benjamin and Jean (Has) of Grayson County, Virginia.

1840 census, Harrison Township, Clay County, Indiana:

Moses Phipps:

  • Free white males: 1 under 5, 1 30-40 [born about 1800-1810]
  • Free white females: 2 under 5, 1 5-10, 1 20-30 [born about 1810-1820]

An 1850 census listing for Moses Phips or Phipps has not been found, as already noted. He appears in the 1860 census, however, again in Harrison Township. In the interim, he remarried. His new wife was Emily Jerman.

Information abstracted from marriage record, Clay County, Indiana Marriage Record Book 1, p. 402:

  • Groom: Moses Phipps
  • Bride: Emily Jerman
  • License date: 29 July 1858
  • Marriage: 31 July 1858, Clay County, Indiana, by George W. May, Justice of the Peace

Moses then appears in the 1860 census with his 2nd wife, Emily Jerman.

1860 census, 31 July 1860, Harrison Township, Clay County, Indiana, PO at Martz:

  • Moses Phipps [head], 54 [born about 1806], male, farmer, real estate $300, personal estate $175, born Tennessee
  • Emily Phipps, 26 [born about 1834], female, weaver, born Kentucky, could not read and write
  • Robert Phipps, 8 [born about 1852], male, born Indiana, attended school
  • George W. Phipps, 3 [born about 1857], male, born Indiana, attended school
  • Sarah J. Phipps, 5 [born about 1855], female, born Indiana, attended school

By 1870, Moses Phipps had moved into Sullivan County, Indiana. Sullivan County is adjacent to Clay and Vigo Counties.

1870 census, 8 June 1870, Jackson Township, Sullivan County, Indiana, PO at Lewis:

  • Stephen R. Doll, 63, male, white, blacksmith, real estate [blank], personal estate $200, born Ohio
  • Mary A. Doll, 59, female, white, keeping house, born Virginia, could not read and write
  • Alonzo S. Doll, 27, male, white, farmer, real estate $400, born Indiana
  • Moses Phipps, 64 [born about 1806], male, white, farmer, real estate $600, personal estate $100, born East Tennessee
  • Emily Phipps, 35 [born about 1835], female, white, keeping house, born Kentucky, could not read or write
  • Sarah J. Phipps, 10 [born about 1860], female, white, born Indiana, could not read or write
  • Charlotte Phipps, 8, female, white, born Indiana, could not read or write
  • Martha E. Phipps, 8, female, white, born Indiana
  • Levi S. Phipps, 1/12 [age 1 month], male, white, born Indiana

Moses Phipps died by 1879. The Terre Haute Gazette, 26 June 1879, p. 8, under “Court House Echoes,” refers to his son Joshua J. Phipps as guardian of minor heirs of Moses Phipps:

. . . Joshua J. Phipps, guardian Lotta M. and Martha B. Phipps, and John, Sarah, Amanda and Wm. Mullen, minor heirs of Moses Phipps, deceased. Bond $100, with W. H. Tryon and Abijah Richey as sureties. . . .

Joshua J. Phipps, son of Moses Phipps

A son of Moses Phipps was the Joshua J. Phipps who was referred to here as guardian. Of course, “Lotta M.” would be the same person as Charlotte Phipps in the 1870 census.

Joshua does not appear in the census with his father Moses. He was born in 1841, so missed the 1840 census (that census would not have listed children by name anyway), and the 1850 census listing was not found. In 1860 he was presumably out on his own at the age of about 19.

He enlisted on 15 July 1861 for Civil War service in Company C, 11th Indiana Infantry, under Col. Lewis Wallace. He was present at the battles of Ft. Donelson and Shiloh, according to Blanchard. He was discharged for disability in July 1862, stayed at home a month, then reenlisted. Joshua reenlisted into Company K, 85th Infantry, but was wounded shortly afterward. He was taken to Hospital Number 3 in Nashville until June, according to Blanchard.

Joshua J. Phipps began to assist a surgeon named Harlow with surgeries in June 1862. He was then transferred to Company F, 3rd Regiment Veteran Reserve Corps, and was stationed, according to Blanchard, at the U.S. Arsenal at Dearbornville. This was a small village west of Detroit. He was at the U.S. Dispensatory until 8 November 1865, when he was mustered out at Detroit. He then entered a medical college at Ann Arbor, Michigan for a term.

Joshua J. Phipps married Mary F. O’Neal on 12 September 1865 in Detroit.

Wayne County, Michigan Marriage Certificates Book E, p. 582:

[In margin:] 25170
[Body of text:]
Detroit Wayne Co. Mich. Sep 12th 1865. I do certify that I this day joined in marriage according to law the following parties Joshua J Phipps son of Moses Phipps aged 23 years of Terre Haute Ind. to Miss Mary O Neil parents unknown aged 20 years of [Archin?] Canada West. Witnesses present, John McFarland, Jno. D. Smith.
Saml. Freeland Clergyman

The 1880 census shows Joshua J. Phipps living in Pearson Township, Vigo County, Indiana, where he was a physician. The reason why he had moved to Vigo County, Indiana is not clear. He later moved back to Clay County. Blanchard says (p. 438) that Joshua J. Phipps practiced medicine for 9 years in Pierson Township, Vigo County, Indiana.

1880 census, 11 June 1880, Pierson Township, Vigo County, Indiana, p. 15:

  • Joshua J. Phipps, white male, 37 [born about 1843], married, physician, born Indiana, his parents born Tennessee
  • Mary [T.? or P.?] Phipps, white female, 34 [born about 1846], wife, married, keeping house, born Canada, her father born Ireland, her mother born Scotland
  • Edward Phipps, white male, 12 [born about 1868], son, single, at school, attended school, born Indiana, his father born Indiana, his mother born Canada
  • Laura J. Phipps, white female, 8 [born about 1872], daughter, single, attended school, born Indiana, her father born Indiana, her mother born Canada
  • Nettie M. Phipps, white female, 5 [born about 1875], daughter, single, born Indiana, her father born Indiana, her mother born Canada
  • Mary P. Phipps, white female, 5/12 [age 5 months], born January, daughter, single, born Indiana, her father born Indiana, her mother born Canada

In 1884, Blanchard’s Counties of Clay and Owen Indiana was published. Blanchard included a biography of Dr. Joshua J. Phipps on p. 438. At that time, Joshua was described as a “practicing physician” of Middlebury, Clay County, Indiana. William Travis, in his 1909 book A History of Clay County, Vol. 1, refers on p. 167 to Joshua Phipps as among those who had been physicians in Middlebury.

Minors of Joshua J. Phipps at Farmersburg in Sullivan County, Indiana received a pension based on Joshua’s Civil War service. This is noted in the Indianapolis Journal, 5 January 1889, p. 2.

A daughter of Joshua J. Phipps by his marriage to Mary O’Neal was Pearl Phipps. She would appear to have been the Mary P. Phipps listed in the 1880 census. She married Lincoln E. Wilman in 1899 in Vigo County, Indiana.

From Vigo County, Indiana Marriage Book 5M, p. 52:

  • Full name of groom: Lincoln E Wilman
  • Place of residence of groom: Terre Haute, Indiana
  • Age next birthday: 29 [born about 1870]
  • Color: white
  • Occupation: Restaurant
  • Place of birth: Ohio
  • Father’s name: Robert A Wilman
  • Mother’s maiden name: Ellen E. Thomas
  • No. groom’s marriage: 1
  • Full name of bride, maiden name if a widow: Pearl Phipps
  • Place of residence: Terre Haute, Indiana
  • Age next birthday: 20 [born about 1879]
  • Color: White
  • Place of birth: Palmetto, Indiana
  • Father’s name: Joshua Phipps
  • Mother’s maiden name: Mary O’Neal
  • No. bride’s marriage: 1
  • Place of marriage: Terre Haute, Indiana
  • By whom married: Rev. E. Becker
  • Date of marriage: 11 January 1899

The 1885 Phipps Controversy, Terre Haute, Indiana

Terre Haute, Indiana and Casey, Illinois were astir during the summer of 1885 over the disappearance of a Casey farmer, Edgar Williamson, also referred to in newspapers as Elmer Williamson. Evidence turned up which suggested that Williamson had been murdered, and that a certain Phipps family, living in Terre Haute at the time, were to blame.

Newspaper accounts jumbled the facts and are riddled with contradictions. Sometimes different articles contradicted each other. Sometimes one article would even contradict itself. The following, however, appears to have been the chronology as reported, at least more or less.

Williamson had been a farmer living near Casey, Illinois. Casey is located in Clark and Cumberland Counties. He came to Terre Haute in February 1885, and was seen in the city in the St. Clair House. Then he disappeared, and was not seen again until his body was found in the Wabash River, where it floated to the surface after ice broke up in the spring.

Williamson’s activities in the city were traced to the St. Clair House. This was described as a building “inhabited by the very worst elements of the city.” An illustration showing the St. Clair House appears in an 1874 Vigo County, Indiana atlas published by A.T. Andreas. Photos of the structure also appear on p. 76 of the book Terre Haute & Vigo County in Vintage Postcards. The St. Clair House was located at 204 Wabash Avenue, on the northeast corner of 2nd and Wabash. It later became the Stag Hotel.

Several women associated with the St. Clair House, including a certain Emma Morey, were taken into custody on suspicion, but were later released. Emma Morey’s name was also represented in newspaper accounts as Emma Mowery. She was known as Em.

In May 1885, around the time that Williamson’s body was found, a newspaper mentioned Emma Morey and Jennie Phipps “of the St. Clair flats.” The two women were said to have tried, “under alcoholic inspiration,” to “paint Gallatin street a beautiful cardinal red” on a Saturday night. A police sergeant then interrupted “their little amusement” and locked them up.

When the Williamson matter came up, it appeared that the matter would likely be dropped, since no evidence turned up. Then, however, rumors began to surface that suggested that a family named Phipps, who had been living in the St. Clair House, might have been responsible.

John W. Phipps, along with his daughters Emma and Jenny, had been living in the St. Clair House in Terre Haute but had since moved to a farm belonging to T.H. Riddle of Terre Haute. The farm was located 7 miles west of Casey, Illinois. John W. Phipps was said to have been “well-known” in Terre Haute for “a number of years,” and had been working for T.H. Riddle. Edgar Williamson, the man who disappeared, had also been living near Casey.

One of the Phipps “children,” as a newspaper put it, was overheard as remarking that his father told his mother that Williamson would “soon wash out of the river.” One of John W. Phipps’s daughters, a married woman referred to as Mrs. Patrick, entered into a squabble with her father. This was because she wanted to bring her husband to Phipps’s house, but John W. Phipps would not allow it, since he did not like him.

As a result, Mrs. Patrick supposedly no longer wished to hold the family’s dark secrets. In another version of the story, one of the Phipps girls “captured” a young man for a short time, but her sister “cut her out.” Her anger then prompted the confession. She then told a justice of the peace that a member or member of the Phipps family drugged Edgar Williamson in Emma Morey’s room at the St. Clair House. In yet another version, one of the Phipps girls, identified as a prostitute, told authorities about the murder, but her confession was said to have prompted by jealousy, and that there “nothing in it.”

According to Mrs. (Phipps) Patrick’s account, as reported, the intent was not to kill Williamson, but only to rob him. They gave him too much of the drug, however, and Williamson died. After he died, according to Mrs. Patrick’s story, Williamson’s body was carried into the cellar by John W. Phipps, referred to as “the old man” of the family. Then it was said that the body was later taken on a dark night to a sewer at the corner of 3rd and Chestnut Streets, where it was deposited. Evidently, the assumption was that the body would soon find its way to the river.

The story pointed the finger at the Phipps family, Emma Morey, and another Emma, presumably the one who was John W. Phipps’s daughter. Before they moved to near Casey, Illinois, Jenny and Em Morey (sometimes referred to as Mowery) had been sharing a room in the St. Clair House. Williamson was said to have died in this room.

A sergeant and deputy went to Casey, Illinois to make arrests. They returned at 1 pm on Wednesday, 5 August 1885 with John W. Phipps and Jennie, described as his blonde 18-year-old daughter, under suspicion of murder. John W. Phipps was said to be 59 at the time, which indicates that he was born about 1826.

Both John and Jennie (otherwise referred to as Jenny) Phipps were placed in jail, but in separate cells. They denied any knowledge of the matter, as did Emma Morey, who was also in jail. Even while these individuals were incarcerated, it was thought that there was not much of a case against them. That was because the sole evidence was said to be the testimony of Mrs. Patrick, who was described as being of “exceedingly bad character.” In addition, it was thought that Jennie did not “talk nor act” guilty, and that John W. Phipps looked like an “inoffensive old man.”

A contradictory account, however, appears to have Emma Phipps, not Emma Morey or Mowery, as in jail with John W. Phipps. In that version of the story, Emma Phipps, also called Em, admitted that Williamson had been drugged in an attempt to rob him. Supposedly the drug had been added to a beer which was given Williamson by Jenny. In another account, however, it was wine rather than beer.

Then, it is said, Jenny Phipps and “the Mowery girl” found that the dose was too strong, and that Williamson had died. They then consulted John W. Phipps, who, according to the story, decided to carry Williamson’s body into the cellar, where he covered it with boards. Before long, however, the body began to smell. Becoming concerned that the body would be discovered, on a dark night John then carried the body to the sewer, where because of melting snow and spring rains the body soon found its way to the river.

While in jail, “the Mowery girl” was said to sing, talk, and act happy. John W. Phipps’s bail was set at $1,000. Mrs. Patrick’s testimony came under scrutiny. She had said that the body was inserted into the sewer at 3rd and Chestnut. It was pointed out that because of grating and the design of the sewer at that point, the body would not likely have reached the river. At 2nd and Chestnut, however, the body could have easily been placed into the sewer, and would have traveled out into the river.

The police concluded that it appeared that the evidence was insufficient to “hold” a murder charge. In fact, a sergeant who had made the arrests near Casey, Illinois said that “if Phipps had not wanted to come to Terre Haute worse than they wanted him, he would not have been brought at all.” Supposedly he was anxious to come to Terre Haute to clear his name.

A local paper reported on 8 August 1885 that the “parties now in jail” were not guilty, and that Jennie Phipps and Emma Morey had been released. Then, in a one-sentence newspaper article on 13 August 1885, it was reported that John W. Phipps had been released “on his own recognizance.” It was added that this “practically ends” the case.

Was there guilt on the part of the Phipps family, or were the charges against them just a matter of fabrication prompted by jealousy? And who were these Phipps individuals, genealogically speaking?

A Terre Haute marriage record from later the same year, 1885, involves a Jennie Phipps, daughter of John Phipps. Was this the same family?

According to that record, Jennie Phipps of Terre Haute married George W. Bishop, a cook who was also living in Terre Haute. He was 25 and born in Illinois, a son of John and Sarah (Delap) Bishop. She was 20, so born about 1865, and born in Illinois. Jennie’s parents are listed as John and Nancy (Cooper) Phipps. Jennie Phipps and George W. Bishop were married 31 December 1885 in Terre Haute by a justice of the peace, according to Vigo County Marriage Book 1-M, pp. 284-285.


  • “Another Horror,” Terre Haute Express, 4 August 1885, p. 1.
  • “Edgar Williamson,” Weekly Gazette, Terre Haute, 6 August 1885, p. 4.
  • “Em. Mowery Arrested,” Terre Haute Express, 5 August 1885, p. 1.
  • “The Last of the Phipps Case,” Terre Haute Express, 8 August 1885, p. 1.
  • “Phipps Released,” Weekly Gazette, Terre Haute, 13 August 1885, p. 6.
  • “Phipps Released,” Terre Haute Express,/em>, 7 August 1885, p. 1.
  • Untitled, under “City in Brief,” Terre Haute Express, 26 May 1885, p. 4.
  • Untitled, under “Notes and Comment,” The Mail, Terre Haute, 8 August 1885, p. 1.
  • “The Williamson Mystery, Terre Haute Express, 6 August 1885, p. 4.

The Never-Ending Sir William Phips Saga

According to various apparently dodgy genealogical claims regarding William Phips (1651-1695), governor of the Massachusetts Bay colony, he had 25 siblings. If this was the case, then why do abstracts of his will, dated 18 December 1693 and proved 29 January 1696, refer to only the following siblings: James, Mary, Margaret, Anne (deceased), and John (deceased)?

As notes in The New England Historical and Genealogical Register expressed it in 1884, Phips’s biographer Cotton Mather, the well-known church figure, wrote that William’s father James had 21 sons and 5 daughters, yet “Sir William mentions in his will but one brother and three sisters.”

A number of problems or potential problems can be seen with other genealogical claims which have persisted over several centuries regarding this William. Interesting and illuminating notes appeared in the April 1884 issue of the NEH&GR. Among the points raised in the notes is the statement that,

Sir William . . . was son of James Phips, a gunsmith, who came from Bristol, England, and settled near the Kennebec River.

Even just the statement that James worked as a gunsmith, as opposed to having merely gone through a gunsmith apprenticeship, might be suspect except that Stephen V. Grancsay, “The Craft of the Early American Gunsmith,” Metropolitan Museum of Art Bulletin, Vol. 6, No. 2, October 1947, p. 61, does refer to a “doglock fowling piece” in the collection. The gun is dated 1663 and is signed “by the gunsmith James Phips of Kennebec River.”

The notes focus on the claim that Sir William Phips was the father of Sir Constantine Phipps, who was Lord Chancellor of Ireland 1710-1714 and grandfather of the first Baron Mulgrave. Those notes then continue by observing that, with regard to this claim,

Cotton Mather states that James had twenty-one sons and five daughters. Sir William mentions in his will but one brother and three sisters, and having no child adopts his wife’s nephew, afterward known as Spencer Phips, who lived and died in New England. Sir Egerton Brydges copied the statement from Archdall and incorporated it in his celebrated edition of Collins’s Peerage (1812), but having noticed later the Life of Sir William Phips by Cotton Mather, corrects the statement in an appendix, so far as Sir Constantine was concerned, by suggesting that Spencer Phips, the adopted son of Sir William, was the true ancestor of Lord Mulgrave. Debrett, in his annual Peerage, carried the original story for years, but finally left it out entirely. Burke substituted “cousin” for “father,” still keeping Sir William Phips for the “figure-head” of the family by saying he was cousin of Sir Constantine. Savage (1861) Vol. iii. p. 422, calls attention to the “preposterous fable,” and quotes “Smiles’s Self-Help, p. 169,” as a present example of its continuance. The Heraldic Journal (1865), Vol. i, pp. 154-5, contains a full and interesting account of this “popular error.” The latest promulgation of the old story which has come to my sight is in an elegant volume purchased by the Boston Athenaeum during 1881, “Picturesque Views of Seats of Noblemen, &c.,” by Rev. F. O. Morris (no date) but evidently a very recent publication, Vol. ii. pp. 11 to 12, with a view of Mulgrave Castle, the seat of the Marquis of Normanby.

The same notes continue by casting doubt on the claims of a connection to King James II. That is accomplished by bringing a certain James Graham into the picture:

This magnificent place was inherited by Constantine Phipps (a grandson of Sir Constantine previously mentioned) from his maternal grandmother, whose paternity was a question of historic doubt.

Catherine Sedley, created Countess of Dorchester for life, was the acknowledged mistress of James II.; the keeper of his privy purse, Col. James Graham, also had intimate relations with her. It happened that her daughter – Lady Catherine Darnley – bore an exact resemblance to his daughter, the Countess of Berkshire. Col. Graham was not inclined to deny the paternity, while the mother asserted that her daughter “need not be so proud, as she was not the King’s child, but Col. Graham’s.” (Jesse’s Lives of the Stuarts, Vol. iii, p. 508.)

Lady Catherine Darnley was married first to the Earl of Angleseyt, from whom she was divorced; she then married the Duke of Buckingham. From him she received Mulgrave Castle, and she gave it to Constantine Phipps, the son of her daughter by her first husband.

This Constantine Phipps was created Baron Mulgrave of the peerage of Ireland in 1768, but the titles have accumulated upon his descending line until the present head of the family is “Marquis of Normanby, Earl of Mulgrave, Viscount Normanby and Baron Mulgrave of Mulgrave, co. York, in the Peerage of the United Kingdom; Baron Mulgrave of New Ross, co. Wexford, in the Peerage of Ireland.” The armorial bearings are quarterings of those of James II.! and of Sir William Phips!

The exclamation points in the last sentence appear in the original article, as printed. We’ve noted amazing apparent connections involving armorial or heraldic bearings in past posts. The notes then continue by stating that,

Mr. Waters has found a father for a [“a” in italics] Constantine Phipps, and we hope the whole question of relationship to Sir William (if any existed) will be fully settled soon [Note: This was 1884.] Dr. Marshall in “The Genealogist,” Vol. vi., gave new material as to the marriages and children of the first Constantine. – J. C. J. BROWN.

From Hist. and Antiquities of Reading, by the Rev. Charles Coates, LL. B., London, 1802, p. 445, we learn that there was a tradition that Sir Constantine Phipps, the ancestor of the Mulgrave family, was born at Reading. – H. F. W.)

Isaiah Phipps of Jasper County, Georgia

Jasper County, Georgia was created in 1807 from Baldwin County. An Isaiah Phipps was there fairly early, as attested by deed records found by the webmaster of a website devoted to a related family. That website is titled A Witcher Genealogy, a site which has posted some groundbreaking information on the Phips or Fips or Phipps family.

He sent copies of 3 deeds from Jasper County, Georgia. All are dated 1815 or 1816. That may sound very early for Georgia, but Georgia was established as a colony in 1733.

  • 7 November 1815 | Isaiah Phipps to John Duke
  • 13 July 1816 | Isaiah Phipps to Joseph Crenshaw
  • 13 July 1816 | Isaiah Phipps to Samuel Mays

Since Isaiah Phipps was selling all this land in Jasper County, Georgia, we could wonder whether he was moving out of the area. If online census indices can be trusted, it doesn’t appear that Isaiah Phipps showed up in federal census records in Jasper County, Georgia. Secondary sources present contradictory claims about this Isaiah. One claim, however, is that he was born in Granville County, North Caorlina, moved to Jackson and Jasper Counties in Georgia, and later moved to Bibb County, Alabama and, later still, Perry County in Alabama.

A past post noted the presence of a Josiah or Isaiah Phipps, it wasn’t clear which, who some apparently think might have been the same person. His name wasn’t clear and his age wasn’t clear, but it appeared as though he might have been born about 1775 in North Carolina. He was living on Christmas Day in 1850 in Perry County, Alabama in the household of a William and Sarah Phipps. This William was born about 1823 in North Carolina, and his wife in Georgia.

We had already noted the presence of an Isaiah Phipps, born about 1780-1790, in the Perry County, Alabama census in 1840. Was this the same person? (Old censuses often varied a bit in terms of ages.) The last link also interprets the 1850 census entry as pertaining to a “Josiah,” but it really is hard to tell for certain. After applying a fair amount of photo editing to the copy in Family Search, the name looks like I or J, followed by an unclear letter (perhaps an “o”), then -siah. Theoretically, it could read Josiah, but also Issiah or Iasiah, or who knows.

Prior to the Jasper County, Georgia deeds, the name Isaiah Phipps appears in a record abstract. Apparently he was a witness to a will of a certain Alexander Reid, and as a result was one of those who proved the will on 4 January 1814 in Jasper County. That would make sense, since in the final deed below, one of the witnesses appears to have been John Reid (the text is rather blurry at that point). This John Reid seems likely to have been the John “Reed” to whom letters testamentary were issued in connection with this Alexander Reid estate.

The first deed is dated 7 November 1815. In that deed, Isaiah Phipps sold land to John Duke. Duke’s place of residence is not written clearly. The last part looks as though it might be “-burne,” which makes one wonder whether it could refer to Cleburne County. (The name actually looks something like “Jhe Jurne.”) Although Cleburne County is in Alabama, it’s a county which borders Georgia.

On the other hand, perhaps it was a reference to Claiborne Parish, Louisiana. That might make more sense, based on an earlier post about a Phipps family (perhaps closely related) associated with Georgia and with Claiborne Parish, Louisiana. That post quoted from a 19th century biography in Biographical and Historical Memoirs of Northwest Louisiana. That biography refers to a later Isaiah Phipps, who was born 9 December 1820 in Perry County, Alabama. His father, according to the bio, was John Phipps, who was born in Georgia. The clincher here is that this John Phipps married Mary Ann Crenshaw from Georgia. In the 2nd deed below, the earlier Isaiah Phipps sold land to a Crenshaw, that being Joseph Crenshaw.

This later Isaiah, according to the biography, married a woman named Mary Veazey, born in Alabama. Is it significant, then, that an Alfred Veazey was administrator of an estate in Orange County, North Carolina in 1864 involving Ambrose Phipps? We would have to say “involving,” since although the estate file is labeled Ambrose Phipps, it seems to have been generated before he died.

Regarding the John Duke who bought land from Isaiah Phipps in the 1st Jasper County, Georgia deed, one must also wonder whether this John Duke could have been related to John Duke Sr. who died in 1755 in Granville County, North Carolina. That’s according to unconfirmed secondary sources, such as this one. That family is said to have made inroads into Georgia. John Duke, Sr. is supposed to have married Mary Myrick. The Myrick name is one we’ve noted on multiple occasions as associated with the Phipps family of Brunswick County, Virginia.

A Jasper County, Georgia marriage record shows “John M Duke” as marrying Charity Waldrope 10 February 1814.

[p. 86-87:]

Jasper County

This Indenture made this twenty Seventh day of November in the year of our lord one thousand Eight hundred & fifteen between Isaiah Phipps of the County of Jasper of the one part and John Duke of [unclear] County and state [state not identified] of the other part – Witnesseth that the said Phipps for and in Consideration of the Sum of two hundred and [“fifty” was crossed out] forty dollars to him in hand well and truly paid by the said Duke at and before the Sealing [page break] and delivery of these presents the receipt whereof is hereby acknowledged hath granted bargained Sold delivered and by these presents do grant bargain sell & deliver unto the said Duke his heirs and assigns all that part or parcel of land lying and being in the County formerly Baldwin now Jasper County in the thirteenth district of said County therein and distinguished in the plan of said district by part of lot No. 2 bounded as follows to wit beginning on a Beach Corner thence N 40 E 30: 10 to a post oak stake thence [S?]50. E 18 to a red oak thence N 50 [S?]20. W40. to a white Oak on the branch and thence bounded by the branch untill the said branch falls into falling Creek at the beginning Corner Containing Fifty five acres more or less it being the north east tract of said lot Together with all and Singular the rights [members?] and appurtenances thereof belonging or in any wise appurtaining thereunto forever to have and to hold the said part [or?] parcel of land unto him the said John Duke his heirs and assigns forever from me the said Isaiah Phipps my heirs Executors Administrators and assigns unto the said Duke his heirs Executors Administrators and assigns forever and I do warrant & forever defend the said parcel of land aforesaid from me my heirs Executors & Administrators unto the said Duke his heirs Executors Administrators and assigns from all and every other person or persons whatsoever – In witness whereof I have hereunto set my hand & seal the day and year above written

[signed:] Isaiah his P mark Phipps (Seal)
Record. 18 Decr. 1815
Henry Walker clk

Signed Sealed & delivered in the presence of [witnessed by:]
M. Burney
Chas. [Branford?]
Hi[ram?] Cl[?] JP

The next two deeds are both dated the same, 13 July 1816. In the next deed, Isaiah Phipps sold land in Jasper County, Georgia to Joseph Crenshaw. Unconfirmed secondary sources refer to a Joseph Crenshaw, Sr. who appears to have died about 1757-1758 in Lunenburg County, Virginia. Some of his children migrated into Georgia, including Jasper County, and he did have a son, Joseph Crenshaw, Jr. We’ve extensively discussed Lunenburg County, Virginia, of course, in connection with John Fips or Phips who died in Charlotte County, which was formed from Lunenburg.

At least one secondary source appears to connect this Crenshaw family with the Duke family. (Again, the above deed was to John Duke.) Another secondary source refers to a Joseph Crenshaw who died in Lunenburg County, likely the same one already mentioned, whose daughter Priscilla married a Robert Duke.

This is interesting, since in the 2nd deed below, Isaiah Phipps sells land to a John Duke. Some of the secondary source material about the Crenshaw family in Virginia refers to a Micajah Crenshaw, and a Georgia Archives preliminary inventory lists documents pertaining to a Jasper County, Georgia case of Micajah Crenshaw and Joseph Crenshaw v. Benjamin Fudge (date not indicated). The name Joseph Crenshaw also appears as one of the winning drawers in the Cherokee land lottery (see p. 109).

[pp. 436-437:]

This Indenture made this thirteenth day of July in the year Eighteen hundred and sixteen between Isaiah Phipps of Jasper County and State of Georgia of the one part and Joseph Crenshaw of the same state & County of the other part Witnesseth, That the said Isaiah Phipps for and in consideration of the sum of Three hundred and fifty Dollars to him in hand paid by the said Joseph Crenshaw the receipt whereof is hereby acknowledged hath bargained & sold unto the said Joseph Crenshaw all that tract or parcel of land situate lying and being in Jasper County in the thirteenth district and known by part [page break] of No. Sixty three and laid off, and marked as follows to wit, Beginning at a Buck eye stake running thence N. 45. E. 45 Chain to a cucumber corner thence SouthE. 20 Chains 79 links to an Iron wood corner thence S. 40. W. 45 chain to a Hickory thence at 50 W. 20 C 79 links to the beginning supposing to contain ninety three and a half acres more or less To have and to hold the said tract or parcel of land with all and singular the rights, members & appurtenances thereunto belonging. And the said Isaiah Phipps his heirs, executors and administrators doth hereby warrant and forever defend the tract of land aforesaid unto the said Joseph Crenshaw his heirs and assigns against all other claims whatever in fee simple. In witness whereof he the said Isaiah Phipps hath hereunto set his hand and seal the day and year above written

[signed:] Isaiah his P mark Phipps (L.S.)

Signed Sealed & delivered in presence of [witnessed by:]
John Reid
R. Carter J. P.

The 3rd and final deed is one in which Isaiah Phipps sold land to Samuel Mays.  This deed is dated 13 July 1816. An 1808 Oglethorpe County, Georgia deed was from John Cocke to Samuel Mays. We’ve noted various Cocke (Cook) connections in Virginia in previous posts. Oglethorpe County is fairly close to Jasper County. A Samuel Mays was one of those who won land in Oglethorpe County in the Cherokee land lottery in 1805 (see p. 12).

[p. 513-514:]

This Indenture made this thirteenth day of July in the year of our lord one thousand Eight hundred and sixteen between Isaiah Phipps of the County of Jasper and State of Georgia of the one part and Samuel Mays of the same County and State aforesaid of the other part witnesseth That the said Isaiah Phipps for and in Consideration of the sum of Four hundred & fifty Dollars to him in hand paid the receipt whereof is hereby acknowledged by the said Isaiah Phipps have granted bargained and sold and by their presents doth grant bargain and sell unto the said Samuel Mays all that tract or parcel of land it being part of that lot of land situate[d?] in the thirteenth District in the County of Baldwin now Jasper distinguished in the plan of said District by the number Sixty three containing one hundred and nine acres be the same [not grammatical, but formulaic] more or less and bounded as follows to wit, beginning at a corner Hickory in John Greens line running with said line South forty five East to [a?] Corner white oak [post?], thence North forty [page break; from here the text is very blurry] . . .

The rest of this last deed is, as noted, extremely blurry. The text appears, however, to refer to Richard Carter’s line, and to conclude with the standard promise to defend the deed in the future. The deed is signed by Isaiah Phipps with the same “P” mark. Witnesses appear to have been John [Reid?], a name which might be Saml. Owen or something which looks similar, and Richard Carter, J.P. [Justice of the Peace]. This John Reid may have been the one who, according to secondary sources, was born in Rowan County, North Carolina, but died in Warren County, Georgia.

Samuel Phips of Wilkes County, North Carolina: Some Connections

A past post referred to the connections involving Samuel Phips of Wilkes and later Ashe County, North Carolina, as well as the family of his father in law George Reeves of Wilkes County, North Carolina and later Grayson County, Virginia. (See also this earlier post.) That first post referred to a deed (Deed Book D, p. 54) in Wilkes County, North Carolina dated 30 November 1795. In that deed, Theophilus Evans sold 400 acres on Little Elk Creek to Jesse Reves. This was land was adjacent to Enoch Osborn. The deed was witnessed by Samuel Phips, John Taylor, and William Baldwin.

Then the next year, on 4 May 1796 in Wilkes County, Samuel “Fips” appeared on a road commission with two of the men associated with the 1795 deed, John Taylor and Jesse Reeves. Another road record, apparently dated a bit earlier, 5 May 1795, lumps together Samuel Phips with William Baldwin and John Taylor, both of whom had witnessed the Theophilus Evans deed, and Stephen Baldwin (presumably related to William Baldwin), as well as John “Harsh” (doubtless Hash), in addition to Owen and George Sizemore. We’ve discussed the Hash and Sizemore connections in relationship to the Phipps Eastern Cherokee Applications.

We’ve discussed how Samuel Phips and his wife Elizabeth (Reeves) Phips, then of Ashe County, North Carolina, appear in an 1811 deed in Grayson County, Virginia as heirs of George Reeves. We’ve also discussed how back in 1793, around when both Samuel Phips and George Reeves were showing up in Wilkes County, North Carolina records, a Halifax County, Virginia deed refers to George Reaves of Wilkes County, North Carolina as a John Eppes or Epps heir. We’ve also discussed how this Epps family is said to have also gone by the surname Evans because of an illegitimacy.

Part of Wilkes County eventually became Ashe County. Barnabus or Barnabas Evans of Ashe County is believed to have been a son of Theophilus Evans, the man who sold the land to Jesse Reves in 1795. After the death of Barnabus Evans, an auction of his personal estate was held in 1855. Among the buyers, as noted in an earlier post, were a couple men named Evans (Abram and David), along with Enoch and George Reaves (Reeves). This George Reaves was a later George, likely the one who was of Grayson County, Virginia and who was born about 1820. (The older George had a son George, but he would have been deceased by this time.)

In addition, Wilborn Phipps was one of the buyers. This would appear to be the one who was born about 1828-1829 in, apparently, Ashe County. Wilborn was the brother of Mary (“Polly”) who married John Wesley Swindall. He would probably be the Wesley Swindall who was another of the estate auction buyers.

Theophilus Evans, who again is believed to have been the father of Barnabus Evans, is said to have appeared in Montgomery County, Virginia records for a time (1787, 1788, and 1792). Both Samuel Phips and George Reeves or Reaves also showed up in Montgomery County, Virginia for a time.

In 1780, Thomas (as abstracted, but possibly Theophilus) Evans was granted a license to keep an ordinary in Wilkes County. This was on Elk Creek. In fact, Samuel Phips settled on Elk Creek in Wilkes County (later Ashe, later still Alleghany).

Note that the 400 acres which Theophilus Evans sold to Jesse Reves in 1795 was adjacent to Enoch Osborn. A land grant, dated 3 January 1795 (the deed was dated 30 November of the same year) gave 300 acres on Elk Creek to Enoch Osborn. The grant specifically refers to this as being adjacent to Samuel Phips. The 1795 grant is transcribed here.

The 1811 Grayson County, Virginia deed mentioned above makes it clear that Samuel Phips of then Ashe County, North Carolina, and his wife Elizabeth, were heirs of George Reeves of Grayson County, Virginia. Genealogists have, for years, been copying and pasting the claim that this Elizabeth was a daughter of George Reeves by his marriage to a Jane Burton, oftentimes while asserting that Elizabeth’s birth was before the claimed marriage date of George Reeves to Jane Burton. The 1795 deed mentioned above appears to suggest that George Reaves (Reeves) was likely earlier married to an Eppes or Epps.

It has been claimed that this couldn’t be the same George Reeves as the one who later shows up in Grayson County, Virginia records. He maintained a proximity and relationship with Samuel Phips, however, throughout the tumultuous era during which very close and contiguous areas were defined and redefined as Montgomery County, Virginia, Wilkes County, North Carolina, Ashe County, North Carolina, and Grayson County, Virginia, depending on the time period. George “Reves” appears in a Wilkes County deed in 1797, referring to him by that time as being of Grayson County, Virginia. There is no reason to assume that these are different persons named George Reeves or Reves just because of shifting county boundary designations.

In fact, on the same date as the deed just mentioned, 28 January 1797, another Wilkes County deed shows William “Reves” as selling land on New River to James Chesser. This deed was witnessed by George Reves, Jr., Jesse Reves, and Samuel Phips. Then on 3 April 1798 in Wilkes County, Samuel Phips bought land from John Taylor. We can assume that this was the same John Taylor who witnessed the 1795 deed referred to earlier, when Theophilus Evans sold land to Jesse Reves, with that deed also witnessed by Samuel Phips.

The fact that, at least according to tradition, George Reeves, Sr. married a Burton seems highly significant considering all the many Burton connections we’ve noted in earlier posts pertaining to Virginia. An older discussion forum post pursues a Burton rabbit trail which appears to take the family west toward Ashe County, North Carolina from destinations further east in North Carolina, with ultimate ties back to Virginia. (Of course, all of this was subject to numerous major county boundary redefinitions.)

Interestingly, that post begins with Goochland County, Virginia, This is where Joseph and Benjamin “ffipps,” who were orphans, were ordered bound as apprentices to Josiah Burton, a carpenter, in 1742. This Josiah Burton, according to unconfirmed secondary sources, fits right into the Burton line discussed in the discussion post just mentioned as well as into the Burton line into which George Reeves supposedly married. That same discussion post refers to a George Reeves (however spelled) as involved further east in North Carolina prior to the Wilkes County records discussed above. Could this have been the same George?

One of those records cited, for instance, refers to George “Rivers? (Reaves?)” as a Johnston County, North Carolina planter in 1762. Then a 1764 Johnston County deed has George Reeves of Johnston County, presumably the same one, buying land from a man of Granville County. The deed was witnessed Richard Burton, the same name as the claimed father in law of George Reeves of Wilkes County, North Carolina and later Grayson County, Virginia. Also thrown in is a Ray – Thomas Ray – which is a surname which has been heavily involved with the Phips or Phipps family in Brunswick and Sussex Counties, Virginia.

That Phipps family clearly had multiple connections from Brunswick and Sussex Counties in Virginia into Wake, Bute, and Warren (formed from Bute) Counties in North Carolina. Wake County was formed, in part, from Johnston County and Orange County. We’ve discussed various Orange County, North Carolina records in great detail in various posts.

We’ve noted in a number of posts a close relationship, with multiple connections, between the Phips or Fips or Phipps family of (eventually) Ashe County, North Carolina on the one hand, and the Rives or Reeves or Reaves, Epps or Epes or Eppes, and Burton families on the other. We know that some of the Phips or Phipps family of Brunswick and Sussex Counties in Virginia came into North Carolina via moves and/or business deals in Wake, Bute, and Warren Counties, with connections into Orange and then Guilford Counties. If the migratory path of some of the Reeves and Burton families was south into these North Carolina counties and then west, might that describe how the two Samuels (Samuel Phips who died 1854 in Ashe County, North Carolina and the older Samuel, apparently his father) migrated as well?

Even so, however, why do there appear to be no known mentions of any relevant Samuel Fips or Phips or Phipps anywhere earlier? Is there something buried in untouched records in a North Carolina county like Wake or Johnston?

Catharine (Phips) Hartman of Rowan County, North Carolina

A Rowan County, North Carolina marriage bond, dated 30 September 1843, pertains to the marriage of George W. Hartman to Catharine Phips. The bond also names David Wood[?], apparently Woodson, as security.

The federal census shows the couple in that county on 29 August 1850, listed as George W. and Catharine Hartman. According to that census, he was born about 1822 in North Carolina, and she was born about 1811 in North Carolina.

The 1862 Rowan County, North Carolina estate file of George W. Hartman lists in detail various items from his personal estate. The file refers to a year’s allowance being allotted to Catharine Hartman, his widow, on 27 February 1863. The allotment was signed by four men including a Reeves – Saml. Reeves Sr.

A little slip of paper dated 31st January 1863 was signed “Catharin hartman.” In that document, she relinquished her right to administer the estate, and asked that Caleb E. Peeler be made administrator.

Earlier, on 27 December 1862, a bond obligated Caleb E. Peeler, Daniel Peeler, and John Glover in the matter of Caleb E. Peeler serving as administrator. A similar bond is dated 2 February 1863, and obligated the same men in the same matter, except that the name of John Glover is replaced by that of John W. Fisher.

A sale of the estate was filed in the May term in 1863. Not surprisingly, the sale list refers to an individual named Reeves. This was G or Y Reeves (also Rieves), apparently G. Reeves.

Items which were sold were, for the most part, standard farm tools and equipment, with a bit of livestock. Also in evidence, however, were various carpentry tools and one auction lot of cooper’s tools.