More Witcher and Phipps Connections: VA to NC

Some recent posts have referred to Betsey (Fips) Witcher. To recap, first of all, we have the following:

  • Elizabeth (“Betsey”) (Fips) Witcher of Pittsylvania County, Virginia, wife of Ephraim Witcher, appears to have been born about 1760 and was a daughter of John Fips.
  • John Fips, Betsey’s father, appears to have been the individual of that name who received a land grant in 1760 in Lunenburg County, Virginia and then, without necessarily moving, generated probate records in Charlotte County, Virginia in 1769 and 1770, with his gift of a slave girl to Betsey having been proven later (1779) in Pittsylvania County, Virginia.

A factor that would seem to bring this closer to home is the administrator’s bond dated 24 November 1840 in Ashe County, North Carolina pertaining to the estate of Joseph Phips (as spelled). This Joseph is presumed to have been the person of that name who was the youngest son of Samuel Phipps (about 1762 to 1854) of Ashe County, North Carolina, identified as such in Samuel’s 1837 Ashe County will.

The administrator’s bond essentially bound Patcy Phips (Joseph’s widow, who was living with her father in law Samuel Phipps in the 1850 census) and Charles H. Doughten (Doughton) as administrators of Joseph’s estate. This Charles Doughton may have been the same one who was married to Peggie Cox, who also married George Reeves.

The document is merely a formulaic and typical administrator’s bond, but what is unique is that it was signed by not only Patcy Phips (with an “X”) and C.H. Doughten, but also by two other individuals. One was R. Gentrey (Gentry), and the other was Taliaferro Witcher.

Posts in the past seem to suggest some sort of relationship between the Witcher and Fips/Phips families of the Lunenburg/Pittsylvania County, Virginia area and the Littleberry (“Berry”) Phipps family, with some sort of apparent connection to Ashe County, North Carolina. Berry and his family migrated from Surry County, North Carolina to Pulaski County, Kentucky, and from there to Lawrence County, Indiana, precisely the same place that was also populated by Phipps family members from Ashe County, North Carolina. Berry even named one of his sons John Witcher Phipps.

So who was Taliaferro Witcher? Taliaferro is pronounced “Toliver,” and may possibly suggest a relationship to the Toliver family of Ashe County. That family was extremely closely interconnected with the Phipps family in Ashe County and later in families of those names which had migrated from Ashe County, North Carolina to Owen County, Indiana. Samuel Phipps was a close friend of Jesse Toliver of Ashe County, and testified in support of Jesse’s Revolutionary War pension application.

Further, as noted earlier, Taliaferro Witcher is believed to have married Jane Reeves. This may have been the same Jane Reeves who was a daughter of the Peggie Cox who married George Reeves and Charles Doughton. Patcy Phips of the administrator’s bond was a daughter of Samuel Phipps and his wife Elizabeth (“Betty”) Reeves.

Further, Taliaferro Witcher is said (unconfirmed) to have been born in Surry County, North Carolina, where Berry Phipps was from, and to have been a son of the same Ephraim Witcher and his wife Betsey Fips who we’ve been discussing. If so – and this requires confirmation – then this entails family connections which would seem to be strong evidence that the Fips family of the Pittsylvania, Charlotte, and Lunenburg Counties area of Virginia were closely related to the Phipps family of Ashe County, North Carolina.


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