James and James: Brunswick County and Beyond

Which of these refer to the same James Phips/Fips/Phipps? How many persons named James were involved?

  • Item 1 | 1753: Survey of land of James Phips, Halifax County, Virginia
  • Item 2 | 1777: James Phipps in oath list in Pittsylvania County, Virginia
  • Item 3 | 1779: James Fips and wife Sarah brought suit against James Flannacan in Pittsylvania County, Virginia
  • Item 4 | 1779: James Fips of Brunswick County, Virginia sold land in Pittsylvania County, Virginia to Jeremiah Ward
  • Item 5 | 1783: Land grant to James Phips in Henry County formerly Halifax County, Virginia, surveyed in 1753
  • Item 6 | 1784: James Phips/Feps of Brunswick County, Virginia sold land in Henry County
  • Item 7 | 1787: By this time, James Phipps is noted to have acquired 50 acres formerly owned by Thomas Poythress in Brunswick County, Virginia
  • Item 8 | 1787: James Phips and his wife Elizabeth sold 50 acres in Brunswick County, Virginia to George Johnson

The following would appear to refer to the same individual: Items 1, 5, 6. Item 6 defines this person as being “of Brunswick County,” at least when he sold the land in 1784.

Does this mean that he moved out of the area, perhaps back to Brunswick County? Or did he never actually move into the area in the first place?

These events span about a 34-year period. In Item 3, the wife of James (1779) is Sarah. In Item 8 (1787), the wife is Elizabeth. Did he remarry, or are we dealing with at least two different persons named James?

One possible scenario might be that a James Phips/Fips came into the Pigg River area in 1753 from Brunswick County, had land surveyed, had the land granted in 1783, then sold that land in 1784, perhaps without ever actually living in the Halifax/Henry/Pigg River area. That could possibly have been the James who was married to Elizabeth in Brunswick County in 1787.

Then there could have been another James in the Pigg River area, married to Sarah, with that James having made oath in 1777 in Pittsylvania County (Item 2), having brought suit with his wife Sarah in the same county in 1779 (Item 3).

That would suggest perhaps two persons named James:

  • James of Items 1, 5, 6
  • James of Items 2, 3

Even if that’s the case, however, then who would have been the James of Item 4? One of these two, or perhaps even a third? It would perhaps seem more likely that it was the James associated with Items 2 and 3.

Then we have the two later events, Items 7 and 8, both strictly in Brunswick County. Could that have been the same person as the one connected with 1, 5, and 6?

If so, that would suggest two persons named James: One connected with 1, 5, 6, 7, and 8, and the other connected with Items 2, 3, and 4. Perhaps additional research will eventually clear this up.

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