John Fips/Phips: Early Virginia Connections

We’ve been discussing the estate of John Fips, which generated 1769 and later probate records in Charlotte County, Virginia. Although John died about 1768 in Charlotte County, repercussions of his death resulted in additional records in Pittsylvania County.

In particular, as has already been noted, at issue was John’s gift of a negro girl named Sall to his daughter Betsey Fips, who married Ephraim Witcher. That gift was proven by the oath of James Burton in Pittsylvania County.

We’ve noted earlier the relationship between the Phipps family and the Burton family. Samuel Phipps of Ashe County, North Carolina, who died there in 1854 and who appears to have probably been a son of Samuel Phipps, Sr. married Elizabeth (“Betty”) Reeves, daughter of George Reeves.

George Reeves is supposed to have married a Burton, although this seems to have been his second marriage. Elizabeth would have resulted from his earlier marriage, if secondary sources are right about the date of marriage.

Also, in 1742, orphans Joseph and Benjamin Fipps were ordered to be bound to Josiah Burton in Goochland County, Virginia.

Wayne Witcher of the Witcher family blog obtained copies of estate inventory records for John Fips of Pittsylvania County. Those records refer to James Burton, presumably the same one who proved the gift of Sall to Betsey Fips.

The inventory refers early on – in fact it’s the first “item” listed – to a black woman and a child, valued at £65. It’s disturbing to see people listed as property, along with a feather bed and some water buckets, but that was life in 1769.

Later on in the records, the woman is noted as having been sold for £60 and 5 shillings. No mention is made of the girl at that point. Is that because she was the girl Sall? Was the woman her mother, and were they, at that point, separated forever?

It’s interesting to note that carpenter’s tools were listed among the estate. Those weren’t specifically mentioned in every estate inventory of the time. We’ve noted in a past post how many Phipps ancestors were carpenters or ship/boat builders.

Old estate inventories often listed a few items of pewter, and this one was not an exception. Money was paid out to various individuals, including James Burton and Robert Burton. Money was also owed to what appears to be an Edward Mosley. This is a surname which was very closely associated, with variant spellings, with the Phripp/Phipp family of Norfolk.

Money was also paid out a couple times to the widow, Tabitha Fips. At one point in 1774, for instance, she was paid a small amount for “her Trouble the estate attendance at Court.”

Another amount was paid out to, evidently, the Halifax County clerk, in addition to the clerk of the Charlotte County court. Why Halifax County? Is there a corresponding record in Halifax County?

In addition, although the handwriting is somewhat difficult, it would appear that 2 shillings, 6 pence was spent on liquor at the estate auction.

One of the signers of the final settlement was Silvanus or Sylvanus Stokes, who signed his name as what looks like “Sillvs. Stokes.” We’ve already noted how Stokes was a neighbor of John Phips (listed with that spelling) in the 1748 tax list for not Charlotte or Pittsylvania, but rather Lunenburg County. These were adjacent counties.

As already noted, when John Phips was living in Lunenburg County, Virginia in 1748, Tandey Walker was evidently living on the same property. Tandy or Tandey Walker, according to secondary sources, appears to have had Brunswick County, Virginia connections.

Before we leave the subject entirely, it might be good to note that not only did John Phips evidently live with Tandey Walker in 1748, but in the 1749 Lunenburg tax list, it looks as though “Jno. Phipps” and Joseph Miner were living on the same property. (See here.) Stokes was again a neighbor. In fact he was next door.

Then in the 1750 list, we again see Stokes living near John “Phips,” again with Tandey Walker apparently on the same property. In 1751, Joseph Miner is listed on his own, but John “Phips” is listed under Mary Barnes, with a Stokes household nearby. In 1752, John “Phips” is listed under Mary “Barns,” near various Stokes individuals including Silvanus, Sr.

This Silvanus Stokes also witnessed the gift of the girl Sall.

What was the relationship between this John Fips/Phips/Phipps, on the one hand, and Tandy/Tandey Walker, Joseph Miner, and Mary Barnes on the other?

From unconfirmed secondary sources, it would appear that this Joseph Miner or Minor was born about 1727 in Westmoreland County, Virginia and died in 1786 in Lunenburg County. He is supposed to have had Brunswick County, Virginia connections, with land adjoining the Evans family. (We’ll skip the potential ramifications of Evans connections for now.)

A Silvanus Walker was related to Silvanus Stokes, which probably suggests the level of close association between the families of Tandey Walker and Sylvanus Stokes. The Tandey/Tandy Walker family is also supposed to have had Brunswick County, Virginia connections, as well as connections to the Goochland County of the orphans and the Josiah Burton referred to above.

In Goochland County, Tandy Walker entered into a land transaction with an Epps. We’ve noted in the past the fact that George Reeves of Wilkes County, North Carolina, father in law of Samuel Phipps of Ashe County, North Carolina, was an Epps heir, with the Reeves/Rives, Tatum, and Epps families being closely related earlier in southeast Virginia.


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