Samuel Phipps, Jr., of Ashe Co., NC, and Samuel Sr.

Samuel Phipps was born about 1760-1763 according to his own testimony. He married Elizabeth (“Betty”) Reeves. Samuel died in 1854 in Ashe County, North Carolina, and is buried on his farm there, on land which after his death became Alleghany County.

For years, researchers have been assuming that he was one of seven Phipps brothers, but based on no real evidence. Research proceeded on the assumption that anything true of the parentage of one of these supposed brothers must necessarily also pertain to the other “brothers.”

On that basis alone, the judgment has made that he surely must have been the son of a Joseph Phipps. Obviously genealogists wished to connect these supposed brothers to an earlier generation, and few Phipps immigrants who could potentially have been an earlier ancestor were known by researchers in past decades.

For that reason, all sorts of fanciful accounts have been created which connect some Joseph, later than the Pennsylvania Quaker immigrant, with both Pennsylvania and North Carolina, with this imaginary person having been supposedly born in Pennsylvania but dying in North Carolina.

There’s really no evidence at all that these men were brothers, however, and no proof that the father of any of them was named Joseph. There’s no certainly no actual evidence connecting them with Chester County, Pennsylvania.

That’s why it was interesting to note recently that when Samuel appears early on in Montgomery County, Virginia records, he is listed with an older Samuel Phipps, Sr. The most likely (by far) scenario, then, is that this was his father, that the father of Samuel Phipps of (eventually) Ashe County was not Joseph Phipps, but rather Samuel Phipps, Sr.

What do we know of Samuel Phipps, Jr.? It has been said that he was born “probably” in Orange County, North Carolina, but there is no evidence of that, let alone proof. The Orange County designation was evidently based entirely on evidence connected with one or more of the presumed brothers, and not on the basis of any evidence at all pertaining to Samuel.

The earliest known records pertaining to Samuel Phipps Jr. and Sr. begin about 1781 in Montgomery County, Virginia, except for somewhat earlier notations which are inferred from later land grants.

Land grants in the early 1790s in Wilkes County, North Carolina show that Samuel Jr. (or his father) entered land there by 1779. Actually, since Samuel Phips, Jr. was born 1760-1763, according to his own testimony, he would only have been 16-19 at that time. For that reason, this earliest record likely pertains to his apparent father, Samuel Phips, Sr.

Another Wilkes County land grant shows a Samuel Phips as entering land there by 1787, according to North Carolina State Archives abstracts, but with 1783 added in brackets (with no explanation). This later record could also pertain to either Samuel Jr. or Sr.

The early presence of Montgomery County, Virginia records (from 1781), followed shortly by records in Wilkes County, North Carolina (by 1787), with inferred or interpolated records earlier still in Wilkes, would likely have been the result of lack of clarity over colony/state lines.

An important key here is North Carolina land grants, which not only provide the date on which the land was granted, but also the date on which the same individual originally entered that same land. Sometimes the land entry was several years before the grant date.

In Wilkes County, North Carolina, we have at least the following records:

  • 1779, 1 Apr: Samuel Phips (Jr. or Sr.) entered land later granted as grant #1214; this was abstracted by the Archives as being on “Rocky,” also “Rockey,” Creek, but this was presumably a misreading or error for Rock Creek
  • 1785, 20 Jan: Mathew Phips entered land later granted as grant #733; this was on a ridge dividing the head waters of Catheys (“Coleys” in brackets added by the Archives) and waters of Hunting Creek
  • 1785, 22 Feb: Mathew Phips received grant #733 for land he entered 20 Jan of that year
  • 1787, 4 July: Samuel Phips (Jr. or Sr.) entered land later granted as grant #1229; the State Archives added 1783 in brackets with no explanation, however; this was on branches of Rock Creek associated with New River
  • 1791, 20 Dec: Samuel Phips received grant #1229 for land he entered 4 July 1787 (see note about date in brackets) and grant #1214 for land he entered 1 Apr 1779 (note that these could pertain to Samuel Jr. and Sr.)

George Reaves/Reeves, so closely associated with Samuel, Jr., entered land on New River on 26 Oct 1791 that was granted to him on 28 Nov 1792. This was adjacent to John Toliver. The Tolivers, Reeves, and Phipps families, at least eventually, became highly interconnected.

Another Reeves/ Reaves, William Reaves, entered land on the east bank of New River on 1 May 1793 and received a grant for the same land on 27 Dec 1797. James Hart, who would appear to have been a relative (at least eventually) based on the Eastern Cherokee Applications entered land on Crab fork of Prator’s (Prather’s or Prater’s) Creek on 2 Sep 1795, granted 1 Jan 1798.

Isaac Reaves entered land on the Little Fork of Hunting Creek on 16 Nov 1793, granted 5 Dec 1798. There may have been other relevant grants.

Records for one or both of the two Samuels are found in Montgomery County, Virginia and Wilkes County, North Carolina until 1800. Then, beginning with the 1800 census, all remaining records are found in Ashe County, North Carolina

Exceptions are a couple estate records pertaining to George Reeves/Reaves, deceased, in adjacent Grayson County, Virginia, and the signing of a legislative petition in Grayson County.

Here is a timeline pertaining to Samuel Phipps. Of course, some of the following could potentially pertain to Samuel Phipps, Sr., the apparent father of the Samuel of Ashe County:

  • abt 1760-1763, born: By his own testimony, which varied, he was born about 1760-1763; he was born about 1762 in North Carolina according to the 1850 census, although Virginia seems more likely (he lived near in North Carolina at the time, census takers often guessed, there was confusion about the NC/VA line, and numerous records on this family show the same members as born in NC and as born in VA, depending on the specific record)
  • 1779, 1 Apr, Wilkes Co., NC: Samuel Phips entered 200 acres on Rock Creek according to a later (20 Dec 1791) land grant
  • abt 1781, Montgomery Co., VA: Sammuwill Phips and Sammuell Phips Sen. on undated militia list (from abstract); if father and son, then the younger would have to be the one who later lived in Ashe Co., because of his age
  • 1782, Montgomery Co., VA: Samuel Phipps with 1 tithable, 0 slaves, 2 horses, 2 cattle, and no land listed (from abstract)
  • 1787, 4 July, Wilkes Co., NC: Samuel Phips entered 50 acres on branches of Rock Creek near New River, according to a later (20 Dec 1791) land grant
  • 1787, 12 July, Wilkes Co., NC: Samuel Phipps on census with 1 male 21-60, 2 males under 21 or above 60, and 1 female (from abstract)
  • 1790, Wilkes Co., NC: In census as Sam Fips, with 1 white male over 16, 2 white males under 16, 4 females, listed below several Tolivers and above Jno. Long; the Longs and Tolivers became close relatives
  • 1790, 2 Oct, Wilkes Co., NC: Witnessed deed from John Phipps, planter, and wife Elender, to Alexander Smith, for 100 acres on New River on the north side of Prater’s Creek (James Hart, apparently a relative – see Eastern Cherokee Applications – entered land on Crab Fork of Prater’s or Prator’s Creek in 1795)
  • 1791, 20 Dec, Wilkes Co., NC: Land grant #1214 to Samuel Phips for 200 acres on Rock Creek of New River at the lower end of Turkey Mountain, also grant #1229 for 50 acres on branches of Rock Creek of New River (from abstract)
  • 1795, 3 Jan, Wilkes Co., NC: Samuel Phips’s line mentioned in grant to Enoch Osborn, 300 acres on the east side of a meadow on Elk Creek (from abstract)
  • 1795, 5 May, Wilkes Co., NC: Samuel Phips was appointed to a road commission (from abstract)
  • 1795, 30 Nov, Wilkes Co., NC: Samuel Phips witnessed sale of 400 acres on Little Elk Creek from Theophilus Evans to Jesse Reves (from abstract)
  • 1797, 31 Jan, Wilkes Co., NC: Appointed to view the route for a road; on the same date, evidently, a deed from Enoch Osborn to Samuel Phips for 180 acres was proved by the oath of William Reves (Reeves) (from abstract)
  • 1800, Ashe Co., NC: Listed as Samuel Phips in the census (32110/00100), with one slave; the census was alphabetized, so neighbors are not indicated
  • 1801, 9 Mar, Ashe Co., NC: Thomas Collins entered land adjacent to Samuel Phips (from abstract)
  • 1810, Ashe Co., NC: Listed in the census as S. Phips (02301, with the rest of the line difficult to read because the lines are not straight)
  • 1811, 15 Nov, Grayson Co., VA: Samuel & (wife) Elizabeth Phipps were listed along with other heirs of George Reeves; their sold their interest in384 acres on the west side of New River in Grayson Co.
  • 1811, 16 Dec, Grayson Co., VA: He signed a petition concerning the return of land surveys and certificates
  • 1812, 8 June, Grayson Co., VA: Samuel Phipps and his wife Elizabeth, along with the other heirs of George Reeves, Sr., conveyed 100 acres on the north side of New River to John Reeves
  • 1813, Mar, Ashe Co., NC: Samuel “Phips” was summoned by the county court
  • 1820, Ashe Co., NC: “Saml.” Phips is listed in the census with free white males: 010001, free white females: 12001, 1 person engaged in agriculture, 1 male slave under 14, 1 female slave under 14, 1 female slave at least 14 but under 26
  • 1830, Ashe Co., NC: Listed in the census as Samuel Fips with 1 free white male 60-70, 1 free white female 60-70, 2 male slaves under 10, 1 male slave 10-24, 1 female slave under 10, 2 female slaves 10-24
  • 1837, Ashe Co., NC: An undated deed was acknowledged from Samuel Phipps to Andrew Fields (from abstract)
  • 1837, 26 Aug, Ashe Co., NC: Wrote will
  • 1840, Ashe Co., NC: Listed in the census as “Saml.” Phips; some numbers in the columns are very faint with evidently some bleedthrough from another page; at least 1 male 70-80 and 1 female of 70-80 are listed
  • 1844, 9 Oct, Ashe Co., NC: A deed from David Maxwell to John Jones for 36 acres on Prathers Creek (called Praters in earlier records) was witnessed by Samuel Phipps; this was recorded later in Alleghany County (part of Ashe became Alleghany in 1859)
  • 1847, 31 May, Ashe Co., NC: He testified on behalf of the Revolutionary War pension application of Jesse Toliver
  • 1850, 4 Mar, Ashe Co., NC: He wrote another will, which was proved in 1851
  • 1850, Ashe Co., NC: He is listed in the census as “Saml.” Phips, age 88 (so born about 1762), no occupation, living in the household of “Patcy” Phips (widow of Samuel’s son Joseph Phipps)
  • 1850, 31 Aug, Ashe Co., NC: He testified on behalf of the Revolutionary War pension application of Martin Gambill’
  • 1852, 22 July, Ashe Co., NC: He testified on behalf of the Revolutionary War pension application of Thomas Baker
  • 1854, 6 Apr, Ashe Co., NC: Samuel Phipps died and was buried on his farm in Ashe County (later Alleghany County)
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