John and Samuel Phips of Wilkes Co., North Carolina

What is the relationship between the John Fips/Phips and the Samuel Fips/Phips listed in early Wilkes County, North Carolina tax lists, according to published abstracts?

As previously noted, Samuel was born about 1760-63 and died in 1854 in Ashe County, North Carolina. In 1782, he was listed in Montgomery County, Virginia in a militia list, along with an older Samuel listed as Samuel, Sr. (with the older man’s name spelled Sammuell Phips Sen.).

Samuel starts showing up in Wilkes County, North Carolina tax lists by 1788 but John appears there earlier, by 1782. He listed as follows:

  • 1782: John Fips, 100 acres
  • 1784: John Fipps, 110 acres
  • 1786: John Fipps, 200 acres
  • 1788: John Fipps, 160 acres
  • 1789: John Fips, 150 acres

Samuel, on the other hand, is listed in Wilkes County tax lists as early as 1788:

  • 1788: Samuel Fipps, 50 acres
  • 1789: Samuel Fipps, 50 acres
  • 1790: Samuel Fips, 50 acres
  • 1791: Samuel Fips, 50 acres
  • 1792: Samuel Phips, 50 acres
  • 1793?: Samuel Phips, 250 acres
  • 1794: Samuel Phips, 400 acres
  • 1795: Saml. Phips, 400 acres
  • 1796: Samuel Phipps, 400 acres
  • 1797: Saml. Phips, 400 acres
  • 1799: Samuel Phips, 450 acres

A relationship between these two men could be presumed, but what was that relationship?

In 1790, Samuel witnessed a deed in Wilkes County from John to Alexander Smith. John is described as a planter and as married to Elender. Presumably this was the same John.

Most research the last several decades has evidently been predicated on the assumption that these two men, John and Samuel, were brothers, and that their father was likely a man named Joseph Phipps.

Little is known about this John, however, and there is no proof that John’s father was a Joseph. Certainly no proof exists that John and Samuel were brothers, and Samuel is, again, listed in 1782 with an older Samuel referred to as Samuel, Sr.

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