John Fips and the Harris Family, 1747

A little to the west of the Prince George and Sussex Counties area of Virginia lies Amelia County. An Amelia County deed dated 16 March 1747, according to a transcription, refers to Edward Harris of Raleigh Parish in that county.

In preparation for his death, Harris had decided to “disburthen” himself of “all Worldy affairs,” in order to provide for the eternity toward which he said he was “hastening.” As a result, he left to his son Nathaniel various property including slaves. Son Nathaniel was to take care of Edward and his wife Unity during the remainder of their lives.

One of the three witnesses to the deed was John Fips. This is recorded in Deed Book 3, p. 38.

Notes along with the transcription relate this family to Orange County, Virginia, as well as Goochland and Louisa Counties. Orange County is in northern Virginia. A number of counties emerged from what had once been Orange County, with some people referring to the original Orange County as having been the largest county that ever existed.

The surveyor John Phips who was brought into Jamestown in 1621 came with another surveyor named Harris, of course, and it’s said that the second generation John Phips continued to survey with yet another Harris, with lots of activity in the Northern Neck of Virginia. Perhaps that’s where this connection comes in.

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