Phips and Harris: What is This About?

What, exactly is the nature of the Harris and Phips/Fips/Phipps connection? Note that some of the following is based on secondary sources and requires consulting primary source documents. This list emphasizes the connection to the Harris family.

  • 1556 | Southminster, Essex Co., England | will of William Harris mentions land bought from Phipps
  • 1602 | Hornchurch, Essex Co., England | John Phips or Phipps, the surveyor, born to Alexander and Agnes (Bright) Phips or Phipps in Hornechurch (Hornchurch), now a part of East London
  • 1621 | Jamestown, VA | John Phips or Phipps, age 19, arrived with William Harris and William Morris as surveyors, brought in by William Claiborne or Clayborne; John Phips was evidently from Hornechurch (Hornchurch), Essex, and William Harris appears to have been from Willingale Doe, Essex; note that Harris likely had an earlier Caribbean connection (Bermuda); Phips and the other two surveyors, under Claiborne as Surveyor General, laid out the so-called New Town settlement of Jamestown which, despite the name, was the first settlement that’s today specifically identifiable in terms of streets, lot ownership, etc., with John living in the town
  • 1623 | Elizabeth City, VA | William Harris, the surveyor, appeared in the muster list
  • 1624 | Jamestown, VA | William Clayborne of James City (Jamestown) received 150 acres in Elizabeth City for transporting the surveyors William Harris, John Phips, and William Morris
  • 1652 | Jamestown, VA | John Phipps ordered to repair a house and to find a tenant for its cellars
  • 1652 | Surry Co., VA | Surry County was formed
  • 1652 | Surry Co., VA | Levy record showing credit to John Phipps and William Harris, listed together
  • By 1655 ] Jamestown, VA | John Phips or Phipps and William Harris purchased the Glass House in Jamestown; this was a glass manufactory, the furnaces of which were discovered in 1948, resulting in its reconstruction as a tourist attraction which is open today
  • 1655 | Jamestown, VA | 1,100 pounds of tobacco due by the government to John Fipps by his petition
  • 1656 | Jamestown, VA | Grant to John Phips for 120 acres in James Citye (Jamestown), north side of Back Street next to Pitch & Tarr Swamp (creek), called “the first known acquisition of land on Jamestown Island”
  • 1657 | Surry Co., VA | Elizabeth Harris apprenticed her 4-year-old son John Phips to James Murrey, a Surry County planter; this may have had to do with a 2nd generation William Harris in Isle of Wight and Surry Counties (see “Location of Hog Island” below); records connect George Blow, Capt. Cockerham, Elizabeth Harris, her son the orphan John Phips or Phipps, and John Rawlings at Sunken Marsh; the Rawlings/Rollins name resurfaces later in connection with the Fips/Phips family in Sussex County (Albemarle Parish) and in Lunenburg County, as well as in an Edgecombe County, North Carolina deed to a Rawlings of Sussex County, Virginia and witnessed by a Fips, dated 1767; a later George Blow surfaces later in connection with Matthew “Phripp” of Norfolk
  • 1661 | Jamestown, VA | John Phips or Phipps sold land to Jonathan Knowles
  • 1662 | Surry Co., VA | George Blow became guardian of John Phips, orphan son of Elizabeth Harris
  • 1662 | Northern Neck of VA | 2nd generation surveyor John Phipps, 2nd generation surveyor James Harris, and John Butler “start appearing in a number of Northern Neck patents” and “Most likely, James Harris, like Phipps” later returned to the Jamestown area (William Harris 1621 Part 5, below)
  • 1667/8 | Surry Co., VA | Deed records showing Capt. Cockerham as “overseer of Harris his estate” and pertaining to the guardianship of John Phips or Phipps, Jr.
  • 1672 | James City Co., VA | Patent to John Phipps for land close to the “original William Harris land” near Jamestown
  • 1674 | Jamestown, VA area | Patent to John Phipps for 1,100 acres on branch of Powhatan Swamp in Jamestown area, just north of William Harris (is this the same as the 1672 record?)
  • 1747 | Amelia Co., VA | A couple or three deeds (abstracted differently) from Edward Harris witnessed by John Fips (in one case transcribed as “Hips”) and a Gresham; a Gresham was co-heir with George Reaves, father in law of Samuel Phips of Ashe Co., NC, in a 1793 Halifax Co., VA deed
  • 1773 | Halifax Co., VA | John “Phillips” left a will which sounds for various reasons as though it could have been a “Phipps;” a later John Phillips in that county enlisted in Rev. War service from Amelia Co. (see 1747) and was close to the Swann family which was closely connected to the Harris family in Surry Co.; this John is said to have himself come from Surry Co.
  • 1848 | Southampton Co., VA | John Drewry owned the Harris and Phipps Plantation

See the following:


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