Capt. Samuel Phipps and the Benjamin Family

Joshua Benjamin was born in Charlestown, Massachusetts in 1686. He died about 1734. He was a Navy commander during the colonial era. We’ve mentioned in the past that the Capt. Samuel Phripp who appears in Norfolk, Virginia around the same time as Matthew Phripp could possibly have been the same person as Capt. Samuel Phipps of Charlestown, Massachusetts. (This would be a later Capt. Samuel Phipps than the one associated with Joshua Benjamin.) The attraction to Charlestown in both cases would have been that it was a vital shipping port.

Joshua Benjamin became involved in the shipping trade and subsequently served in the British Navy on several men of war. Then he became master of the Sarah and the Young Henry and commanded the Welcome. All three of these ships were used in trade involving Boston, London, and the Caribbean.

The wife of Joshua Benjamin was Abigail Phipps. They married in 1724. He is believed to have probably died at sea in or around 1734. His will mentions his wife Abigail, his sister (also Abigail), and a brother in law named Samuel Phipps. This means, of course, that Abigail Phipps and Samuel Phipps were brother and sister.

The journal of Joshua Benjamin is held in the Manuscripts Division of the William L. Clements Library at the University of Michigan. A finding aid is online. In addition, 52 Phipps references appear in the book The Benjamin Family in America, compiled by Bicha and Brown (1977).

The finding aid refers to Joshua Benjamin as being a son of Abel Benjamin and Amathea (“Amity”) Myrick. The Benjamin book refers to Joshua as having a sister, name unknown (she died before the will was written) who married Samuel Phipps. That Samuel was born 10 February 1684, according to that source, and was a son of Samuel and Catherine Phipps.

The book says that the Abigail Phipps who Joshua Benjamin married was a daughter of Samuel and “Katherine” Phipps, with Katherine having originally been a Brackenbery. It is apparent that Joshua Benjamin may have married again, since a marriage record in Boston notes the marriage of a Joshua Benjamin to Hannah (Anna) Ingols or Ingolls.

As a casual and extremely parenthetical remark, we could note the marriage of Aaron Phipps of Guilford County, North Carolina to an “Ingle” in, apparently in 1786, and could wonder whether her Ingle family could tie into the “Ingols” or “Ingolls” family. We would have to dismiss this, however, especially the great geographical distance, unless additional data are eventually found which would point in such a direction.

As another parenthetical remark, however, we could note that for ship captain and maritime traders, great distances were not an issue. This is a factor that could have profound genealogical implications in studying the Phipps, Fips, etc. family in general, and it’s a factor which has apparently been ignored.

The 1830s outlaw gang in which some Phips or Phipps family member were involved was all over the Mississippi River Valley, up and down the river and in several states, more or less at once. That’s a scenario which doesn’t fit into traditional genealogical methodology at all. How much more so could a 17th or 18th century Phips or Fipps or Phipps have easily flitted back and forth not just between American colonies, but even between continents? And, we know that this did indeed occur.

The Benjamin book notes that Joshua Benjamin was sold property on 13 May 1726 by Samuel Phipps. This property was a residence behind the meeting house. The book also notes that both Samuel Phipps and his sister Abigail (Phipps) Benjamin were heirs of a certain Mary Phipps.

Joshua Benjamin had a brother named John Benjamin, who was born 6 September 1731/2 in Charlestown. He married Margaret Phipps of Cambridge, Massachusetts.

An earlier Capt. Samuel Phips of Charlestown died in 1725 and was buried 9 August 1725. According to a speech delivered in 1905, he died 7 August 1725 at the age of 74. This would mean he was born about 1651. This would be, according to the speech, the Capt. Samuel Phipps who fathered the Abigail Phipps who married Joshua Benjamin. A later Capt. Samuel Phipps surfaces in mid-18th century records in Charlestown, Massachusetts.

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