The Estate of George Phips, Sr. of Ashe Co., NC

Recent posts focused on George Phips, Sr., son of Samuel Phips, Jr. of Ashe County, North Carolina. George died by the time 1833 probate records were generated, and Samuel referred to the heirs of George is Samuel’s 1837 Ashe County will.

A 2012 post had transcribed a record of what was termed George’s estate inventory. That record is not just an inventory, however, but also incorporates a record of his estate sale. Because of recent focus, it might be advantageous to once again look at that transcription, as found in Ashe County, North Carolina Will Book B, 1828-1838, pp. 51-52, and to this time focus on the names it contains.

One interesting point to note is that a Nancy appears in the 1833 estate file of George Phips as, evidently, his widow, and claims have been made that she was Nancy White. A couple Whites made purchases in the estate sale. George’s brother Joseph married Patcy or Patsy, who lived in the same household as George’s and Joseph’s father Samuel Jr. in 1850, and she is believed to have been a White as well. Patcy is the only person named in Samuel’s revised 1850 will.

Putting together the data, the following is the gist of this part of the Phips/Phipps family. Note that the relationship between the first two generations is based on a single record and on the assumption that Sr. and Jr. in that record refer to father and son:

  • 1st generation | Samuel Phips, Sr., res. Montgomery Co., VA abt 1781
  • 2nd generation | Samuel Phips, Jr., b. abt 1760-3, prob. VA, d. 1854 Ashe Co., NC; various siblings have been claimed but NONE KNOWN WITH CERTAINTY; a likely brother was John Phips, planter, m. Elender, in Wilkes Co., NC records (if all pertain to him) 1782-1792
  • 3rd generation | George Phips, m. Nancy (White?), d. abt 1833; siblings of George:
    • John Phips, claimed to have m. (1) Mary Cox (2) Jemima Stamper; various claims but nothing known for certain; likely the John Phips, deceased, of an 1845 Ashe Co., NC administrator’s bond signed by A.B. McMillan and George Reaves (George Reeves)
    • William Phips, b. 1784-6, m. Sarah Scott, d. 1870 Boone Co., IA
    • Jesse Phips, b. 1786-8, m. (1) Jane Spurlin (2) Deborah (Flora) Helms, d. 1865 Putnam Co., MO
    • Isaiah Phips, b. abt 1790, m. Eve Kennedy, d. Lawrence Co., IN
    • Benjamin Phips, b. abt 1794-5, m. Rachel Burnie, prob. d. Alleghany Co., NC
    • Joseph Phips, perhaps b. abt 1797, m. Patsy/Patcy (White?), prob. d. 1840 Ashe Co., NC
  • 4th generation | Belinda m. Maomy
  • 4th generation | George Phips Jr.

Note also that ties discussed below appear to link this family to the John Fips family of Charlotte County, Virginia.

The following personal names are found in the record, as dated the February county court term, 1834. Names are written as found in the record.

  • Zech Eldridge | An individual appears in Ashe County, North Carolina census abstracts as Zacharius Eldredge (1820), Zacharius Eldring (1830), and Zach Eldrge (1850). At least one genealogist has referred to him as Zachary Eldridge, but it isn’t clear whether he actually went by Zachary, or if this was a matter of confusion over the name.
  • Jesse Long | Jesse Long is said to have been born in 1789. He appears in Ashe County, North Carolina records in 1812, but moved to Owen County Indiana, as did George Phips’s brothers Jesse and William. Jesse Long appears to have married Levisa Stamper, supposedly in 1814 in Ashe County. They divorced, and she then became known as “Widow Long,” not because her husband was deceased, but because she was what was then known as a “grass widow” (a divorced woman). Jesse then married Elizabeth Solsberry 28 August 1849 in Owen County, Indiana. He appears in the 1850 census in Owen County. By his first marriage to Levisa (“Widow” Long), he fathered Mary Elizabeth Long. She married John Meshack Phips (“Shack” Phips), later Phipps, son of George Phips’s brother Jesse. In other words, Shack was George’s nephew. Shack was a prominent member of the Long outlaw gang which was the subject of Edward Bonney’s book Banditti of the Prairie. A copy in Internet Archive is of one of the editions with the old illustrations, one of which shows “Widow” Long with her daughter Mary who married Shack Phips (see facing p. 92). Jesse Long supposedly was a son of John R. Long/Susannah Vannoy of Ashe County. In 1812 John Long signed a bond to ensure that Jesse Long would stand trial in the case of Henry Becknell v. Jesse Long. Jesse Long’s brother Owen Long fathered Aaron and John Long, both of whom were in the same outlaw gang. John and Aaron were hung for the 1845 murder of Col. and Mrs. George Davenport for whom Davenport, Iowa is named. (Here is a portrait of the man the Longs killed for his money.) Illustrations of the murder and hanging, as well as a portrait of John, which seems likely to have derived from a photo taken before he was hung, also appear in Bonney’s book. In a discussion of outlaw elements of Owen County, Indiana, Blanchard’s 1884 history of that county refers to Owen Long, who had also migrated to Owen County, as being “of the same ilk” as Jesse Phips, George Phips’s brother. Note that Jesse Long appears in the George Phips estate sale record as having purchased a still, which is hardly surprising. He paid $28.81 for it, which constituted the most expensive item in the estate sale.
  • A B McMillan | Alexander B. McMillan appears in numerous Ashe County, North Carolina records as a court clerk. Benjamin and Jane (Hash) Phips or Phipps of Grayson County, Virginia, adjacent to Ashe County, North Carolina, were supposed to have had a son named Joseph who married Nancy McMillan.
  • Jefferson Osbourn/J Osbourn | The Osborn or Osborne family are mentioned in various Ashe County records associated with the Phips or Phipps family. The name is sometimes spelled “Orsborn” or the like in local records.
  • Eve Phips | This would have been Eve (Kennedy) Phips, the wife of Isaiah Phips. In other words, she was George’s sister in law. Both Isaiah and Eve moved to Letcher Co., KY by the time of the 1850 census, and then to Lawrence Co., IN in 1852.
  • Izah Phips | This would be, presumably, George’s brother Isaiah, born about 1790 according to the 1850 census. He moved to Letcher County, Kentucky by the 1850 census, then moved to Lawrence County, Indiana in 1852 according to a 19th century history of that county. See also Eve Phips, above.
  • Jesse Phips | This would be, presumably, George’s brother Jesse, born about 1786-1788 according to the 1850 and 1860 census. He appears to have moved to Owen County, Indiana by probably the previous year, but the record does not refer to him as a sale purchaser, but instead refers to a note due from him.
  • Wm Phips | This would be, presumably, George’s brother William, born about 1784-1786 according to census reports. He had moved to Owen County, Indiana by 1839.
  • E Reves | This, it would seem, was probably Enoch Reeves, who figures in various Ashe County records of the period. He is referred to as a son of George Reeves in the latter’s 1838 estate file, that George being George Jr., son of George Reeves Sr. who apparently married an Eppes or Epps and who is supposed to have later married Jane Burton. In an unlikely but apparently actual twist, George Sr. died of presumably natural causes in 1811 while his son George was killed in the same year. George Reeves Sr. was the father in law of Samuel Phips, George’s father, thus making George Reeves Sr. George Phips’s grandfather.
  • Jesse Reves | A “Jesse Reves Jr.” is the subject of an 1835 estate inventory in Ashe County, North Carolina. In addition, a Jesse Reeves is discussed in A.B. Cox, Foot Prints on the Sands of Time (1900), pp. 54-71, as a son of George Reeves, Sr., father in law of George Phips’s father Samuel.
  • [W?] Toliver | The initial, if it even is an initial, is indistinct, and the item he bought appears to be identified as “Something,” although that isn’t clear either. George Phips’s father Samuel testified on behalf of the Revolutionary War pension application file of Jesse Toliver. Jesse Toliver’s son John married a Long (Anna Long; see the Long references above). John and Anna Long were parents of Mathursa Toliver, who married Mathew Phips (Matthew Phipps), son of Jesse Phips who was George Phips’s brother. Notice also that the first name of Taliaferro Witcher, listed below, was pronounced Toliver. The Toliver name was often spelled Taliaferro, or something similar. Samuel Phips Jr.’s friend Jesse Toliver said that he was born about 1756 in Fauquier County, Virginia. Fauquier County is in northern Virginia and was created from Prince William County.
  • Cornelas Vanover | This would be Cornelius Vanover. Presumably this is the one, born about 1797, whose daughter Elizabeth, born about 1835 in Ashe County, married Andrew Jackson Phipps, who was born about 1834 according to the 1910 census. Andrew Jackson Phipps was a son of David C. and Dorcas (Stamper) Phipps or Phips. David C. Phipps is believed to have been a son of John Phipps/Mary Cox, with that John believed to be the John who was a brother of George Phips and a son of Samuel Phips Jr./Elizabeth (“Betty”) Reeves. David C. Phipps of Grayson County, Virginia was granted a divorce from Dorcas Stamper by a special legislative act of the Virginia General Assembly on 19 January 1846. He is believed to have also married Charlotte Landreth. Cornelius Vanover is said to have been a son of an earlier Cornelius Vanover who married Abby Easterd, who is believed to have been Cherokee. An Eastern Cherokee Application refers to her as “full-blooded.”
  • Henry Vanover | Henry Vanover was supposed to have been a son of the Cornelius Vanover who was born about 1797. This would have made him the brother of the Elizabeth Vanover who is supposed to have married Andrew Jackson Phipps.
  • J White/Jno White | The Patcy or Patsy who married George’s brother Joseph Phips is said to have been a White; Brent Kennedy’s Melungeon book refers to the belief that they had Native American ancestry. An 1836 Ashe County court record refers to an Elizabeth White, who appears to have been charged with assault and battery. Nancy Phipps, Isaiah Long, and David C. Phipps gave bond that Elizabeth White would appear in court. This must have been the same David C. Phipps who married and divorced Dorcas Stamper as noted above. Unconfirmed claims suggest that George Phips, the subject of the estate record, married Nancy White. Someone named Nancy appears as George’s widow in the estate file.
  • M White | See J White/Jno White.
  • T Witcher | This would be Taliaferro Witcher (name pronounced like Toliver), born about 1799 according to the 1850 census; He was a son of Ephraim Witcher/Elizabeth (“Betsey”) Fips of Surry County, North Carolina, Betsey being a daughter of John Fips/Tabitha, with John having died 1768 Charlotte County, Virginia.



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