PS: Adding to the Last Post’s Timeline

As a P.S. to the last post, it could be pointed out that if published genealogies are correct, there was another huge connection to the Americans in the Phipps or Phips family line represented in the timeline. The Francis Phips or Phipps of Reading, Berkshire, England (who was included near the top of the timeline) appears to have had strong ties to the Caribbean. Of course, the Caribbean could have served as yet another entry point to Virginia.

Some pedigrees, such as found in The Four Visitations of Berkshire, simply show Francis Phipps or Phips as married to Anne Sharpe and living in Reading, county Berkshire – period. Other sources, such as the pedigree which appears in the multi-volume Caribbeana, shows Francis as living another life.

There he appears as having married an unnamed first wife, presumably Anne Sharpe. Then, however, he remarried to Sarah, widow of Col. John Jeaffreson of St. Kitts in the Caribbean. This has been discussed in previous posts, such as this one.) The pedigree in Caribbeana has Francis fathering Capt. James Phipps of St. Christopher (St. Kitts; see the continuation of the chart on the next page).

The connection with the Jeaffreson family opens up a whole potential can of worms. One would think that something like the ancestry of President Thomas Jefferson was clearly settled long ago, but perhaps because so many people would like to be related to him, genealogies are confused. Various conflicting claims have been made as to his ancestry.

One claim as to the ancestry of Thomas Jefferson has to do with a family from the county of Suffolk in England, with that family using the spelling Jeaffreson. This was a family with trading ties to the Caribbean.

Samuel Jeaffreson, said to have been born in 1607 in Suffolk, supposedly actually lived on St. Kitts (St. Christopher’s) and Antigua. Those, of course, are Caribbean locations which became closely identified with the Phipps or Phips family. One of Samuel’s sons, Thomas, supposedly lived in Henrico County, Virginia and was a great-grandfather of Thomas Jefferson.

Col. John Jeaffreson was a London merchant who was supposed to have come out of this same family. He is said to have been not only involved in Caribbean trade, but to have been involved in efforts by the Virginia Company in the early 1620s. That is precisely when (1621) the surveyor John Phips or Phipps was brought from the London area to Jamestown by the Virginia Company.

Several posts in this blog in the past have pointed out that it has seemed, at times, as though Thomas Jefferson was sort of looming in the background as Phips or Fips or Phipps events, or events in families close to the Phips family, unfolded. The Eppes or Epps family, so closely involved with the Reeves family, was directly closely related to Thomas Jefferson. Thomas Jefferson’s mother in law was an Eppes.

As a side note, an Elizabeth Phipps, born in 1776, married Col. Jared Mansfield. Mansfield was appointed as an instructor at West Point by Thomas Jefferson and later became surveyor-general of the Northwest Territory.

All of this, along with the information in the last post, suggests several definite or potential entry points into Virginia:

  • Through a Jeaffreson/Jefferson connection in the Caribbean and Virginia, with connections from the Jeaffresons directly to the Phips family, and from the Jeffersons directly to the Eppes family, with direct connections from the Eppes family to the Reeves family which directly connects with the Phips family
  • Through the Ann Phipps who married George Reeves who died in Virginia
  • Through descendants of Francis Phipps of Reading, including the Constantines, at least a couple of whom were evidently in and out of the Caribbean and Virginia
  • Through the surveyor John Phips, who came from the London area (as did some of Francis’s family) and who was likely of this same family grouping

We could easily expand the timeline presented in the last post by adding numerous records pertaining to the above. That would be a tedious endeavor, however, and would merely duplicate information already presented in numerous posts.

All of this seems to suggest a high likelihood of the following:

  • A strongly intertwined social and familial grouping which was interconnected in 3 locations:
    • England
    • the Caribbean
    • Virginia
  • A marked decline in finances and social standing at some point, as we go from the socioeconomic level of someone like Constantine Henry Phipps eventually down to outlaw types in some cases; this could have been due to the demise of 3 formerly lucrative factors, in turn due to the Revolution and due to political changes a bit later:
    • Demise of trade with England
    • Demise of trade with the Caribbean
    • Demise of slave importation in Virginia
  • Those 3 factors could have been coupled with, in some cases, a loyalist or Tory orientation, whether proven or not, which again could have radically affected finances and social standing
  • Earlier high-society connections could have resulted in the persistence of certain surname associations much later on, even after the family fortunes waned
  • Various records already discussed suggest some Phips or Phipps families left with little or no money by around the mid-18th century (1700s) in Virginia, resulting in orphans being bound and, in one case, a widow being dependent on public assistance
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