Knox County, Kentucky and the Phipps Family

Another excellent article by Tim Phipps, titled “Phipps on Tax Lists for Knox County, Kentucky,” appears below.

As noted below, a Stephen Teague appears living with the Phipps family in Knox County, Kentucky in the 1850 census. Past posts have noted the marriage of Isaac Phipps to Elender Teague in Clay County, Kentucky on 24 November 1845. The marriage license appears in her Civil War widow’s pension application. (See “Phipps & Teague Connections,” and “Another Clay County, Kentucky Family.”)

Additionally, one might wonder whether the comparatively early Phipps family members in Knox County, Kentucky, as discussed below, could have been related to the much later singing group known as the Phipps Family. The Phipps Family were a true legend of the American folk/country/gospel music tradition. Their music was seen as so similar to that of the renowned Carter family that they were called Carter clones.

Various children of Arthur Leeroy (“A.L.”) Phipps and his wife Kathleen sang and recorded with the family. Arthur Leeroy Phipps was born 12 August 1916 in Knox County, Kentucky. The Phipps Family performed with the likes of Joan Baez at the Newport Folk Festival, and were recorded by the legendary Folkways label, later re-released by the Smithsonian.

According to a genealogist’s post, A.L. Phipps was a son of Rev. James Franklin Phipps, born 1883/4. His father is said to have been a John Phipps who was born in Kentucky about 1852 and who married Marthie Woods. His father is said to have been a Jacob Phipps who was born in Virginia in 1812.

Is that Jacob the Jacob Phipps referred to below, in Tim Phipps’s article? He cites the 1850 census as showing a Jacob, born about 1814 in Virginia, living in Knox County, Kentucky in 1850. The genealogist’s post says he was married to “either” Edy McGowan or Tildie Thompson; that census listing shows him as married to Jane. The John cited above as Jacob’s son would not have been born until about 1852.

A previous post in this blog mentioned a 1930 census listing which appears to show A.L. Phipps living with his parents, listed as James F. and Lizzie B. Phipps. This James F., born about 1884 in Kentucky, would be the person the genealogist’s post refers to as James Franklin Phipps.

For more on the Phipps Family singers, see the following:

Other sources with potential relevance to the Phipps family of Knox County, Kentucky and which might be of interest:

Phipps on Tax Lists for Knox County, Kentucky
by Tim Phipps

The Phipps individuals who settled into Knox County, Kentucky, have been a challenge to unravel for many family researchers over the years. A few previous posts from 2012 and 2015 addressed some of the early Phipps in Knox County. See the following links:

Three Phipps households appear in the Federal Census for Knox County for the first time in 1840, indicating a settlement in that county at some point in the 1830s. Turning to the annual county tax lists, we find more clues about these early Phipps individuals and their arrival into Knox County, Kentucky. With these lists, we are even able to confirm that there was a fourth Phipps household captured on the 1840 census under the recorded surname of Phitts.

The original tax lists for this county have been preserved and are available on microfilm for every year from 1800 to 1859 with only three years missing: 1813, 1814, and 1832. From 1800-1811, no one with the Phipps surname or any of its various spellings (Phips, Fipps, Fips, etc.) can be found living in Knox County, Kentucky.

In 1812, a Stephen Phipps appears on the county tax list with no land and one horse. In all likelihood, this is the same Stephen Phipps related to the family of James Phipps of Virginia who moved from Washington Co. to Russell Co. in 1806. James was one of the original petitioners to request the Virginia Legislature for the formation of a new county from parts of Washington, Russell, and Lee counties, resulting in the creation of Scott County at the end of 1814.

Stephen can be found in the Russell County tax lists before and after 1812, and the question of his disappearance may be answered by his listing on the Knox Co. tax list. As previously noted, the tax lists for 1813 and 1814 did not survive, if they were even recorded during those tumultuous years when the U.S. was defending itself from the invasions and attacks of the British and its Indian allies. Stephen Phipps is not in Knox County in 1815 or afterwards, which further suggests that he was probably the same individual from the Russell/Scott Co. Phipps family.

A thorough review of the tax lists from 1815 through 1833 finds no one with the Phipps/Fipps surname living in Knox County, Kentucky. Starting in 1834, one or more Phipps families begin to appear in the annual tax records for the county. Before attempting to analyze these lists, below is a transcription of what can be found related to individuals named Phipps. There are no “Blacks” recorded with any of these specific individuals.

Abbreviations used in this transcript include:

  • “a” = Acres
  • “WM” = White Males 21 years of age or older
  • “H.” = Horses, Mules, Colts
  • “C.” = Cattle
  • “Ch.” = Children
  • “T.V.” = Total Value of Property (Real Estate and Personal Estate)

1834 Tax List:

  • Page 21 – Phipps, Isaiah – 80 a of 3rd Rate Land; Water Course = Stinking C.; Original Land Entry by J. Crawford; 1 WM; 1 H.; Land Value = $1.50/a; $250 T.V.

1835 Tax List:

  • Page 22 – Phipps, Isaiah – 80 a of 3rd Rate Land; Water Course = Stinking C.; Original Land Entry by J. Howell; 1 WM; no H.; Land Value = $1.20/a; $100 T.V.
  • Page 22 – Phipps, Jesse – 200 a of 3rd Rate Land; Water Course = Lynn Camp; Original Land Entry by Wm Bledsoe; 1 WM; 1 H.; Land Value = $0.50/a; $130 T.V.

1836 Tax List:

  • Page 23 – Phipps, Jacob – no Land; 1 WM; 1 H.; $50 T.V.
  • Page 23 – Phipps, James – no Land; 1 WM; no H.; $25 T.V.
  • Page 23 – Phipps, John – no Land; 1 WM; no H.; $30 T.V.
  • Page 24 – Phipps, Jesse – 200 a of 3rd Rate Land; Water Course = Lynn Camp; Original Land Entry by –; 1 WM; 1 H.; Land Value = $1.00/a; $250 T.V.

Additional marks appear to the right (just left of the Total Value) on the same lines for James and John; but since they appear to be a different writing style, I did not try to transcribe those markings. (NOTE: Jacob, James & John are on adjacent lines next to each other.)

1837 Tax List:

  • Page 7 – Fipps, John – no Land; 1 WM; 1 H.; $50 H. Value; $50 T.V.
  • Page 7 – Fipps, James – no Land; 1 WM; 2 H.; $50 H. Value; $50 T.V.
  • Page 7 – Fipps, Jesse – 222½ a of Land; Water Course = Lynn Camp; $111 Land Value; 1 WM; 1 H.; $50 H. Value; $161 T.V.

(NOTE: James & John are on adjacent lines next to each other.)

1838 Tax List:

  • Page12 – Phipps, Jacob – no Land; 1 WM; no H.; $0 H. Value; no C.; 1 Voter; $0 T.V.
  • Page 12 – Phipps, Jesse – 200 a of Land; Water Course = Richland; $200 Land Value; 1 WM; no H.; $0 H. Value; 2 C.; 1 Voter; $200 T.V.
  • Page 12 – Phipps, John – no Land; 1 WM; 1 H.; $50 H. Value; no C.; 1 Voter; $50 T.V.
  • Page 13 – Phipps, James – no Land; 1 WM; 1 H.; $50 H. Value; 4 C.; 1 Voter; $50 T.V.

1839 Tax List:

  • Page 9 – Fipps, Jacob – no Land; 1 Voter; 1 WM; 1 H.; $20 H. Value; $20 T.V.
  • Page 9 – Fipps, Jesse – 222½ a of Land; $200 Land Value; Water Course = Lynn Camp; 1 Voter; 1 WM; no H.; $0 H. Value; $200 T.V.
  • Page 9 – Fipps, Benjamin – no Land; 1 Voter; 1 WM; 2 H.; $55 H. Value; $55 T.V.
  • Page 9 – Fipps, John – no Land; 1 Voter; 1 WM; 1 H.; $50 H. Value; $50 T.V.
  • Page 9 – Fipps, James – no Land; 1 Voter; 1 WM; 1 H.; $50 H. Value; $50 T.V.

(NOTE: Jesse & Benjamin appear on adjacent lines next to each other. James & John are on adjacent lines to one another.)

1840 Tax List:

  • Page 4 – Fipps, James – no Land; 1 WM; 1 H.; $50 H. Value; 5 C.; 1 Ch. 7-17yrs old; $50 T.V.
  • Page 5 – Fipps, Jacob – no Land; 1 WM; 1 H.; $40 H. Value; 4 C.; no Ch. 7-17yrs old; $40 T.V.
  • Page 10 – Phipps, Jesse – 222 a of Land; Water Course = Lynn Camp; $200 Land Value; 1 WM; 1 H.; $50 H. Value; no C.; 2 Ch. 7-17yrs old; $250 T.V.
  • Page 10 – Phipps, Benjamin – no Land; 1 WM; 1 H.; $50 H. Value; 2 C.; no Ch. 7-17yrs old; $50 T.V.

(NOTE: Jesse & Benjamin appear on adjacent lines next to each other.)

From these tax lists, we see that an Isaiah Phipps resided on Stinking Creek in 1834 and 1835 and then seems to have moved out of Knox County. Although a search of the 1830 Census did not reveal anyone who would be a likely match to this Isaiah. There is an Isaiah Phipps in Grayson County, Virginia, and an Isiah Phipps in Ashe County, North Carolina, in the 1830 Census [Editor’s note: These are indexed by Heritage Quest as Isaiah Phips and Isiah Fips, respectively], but both of them can be found in those same counties in the 1840 Census. [Editor’s note: In that year, Heritage Quest indexes them as Isaiah Phipps and Isaiah Phips, respectively.] A separate study of tax lists for Clay County, Kentucky revealed that an Isaiah Phipps settled there in the late 1830’s and can also be found there in the 1840 Census. [Editor’s note: He is indexed by Heritage Quest as Isah Phipps.] Very likely, this is the same Isaiah, but the question remains as to from where this individual originated before coming to Knox County, Kentucky.

The only other Phipps in Knox County at the same time as Isaiah was Jesse Phipps who appeared in 1835 and then remained in the county and be found there in the Federal Census records for 1840, 1850 and 1860. Whether there was any relationship or association between Isaiah and Jesse cannot be determined from the 1835 tax list.

Lynn Camp Creek, where Jesse had land, and Stinking Creek, where Isaiah had land, are nearly 30 miles apart and on opposite sides of Knox County. Benjamin Phipps, who shows up next to Jesse in 1839 and 1840, likely was related to Jesse. One claim is that Benjamin was a son of Jesse. This Jesse has been linked to the Jesse Phipps living in Russell County, Virginia, from about 1823 until 1832. The departure from Russell County after 1832 aligns with the 1835 appearance of Jesse in Knox County. See the following blog post:

The James, John and Jacob Phipps, who all appeared together in the 1836 tax list, were all likely related to each other in some way. James and John remained adjacent to each on the tax lists for 1837 and 1839, but John seems to disappear by 1840. Others have noted that Jacob Phipps was the son of Gasper Phipps, who was in turn the son of William Phipps of Wythe County, Virginia. In the 1814 will for this William the following children are named in this order: George Phipps, Catharine Miller, Mary Phipps, William Phipps, Jacob Phipps, James Phipps, John Phipps, Jasper Phipps, and Isaac Phipps.

Not surprisingly, the 1840 Census reflects the same four Phipps households in Knox County as the 1840 Tax List. Jesse Phipps is listed with three males (one age 50-59 and two age 5-9) and one female (age 20-29), and Benjamin Phipps is adjacent to Jesse with one male (age 20-29) and two females (one age 20-29 and one under age 5). Per the tax list, Jesse had two children age 7-17, which aligns with the two males age 5-9 recorded on the census and implying that those boys were between 7 and 9 years old. Jacob Phipps had two males (one age 20-29 and one under age 5) and two females (one age 20-29 and one under age 5) in his household.

Recorded under the surname of Phitts, James Phipps had a rather large household with four males (one age 50-59, one age 20-29, one age 15-19, and one under age 5) and seven females (one age 50-59, three age 20-29, one age 15-19, one age 10-14, and one under age 5). With so many in his household, it appears that the one female age 10-14 must have been the one child age 7-17 listed with James on the tax list. The male and female age 15-19 on the census would likely be of 18 or 19 years old to not have been included in the count on the tax listing of children age 7-17.

By the 1850 Census, Jacob and Jesse were still living in Knox County, Kentucky. Listed first was Jacob Phipps:

Dwelling #765, Family #780:

  • Jacob Phipps (age 36, b. VA), occupation = Farmer
  • Jane Phipps (age 33, b. VA)
  • Joseph Phipps (age 13, b. KY)
  • Catharine Phipps (age 12, b. KY)
  • Mary A. Phipps (age 10, b. KY)
  • Margaret Phipps (age 8, b. KY)
  • William Phipps (age 7, b. KY)
  • Luke Phipps (age 4, b. KY)
  • Jacob Phipps (age 1, b. KY)

The four individuals in Jacob’s 1840 household all line with the first four names in his 1850 household. We can also see that Jacob and his wife Jane were both born in Virginia. Next listed in 1850 was Jesse Phipps:

Dwelling #797, Family #812:

  • Jesse Phipps (age 55, b. N.C.), occupation = Farmer
  • Margaret Phipps (age 55, b. VA)
  • Franklin Phipps (mulatto, age 18, b. N.C.), occupation = Laborer
  • John Phipps (age 18, b. N.C.), occupation = Laborer

In general the individuals in the 1840 and 1850 households for Jesse appear to align with the exception of Margaret’s age of 55 in 1850 and the female listed as age 20-29 in 1840. If the same woman is listed in both census households, then the listed age for one of the census years was incorrect. If the ages were both recorded correctly, then this suggests a possible different female living with Jesse in 1840.

A third Phipps household appeared in the 1850 Census for Knox County. This one was headed by Isaac Phipps:

Dwelling #978, Family #1001:

  • Isaac Phipps (age 27, b. Tenn), occupation = Laborer
  • Eleanor Phipps (age 27, b. Tenn)
  • Priscilla Phipps (age 6, b. KY)
  • Samuel Phipps (age 3, b. KY)
  • Esther Phipps (age 5/12, b. KY)
  • Stephen Teague (age 22, b. Tenn), Occupation = Laborer

As will be seen with my next analysis of the Clay County, Kentucky tax lists, this Isaac and family moved from Clay County to Knox County in 1850 and were actually recorded in both counties. The Knox County listing above was recorded on September 28, while the Clay County listing below was recorded on August 5:

Dwelling #144, Family #144:

  • Isaac Phipps (age 27, b. Tenn), occupation = Farmer
  • Elender Phipps (age 22, b. Tenn)
  • Priscilla Phipps (age 5, b. KY)
  • Samuel Phipps (age 2, b. KY)
  • Manervar Phipps (age 8/12, b. KY)
  • Stephen Teague (age 22, b. Tenn)

Despite a couple differences in age and a difference with the name of the infant female, all of the remaining names and approximate ages confirm that this is one and the same family listed in both counties. Isaac and his household clearly migrated from Clay County to Knox County after August 5th and before September 28th.

Although this analysis of the Knox County tax records stopped at 1840, other questions could addressed from the county tax lists for the 1840’s and 1850’s, such as: How long did Benjamin Phipps remain in the county before his disappearance from the 1850 Census for Knox County? For those wanting to further research the Phipps and other families of Knox County, I would strongly recommend consulting these tax lists on microfilm.

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