Crisp and Phipps on St. Kitts

In 1882, Frederick Arthur Crisp forwarded to the world-renowned Bodleian Library at the University of Oxford copies of what he termed “specimen pages” from a book which he said he had “recently printed.” This apparently served as a sort of an ad, giving the Bodleian the opportunity to purchase a copy of the book if they were interested.

That book was titled Collections Relating to the Family of Crispe, Volume I. Several past posts have detailed the relationship between the Phips or Phipps family and the Crispe or Crisp family, especially with regard to the Caribbean. Another book by Frederick Arthur Crisp, titled Family of Crispe: Genealogical Memoranda Illustrating the Crispe Descents and Alliances (1882) was quoted from in regard to a 1712 record. As posted earlier, what appears to have been the will of Joseph Crisp of “Nicholas Town,” Christ Church Parish, on the island of St. Christophers (St. Kitts) referred to the following individuals:

  • His daughter Mary Phipps
  • His grandson Joseph Phipps (who was to be educated at “one of the Universities” in England)
  • His granddaughter Elizabeth Phipps
  • His granddaughter Mary Phipps
  • His granddaughter Susanna Phipps

As noted in the same post, James Phipps and Joseph Crispe both were made representatives for “a General Assembly of the Leeward Islands” in 1683. In addition, a 1685 list of officers of the Leeward Islands names both Capt. James Phipps and Capt. Joseph Crispe.

Also, in past posts, we’ve noted the relationships involving the Phips or Phipps family, the Crisp or Crispe family, and the Jeaffreson or Jefferson families in the Caribbean, with relationships between the 1st and the 3rd of these families extending to Francis Phips or Phipps of Reading, Berkshire, England.

We’ve also noted the apparent connections between the Jeaffreson or Jefferson family and the Epps, Eppes, or Epes family of Virginia in close relationship to the Reeves family of Virginia, with George Reeves or Reaves, father in law of Samuel Phips, clearly related to both. (Both George Reeves and Samuel Phips were living in Wilkes County, North Carolina prior to the 1800 census; then Reeves shows up in Grayson County, Virginia records and Phips in adjacent Ashe County, North Carolina, except when Phips appears as an heir of George Reeves in Grayson County records.)

The 3 families of Phips/Phipps, Crisp/Crispe, and Jeaffreson/Jefferson have been listed as among the top 5 most prosperous planters in St. Kitts in the Caribbean, in a book covering the period from 1670 to 1776. Capt. James Phipps lived at St. Kitts in St. Thomas on Middle Island. At one point, he went to England but returned in 1685 and was apparently killed in the French attack in 1689.

When he died, an executor of his estate was Christopher Jeaffreson. Capt. James Phipps was the brother of Thomas Phipps of Staple Inn, one of the 4 Inns of Court in London. In other words, he was a  lawyer, as were various members of the family. James and Thomas had another brother, Francis, Jr., who is specifically referred to in the letters of Christopher Jeaffreson.

The father of these brothers was Francis Phipps or Phips, Sr. of Reading, Berkshire, England and his 2nd wife, Sarah. She had been the widow of Col. John Jeaffreson of St. Kitts. The complex genealogical relationships involving multiple persons named Constantine Phipps and Francis Phipps, etc. have been discussed in past posts, such as this one.

In addition, one of the multiple persons named Constantine Phips or Phipps of England had direct involvement with Virginia, as we’ve noted in various earlier posts. Further, one of the multiple individuals named George Reeves married a Phipps, came to Virginia, left his wife, and died in Virginia, while his widow died in England.

All of this becomes incredibly complex and confusing, involving, as it does, not only multiple countries or colonies, but multiple continents as well, in addition to multiple individuals with the same name. None of this, however, seems to have ever been even glanced at in modern times by genealogists eager to trace earlier generations of the Phips or Phipps family in the areas of Ashe County, North Carolina, Grayson County, Virginia, or Brunswick County, Virginia.

Instead, efforts have focused primarily, it would seem, on creatively copying and pasting one’s way back to Chester County, Pennsylvania, since that line was prominent in what little genealogical sources were readily available in print during the genealogical craze of the 1970s and 1980s, prior to the Internet era. Even so, however, virtually all roads seemed to lead back to the same Reading, Berkshire, England.

To return to Mr. Crisp’s correspondence with the Bodleian Library, regardless of whether they expressed interest in his book or not, they do appear to have kept his “specimen pages.” One of them includes text (p. 65, dated 1712) taken from the will of Joseph Crisp: This text was included in a previous post.

A 1683 record in the Public Record Office in England and mentioning both Joseph Crispe and James Phipps is dated the 2nd of October. The record appears in J.W. Fortescue, ed., Calendar of State Papers, Colonial Series, America and West Indies, 1681-1685, Preserved in Her Majesty’s Public Record Office, London: Eyre and Spottiswoode, 1898, pp. 511-512:

Minutes of Council of St. Christophers. Order for renewing the work on the fortifications; negroes to come to work at ten on Mondays and sunrise on other days. Propose by Council (1) that a committee be appointed to contract with the masons and carpenters for the building of the forts and Sessions-House; (2) that overseers be appointed to those works; (3) that wood be procured to burn lime for the same; (4) that the Committee be also empowered to contract for a sloop for transport of materials. Answers of the Assembly: (1.) We have appointed William Willett and Zachariah Rice. (2.) We agree. (3.) We ask for the Council’s concurrence in permitting firewood to be cut in the mountains adjacent. (4.) We agree. Order that Caesar Rodeney and James Phipps be joined to the gentlemen appointed to the Assembly for that Committee, and that they meet at Sandy Point Town next Tuesday in order to their work. The Governor’s commission for the appointment of representatives for a General Assembly of the Leeward Islands, dated 1st October 1683. Joseph Crispe, James Phipps, and John Vickers of the Council, and the Speaker, William Willett, and Zachariah Rice of the Assembly, appointed. Their instructions: (1) to ask to be excused from the General Assembly, and for St. Christophers to be governed by her own laws; (2) to ask that a fixed contingent of armed men may be appointed from every island to go to the help of the island first attacked; (3) to petition His Excellency to move the King to give a store of firearms.

A 1684 record in the Public Record Office and, again, mentioning both Joseph Crisp and James Phipps  is dated the 26th of January at St. Christophers (St. Kitts) in the Caribbean. From J.W. Fortescue, ed., Calendar of Sstate Papers, Colonial Series, America and West Indies, 1681-1685, Preserved in Her Majesty’s Public Record Office, London: Eyre and Spottiswoode, 1898, pp. 580-581:

Address of the Deputy Governor, Council, and Representatives of St. Christophers to the King. We beg you to accept a late but hearty tender of our duty from us who “casting a speculative optic on the black and hellish designs of that vast number of bloody miscreants and king-killing men against your sacred person,” pray ever for your safety. With the widow, we cast in our loyal mite, casting our lives and fortunes at your feet, &c. Signed, Thomas Hill.

Assembly. [followed by a list of names]


. . . Joseph Crisp.

James Phipps. . . .


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