Montgomery County, Virginia, Wilkes and Surry Counties, North Carolina

The following is taken from a highly informal list compiled to deal with immediate research. The events listed, in most cases, come from various secondary sources rather than from direct examination of actual documents, and need confirmation. The list might serve as a useful set of research leads, however. Think of this as a starting point, as a very rough draft.

One factor which does not look like it’s adequately covered in books and web pages dealing with county boundary changes is that evidently parts of the same general area were known as part of Montgomery County, Virginia for a while, then as Wilkes County, North Carolina, and finally as Ashe County, North Carolina and adjacent Grayson County, Virginia. Much of that, no doubt, had to do with the extreme meanderings of the New River, which settlers likely assumed was the boundary between Virginia and North Carolina.

Surry County, North Carolina is added because it appears that Mathew or Matthew Phipes, Phips, etc. acquired land in Wilkes County, North Carolina but then moved on into Surry County after he lost that land. Another reason for adding Surry County is because Ephraim Witcher, who married Betsey Fips, daughter of John Fips of Pittsylvania and Charlotte Counties, Virginia, shows up in Montgomery County, Virginia and later in Surry County, North Carolina.

Lists like this can be useful in that they show can suggest migrations and possible relationships which might not be evident otherwise. A real weakness of typical genealogical software and online “trees” is that there’s little opportunity to see the big picture. Data regarding individuals tends, for the most part, to be hidden away in a little box, so to speak, pertaining only to that individual.

One thing that becomes evident from the Wilkes County list is the vital importance of John and Mathew Fips, Phips, etc. They appear, in fact, to be of pivotal importance, yet no one seems to know who they were.

Again, view this list as a rough draft requiring confirmation through examining actual documents.


  • 1779 or 1780: Benjamin Phipps’s Revolutionary War pension application says he had been living in Montgomery County “now Grayson County” in 1779 or 1780
  • 5 June 1779: Tories shot into the home of William Phipps and set his house on fire
  • 8 Nov 1780: Property seized from George Reeves, presumably the one who became Samuel Phips’s father in law, was restored; it had been seized because he was accused of being a Tory
  • 1781? (undated, between 2 records both dated 1781): Militia list abstract shows “Sammuwill Phips” and “Sammuell Phips Sen.” The younger one would be the Samuel who died 1854 Ashe County, North Carolina
  • 21 Oct 1781: Benjamin Phipps, assignee of William Hash, mentioned in connection with a land warrant
  • 1782: Tax list shows Samuel Phipps along with George Reeves
  • 1782: Personal property tax list (same one?) with Benjamin, James, Samuel, and William Phipps, not necessarily spelled that way and not necessarily listed together
  • 2 Dec 1782: Wm. Fips mentioned in a land warrant
  • 26 Jan 1783: William Phipps received a certificate for land
  • 1785: Deed in Montgomery County names Ephraim Witcher of Pittsylvania County; he married Betsey Fips
  • 28 Feb 1788: “Little Benjamin Phipps” mentioned in County Order Book 1, p. 247
  • 31 Mar 1790: Wm. Phipps in tax list


  • 1778: George Reeves entered land at Turkey Mountain; later, Samuel Phips received land grant in 1791 at Turkey Mountain
  • 1780: Mathew “Phipes” entered land
  • 1782: “Aron Felts” in tax list (later appears as “Aaron Phelps,” assuming same person)
  • 1 Oct 1783: Deed from James Mulky or Mulkey to John Fipps or Phips including a mill site; see 1798 below mentioning “Phipses Mill”
  • 1784-1790: Aaron “Phelps” in tax lists, presumably same person listed in 1782 as Aron Felts, supposedly son of William Felts/Susannah Oliver
  • 22 Feb 1785: Mathew Phips received land grant in Wilkes County, referred to as Mathew Phips (one T) and “Marthew” Phips; land appears to have been on southern edge of county bordering Burke County and Rowan County
  • 27 July 1786: Case of Thomas Cook v. Matthew Fips heard in Wilkes County
  • Late 1786 or early 1787, date unclear: Men to view route for road, included John Fips
  • 12 July 1787: Samuel Phips listed in something referred to as state census
  • 1788: Deed refers to property of Matthew Fips lost to satisfy Thomas Cook (probably same name as Cocke) (Note that John of Charlotte Co., Virginia sold land in Halifax County, Virginia to William Cook in 1767)
  • 1789: Samuel Fipps in tax list
  • 26 Jan 1789: John Fips ordered by county to oversee road route
  • 1790: Census, Sam Fips, Aron Fitts, Jno. Fitts
  • 1790: Samuel Fips in tax list
  • 2 Oct 1790: Deed from John Phipps, planter, to Alexander Smith, signed by John Phipps and Elender Phipps
  • 20 Dec 1791: Two land grants to Samuel Phips
  • 23 Apr 1792: John Fips was replaced as road overseer, since he had resigned
  • 3 Jan 1795: Grant to Enoch Osborn adjoining Samuel Phips
  • 5 May 1795: Samuel Phips in group to determine road route
  • 28 Nov 1795: Deed from Enoch Osborn to Samuel Phips
  • 1795: Samuel Phips witnessed a deed from Theophilus Evans to Jesse Reves; Evans is supposed to have been the same family as Epps due to an illegitimacy, with George Reeves as an Epps or Eppes or Epes heir
  • 1795: Grant to David Collins mentions Samuel Phips’s line
  • 1796: Samuel Phipps in tax list
  • 1797: Samuel Phipps in tax list
  • 28 Jan 1797: Samuel Phips witnessed deed from George Reves to William Reves
  • 31 Jan 1797: Samuel Phips among those to determine road route; same day Samuel Phips acknowledged deed from George Reeves to William Reeves
  • 1798: Deed mentions land near “Phipses Mill”
  • 3 Apr 1798: Deed from John Taylor to Samuel Phips
  • 4 Apr 1798: Deed from John Taylor to Thomas Collins adjacent to Samuel Phipps
  • 1800: Jourdon Fips in census
  • 10 July 1802: Deed, Jordan Fipes, also Phipps in same record, to William Robeson; Jordan appears to have been the one who was son of Benjamin of Sussex County, Virginia, believed by Mrs. Howard Woodruff in her 1972 book/manuscript to be brother of the Joseph Phipps of Brunswick County, Virginia
  • 1805: Jordan (however spelled) bondsman to marriage of Thomas Davis to Francis Robins
  • 1807: Jordan had moved on to Tennessee by this time


  • 1778-1795: Matthew Phipes/Fipps listed in index to Surry County land entries
  • 1790: Matthew Phipps in census
  • 1807: George Phips supposedly married Keziah Anthony in 1807
  • 1816: Will of Thomas Anthony refers to his daughter Keziah Anthony who married George Phips
  • 18 Nov 1819: Will of Ephraim Witcher (who earlier was in Montgomery County, Virginia) who married Betsey Fips
  • 1818: Littleberry Fips bondsman to marriage of Leonard Roy to Anne Fips
  • 1820: Littleberry Phipps, however spelled, in census

One thought on “Montgomery County, Virginia, Wilkes and Surry Counties, North Carolina

  1. You may want to add to this list various findings from county tax records for Montgomery and Grayson Co’s, VA, from previous posts. The name Mathew Phipps shows up in the Grayson Co. tax lists from the 1790’s and early 1800’s.

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