Jamestown to the Northern Neck of Virginia

Beginning at Jamestown

William Claiborne brought William Harris, John Phips, and William Morris to Jamestown as surveyors in 1621. William Harris subsequently located at Elizabeth City, where he is said to have acted as overseer for the plantation of William Claiborne. (See here.)

William Harris is said to have died at Jamestown around 1656. His sons James and Robert, however, settled in York County. York County was formed in 1634 as one of the original shires of Virginia.

A question raised in a recent post had to do with whatever happened to John Phips, the immigrant surveyor. A past post, a long time ago, cited an unsourced Internet claim that the 2nd-generation surveyor John Phips and a 2nd-generation surveying partner Harris had extensive dealings with land in the Northern Neck of Virginia.

Earlier posts in this blog probably presumed that the Northern Neck constituted extreme Northern Virginia in general. Instead, this is the area which today is made up of the Virginia counties of Lancaster, Northumberland, Westmoreland, and Richmond.

The current York County is evidently not considered a part of the Northern Neck, but apparently part of it originally was. Lancaster County, discussed below, is located on Virginia’s eastern coast and, as already stated, is today considered a part of the Northern Neck. The county was formed in 1651 from the counties of Northumberland and York. Northumberland, again, is today considered part of the Northern Neck.

A fairly recent post asked the question, “Where and When Did John Phips, Virginia Immigrant Surveyor, Die?” That post wondered aloud whether the 1679 estate of a John Phipps in York County could have been him.

We have a John Phipps who died in York County in 1679. Members of the family of William Harris, one of the 3 original surveyors, moved into York County.

William Harris is said to have been the 4th person in his direct lineage to bear that name, and John Phips is said to have produced a son, also a surveyor and also named John Phips or Phipps. Did William Morris, the other surveyor, have a son named William Morris who also ended up in York County?

Again, the 3rd member of the surveying trio brought into Virginia was William Morris. He was 18 when he arrived on the same ship as John Sr. in 1621. This means he would have been born around 1603. Could there have been a 2nd generation William Morris, just as it’s claimed that there was a 2nd generation John Phips?

That brings us to a 1700 record abstract from Northumberland County. A court record referred to a lawsuit involving an attachment. As the result, John Phipps became indebted to a certain man for 440 pounds of tobacco. The name of that man was – William Morris. This could have even been the original William Morris, but if so he would have been around 97 at the time.

1659, York County

Court records dated 6 May 1659 mention John Phipps in a list of bills. Those bills, as abstracted, are said to have belonged to Robert Vaulx. They were put in the hands of Robert Bourne by Elizabeth Vaulx, perhaps Robert’s widow.

1679, York County

John Phipps of York County left an estate which generated an inventory which is summarized in Colonial Williamburg’s online Digital Library. This inventory, dated 18 November 1678, shows evidence of a modest estate. Another related appraisal is dated 22 January 1679.

1690, Lancaster County

Again, Lancaster County was formed from Northumberland and York Counties. Published abstracts of Lancaster County, Virginia wills refer to a will dated 1690 which was written by Edward Lloyd, according to one abstract, but Edward Floyd on another page in the same book. This Edward Floyd or Lloyd left a will which appears on page 10 of Lancaster County Will Book 8.

The will is dated 27 “Xber” 1690 in one abstract, 27 Otober 1690 in another. Often, it would appear, October was represented in old manuscripts, sometimes depending on Latin or German, as VIIIber or as 8ber. Xber generally meant December but, confusingly, X was sometimes used to represent October.

Whether 27 October or 27 December 1690, the will is said to have been then recorded on 13 March 1690, as abstracted.  Obviously a will dated in December could not have been recorded in March of the same year.

Also on 6 December of that same year, Edward Floyd or Lloyd was reportedly “dangerously” ill, so made note of debts due to him. This record, as abstracted, appears on page 19 of the same county will book, and was again witnessed by Nathaniel Phipps.

Lloyd or Floyd? Evidently it was Floyd, unless two sources misread his name, which is certainly a possibility. The name Edward Lloyd comes up in early southeast Virginia references, as well as in the list of members of the Virginia Company in London (along with grocer Robert Phipps). The Virginia Company was responsible for bringing the surveyors to Virginia.

The one in Lancaster County is referred to as Edward Floyd, however, in a footnote in Philip Alexander Bruce, Economic History of Virginia in the Seventeenth Century, Vol. 2, New York: Macmillan, 1896, p. 160. There it’s noted that Edward Floyd of Lancaster County painted windows with white lead sometime between 1690 and 1709. (The same book, by the way, refers to John Phipps and William Harris in Jamestown on p. 444.)

1700, Northumberland County

As already mentioned, John Phipps owed 440 pounds of tobacco to William Morris in Northumberland County in 1770, the result of a lawsuit. Could this John have been the 2nd generation from the immigrant surveyor, and could this William Morris have been the 2nd generation from his surveying partner, who immigrated at the same time?

Other records in Northumberland County refer to this John Phipps, who evidently was a planter. Who was he? Was he the son of the immigrant surveyor? Was the one who died in York County, leaving a 1679 estate, the immigrant surveyor? If so, why was his estate so modest?

1709, Lancaster County

Then on 12 June 1709 in the same county, a certain Mary Phipps of the parish of Christ Church left a will, as abstracted, which was recorded on the 10th of August of the following year. One of the witnesses was Jon. Cooke, very possibly a form of the Cocke surname which we’ve discussed in various posts, and which evidently was pronounced like “Cook.”