A Phips or Phipps in Every Nook and Cranny

An early Virginia marriage

Mary Ann Phipps married Philip Pendleton, who was born about 1754 in Virginia, according to a Pendleton family web page. Unfortunately, no source is provided, at least not in that page.

One claim from other unsourced web pages is that her father was a Robert Phipps.

Christopher Jeaffreson and the Phipps family

An 1877 issue of the London journal known as The Atheneum included a lengthy book review of John Cordy Jeaffreson, ed., A Young Squire of the Seventeenth Century, From the Papers (A.D. 1676-1687), of Christopher Jeaffreson, of Dullingham House, Cambridgeshire, 2 vols., Hurst & Blackett. The review appeared in issue number 2610, 3 November 1877, pp. 557-558.

Part of the review quotes from the book in connection with Jeaffrreson’s arrival in the Caribbean and his relationship with the Phipps family:

. . . Christopher took early days to deliver the many letters which his friends in the Leeward Islands had charged him to convey to their friends in England. He was no less prompt in delivering to Constantine Phipps the tokens sent him for festal purposes by his brother, Capt. James Phipps. of St. Christopher’s Island [i.e. St. Kitts], . . . . But the tokens of fraternal affection for Constantine Phipps require a word of explanation.. . . .

John Cordy Jeaffreson then explains that when a man in the 17th century was living or staying far away from his circle of friends, it was customary for him to occasionally send money to cover the charges of a “festal meeting, at which the members of the coterie would commemorate the virtues and drink to the health of the founder of the feast.”

He explained that, “Sometimes the gift was only enough for ‘glasses all round,’ . . . at a convenient tavern.” He goes on:

The tokens sent by Capt. James Phipps amounted to such a sum that Constantine Phipps, one of the gayest students and smartest dancers in the Inns of Court, lost no time in sending out invitations for a family gathering at the Sun Tavern, behind the Royal Exchange. Young Constantine Phipps (the future Lord Chancellor of Ireland, and the cousin of the inventor of the diving-bell) and Christopher Jeaffreson were brothers by affinity, and the dinner-party consisted chiefly of Phippses. Mr. Francis Phipps and Mr. and Mrs. Thomas Phipps Phipps [sic] came with Mr. and Mrs. Jackson and Mr. Langhford. Her dress and state of sorrow forbade Mrs. Brett to join the party, which was a sumptuous and successful affair. The caterer exceeded the sum of the tokens, but, as the feast was in Christopher’s honour, he was not permitted to contribute a single coin to ‘the whip.’

Constantine might not have been a cousin of “the inventor of the diving-bell,” and Sir William Phips might not have invented the diving bell, as has often been suggested), but Constantine evidently was the sister of Ann or Anna Phipps who married George Reeves who evidently died in Virginia.

Both Ann and Constantine were offspring of Francis Phipps of Reading in Berkshire, perhaps the same as the Francis referred to above. As we’ve noted in past posts, the Inns of Court mentioned above were (and are) associations for British. barristers.

James Phipps, St. Kitts “muster master”

James Phipps is referred to as “muster master” on St. Kitts in the Caribbean in 1687. That’s in J.W. Fortescue, Calendar of State Papers, Colonial Series, America and West Indies, 1685-1688, Preserved in the Public Record Office, London: Norfolk Chronicle, 1899, p. 415. See various past posts regarding James Phipps on St. Kitts.

Constantine Phipps and Constantine Phipps again

Two of the various individuals named Constantine Phipps (one who was of St. Kitts and who died in 1769, another who was of Exeter and who lived from 1745-1797) are discussed in Lars E. Troide, The Early Journals and Letters of Fanny Burney, Volume 1: 1768-1773, Kingston and Montreal: McGill-Queen’s University Press, 1988. Also discussed in Henry Phipps (1755-1831), the one who was the son of the Constantine Phipps who lived from 1722-1775.

The book also refers to Harry Phipps, who later became Lord Mulgrave, as possibly serving as the inspiration for a fictional character by Fanny Burney, the novelist and playwright. In that context, Phipps is described as “that perfect young gentleman.” Harry was a common period nickname for Henry.

Constantine Henry Phipps, author

Constantine Henry Phipps, 1st Marquess of Normanby, has been identified as the author of one of his books which was published as by, simply, “the author of ‘Matilda.'” The book is Yes and No: A Tale of the Day, Philadelphia: Carey, Lea & Carey, 1828.

That Constantine lived from 1797 to 1863 and was the son of Henry Phipps, the 1st Earl of Mulgrave, and his wife Martha Sophia. He was a descendant of Francis Phipps of Reading, Berkshire, England.

Constantine Phipps and nautical adventures

The efforts of Constantine John Phipps (1744-1792) to reach the North Pole in an early sailing expedition are discussed in Clements R. Markham, The Lands of Silence: A History of Arctic and Antarctic Exploration, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2015.

This Constantine also played a role in the Revolutionary War in America and was a descendant of Francis Phipps of Reading, Berkshire, England.

The attempt to reach the North Pole is also discussed in a section titled “Voyage of Captain Phipps, Towards the North Pole,” in A General Collection of Voyages and Travels, Vol. 11, London: Sherwood, Neely, and Jones, 1813, beginning on p. 1.

In addition, what is described on the title page as “a Narrative of Captain Phipps’s Expedition, By a Midshipman” is included in Capt. Albert H. Markham, Northward Ho!, London: Macmillan and Co., 1879.

Constantine Phipps and British journalism

Daniel Defoe, best remembered as the author of Robinson Crusoe, was one of the most significant figures in the history of British literature and publishing. A biography by William Minto (Daniel Defoe, New York: Harper and Brothers, 1899) was published in 1899.

That bio refers to “Captain Phipps’s scheme for raising the wreck of a Spanish ship laden with silver.” This would refer to the sometimes sea captain, sometimes military leader, sometimes governor, William Phips of Maine and later Massachusetts.

Page 110 of the same bio refers to Sir Constantine Phipps, also referred to as Con. Phipps, as the object of some of Defoe’s newspaper editing endeavors  Defoe alleged in the newspaper called The Flying Post that the Duke of Anglesey had been set to Ireland,

to new model the Forces there, and particularly to break no less than seventy of the honest officers of the army, and to fill their places with the tools and creatures of Con Phipps, and such a rabble of cut-throats as were fit for the work that they had for them to do.

Minto added,

That there was some truth in the allegation is likely enough; Sir Constantine Phipps was, at least shortly afterwards dismissed from his offices.

Defoe, however, was brought to trial for libel by the Duke of Anglesey.

William Phips of Massachusetts

William Phips or Phipps of Maine and later Massachusetts, the French & Indian Wars military leader and colonial governor, is the subject of listings of various items in a catalog of New England records. This was published as A Rough List of a Collection of Transcripts Relating to the History of New England 1630-1776, “In Possession of” Frederick Lewis Bay, “privately printed” in Brookline, Massachusetts in 1913.

William Phipps, vintner

William Phipps was the compiler of The Vintner’s Guide, Boyle, Ireland: John Bromell, 1825. Phipps is referred to on the title page as “Secretary to the Fair Trading Vintners’ Society and Asylum of the City of Dublin.”

John Phipp testimony

A certain John Phipp testified in Old Bailey Proceedings in London in 1770 regarding the theft of a cane. This is discussed in a web page which quotes Phipp as having witnessed the incident, as he “halloed out, Stop thief!”

David Phipps and the Continental Navy

A letter from Joseph Pennell to David Phipps, dated 1782, is included in The Papers of Robert Morris, Pittsburgh: University of Pittsburgh Press, 1980. David Phipps has been discussed here in the past, and was a Continental Navy officer during the American Revolution.

He’s also discussed in Wick Griswold, Connecticut Pirates & Privateers: Treasure and Treachery in the Constitution State, Charleston, South Carolina: History Press, 2015.

John Phipps and a 19th century saloon brawl

John Phipps is discussed in connection with a Wild West saloon brawl in 1854 in John Boessenecker, When Law Was in the Holster: The Frontier Life of Bob Paul, Norman, Oklahoma: University of Oklahoma Press, 2012, p. 70.

This was during the California Gold Rush, in San Antonio Camp. San Antonio Camp is still a place name in Calaveras County.

Phipps is said to have been feared as a desperado, and was hung for murder in 1857.

William Phipps, Civil War Confederate

William (“Will”) Phipps, Confederate soldier in the American Civil War, is discussed in John D. Fowler, Mountaineers in Gray: The Nineteenth Tennessee Volunteer Infantry Regiment, C.S.A., Knoxville: University of Tennessee Press, 2004. The book refers to William as having a sister named Charlotte.

At one point, William writes a letter from Camp Cunnings at Knoxville, Tennessee in 1861 and mentions his father James. Charlotte was engaged to Daniel C. Miller who evidently shared a tent with William.

If census searches are any indication, this William would seem likely be the one who appears in the 1850 and 1860 censuses in Hawkins County, Tennessee. In 1850, James Phipps was living next to the household of Wesley Phipps. James was 35, born about 1815 in Tennessee. Charlotte and William were 9 and 7, respectively. In the 1860 census, James was 51 (born about 1809), Charlotte was 19 and a school teacher, and Wm. F. was 16.

The only problem with that identification is that if this is the family referred to in the book, the book refers to James as “elderly.” More than a 10-year increase in ages appears between the 1850 and 1860 censuses, indicating an error or rough guesstimate, but in either case he would have only been about 46-52 at the time of the letter.

John Phipps, 19th century surveyor

We’ve focused a number of times on John Phips or Phipps, the surveyor who was brought into Jamestown, Virginia in 1621. Another surveyor was a much later John Phipps, who entered into surveying in London in the 1820s.

That John Phipps, who worked for the Office of Woods and Forests in London, is the subject of a section of Caroline Shenton, The Day Parliament Burned Down, Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2012.

Eric Phipps, British diplomat

Sir Eric Phipps is mentioned or discussed in a number of pages in Daniel Hucker, Public Opinion and the End of Appeasement in Britain and France, New York: Routledge, 2011. Eric Clare Edmund Phipps lived from 1875 to 1945, and was a British diplomat. He was a son of one of the several individuals named Constantine Phipps.

In this case it appears to have been Edmund Constantine Henry Phipps (1840-1911), son of Edmund Phipps and grandson of Henry Phipps, the 1st Earl of Mulgrave. Henry was a son of Constantine Phipps (1722-1775), the 1st Baron Mulgrave, son of William Phipps and Catherine Annesley, daughter of Catherine Darnley, illegitimate daughter of King James II. William was a descendant of Francis Phipps of Reading, Berkshire, England.

Eric is also the subject of John Herman, The Paris Embassy of Sir Eric Phipps: Anglo-French Relations, Sussex Academic Press, 1998.

Lawrence Phipps of Denver

The role of the Phipps family, including Senator Lawrence Cowle Phipps, in the history of Denver, Colorado is included in Richard E. Wood, Here Lies Colorado: Fascinating Figures in Colorado History, Helena, Montana: Farcountry Press, 2005.

Lawrence is also discussed in a vast number of period newspaper articles. Many, if not the majority, of them had to do with scandal involving his divorce.

Susie Guillory Phipps and racial identity

The well-known racial labeling case of the 1970s involving Susie Elizabeth Phipps is discussed in  Middleton, Roediger, and Shaffer, eds., The Construction of Whiteness: An Interdisciplinary Analysis of Race Formation and the Meaning of a White Identity, University of Mississippi Press, 2016.

The matter is also discussed in numerous other sources. These include Kramer, Reid, and Barney, eds., Learning History in America: Schools, Cultures, and Politics, Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 1994, as well as Catherine R. Squires, Dispatches from the Color Line: The Press and Multiracial America, Albany: State University of New York Press, 2007.


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