The 1794 Death of Dearing Phipps

The death of Dearing Phipps was reported from New Haven, Connecticut, referring to communication dated 30 September 1794. The news appeared in the Gazette of the United States and Daily Evening Advertiser for 4 October 1794, p. 2.

According to the article, two persons died on 26 September 1794 of “putrid fever.” One of them was Dearing Phipps, age 22. Based on his age, he was born about 1772.

More individuals died of the same cause in the following days. A committee set up to monitor the health of the city noted that “there are 15 persons sick with the putrid fever.”

Various secondary sources refer to an earlier Roger Dearing Phipps, born 1735 in New Haven, who died in 1770. He was supposedly a son of Danforth and Elizabeth (Skillings) Phipps.

There appears, however, to have been another Roger Dearing Phipps who was born in 1782, and who was a son of Lt. David Phipps of Continental Navy fame.

At least one secondary source claims that this is the one who died in 1794 (the claim is that he died on the 25th, while the newspaper article says the 26th). If that was the case, however, he would have been about 12 when he died, not 22.

Still, perhaps the newspaper was wrong and he was actually about 12. Published papers of an historical society in New Haven claim that he died on the 25th and that he was 13. They quote from a New Haven tombstone inscription in Lot 44, Cypress Avenue.

From Papers of the New Haven Colony Historical Society, Vol. 3, New Haven: 1882, p. 573:

Sacred to the Memory
PHIPPS who departed
this Life the 25th of
September 1794 in the
13th Year of his age . . .


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s