Some Western Virginia Mountain Meanderings

Rufus L. Phipps was a medical doctor in Clintwood, Dickenson County, Virginia. He was born about 1883 in Virginia according to the 1940 census, which shows him as a “Surgeon & medical doctor” with his “own hospital.”

He ran the Dickenson County Hospital from the 1920s until his 1951 death, according to the Virginia is for Lovers website. That site includes a page about the Dr. Phipps Family Museum, which is devoted to his medical practice. Next door is the Columbus Phipps Foundation, named after Rufus Phipps’s father, Columbus Phipps.

The museum’s address is 194 Main Street. The address which appears for Rufus in the 1940 census is 193 Main Street. Perhaps this is the address occupied by the foundation.

Rufus Phipps was the subject of an earlier blog post, here. The museum is also discussed in a web page here, which includes a photo of Dr. Rufus L. Phipps. Photos from the museum’s collection appear in Facebook here.

Further back in time, in the 1900 census, Rufus L. Phipps appears in the 1900 census in Clintwood on the 28th or 29th of June, in his parents’ household. There Rufus is listed as born August 1882, a son in the household of Columbus and Maggie W. Phipps.

According to that census, Columbus Phipps was born June 1853 in Virginia, but both his parents were born in North Carolina. He married Maggie about 1882, according to the 1900 census.

Earlier still, Columbus would presumably be the Columbus Phipps listed as a 26-year-old son in the household of Wilborn and Caroline Phipps in Wise County, Virginia. Since he was 26, he would have been born about 1854.

The 1880 census says that he was born in Virginia, but that both his parents were born in North Carolina. It also says that he was “County Cort Clerk.” Wilborn is listed as born in North Carolina about 1829.

In the 1880 census, Wilborn Phipps, whose name sometimes appears as Wilburn, was living next to Lilburn and Lydia Fulton. According to “Recollections” of John Calvin Swindall as told to E.J. Swindall in 1927, Lilburn Fulton married Lydia Phipps, daughter of Joseph and Patsy (White) Phipps, with a question mark inserted after the White name.

Lydia’s sister Jane, according to the same source, married Wilburn Fulton, known as “Dump” Fulton. So, Joseph Phipps’s daughter Lydia married Lilburn Fulton, and Joseph Phipps’s other daughter Jane married Wilburn Fulton.

We’ve discussed in various past posts how Joseph Phips or Phipps Phipps was a son of Samuel Phips of Ashe County, Virginia. Joseph died about 1840. Samuel lived with Patsy, Joseph’s widow, in the 1850 census, before Samuel died in Ashe County in 1854.

Wilburn and Jane (Phipps) Fulton are mentioned in a National Register of Historic Places Registration Form submitted for the E.M. Fulton House in Wise, Virginia. According to that form, Wilburn Fulton (not to be confused with Wilborn Phipps, whose name was also spelled Wilburn) had a son named Elbert Martin (“E.M.”) Fulton. He was the owner of the house discussed in the form.

The E.M. Fulton House is pictured in Wikipedia, and discussed briefly in a Wikipedia article. The house became listed on the National Register in 2005. The home is also the subject of a webpage here. A couple nice photos of the interior appear in a Virginia Department of Historic Resources page here.

In a set of relationships which might perhaps could only be charted by using some sort of 3-D diagram, this would appear to be how these individuals connect:

Samuel Phipps, born about 1760-1763 in Virginia, married Elizabeth (“Betty”) Reeves. Their son Joseph married Patsy White. Among the children of Joseph and Patsy were Wilborn, Lydia, and Jane.

Wilborn Phipps married Caroline Toliver and they were the parents of Columbus Phipps. Columbus Phipps fathered Dr. Rufus Phipps.

Lydia Phipps, Wilborn Phipps’s sister, married Lilburn Fulton. Lilburn and Lydia (Phipps) Fulton lived next door to her parents, Wilburn and Caroline Phipps, in the 1880 census.

Jane Phipps, sister of Lydia Phipps and Wilborn Phipps, married Wilburn Fulton. Wilburn Fulton and Lilburn Fulton were brothers. Wilburn and Jane (Phipps) Fulton were the parents of Elbert Martin (“E.M.”) Fulton, who was associated with what is today known as the E.M. Fulton House.

The National Register refers to Daniel Ramey and his connection to Gladeville, which eventually became Wise, Virginia. Fulton’s relationship to Ramey, however, if there was one, doesn’t appear to be specified. A legal notice appeared in the Bristol News in Bristol, Virginia on 29 September 1874, p. 3.

The notice contained various typographical errors, but refers to action in Wise County, Virginia on 7 September 1874 in a chancery case which pitted “Wilburu” (Wilburn) Fulton, as administrator of the estate of Daniel Ramey, deceased, against various individuals. The case concerned selling a town lot “for the purchase money thereof and for other purposes.”

Another notice, printed on the same page, refers to Wilburn Fulton (rather than “Wilburu”) as administrator of Daniel Ramey’s estate, and again refers to a chancery action against a number of individuals. This time, the suit had to do with what appears to have been some sort of lien against a lot, presumably the same lot.

Regarding Columbus Phipps, there were various individuals of this name. One was born about 1844-1845 in Virginia and appeared in the census in Grayson County, Virginia in the censuses of at least 1850, 1860, 1870, 1880, 1920, and 1930.

He seems likely to have been the Columbus Phipps of Bridle Creek in Grayson County whose horse was spooked on 19 May 1873, resulting in Columbus being dragged across recently cleared land. This was reported in the Lynchburg Virginian of 26 May 1873, p. 3.




One thought on “Some Western Virginia Mountain Meanderings

  1. Do you know whatever came of Jane Phipps Fulton, wife of Wilburn (Dump) Fulton? The 1880 census shows Wilburn with a few kids, listed as “married” but Martha Jane is not listed. (Looks like they had a young woman helping raise the young kids in 1880.) John Calvin Swindell’s recollections stated she died at “Luther McFalls” place, but I can’t find any record of her death.

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