Lewis Phipps of Elbert County, Georgia, & Others

In previous posts we looked at a somewhat enigmatic Lewis Phipps of Elbert County, Georgia. What’s been enigmatic is the presence of two individuals named Lewis Phipps, one in Cumberland County, Virginia, the other in Elbert County, Georgia. Both of them appear to have had wives named Tabitha.

In addition, Benjamin and Ambrose Witcher appear in Elbert County, Georgia at the same time as Lewis Phipps. They appear to have been related to Ephraim Witcher who married Betsey Fips or Phips, daughter of John Fips or Phips of Lunenburg and later Charlotte Counties in Virginia. That John died about 1769 and was married to yet another Tabitha.

Questions have also been raised as to whether the Lewis Phipps who was living in Elbert County, Georgia is the same as the person of that name who later appears in Lawrence County, Indiana. Lawrence is the same county where descendants and/or close relatives of Samuel Phips of Ashe County, North Carolina, of John Fips of Charlotte County, Virginia, and of the Witcher family, eventually migrated.

The probate records of the sale of the estate of Benjamin Higginbotham, in 1810 in Elbert County, Georgia, include a reference to Lewis Phipps. He bought a horse and 2 stacks of fodder, as seen in the book by Mrs. James Higginbotham in the sources listed below. The Tabitha who was married to Lewis Phipps in Elbert County, Georgia was a daughter of John Rowsey, Sr., as mentioned in his 1815 will.

In addition, the webmaster of A Witcher Genealogy recently sent a couple other pieces of data regarding Lewis Phipps in Elbert County, Georgia:

  • 1799: Lewis Phipps witnessed the will of William Bradley
  • 1807: Lewis Phips and Ambrose Witcher are listed in records pertaining to the estate of Maj. Middleton Woods

A deed abstract refers to a Phipps, with given name not stated, who was in Elbert County, Georgia as early as 1798. One would think that this likely pertains to Lewis Phipps, since he witnessed the will of William Bradley in Elbert County in 1799.

As far as Maj. Middleton Woods is concerned, he was a member of the Georgia state legislature. As such, in 1789, he voted in favor of a contract with the Virginia Yazoo Company to promote settlement in “vacant territory” in Georgia.

This is discussed in a record from Fluvanna County, Virginia which appears on p. 159 of a section titled “Virginia Yazoo Company” in American State Papers. Although the significance of Fluvanna County isn’t immediately clear, it’s adjacent to the Cumberland County which was associated with the “other” (earlier) Lewis Phipps.

Whether this is important or even relevant is unclear. Because various members of the Phips, Fips, or Phipps family from out of eastern Virginia seemed keenly interested in surveying, land sales, and even land speculation, however, this might eventually prove significant.

As far as William Bradley is concerned, whose will was witnessed by Lewis Phipps, he is said to have been born in Bedford County, Virginia (although various genealogists claim various other places). Bedford County was created in 1753 from part of Lunenburg County, which is where John Fips or Phips who appears to have died about 1769 was living before moving to Charlotte County, and whose son in law had relatives moving into Elbert County, Georgia.

Then, to complicate things further, a James “Phelps” and wife Elizabeth of Elbert County, Georgia deeded land in Campbell County, Virginia on Wreck Island Creek to William Bradley in 1800.

We’ve discussed the “Phelps” connection to Wreck Island Creek before, with indications that they could possibly have been related to the “Phipps” etc. family, if not actually members of that family. Data pertaining to this “Phelps” family abounds, only a small part of which has made its way into this blog. Wreck Island Creek appears to be, today, in Appomattox County, which is adjacent to Campbell County.

The section on the Virginia Yazoo Company appears to be a House of Representative report of that title, dated 1803. It begins on p. 157 of Walter Lowrie, ed., American State Papers: Documents, Legislative and Executive, of the Congress of the United States, in Relation to the Public Lands, Volume I, Washington: Duff Green, 1834.

Beginning as early as 1813, records connect both Elbert and Madison Counties in Georgia with either Lewis Phipps or a John Phipps. John appears in Madison County by 1820. Benjamin Witcher begins to show up in Madison County records by 1823, and John Phipps is referred to in records as being of Madison County by 1820.

In addition, a web page about Rev. John William Mills, linked below, refers to a Richard Phipps of Elbert County, Georgia who is said to have married Martha (“Patsy”) Mills in 1819 in Elbert County. This Martha was a daughter of Moses Mills, according to the same source. Moses Mills is supposed to have married in 1787 in Charlotte County, Virginia.

Charlotte County is the same county where John Fips or Phips died about 1769, as noted above. That John was, as already noted, the father of the Betsey Fips who married Ephraim Witcher, with relatives who moved into Elbert County, Georgia.

That same web page notes that Richard and Martha appear to have been Methodists. Although it might not be relevant at all, it could be good to note that a recent post observed items in the estate of Lewellyn Phipps of Robertson County, Tennessee (with an 1843 will) which suggested that the family was likely Methodist.

Was that Richard Phipps the one who later (1840) shows up as a military pensioner in Fayette County, Georgia? He is listed among those receiving a pension for Revolutionary War or other military service in connection with the 6th census in 1840.

The two men named Lewis Phipps – the one in Virginia and the one in Georgia – plus various relatives and associates are discussed in the following:

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