Pithy Pittsylvania Points

Here are a few more records graciously supplied by the researcher responsible for a website devoted to study of an associated family, the Witcher family. These records come from Pittsylvania County, Virginia (Wikipedia link) and have to do with the Fips or Phips family clearly associated with several other locations, including Brunswick, Lunenburg, and Charlotte Counties in Virginia.

Pittsylvania County, Virginia was created in 1767 from Halifax County. Other records pertaining to the same immediate Fips or Phips family were found by the same researcher in Halifax County. Halifax County was created in 1752 from Lunenburg County, where even more records pertaining to the same immediate family have been found by the same astute researcher.

Lunenburg County was formed in 1746 from Brunswick County, where the same researcher found yet more records pertaining to this same immediate family. Indeed, Brunswick County seems to have served as a central point for some Phips or Fips families in 18th century Virginia.

Part of Pittsylvania County later became the short-lived Patrick Henry County. Patrick Henry County later became Patrick County and Henry County.

Pittsylvania County suit, Ward v. Phips and Collier, August 1771

[page:] 326 [top heading:] August Court 1771

[in margin:]
Phips &c Disd. [i.e. Dismissed]

[body of text:]

John Ward Plaintif [sic]
John Phips and William Collier Defendant
In Debt

For reasons appearing to the Court Ordered that this Suit be dismiss’d at the Costs of the Plaintif [sic].

Pittsylvania County survey, 1777

The following records provides a land description for property owned by Jeremiah Ward adjoining “Fips Corner.” Various Ward connections have been discussed in previous posts. The following is accompanied by a small map labeled “Jeremiah Ward 196 acres.”

The David Ross mentioned is presumably the one discussed here. That source refers to Ross’s “connections in the West Indies. After everything we’ve uncovered about Caribbean trade in connection with the Phips or Fips family a bit earlier, why should this not seem surprising?

Note that the following refers to Jeremiah Ward’s land “on the North Side of Pigg Rr.” (River) and adjacent to David Ross. David Ross had a large plantation on the Pigg River in Pittsylvania County, as mentioned in a footnote in Clement, The History of Pittsylvania County Virginia, 1929, p. 192. That plantation was called “Ross’s Quarter” and boasted two overseers and 41 slaves in 1785.

. . . 21 Octo. 1777. Survey’d. for Jeremiah Ward 196 Acres of Land on the North Side of Pigg Rr. and Bounded as follows (Viz) Beginning at Fips Corner on the Rr. and thence along his lines . . . . to a R.O. [i.e. red oak] in David Ross Lines . . . to a [Lin?] on the Rr. Afsd. [i.e. river aforesaid] Thence Down the Same as it Meanders to the Beginning

Pittsylvania County motion regarding gift of “Negroe,” 1778

Ephraim Witcher was the son in law of John Fips or Phips. John died about 1769 in Charlotte County. Ephraim married John Fips’s daughter Betsey Fips, and the two later moved into Surry County, North Carolina. Relatives ended up in Lawrence County, Indiana, That’s the same location where Isaiah Phipps, son of Samuel Phips (born about 1760-1763) of Ashe County, North Carolina also eventually settled.

This fascinating record is headed “November Court 1778” and comes from Book 4, pp. 182-183.

On the motion of Ephraim Witcher who intermarried with Betsey Fips daughter of John Fips deceased to have a Verbal git of a Negroe proved according to an Act of Assembly in that case made and provided, it appearing to the Court that the Heir at Law of the said John Fips hath had Legal notice of this motion, and it also appearing to the Court by the Oath of Sylvanus Stokes that he saw the said John Fips in his llifetime take a Negro Girl by the name of Sall by the hand and [page break] put it in the hand of his said Daughter Betsey then about six years of age, and called on him the said Sylvanus Stokes and sundry other persons to take notice that he gave the aforesaid Negroe to her for ever, and for reasons appearing this motion is continued until the next Court.

We’ve discussed Sylvanus Stokes before, and noted that he appears as a neighbor of John Phips (as spelled) in tax lists in Lunenburg County. They apparently were next-door neighbors in 1749. John Fips or Phips appears to have moved from Lunenburg to Charlotte, or was simply affected by the county boundary change when Charlotte was formed from Lunenburg in 1764.

A close relationship appears to have existed, if secondary sources can be trusted, between the family of Sylvanus Stokes and that of Tandy Walker. Tandy Walker was another individual directly associated with John Fips or Phips in Lunenburg County, as we’ve discussed in the past. A Sylvanus Walker is said to have married Ann Tandy, with daughter Cecelia Walker then marrying Sylvanus Stokes.

Amelia County connections have come up several times, and the 1761 sale of the estate of Samuel Jordan includes purchases from persons named Walker, Allen (married into the Stokes family), Cocke (a name which has surfaced repeatedly in connection with the Fips or Phips family), Claiborne (ditto), Harris (ditto) – and Tandy Walker.

Pittsylvania County dower release, November 1778

Note that the name Jeremiah Ward reappears in this document, as in the 1777 survey document discussed above. According to unconfirmed secondary sources, his mother’s maiden name was Chiles. We’ve noted Chiles connections in earlier posts.

A 1746-1751 Amelia County, Virginia survey record, for example, refers to a survey for John Fipps on the south side of the Appomattox adjoining Chiles. We’ve discussed other Chiles (AKA Childs) connections earlier.

As for Jeremiah Ward, he bought land in Pittsylvania County from James Fips of Brunswick County in 1779 (Pittsylvania County, Virginia Deed Book 5, p. 305, 16 October 1779, as per an abstract). This land was on the Pigg River and on what was abstracted as “Ceday” (Cedar?) Creek.

The following record comes from Pittsylvania County and is dated November 1778.

A Release from Parthetha Fips to Jeremiah Ward was by the said Parthetha acknowledged to be her act and deed and the same is ordered to be recorded.

Pittsylvania County deed of gift, 1779

The following record comes from comes from Book 4, p. 188.

Note that the gift of the “Negroe Girl named Sall” was proved by the oath of James Burton. The Burton name has recurred repeatedly in connection with this Fips family. The name has appeared, for example, in direct connection with the 1742 “ffipps” orphans of Goochland County, and as the apparent maiden name of the 2nd wife of George Reeves. George Reeves was the father in law of Samuel Phips (born about 1762) of Ashe County, North Carolina.

January Court 1779

The Verbal Gift of a Negroe Girl named Sall from John Fips deceased in his lifetime to his daughter Elisabeth Fips, was further proved by the Oath of James Burton and ordered to be recorded.

Pittsylvania Court suit, Fips v. Flannacan, July 1779

James Fips and Sarah his wife Plaintifs [sic]
James Flannacan Defendant
In Trespass Assault and battery

For reasons appearing to the Court ordered that this Suit be dismissed


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