Samuel Phips of Wilkes County, North Carolina: Some Connections

A past post referred to the connections involving Samuel Phips of Wilkes and later Ashe County, North Carolina, as well as the family of his father in law George Reeves of Wilkes County, North Carolina and later Grayson County, Virginia. (See also this earlier post.) That first post referred to a deed (Deed Book D, p. 54) in Wilkes County, North Carolina dated 30 November 1795. In that deed, Theophilus Evans sold 400 acres on Little Elk Creek to Jesse Reves. This was land was adjacent to Enoch Osborn. The deed was witnessed by Samuel Phips, John Taylor, and William Baldwin.

Then the next year, on 4 May 1796 in Wilkes County, Samuel “Fips” appeared on a road commission with two of the men associated with the 1795 deed, John Taylor and Jesse Reeves. Another road record, apparently dated a bit earlier, 5 May 1795, lumps together Samuel Phips with William Baldwin and John Taylor, both of whom had witnessed the Theophilus Evans deed, and Stephen Baldwin (presumably related to William Baldwin), as well as John “Harsh” (doubtless Hash), in addition to Owen and George Sizemore. We’ve discussed the Hash and Sizemore connections in relationship to the Phipps Eastern Cherokee Applications.

We’ve discussed how Samuel Phips and his wife Elizabeth (Reeves) Phips, then of Ashe County, North Carolina, appear in an 1811 deed in Grayson County, Virginia as heirs of George Reeves. We’ve also discussed how back in 1793, around when both Samuel Phips and George Reeves were showing up in Wilkes County, North Carolina records, a Halifax County, Virginia deed refers to George Reaves of Wilkes County, North Carolina as a John Eppes or Epps heir. We’ve also discussed how this Epps family is said to have also gone by the surname Evans because of an illegitimacy.

Part of Wilkes County eventually became Ashe County. Barnabus or Barnabas Evans of Ashe County is believed to have been a son of Theophilus Evans, the man who sold the land to Jesse Reves in 1795. After the death of Barnabus Evans, an auction of his personal estate was held in 1855. Among the buyers, as noted in an earlier post, were a couple men named Evans (Abram and David), along with Enoch and George Reaves (Reeves). This George Reaves was a later George, likely the one who was of Grayson County, Virginia and who was born about 1820. (The older George had a son George, but he would have been deceased by this time.)

In addition, Wilborn Phipps was one of the buyers. This would appear to be the one who was born about 1828-1829 in, apparently, Ashe County. Wilborn was the brother of Mary (“Polly”) who married John Wesley Swindall. He would probably be the Wesley Swindall who was another of the estate auction buyers.

Theophilus Evans, who again is believed to have been the father of Barnabus Evans, is said to have appeared in Montgomery County, Virginia records for a time (1787, 1788, and 1792). Both Samuel Phips and George Reeves or Reaves also showed up in Montgomery County, Virginia for a time.

In 1780, Thomas (as abstracted, but possibly Theophilus) Evans was granted a license to keep an ordinary in Wilkes County. This was on Elk Creek. In fact, Samuel Phips settled on Elk Creek in Wilkes County (later Ashe, later still Alleghany).

Note that the 400 acres which Theophilus Evans sold to Jesse Reves in 1795 was adjacent to Enoch Osborn. A land grant, dated 3 January 1795 (the deed was dated 30 November of the same year) gave 300 acres on Elk Creek to Enoch Osborn. The grant specifically refers to this as being adjacent to Samuel Phips. The 1795 grant is transcribed here.

The 1811 Grayson County, Virginia deed mentioned above makes it clear that Samuel Phips of then Ashe County, North Carolina, and his wife Elizabeth, were heirs of George Reeves of Grayson County, Virginia. Genealogists have, for years, been copying and pasting the claim that this Elizabeth was a daughter of George Reeves by his marriage to a Jane Burton, oftentimes while asserting that Elizabeth’s birth was before the claimed marriage date of George Reeves to Jane Burton. The 1795 deed mentioned above appears to suggest that George Reaves (Reeves) was likely earlier married to an Eppes or Epps.

It has been claimed that this couldn’t be the same George Reeves as the one who later shows up in Grayson County, Virginia records. He maintained a proximity and relationship with Samuel Phips, however, throughout the tumultuous era during which very close and contiguous areas were defined and redefined as Montgomery County, Virginia, Wilkes County, North Carolina, Ashe County, North Carolina, and Grayson County, Virginia, depending on the time period. George “Reves” appears in a Wilkes County deed in 1797, referring to him by that time as being of Grayson County, Virginia. There is no reason to assume that these are different persons named George Reeves or Reves just because of shifting county boundary designations.

In fact, on the same date as the deed just mentioned, 28 January 1797, another Wilkes County deed shows William “Reves” as selling land on New River to James Chesser. This deed was witnessed by George Reves, Jr., Jesse Reves, and Samuel Phips. Then on 3 April 1798 in Wilkes County, Samuel Phips bought land from John Taylor. We can assume that this was the same John Taylor who witnessed the 1795 deed referred to earlier, when Theophilus Evans sold land to Jesse Reves, with that deed also witnessed by Samuel Phips.

The fact that, at least according to tradition, George Reeves, Sr. married a Burton seems highly significant considering all the many Burton connections we’ve noted in earlier posts pertaining to Virginia. An older discussion forum post pursues a Burton rabbit trail which appears to take the family west toward Ashe County, North Carolina from destinations further east in North Carolina, with ultimate ties back to Virginia. (Of course, all of this was subject to numerous major county boundary redefinitions.)

Interestingly, that post begins with Goochland County, Virginia, This is where Joseph and Benjamin “ffipps,” who were orphans, were ordered bound as apprentices to Josiah Burton, a carpenter, in 1742. This Josiah Burton, according to unconfirmed secondary sources, fits right into the Burton line discussed in the discussion post just mentioned as well as into the Burton line into which George Reeves supposedly married. That same discussion post refers to a George Reeves (however spelled) as involved further east in North Carolina prior to the Wilkes County records discussed above. Could this have been the same George?

One of those records cited, for instance, refers to George “Rivers? (Reaves?)” as a Johnston County, North Carolina planter in 1762. Then a 1764 Johnston County deed has George Reeves of Johnston County, presumably the same one, buying land from a man of Granville County. The deed was witnessed Richard Burton, the same name as the claimed father in law of George Reeves of Wilkes County, North Carolina and later Grayson County, Virginia. Also thrown in is a Ray – Thomas Ray – which is a surname which has been heavily involved with the Phips or Phipps family in Brunswick and Sussex Counties, Virginia.

That Phipps family clearly had multiple connections from Brunswick and Sussex Counties in Virginia into Wake, Bute, and Warren (formed from Bute) Counties in North Carolina. Wake County was formed, in part, from Johnston County and Orange County. We’ve discussed various Orange County, North Carolina records in great detail in various posts.

We’ve noted in a number of posts a close relationship, with multiple connections, between the Phips or Fips or Phipps family of (eventually) Ashe County, North Carolina on the one hand, and the Rives or Reeves or Reaves, Epps or Epes or Eppes, and Burton families on the other. We know that some of the Phips or Phipps family of Brunswick and Sussex Counties in Virginia came into North Carolina via moves and/or business deals in Wake, Bute, and Warren Counties, with connections into Orange and then Guilford Counties. If the migratory path of some of the Reeves and Burton families was south into these North Carolina counties and then west, might that describe how the two Samuels (Samuel Phips who died 1854 in Ashe County, North Carolina and the older Samuel, apparently his father) migrated as well?

Even so, however, why do there appear to be no known mentions of any relevant Samuel Fips or Phips or Phipps anywhere earlier? Is there something buried in untouched records in a North Carolina county like Wake or Johnston?

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