James Phipps, Born About 1790, North Carolina to Georgia

James Phipps was born about 1790 in North Carolina, according to the 1850 census. His wife Sarah was also born in North Carolina, but around 1800, according to the same source. The family moved into Madison County, Georgia by the time of the 1840 census.

From the 1840 census, Madison County, Georgia:

  • Free white males
    • 1 5-10
    • 1 10-15
    • 1 50-60 [born about 1780-1790]
  • Free white females
    • 1 5-10
    • 1 15-20
    • 1 40-50 [born about 1790-1800]

This same family then appears in the 1850 census in the same county. Relationships are not stated in the 1850 census, but Morrison, as listed below, was 21, and it can be assumed that the older couple he was living with, James and Sarah Phipps, were his parents.

From the 1850 census, 25 November 1850, 56th subdivision, Madison County, Georgia, #629/629:

  • James Phipps, 60 [born about 1790], male, farmer, born North Carolina
  • Sarah Phipps, 50 [born about 1800], female, [occupation blank], born North Carolina, could not read and write
  • Morrison M Phipps, 21 [born about 1829], male, farmer, born North Carolina

In 1857 in Madison County, Georgia, Berry M. Thompson applied for letters of administration as to the estate of Morrison Phipps. Morrison Phipps had been living in Madison County but was deceased by 25 December 1856, which is when a legal notice pertaining to Thompson’s application appeared in an Athens, Georgia newspaper, The Southern Banner.

Thompson was made administrator of the estate, as noted in another legal notice in the same paper, dated 4 August 1859 but published 4 August 1859. In that notice, Phipps is called Morrison M. Phipps. Thompson was applying for a final discharge as administrator of the estate.

We don’t know why Morrison died at such an early age. If he died in 1856, he would only have been about 27 years old. Perhaps probate data in Madison County could clear up the mystery.

Who was his father James Phipps? Because Madison County, Georgia is adjacent to Elbert County, Georgia, it can be assumed that some connection likely existed between this family and others named Phipps who were in Elbert County early on.

We’ve discussed a Lewis Phipps, for example, who was in Elbert County, Georgia by 1799, and who was directly involved with Ambrose Witcher, who seems to have been related to Ephraim Witcher. You will recall from other posts that Betsy Phips or Fips, the daughter of John Phips or Fips who died about 1769 in Charlotte County, Virginia, married Ephraim.

Ephraim moved into Surry County, North Carolina, and his son Taliaferro Witcher lived in Ashe County for a time.  The Taliaferro name is pronounced like Toliver, and is probably derived from the Toliver/Taliaferro family with whom descendants of Samuel Phips of Ashe County intermarried. Samuel Phips himself testified on behalf of the Revolutionary War pension application file of his friend Jesse Toliver, and Jesse’s granddaughter Mathursa Toliver married Samuel’s grandson Mathew Phips, who disappeared from Clay and Owen Counties, Indiana in 1841.

Much more research is needed in order to precisely identify the relationship between Lewis Phipps of Elbert County, Georgia, on the one hand, and his apparent connections through his associate William Bradley into Wreck Island Creek in Campbell County, Virginia and the “Phelps” family, on the other. Past posts have noted Wreck Island Creek “Phelps” records which look likely to connect to “Phipps” or “Phips.”

More research could also perhaps answer the question of whether it was simply coincidence that two men were named Lewis Phipps, each one married to a woman named Tabitha, one in Elbert County, Georgia and the other in Cumberland County, Virginia.

Presumably the Lewis who was in Elbert County, Georgia was the same individual who later surfaces in Lawrence County, Indiana, where descendants of Samuel Phips of Ashe County, North Carolina also settled.

A web page about the Higginbotham family, linked below, refers to a 1798 Elbert County, Georgia deed from “Phipps” (without given name stated) to Francis Higginbotham, adjoining William “Brandley.” This was doubtless the William Bradley who is mentioned above and who was discussed in past posts linked below. A past post noted that earlier, in 1797, Lewis Phipps bought land in Elbert County, Georgia from John Staples adjoining Francis Higginbotham.

Lewis Phipps witnessed the 1799 will of William Bradley. The will names a grandson named George Stovall. Stovalls were closely associated with the Learwoods, and Dorothy Learwood is named in the 1747 of John “Phelps,” Sr. of Goochland County, Virginia. That will was dated, again, 1747, and 5 years earlier in the same county two orphans referred to as “ffipps” were bound out as apprentices there, without the parents being identified. They were bound to a Burton (Samuel Phips of Ashe County, North Carolina married a Reeves whose father married, apparently secondly, a Burton).

Although unconfirmed online material from various genealogists make conflicting claims, it appears that William Bradley may have come from Bedford County, Virginia. This is a place we’ve associated with the Phipps family and which was created from Lunenburg County. It also appears that William Bradley may have bought land on Wreck Island Creek in Campbell County, Virginia in 1800 from a James “Phelps” and wife Elizabeth. Not only is there the Phelps name again, but this James “Phelps,” who was selling this land in Virginia, was of Elbert County, Georgia.

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