James Phips, 1818 Neighbor in Surry County, North Carolina

Yet another important document has been found by Wayne Witcher of the A Witcher Family Genealogy website. This North Carolina state land grant, transcribed below, appears to involve the same James Phips of Surry County, North Carolina who was referenced in the last post. This grant is significant because it further demonstrates the close relationship between James Phipps, Stephen Potter, and Ephraim Witcher, as discussed in previous posts. By extension, it further demonstrates a connection to John Fips or Phips, who died about 1769 in Charlotte County, Virginia, who had clear ties back to Brunswick County, Virginia.

As Wayne notes, “It is believed that Stephen Potter married a Phipps woman, but we know for sure that Ephraim Witcher married a Phipps, so this is yet another piece of our puzzle, as we work to determine who this family of Phipps men were.” Ephraim Witcher married Elizabeth Fips or Phips, daughter of John Phips or Fips who died in Charlotte County, Virginia. Their son Taliaferro Witcher appears in Ashe County, North Carolina records, associated with the Samuel Phips family.

The grant is to Benjamin Potter, giving him 100 acres in Surry County, North Carolina. The land is described as being on “the big branch Waters of” Mitchell or Mitchell’s River, adjacent to the land of James Phips, Stephen Potter, and Shodrach (Shadrach) Franklin.

In a post from several years ago, it was noted that Shadrach Franklin witnessed an 1843 deed headed “Witchers Heirs Division of Negroes.” That deed refers to Elizabeth, widow of Ephraim Witcher and daughter of John Fips or Phips of Lunenburg County and later Charlotte County, Virginia.

Regarding Stephen Potter, various earlier posts discussed the relationship to the Potter family. Elder Gideon Potter, the pioneer Baptist minister, wrote “My mother’s name was Martha Phipps, and was of Welsh descent.” He also said that he was baptized in Mitchell’s River, the same river which is specifically referred to in the land grant transcribed below.

We’ve discussed in the past how it appears that Gideon Potter’s brother was Benjamin Potter. Their mother Martha (Phipps) Potter appears to have lived with Benjamin after her husband Stephen Potter died.

From Surry County, North Carolina Deed Book R, pp. 438-439:

[p. 438:] Benjamin Potter a grant 100 Acres No. 2702
Know ye that we for & in consideration of the Sum of fifty Shillings for every hundred Acres here by granted paid into our Treasury by Bejamin [error for Benjamin] Potter have given & [sic] unto the Sd. Benjamin Potter a tract of land containing one hundred Acres lying & being in the County of Surry On the big branch Waters of Mitchell [or Mitchells?] [p. 439:] River begining [sic; beginning] at a black Oak in James Phips‘s line runs East Seventeen chains to a Spanish Oak Shodrach Franklins corner North Fifty eight chains & fifty links to a Stake in Stephen Potters line West Seventeen chains to a Stake in Phips‘s line South with said line to the begining [sic; beginning] Entered 17th Septr. 1816 as by the plat hereunto annexed doth appear together with all Woods Waters Mines Minerals Hereditaments & appurtenances to the Sd. land belonging or appertaining To hold to the sd. Benjamin Potter his heirs & assigns forever Yielding & paying to us Such Sums of money yearly or Otherwise as our General Assembly from time to time may direct: Provided always that the Sd. Grantee Shall cause this grant to be Registered in the Registers office of Our Sd. County of Surry Within twelve Months from the Date hereof Otherwise the Same Shall be void In testimony Whereof We have caused these our letters to be made patent & our great Seal to be hereunto affixed Witness John Branch Esquire Our Govenor [error for Governor] Captain General & Commander in Chief at Raleigh the 24th Day of November in the 43d year of Our Independance & on the Year of our Lord One thousand eight hundred & eighteen – By command
Wm Hill Secretary
[signed:] Jno. Branch
Recorded in the Secretaries Office
L. [B.?] Hardin [or Harden?] [unclear abbreviation] [Sec.?]

Other sources:


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