The Mitchell River in Surry County, North Carolina

The above video provides a look at the Mitchell River in Surry County, North Carolina. An error appeared in a very recent post. That post said that Elder Gideon Potter was baptized in the Mitchell River, but according to his testimony, it was actually his mother, Martha Phipps, who married Stephen Potter, who was baptized in that river. According to Gideon Potter, who was born in 1798,

My mother’s name was Martha Phipps, and was of Welsh descent. She joined the Baptist [sic] when I was about four years old, and was baptized by Elder Abraham Mitchell in Mitchell’s river, North Carolina.

George Washington Paschal, in History of North Carolina Baptists, Vol. 2 (1955) refers to the Mitchell’s River church which was one of the Baptist churches involved in the establishment of the Yadkin Association in 1790. Then in 1822, the Mitchell’s River church became a part of the Brier Creek Association in a meeting in which the delegates included Gideon Potter and Stephen Potter, presumably the one who was Gideon’s father. William T. Stott, in Indiana Baptist History, 1798-1908 (1908), refers to Gideon Potter as an ordained minister attending a meeting in Daviess County, Indiana in 1844.

The Mitchell River, which flows into the Yadkin River, was mentioned in the previous post in connection with an 1818 North Carolina land grant to Benjamin Potter. That grant was for 100 acres in Surry County “On the big branch Waters of Mitchell [or Mitchells?] River.” This was adjacent to land owned by Stephen Potter and to land owned by James Phips.

That James Phips was presumably the same one who was the subject of the post before that one, which includes a transcription of an 1812 Surry County deed in which James Phipps (as spelled this time) bought 100 acres “on both sides of Christians Creek” in Surry County. That deed was witnessed by Lewis Phipps, as well as John and James Witcher. Christian Creek appears on maps south of Lowgap in Surry County, and more or less southeast of the Blue Ridge Parkway, not far from the Mitchell River.

All of this gets a bit complex, since so many documents and so many interrelated people are involved, but the interrelationships have been discussed at length in a number of past posts. The Potters and Witchers and a branch of the Phips or Phipps family were interrelated, with what appear to be very clear ties to John Fips/Phips who died about 1769 in Charlotte County, Virginia, his daughter Elizabeth who married Ephraim Witcher and who lived in Surry County, North Carolina (with their son Taliaferro moving into Ashe County), the Martha Phipps who married Stephen Potter, and members of the Roy family.

Also thrown into the mix appears to be Littleberry (“Berry”) Phipps, who had a son named John Witcher Phipps and who moved to Lawrence County, Indiana, as did Isaiah Phips or Phipps, son of Samuel Phips of Ashe County, North Carolina. Members of the Potter and Roy families moved to Lawrence County, Indiana, as did also a Lewis Phipps, but apparently not the one who witnessed the 1812 Surry County, North Carolina deed, because the former Lewis would evidently have been living in Georgia at the time. Other children of Samuel Phips of Ashe County, North Carolina moved to Owen County, Indiana, with Samuel’s grandson John of Owen County remarking in the vintage book Banditti of the Prairie that he had relatives in Spice Valley (Lawrence County).

Elder Gideon Potter lived in Lawrence County, Indiana, but died in Owen County. A picture of his broken tombstone in Owen County, Indiana appears in Find A Grave and reads as follows:

July 4, 1798.
Mar. 4, 1895.

The identity of the James Phips or Phipps in the grant and deed discussed would appear to likely be the one who was born about 1790 in North Carolina and who moved to Georgia. He had moved to Madison County, Georgia by 1840, and Madison County is adjacent to Elbert County. The Lewis Phipps who moved to Elbert County, Georgia had moved there by 1799, where he was associated with Ambrose Witcher, but since he appears to have stayed in Georgia, this appears to have been a different Lewis Phipps from the one who witnessed the 1812 deed in Surry County, North Carolina. Evidently they were still related, however.

It may take a while to sort out all these individuals and relationships. What seems odd, however, is that these people were primarily if not entirely ignored during all the genealogical concern about the origins of the Phips/Phipps families of the Ashe County, North Carolina and Grayson County, Virginia area in the 1980s and since.

A few of the many sources which could be cited:


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s