Nimrod Phipps of Iowa, Son of Eli Phipps

The Iowa death certificate of Nimrod Phipps refers to his parents as Eli Phipps and a woman whose surname was Young, both of whom were born in Kentucky. Nimrod was born 3 October 1857 in Wayne County, Kentucky according to the same source, and married a woman named Mary. Nimrod died 8 April 1934 in Rock Creek Township, Jasper County, Iowa, and was buried in Rock Creek Cemetery. The death certificate informant, Mrs. Nimrod Phipps, gave her address as Grinnell, Iowa. Grinnell is located in Poweshiek County.

Nimrod was presumably the individual of that name who appeared in the federal census in 1860 in Wayne County, Kentucky, and in 1900 and 1920 in Rock Creek Township, Jasper County, Iowa. He also appeared in the 1895 Iowa state census in Jasper County. The 1860 census in particular shows him with his father Eli, and later censuses show him with his wife Missouri.

This Missouri Phipps, wife of Nimrod Phipps, was born with Phipps as her surname. The Iowa death certificate of Missouri Frances Phipps states that she was living at Grinnell, Iowa when she died. She died 2 January 1923 in the Iowa Methodist Hospital in Des Moines. The certificate states that her husband was N.I. Phipps, in other words Nimrod Phipps.

According to the same record, Missouri was born 22 September 1861 in Kentucky and was a daughter of a man named Andrew Phipps. Her mother’s maiden name was Cooper. The death certificate was N.I. Phipps, in other words Nimrod, living at Grinnell. The certificate notes that Missouri was buried near Grinnell.

As already mentioned, Nimrod’s death certificate refers to his mother as a Young. The census in Wayne County, Kentucky on 28 June 1860 shows the family of Edward and Jane Young listed next to that of Eli and Elizabeth Phipps. Eli was born about 1814 in Kentucky. His apparent wife Elizabeth was born about 1818 in Kentucky. Eli could not read and write.

Children listed with Eli and Elizabeth were James W., born about 1837 in Tennessee, Edward, born about 1842 in Kentucky (the rest of the children were also born in Kentucky), Matilda Jane, born about 1844, William H., born about 1846, Peter, born about 1848, Sarah A., born about 1850, John G., born about 1853, Melita C., born about 1855, Nimrod, born about 1858, and Thomas R., who was 7 months old on 28 June 1860, so evidently born in late 1859.

This data suggests, of course, that Eli Phipps was living in Tennessee about 1837, but moved to Kentucky by around 1842. An online photo of the tombstone shared by Nimrod and Missouri shows an inscription which refers to them as N.I. Phipps, 15 October 1857 to 8 April 1934, and his wife Missouri F., 22 September 1861 to 2 January 1923. They were buried in what Find A Grave calls Rock Creek Liberty Cemetery in Jasper County.

In the same cemetery appears the tombstone for Eli Phipps, as the name is given in the inscription in a photo. The stone is worn and difficult to read in a Find A Grave photo, but appears to indicate that he died 17 (or 7?) June 1882 at the age of 68 years, 7 months, and 21 days. This would suggest a birthdate of around 1814, which matches the 1860 census listing. Oddly, the inscription of the tombstone for Eli’s son Edward claims that Eli was born in 1813. It reads “IN MEMORY OF FATHER – ELI 1813-1882 MOTHER – ELIZABETH 1817-1886.”

Eli Phipps was killed in a storm in Rock Creek Township. This was a major cyclone which left six dead and a number injured. Missouri was sitting in a rocking chair during the storm, holding their granddaughter Ada Belle. Reportedly, the wind picked her up, carried her over a tree, and left her lying in a field, badly bruised. The baby was gently placed by the wind in a gooseberry bush and suffered no injuries. (See the Newton Daily News, Newton, Iowa , 10 August 1957, p. 52). Eli Phipps, on the other hand, is said to have died a painful death during the cyclone.

Unconfirmed claims, without any sources cited, assert that Nimrod’s middle name was Ingram. Eli Phipps is claimed to have been a son of Peter Phipps of Wayne County, Kentucky. Unconfirmed claims also assert that Missouri Phipps, who Nimrod Phipps married, was a daughter of Andrew Phipps, who was a son of the same Peter Phipps.

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