Bounty Land Warrant Applications

Posted in the “Share” section by a reader:

“The National Archives has instituted a new resource called the Innovation Hub. Instead of me trying to explain it, I will provide you with the link: ( The part I wanted to point out to you is the Citizen Scanning section: ( The material scanned will show up in the National Archives Catalog: ( I had an opportunity to scan the Bounty Land Applications for the Phipps. The archives staff have informed me there is a backlog in terms of posting to the National Archives Catalog. Look for the files to show up in March 2019 or April 2019.”


More on Virginia and Alabama

A reader posted a response to an older post titled “William Phipps & Wife Temperance Saxon, Brunswick County, Virginia:”

Just looking at John Madison Cross’ probate file from 1900 in Madison county, Alabama.. John was married to Lucy Tuberville Phipps, daughter of Martha G. Phipps Vann. Martha was the daughter of Benjamin Phipps, and I believe a sister to the William in the post, “William Phipps & Temperance Saxon, Brunswick Co. Virginia.” John’s wife Lucy died in 1873, and John remarried. He died in 1900. In the part of the will where is listing the items that he is leaving his wife, it says, “… and my land in Virginia, now occupied by Sally Phipps and her sister, and it is desired that they shall remain on the land their lifetime.” In the 1900 US census, there is a Sally and sister Lucie living in Powellton, Brunswick county, Virginia.They are of an age to be the same Sally and Lucy shown in the census records listed in this post as the daughters of William and Temperance Phipps. Not sure how Sally and Lucy came to live on land in Virginia that was owned by John Cross from Alabama, but thought this information might be useful to someone. John’s relationship to Sally and Lucy would be that they were first cousins to his first wife Lucy Tuberville Phipps.

On a side note, I’ve noticed that many trees on have tied the William who married Temperance to the Benjamin from Grayson county, Virginia who also had a son named William. I believe the William who was married to Temperance was the son of the Benjamin in Brunswick county, Virginia, not the Benjamin of Grayson county.

Benjamin W. Phipps of Tennessee

According to what appears to be published data from Raleigh Cemetery at Raleigh, Tennessee, Benj. W. Phipps was born 10 November 1830 and died 16 September 1853. Raleigh is in Shelby County. A photo of his tombstone is posted in Find A Grave, however, which contains none of this data except for the name. On the other hand, the stone is recumbent and looks as though it has been broken.

Who was this Benjamin W. Phipps? Searches of the 1850 census in Tennessee have not turned up anything. The 1850 census in Brunswick County, Virginia shows a Benjamin W. Phipps, however, who was 19 (born about 1831), an apparent son of Winfield and Julia Phipps. The age matches, and the middle initial matches. Further, relatives of Winfield were known to have moved into Tennessee. Could this be the same Benjamin?

Winfield is listed among the children of an earlier Benjamin Phipps, born 176[?], in the family Bible at the Library of Virginia. Various of Winfield’s and Benjamin’s relatives moved from Brunswick County, Virginia into Tennessee.

Winfield was born 14 June 1802 according to the family Bible and married (1) Eliza M. Powell 13 November 1828 according to the family Bible and (2) Julia Ann King 28 September 1837 according to the Julia Ann King papers at the Library of Virginia.

The 1850 census shows Winfield living with his 2nd wife Julia Ann King and with his brother James N. The census says that James was born about 1804. The family Bible says he was born 10 July 1806.

From the 1850 census, Southern District, Brunswick County, Virginia, 23 October 1850, #609/609:

  • Winfield Phipps, 49 [born about 1801], male, farmer, real estate $3,128, born Virginia
  • Julia A Phipps, 30 [born about 1820], female, Virginia
  • Benjamin W Phipps, 19 [born about 1831], male, Virginia, attended school
  • William C Phipps, 5 [born about 1845], male, Virginia
  • Thomas W Phipps, 2 [born about 1848], male, Virginia
  • Lucy A Phipps, 3/12 [3 months, born 1850], female, Virginia
  • James N Phipps, 46 [born about 1804], male, farmer, Virginia
  • Nancy P. Baily, 34 [born about 1816], female, Virginia

The older Benjamin died in 1845, as noted in the Richmond Enquirer on 11 February 1845, p. 3. There he’s referred to as Mr. Benjamin Phipps, aged 83 years, 11 months, and 3 days, who died 28 January 1845. That would mean, of course, that he was born around early in 1761. The family Bible says 1760-something, but the last digit is indistinct.

The obituary says he was a Revolutionary War soldier, and suggests that Mississippi, George, and Alabama papers should “please copy.” This suggest that he had relatives and/or friends in those locations.

Wardship of Francis Phips, Northamptonshire, 1600

What does the following record mean?

The British History Online website provides abstracts or transcriptions of records from the Cecil Papers, dated November 1600, pertaining to Sir Robert Cecil.

Among those records is one dated 27 November 1600. A petition to Cecil was presented by Henry Emylie of Henley upon thames. Emylie asked for the wardship of Francis Phips.

Francis Phips was described as a son of Thomas Phips, deceased, who had been a yeoman in Lycheborough in Northampton. The record abstract then follows with the somewhat cryptic comment, “for three years concealed and unjustly detained from the Queen.” Cecil said he would look into the matter.

An abstract of this same record appears in Calendar of Manuscripts of the Most. Hon. the Marquis of Salisbury, . . . Preserved at Hatfield House, Hertfordshire, Part 10 (London: Mackie & Co., 1904), p. 394. There it is abstracted as follows. The brackets appear in the printed source.


1600, Nov. 27. – Petition of Henry Emylie, of Henley upon Thames to [Cecil]. Prays for the wardship of Francis Phips, son of Thomas Phips, late of Lycheborough, Northampton, yeoman; for three years concealed and unjustly detained from the Queen.

Note by Cecil: “When an office is found I will then consider further of it as he shall deserve.”

Endorsed: – “27 No., 1600.” 1 p.

Lycheborough is now, evidently referred to as Litchborough. This is a village and civil parish in South Northamptonshire.

Someone named Thomas Phipps, who was from Litchborough, wrote a will which is indexed as appearing on page 132 of Book W of Northamptonshire and Rutland wills. Book W covers the period 1590 and 1597-1602. The listing appears in W.P.W. Phillimore, ed., Calendar of Wills Relating to the Counties of Northampton and Rutland, Proved in the Court of the Archdeacon of Northampton, 1510 to 1652 (London: Chas. J. Clark, 1888).

This indicates that the Thomas Phipps who is indexed left a will dated sometime between 1590 and 1602. It would seem likely that this Thomas “Phipps” was the Thomas “Phips,” yeoman, who died sometime prior to 27 November 1600.

John Phips or Phipps of Jamestown: Suit Against Capt. Francis Kirkman

On 24 May 1671, in records of the Council and General Court of Virginia, comes a record labeled “Kirkman vs Phipps.” Despite the “Kirkman vs Phipps” label, the suit seems to have actually involved Phipps v. Kirkman. (The “v.” form is more common now.) This was a suit brought by John Phipps against Capt. Francis Kirkman, which suit was dismissed.

Capt. Francis Kirkman was “high sheriff” and has been described as a favorite of Governor William Berkeley. Kirkman also was sergeant at arms for the General Court. Later that same year, headrights were given to a Mr. Kirkman, perhaps Francis, for transporting five persons. Since only their first names were provided, we can assume that they were black slaves.

Kirkman has also been referred to as “clerke of ye Genll. Court.” One reference has Francis Kirkman as the person responsible for recording a bond in James City County in 1665. Can we assume that the John Phipps of this record is the John Phips or Phipps who first entered Jamestown from England in 1621 as a surveyor? Assuming that this was the case, could it be that the suit had something to do with Kirkman neglecting to properly record deeds or surveys for Phips?

The record is transcribed as follows:

The suite of Jno. Phipps agt. Capt. ffra: Kirkman is Dismist and ordered that the order obteyned the last James Citty County Courte by Kirkman on the verdict of a Jury in the pmisses be confirmed and Phipps ordrd. to pay costs of Suite als exec.

Some of the sources consulted:

1820 Census, Ashe Co., NC

Something quirky about Phips listings in Ashe County, North Carolina in the 1820 census is that the census taker appears to have more or less alphabetized the entries by surname, intended to list them as “Fipps” or “Fips” (or some other spelling beginning with “F”), but ended up listing them as “Phips.” We can see that from the arrangement of the surnames on the page (stamped page 8):

  • Jacob Eller
  • William Elleson Jr.
  • Wm Elleson
  • James Dodson
  • Elezeberth Dier
  • Jno. Ford
  • Jacob Fouts
  • Joseph Fouts
  • Saml. Phips
  • Jno Phips
  • Ben. Phips
  • Jos. [or Jas.?] Phips
  • Jacob Faw
  • Jno Faw
  • Charls Francis
  • Eligah Francis
  • Elizeberth Gore
  • Jeremiah Gamble
  • etc.

The Phips names appear as follows:

  • Saml. Phips [no period after “Saml,” but two dots under the name, indicating that it was an abbreviation]
  • Jno Phips [neither dots, nor a raised superscript “o” which also would have indicated an abbreviation]
  • Ben. Phips [no period after “Ben,” but two dots under the name, indicating that it was an abbreviation]
  • Jos. [or Jas.?] Phips [no period after “Jos,” but two dots under the name, indicating that it was an abbreviation]

Assuming that the head of the household, as named, was probably the oldest adult male in the household, the following would be their ages based on this census:

  • Samuel Phips: 45+ (born about 1775 or earlier)
  • John Phips: 16-26 (born about 1794-1804)
  • Benjamin Phips: 16-26 (born about 1794-1804)
  • Joseph (or James?) Phips: 16-26 (born about 1794-1804)

The way in which these ages for John, Benjamin, and Joseph/James line up in a perfect column under Samuel, with his age older (and two columns away) suggests a high likelihood that the 2nd, 3rd, and 4th men were sons of Samuel.

We know from his own somewhat wavering testimonies on the behalf of others’ pension applications, and from the 1850 census, that Samuel was born about 1760 to 1763.

We appear to know little about John. He apparently died before 27 November 1845, the date of an Ashe County administrator’s bond pertaining to the estate of John Phips, deceased, presumably him. He is said to have married Mary Cox and then Jemima Stamper, although this is unconfirmed.

Benjamin (who should not be confused with the Grayson County, Virginia Benjamin who served in the Revolution) appears to have been born about 1794-5 according to the 1850, 1860, and 1870 censuses. He married Rachel, said to be Rachel Burnie.

The other was presumably Joseph, who is said to have been born about 1797, but this is unconfirmed. He is discussed in Brent Kennedy’s well-known book The Melungeons, on p. 60. He is called the youngest son in his father’s 1837 will, which would explain his placement at the bottom of the census list.

Joseph is said to have married Patsy/Patcy White, who is presumably the “Patcy” in the same household as Samuel in the 1850 census in Ashe County. In the 1980s, John Mullins pointed out a mountain which he called “Patty Phipps Mountain” on what had been Samuel’s farm in Ashe (now Alleghany) County, likely named for “Patcy.”

Femes Covert and the Inescapable Brunswick County

About four posts back, land sales involving Joseph Fipps or Phips and his wife Sarah of Brunswick County, Virginia but taking place in Bute County, North Carolina were discussed. Another source abstracting one of these records is a web page headed Deed Book 4 Warren County, NC (Part 1 of 2).

That page mentions the 9 August 1772 deed as being from Joseph Fips or Fipps and wife Sarah of Brunswick County, Virginia to Douglass Wilkins and Edmund Wilkins. This was for 300 acres in Bute County.

The abstract mentions that the deed was acknowledged in the August 1772 court by Joseph Fipps and his wife Sarah, “first consenting in private examination.” What does this mean?

Under coverture, when a woman married she acquired the status of a feme covert. This meant that her husband’s legal rights took precedence over hers. Only a feme sole, an unmarried woman, could own property and make contracts in her own name.

When the grantor in a deed was a feme covert, she would be subjected to “private examination” in order to ensure that she was acting on her own volition. This was to protect her from being coerced by her husband.

Regarding the Douglass Wilkins and Edmund Wilkins in the Fipps deed, the name Douglas Wilkins appears in Brunswick County records a bit later in the same decade. Was this the same “Douglass” Wilkins? Evidently so, since both names – Douglas Wilkins and Edmund Wilkins – appear together in Brunswick County, Virginia Deed Book 9.

There, as abstracted, the deed involved people named Jackson from both South Carolina and North Carolina, in addition to John Robinson of Brunswick County. The deed was for 250 acres in Brunswick County, with a land description which mentions Chinkapen (Chinquapin) Bottom, Allen’s Mill, Plantation Branch, and the Meherin River (mistranscribed as the Heherin).

That deed was witnessed by, among others, Douglas Wilkins and Edmund Wilkins. The deed was evidently dated 23 January 1767 and was proved May and September 1767.

Without seeing the original record, one would assume that Douglas and Edmund Wilkins were living in Bute County, North Carolina. Yet in the 1767 record, they appear in Brunswick County before the Bute County deed. Then they appear in Brunswick County, Virginia after the deed. Douglas Wilkins appears to be referred to as a militia major, and Edmund Wilkins was apparently a militia captain, both in Brunswick County. An Isham Randall who served in the Revolutionary War under Capt. Edmund Wilkins from Brunswick County is buried in Madison County, Illinois.

What is going on with these deeds?

It doesn’t appear to be the case that Douglas and Edmund Wilkins were from Bute County, North Carolina, then dealt with Joseph and Sarah Fipps of Brunswick County, Virginia in Bute County, North Carolina, then decided to move for the first time to Brunswick County, Virginia. Instead, both men are referred to together in 1770 in Brunswick County, Virginia, before the Bute County, North Carolina deed.

There both Douglas and Edmund appear in the 1770 Brunswick County, Virginia will of Adam Sims II (see here, pp. 42-43). They were appointed executors, along with Adam Sims’s brother John Sims. He mentions in the will his three granddaughters, Rebecca Wilkins, Tabitha Wilkins, and Winny Wyche. Note the Wyche name.

The Bible of John Limbrey Wilkins of Brunswick County, Virginia (see here, p. 130) shows Douglass Wilkins and Edmund Wilkins listed together in the Bible record. There, Douglass is spelled with two s’s, as it is in the deed involving Joseph Fipps.

The Bible record shows Douglass Wilkins as born 19 July 1743, and Edmund Wilkins as born 30 August 1745. That Bible record has Edmund Wilkins as marrying Rebecca Wyche.

Even earlier, Edmund Wilkins is referred to as “of” Brunswick County, Virginia in a 1749 Brunswick County deed from John Sims and his wife Honour, and John Allen and his wife Frances, to Edmund Wilkins (see here, pp. 48-49).

Then in 1773, after the Bute County deed, another Brunswick County, Virginia deed (see here, p. 50) mentions Douglas Wilkins and his wife Tabitha, and Edmund Wilkins and his wife Rebecca, and Winney Wyche, whose relationship is not stated. The land involved was at the mouth of Wyche’s branch. Without consulting maps, perhaps this was in some way connected with the location of the present-day town of Wyche in Brunswick County.

Another page in the pdf document linked above (see here, p. 36) refers to Adam Sims, born about 1711. He married (1) Tabitha Jackson whose parents were of Brunswick County, and (2) Elizabeth Mosley whose parents were also of Brunswick County.

This Mosley (also Mosely) family would presumably have been the same as the family which generally used the spelling Moseley. That family was extremely closely associated with Matthew Phripp, the merchant of Norfolk, Virginia who we’ve discussed extensively and who appears to have sometimes been known as Phipp and several other spellings.

Adam Sims had a daughter named Tabitha Sims, born 1732. Tabitha married William Wyche about 1749, as her first marriage. William and Tabitha (Sims) Wyche were the parents of Rebecca Wyche, who married Edmund Wilkins, Tabitha Wyche, who married Douglas Wilkins, and Winifred, who was called Winney.

Various sources discuss the surname Wyche as an early variant form of the surname which was eventually rendered as Witcher. We’ve discussed in recent posts the Ephraim Witcher who married Elizabeth (“Betsey”) Fips, daughter of John Fips, with that John having died in 1768 in Charlotte County, Virginia.

Ephraim and Betsey (Fips) Witcher then show up in Montgomery County, Virginia around the same time as Samuel Phips and his father in law George Reeves or Reaves. We’ve discussed other Phipps-Witcher moves and connections in previous posts.

We’ve seen how the “Phipps” family has gone by such spelling variants as Phipps, Phipp, Fipp, Phypps, Phripp, Fip, Fipes, Phippes, Phibbs, Phillips, etc., where it’s not a matter of the name gradually evolving. Instead, it’s been a matter of the family using a hodge-podge of surname forms, evidently without rhyme or reason, and not necessarily at different times. The same phenomenon can be seen in the “Reeves” family, which shows up in records as Rives, Reives, Reaves, Ryves, etc., etc.

Was “Wyche” simply another form of “Witcher,” with both used around the same time? (Another form appears to have been Witsher.) Another document about the Sims family of Brunswick County, Virginia refers to Adam Sims, who arrived about 1720, with the Symes spelling. That pdf file contains much the same genealogy.

That document, however, refers to Charles Symes or Sims of Brunswick County, Virginia who married Easther or Esther. He moved to Edgecombe County, North Carolina. He seems to have also had dealings in Halifax County, Virginia, a county which has come up in recent posts in connection with the Phipps family and with George Reeves or Reaves, mentioned above.

Charles Symes is supposed to have had children who moved to Georgia, as apparently did some of the Witchers. He had a son named Wiley Sims. Wiley Sims moved to Oglethorpe County, Georgia and fathered a Charley Sims in 1803. Charley married Minerva Witcher in 1832.

That’s a bit convoluted, but was Minerva’s family the same as the Wyche family mentioned earlier?

And, so, did Joseph and Sarah Fipps of Brunswick County, Virginia buy land in Bute County, North Carolina from people from Brunswick County, Virginia? And did one of those persons they bought from marry a Wyche AKA Witcher? And was this “Wyche” related to the Ephraim “Witcher” who married Betsey “Fips”? If so, what a tangled web we weave.