Land survey, patent, and deed records appear to clearly associate two individuals. One is James Phips of Brunswick County, Virginia, with land in Halifax, later Henry, County. The other is John Fips or Phips of Charlotte County, Virginia, who left a 1769 estate there after having shown up earlier in Lunenburg County records, and who had clearly documented Brunswick County connections. (Lunenburg was formed from Brunswick, and in 1764 part of Lunenburg became Charlotte.)
A unifying factor regarding both men is the presence of a certain William Cook. He was probably of the same family we’ve discussed earlier whose name was often spelled Cocke, but pronounced Cook. (See Lunenburg County road orders, for instance.)
In 1767 in Charlotte County, John Fips or Phips sold William Cook land for £10, an amount which is low enough to suggest a possible family relationship. Then in 1784, James Phips sold land to David Barton, in a deed transcribed below. (We’ve discussed the deed earlier,l but based on an abstract.)
David Barton appears to have exercised power of attorney to distribute land to heirs of William Cook in 1784. This might have been not because of Cook’s death, but because he had moved out of the area.
Just before William Cook moved to “the Western Waters,” he received a letter of recommendation signed by Swinfield Hill. Swinfield Hill was one of the witnesses of the 1784 deed from James Phips to David Barton.
Around the time that John Phips or Fips was living in Lunenburg County (before the formation of Charlotte County) and listed with Tandy Walker, William Cook was in Lunenburg County and listed with Matthew Talbot. Talbot was a very close friend of John Phelps of Lunenburg County, who we’ve discussed earlier.
Various circumstantial factors suggest that this John Phelps could have been a relative of the Phips or Fips family. Matthew Talbot was, in turn, a close friend of Clement Read, who was involved with the settlement of the estate of John Fips or Phips in Charlotte County in 1769.
Again, in 1767, this John Fips or Phips had sold land in Charlotte County to William Cook. Then in 1784, William Cook was selling the rest of his land, including land he had bought from John Fips or Phips.
In that same year, James Phips of Brunswick County was getting rid of his land in what had been Halifax County but which was now Henry. He sold land to David Barton, as already noted. Then David Barton distributed land to heirs of William Cook, presumably Cook had moved west.
Matthew Talbot was actively involved in the Watauga Settlement, where it was suggested (as discussed in earlier posts) that the outlaw gang had hidden stolen slaves and horses, with one of the outlaws said to be a Cocke or Cooke.
Matthew Talbot later moved to Wilkes County, Georgia, adjacent to Elbert County. We’ve discussed the Phips or Phipps family in regard to these two locations in past posts. Tabitha Phipps, wife of Lewis, shows up in John Rowsey’s 1815 will in Wilkes County.
As has so often been the case, the Reeves family (as in George Reeves, father in law of Samuel Phips of Ashe County, North Carolina) fits into all of this. George Reeves and Samuel Phips were associated together in Montgomery County, Virginia, then in Wilkes County, North Carolina, and then, from 1800 on, in adjacent Grayson County, Virginia and Ashe County, North Carolina, respectively.
Significantly, this George Reaves (Reeves) was named as an Epps heir in a 1793 deed in Halifax County, Virginia, which brings into connection with a family with various interrelationships with the Phips family earlier.
This Halifax County was, of course, the same county part of which became the Henry County of James Phips’ land. Frederick Reeves was associated with William Cook in Henry County, with the Potter family, which married into this same Phips family, and with Brunswick County (this Phips family’s apparent origin point) .
Here is a basic timeline of some important dates:
- 1740s-1760s: John Phips or Fips appeared in tax lists in Lunenburg County, Virginia
- 1753: 335 acres were surveyed, presumably by James Phips, in Halifax County
- 1764: Charlotte County, Virginia was formed from Lunenburg County
- 1767: John Phips of Charlotte County, Virginia sold land to William Cook of Halifax County, 210 acres on both sides of Pigg River at the mouth of Hatchet Run
- 1769: John Fips, deceased, left an estate in Charlotte County
- 1777: William Cook was associated with Frederick Reeves in Henry County (part of Halifax eventually became Henry), as both were recommended to be on the Commission of Peace for Henry County
- 1777: William Cook of Henry County sold 20 acres to Peter Vardeman of Henry County, said by a researcher to be part of the 210 acres that William Cook bought from John Phips in 1767
- 1778: William Cook of Henry County sold another 50 acres, this time to his son in law John Bohannon of Henry County, with the deed witnessed by Frederick Reeves
- 1783: The 335 acres in Halifax County, surveyed in 1753, was now in Henry County (as explained in the land patent) and was patented to James Phips
- 1784: James Phips of Brunswick County, Virginia sold the 335 acres in Henry (formerly Halifax) County to David Barton, with the deed witnessed by Swinfield Hill, on Meadow Creek, north branch of Pigg River
- 1791: David Barton, brother in law of Swinfield Hill, conveyed land to the heirs of William Cook, deceased, presumably the same William Cook who John Phips sold land to in 1767
- Hatchet Run (see 1767) was a north branch of Pigg River in what is now Franklin County. Could this possibly have been what was earlier known as Meadow Creek, which appears to no longer exist as such? Evidence suggests that the 335 acres on Meadow Creek would likely now be in Franklin County.
- Frederick Reeves appears to have been in Brunswick County in 1760, then was involved in Amelia County in 1761 (as were Phips family members we’ve discussed previously), then moved to the Blue Ridge area by 1767. In 1770 he bought land on the Pigg River. In 1783 he sold land on Pigg River to a Potter, Thomas Potter. In past posts, we’ve discussed Potter connections involving this same Phips family.
- Then in 1787, land near Pigg River was sold by Thomas & Susannah Potter and by Frederick & Mary “Rives” (Reeves). A Young, Samuel Young, witnessed gifts of slaves made by Frederick Rives to his daughters before he died. (We’ve discussed Young connections in previous posts. See here for more about this Reeves family.)
So all this suggests the following:
- John Fips/Phips of Charlotte County had ties to William Cook
- William Cook had ties to John Phips/Fips of Charlotte County and to Frederick Reeves
Frederick Reeves had ties to the Potters and to Amelia & Brunswick Counties
- James Phips had ties to David Barton and Swinfield Hill
- Swinfield Hill had ties to David Barton and to James Phips
- David Barton had ties to Swinfield Hill and to William Cook
James Phips’ land was originally a part of Halifax County, but was later considered part of Henry County. Parts of Halifax became both Henry and Pittsylvania Counties. The David Barton of our discussion is presumably the person of that name in Pittsylvania County who earlier, in 1770, appears in an estray notice in the Virginia Gazette:
TAKEN up in Pittsylvania, on Little Otter creek, a brown mare about 4 feet 5 inches high, and branded on the near buttock : I° ; also a black mare colt about two years old, about 4 feet 5 inches high, neither dockt nor branded. Posted and appraised, the mare to 5l [£5]. the colt to 3l. 10s [£3, 10 shillings].
A copy of the 1784 deed from James Phips to David Barton in Henry County, Virginia was sent by the webmaster of the fine A Witcher Family website, and is transcribed below. This deed, dated 13 December 1784, was discussed in a previous post, but then based on an abstract.
This deed connects James Phips with both Brunswick County, Virginia and Henry County, where his land was located. As with various other Virginia and North Carolina Phipps or Phips etc. records, he’s referred to as “of” Brunswick County, although involved with land elsewhere.
Henry County, Virginia was formed in 1777 from Pittsylvania County, and was originally called Patrick Henry County. In addition, as stated specifically in the 1784 land patent to James Phips, his land was formerly in Halifax County but had become, by the time of the patent, a part of Henry County. (Parts of Halifax became Patrick Henry and Pittsylvania Counties, with Patrick Henry later becoming Patrick and Henry.) The northern part of Patrick Henry County, plus part of Bedford County, became Franklin County in 1785. Then in 1790, Patrick Henry County was divided into Patrick County and Henry County.
So where, exactly, was the land? That might be difficult to determine without extensive study of maps and other sources. Modern-day maps do not seem to show a Meadow Creek as a branch of the Pigg River, but the creek name might have changed.
Today, apparently, the Pigg River only flows through the counties of Pittsylvania and Franklin, but where does Meadow Creek flow? The name “Meadow Creek” appears in topo maps for the counties of Albemarle, Bedford, Buckingham, Caroline, Craig, Floyd, Grayson, Montgomery, and Nelson, but not for Franklin, Patrick, or Henry Counties.
The 1784 James Phips to David Barton deed was witnessed by Milley Menefee Jr. and Sr. Unconfirmed sources suggest that the two Milleys may have been named Mildred. According to unsourced secondary claims, Gabriel Tutt married a Milly Menefee 31 March 1812 in Culpepper County. Also, Birkette Garland Yancey, born about 1776 in Culpepper County, is said to have married a Milley Menefee 1 November 1803 in Culpepper County. Culpepper County is in northern Virginia.
And where was the Meadow Creek, described as a “North Branch of Pigg River,” associated with this land? As noted in a much earlier post, in the summer of 1758 the Halifax County militia conducted an expedition into the frontier to check for unfriendly Indians.
One night the militia were at the Blue Ridge, which they called the “Blew Ledge.” Then the next day they marched to another spot where they camped for the night. Then the following day they reached a plantation on Meadow Creek. This seems to imply that it took two days of hiking to reach Meadow Creek from the Blue Ridge.
The 1784 deed was also witnessed by “Swenfield” Hill. A will abstract for a Swinfield Hill is dated 1835 in Franklin County (see also discussion posts here). This may suggest that the land owned by James Phips may possibly have been in what became Franklin County in 1785, the year after the deed was signed.
Various attempts to pinpoint the land have repeatedly suggested the general area (highly general, that is) of Rocky Mount, Virginia. A discussion post here discusses Swinfield Hill and relatives and mentions Rocky Mount. Perhaps most interestingly, that page ties the Hill family into the Barton family. Of course, in the deed, James Phips sold land to David Barton, with the deed having been witnessed by Swinfield (Swenfield) Hill.
Another discussion forum page refers to Robert Hill, who is said to have left a will in Franklin County, as the father of a Swinfield Hill, born in the 1740s or 1750s, whose sister Hannah supposedly married David Barton. Is this the connection? As already noted, Swinfield Hill was one of those who signed the letter of recommendation of William Cook just before he moved to “the Western Waters.”
Then a court record in Franklin County, dated 8 March 1791, mentions as present both Swinfield Hill and David Barton, gentlemen. More appears in the book Leaves of a Stunted Shrub, in the section headed “William Cook, Jr.” There, David Barton appears as being of Franklin County in a 1791 record, which is more evidence that the land may have been in what later became Franklin County.
David Barton is mentioned conveying land to the heirs of William Cook, deceased. The book refers to this David Barton as having married Hannah Hill, sister of Swinfield Hill. Page numbers in this book are discontinuous, but earlier, in the same section but on page 6, a deed is abstracted in which John Phips of Charlotte County, Virginia sells land to William Cook of Halifax County, Virginia. This deed is dated 21 May 1767.
This John Phips of Charlotte County, Virginia was presumably the John Fips or Phips who shows up in Lunenburg County, Virginia records and who then left a Charlotte County estate in 1769. Charlotte County was formed from Lunenburg County in 1764.
The 1784 deed contains the following information:
- Date: 13 December 1784
- Seller: James Phips of Brunswick County, Virginia
- Buyer: David Barton of Henry County, Virginia
- Consideration: £1,800
- Land: 335 acres in Henry County patented earlier to James Phips on 16 June 1783, both sides of Meadow Creek, a north branch of the Pigg River
- Adjacent landowner(s): Waldraven
- Swenfield Hill
- John [?]
- Milley Menefee, Sr.
- Milley Menefee, Jr.
From the survey (as referenced in the land patent), the land patent, and the deed, we know the following history of the 335 acres which James Phips sold in 1784 to David Barton:
- 5 May 1753: The land was surveyed, presumably by James Phips, and at the time was considered a part of Halifax County
- 16 June 1783: The land was patented to James Phips, and at the time was considered a part of Henry County
- 13 December 1784: The land was sold by James Phips to David Barton, and at the time was still considered a part of Henry County
Who was Waldraven, the adjacent landowner? That doesn’t seem clear, although some Waldravens show up a few years later in Stokes County, North Carolina. Stokes County, North Carolina, which is adjacent to Henry County, Virginia, was formed in 1789 from Surry County, North Carolina. Surry County, North Carolina is where descendants of John Fips or Phips of Lunenburg and Charlotte Counties, Virginia, who died about 1769, eventually appear.
The Waldraven family seem to also appear at times in records as “Walraven,” according to secondary sources. A John Waldraven is said to appear in an Orange County, North Carolina tax list in 1775. We’ve discussed Phips or Phipps individuals in Orange County around very roughly the same general time period.
The original patent reads as follows:
[p. 258, in margin:]
[the patent per se:]
Benjamin Harrison Esquire Governour of the Commonwealth of Virginia To all to whom these presents shall come Greeting Know ye that in consideration of the ancient Composition of one pound fifteen shillings sterling paid by James Phips into into [sic; word repeated] the Treasury of the Commonwealth there is granted by the said [page break, p. 259:] Commonwealth unto the said James Phips a certain Tract or parcel of land containing three Hundred and thirty five acres by survey bearing date the 5th day of May 1753 lying and being in the County of Halifax now Henry on both sides of the meadow Creek a North Branch of Pigg River, and bounded as followeth to wit, Beginning at pointers in Waldravens line, thence on his line south seven Degrees east one Hundred and sixteen Poles to a white oak thence new lines South forty four degrees East forty four p;oles to a white oak near a branch north seventy three Degrees East a[?] two Hundred and sixty poles Crossing a branch to a white oak South eighty seven degrees East seventy Poles to a Hickory in Waldravens line thence on his line north thirty degrees East fifty four poles Crossing a branch to a hickory, thence the same Course Continued sixty poles to Pointers thence new lines north eighty nine degrees West one Hundred and fifty six poles to a red oak North sixty two degrees West seventy six poles to a white oak south seventy two Degrees west two Hundred and eight poles Crossing the Creek to the Beginning with its appurtenances To have and to hold the said Tract or parcel [page break, p. 260:] of Land, with its appurtenances unto the said James Phips and his Heirs forever. In Witness whereof the said Benjamin Harrison Esquire Governour of the Commonwealth of Virginia, hath hereunto set his hand and caused the lesser seal of the said Commonwealth to be affixed at Richmond on the sixteenth day of June in the year of [“our” missing] Lord one Thousand seven Hundred and eighty three and of the Commonwealth the seventh —
The deed reads as follows:
This Indenture Made this thirteenth day of December one thousand Seven hundred & Eighty fore, Between James Phips of the County of Brunswick of the one part & David Barton of the County of Henry of the the [sic; word repeated] Other part Witnesseth that the said James Phips for & in Consideration of the Sum of Eighteen Hundred Pounds to him paid in hand by the said David Barton the Receipt whereof he hearby Acknowledge have Bargain’d & Sold & by these Prasants [sic; as spelled] do Grant bargain Sell Alien Enfeoff Release Deliver & Confirm unto the sd. David Barton his heirs & assigns for ever on a Certain Parcel of Land Being the hole Tract Contain[ed?] in a patent granted to the said James Phips the Sixteenth Day of June in the year one thousand Seven hundred & Eighty tree [sic; as spelled] Containing Three hundred & [thirty?] five Acres Lying & being in the sd. County of Henry on both Sids [sic; sides] of Meadow Chreek a North Branch of Pigg River & Bounded as followeth (to Wit) Beginning at Pointers in Waldravens Line thence on his Line, South Seven Degrees East, one [line completely wiped out by a microfilm scratch] East forty four poles to a white oak near a branch North Seventy three Degrees East, two hundred & Sixty poles Crossing a Branch to a white Oak South Eighty seven Degrees, East Saventy [sic; as spelled] Poles to a Hickory in [Whalterravens?] Line then[ce?] on his line North thirty Degrees East fifty fore Pols [sic; as spelled] Crossing a branch to a Hickory thence the Same Course Contin [superscripted l?] [bad? or cad?] Sixty Poles to Pointers, thence New lines North eighty Nine Degrees West one hundred & [fifty?] six Poles to a Red oak North sixty two Degrees West Seventy six poles to a White Oak South Seventy two Degrees west two hundred & Eighty Pols [sic; as spelled] Crossing the Creek to the Beginning, To have & to hold the above Granted Land & Premises unto the said David Barton his Heirs & assigns for ever with Every part & [Parsel?] thareof Raversion & Reversions, Remainder & Remainders unto the said David Barton his heirs & assigns in an [Indefa[?]able?] fee Simple Estate & the sd. James Phips further Covenant & agree to [giveth?] the sd. David Barton for himself & his heirs to & Against the Claim or Demand of any Person or Persons [page break] Whatsoever shall & will by these Presents Warrant and for ever Defend in Witness whareof the said James Phips [heath?] hereunto Set his hand & Affixed his Seal the Day and year first Above Written
[signed:] James Fips L S
In Prasence [sic; as spelled] of Us
[another bad microfilm scratch] John his X mark [?] [unreadable]
Milley his X Mark Mennefee Snr.
Milley X Mennefee Jnr.
Memorandum, that on the Day & Year first Within Written Lavery [sic; livery] [of? (should be and] Se[?]zen of the Within Granted Land & Premises was by the within Named James Phips Quietly & Peaceably maid [don?] & Delivered to the Within Named David Barton According to the Tener [sic; tenor] form & Effect of the Within written
[signed:] James Feps L S
In Prasence [sic; as spelled] of us
John his X mark Grenet [or Grenel?]
Milley his X mark Mennefee Senr.
Milley his X [anaother bad microfilm scratch] Mennefee Jnr.
[text unreadable due to microfilm scratch]
At a Court held for Henry County on the 26th Day of April 1785
This Indenture together with the Memorandum of Livery & Seizen hereon indorsed Were Proved by the Oaths of two of the Witnesses thereto to be the Respective Acts & Deed of the within named James Phips & the same were Ordered to be Certified & afterwards to Wit At a Court held for the said County on the 28th day of July 1785, the same was further Proved by the Oaths of one Other Witness, all which were Ordered to be Recorded By the Court Test
[signed:] John Cox C.H.C. [i.e. Court House Clerk?]
Then from Henry County, Virginia Order Book 2:
The Court held for Henry County on the 28th Day of April 1785 . . .
Also James Fipps to David Barton Prov’d by 2 Witns. O. [R.] [i.e. ordered to be recorded]