James Phipps of Russell County, Virginia, Born About 1795

James Phipps was born about 1795 and was drafted in 1813 in Russell County, Virginia during the War of 1812. The application of James Phipps for bounty land based on his War of 1812 service was rejected, evidently because he had deserted. He was living in Mahaska County, Iowa when he made his application in 1851.

One of our readers recently scanned the Phipps bounty land applications at the National Archives and made them available as a volunteer by posting them in the National Archives website. (Go to the records section and type “Phipps bounty land” in the search box.) Here is an excerpt from the file for James Phipps:

State of Iowa
Mahaska County, ss.

On this Fourteenth day of February A D One thousand Eight hundred and fifty one, personally appeared before me, Micajah [T.?] Williams, Clerk of the District Court within and for the County and State aforesaid James Phipps, aged Fifty-Six years, a resident of Mahaska County in the State of Iowa, who being duly sworn according to Law, declares that he is the identical James Phipps who was a private in the Company Commanded by Captain John Hammons in the (He does not recollect the number of the Regiment) of the Virginia Militia, Commanded by Colonel Boothe until his promotion & then by Col. McClanahan in the War with Great Britain declared by the United States on the 18th day of June, 1812, That he was drafted at Russel County Virginia under Capt. Fuget, on or about the 20th of October, A D 1813, but remained at home until the 4th day of August 1814, before being Called into actual service – That he was drafted for the term of Six months, and Continued in actual service in said war for the term of six months and was honorably discharged at Ft. Nelson on the 12th or 13th day of February 1815, as will appear by the muster rolls of said Company That he received a Certificate of discharge about the time of the term of his service expired, but that he has long since lost the same so that he cannot present it herewith – From the fact of his inability to state the No. of his Regiment, he states in lieu thereof, that his Reg. was under the Command of Genl. Porter, and that the 1st Lieutenant of his Company [page break] was Robt. Dickerson – (or Dickison) –

He makes this declaration for the purpose of obtaining the bounty land to which he may be entitled under the “Act granting bounty land to certain officers and soldiers who have been engaged in the military service of the United States,” passed September 28th 1850.

James his X mark Phipps

Sworn to and and [sic; word repeated] subscribed before me the day and year above written –

And I hereby Certify, that I believe the said James Phipps to be the identical man who served as aforesaid, and that he is of the age aforesaid –

In testimony whereof I have hereunto set my hand and affixed the seal of said District Court, this 14th day of Feby. af[?d [for aforesaid?] –

Micajah [T.?] Williams,
Clerk Dist. Court.
Mahaska Co.

Since Mahaska County, Iowa is not that far from Lee County, could this James have been the one who shows up twice in the 1850 census, in both Lee and Decatur Counties in Iowa? That James is discussed in past posts as married to Tamer. (See here, for instance.)

An Iowa death certificate for Clara May Reynolds, who died 21 February 1931 in Decatur County, refers to her parents as James Phipps, born in Kentucky, and Tamar Ann Doan, born in Tennessee. Clara was born 14 April 1840 in Missouri. Errors in birthplaces of parents are common in death certificates, and represent someone’s best guess.

The earlier post explains that Tamer (or Tamar, etc.) has often been represented by genealogists as though Rosengrant was her maiden name, while it appears more likely that her maiden name was Doan (or Doane, etc.) Again, as just noted, Clara’s death certificate asserts that her mother’s maiden name was Doan. Censuses refer to the James who married Tamer as born in Virginia around 1795-1800, and Tamar as born in Virginia, Canada, or Ohio about 1796-1808.


Phips Trading Token

Trewman’s Exeter Flying Post, published in Exeter, Devon, England on 10 May 1855, published a list of “antiquities,” specifically old coins, which were found when an old house was demolished near the Baptist Chapel. One was a trading token from the mercantile family of A. Phips or Phips. The newspaper explained that the family lived at a place referred to as Reeves’ and Linscott’s. The Phipps family maintained close associations with the Reeves family both in England and in America, as noted in earlier posts.

The article associated the token with Robert Phips or Fips, who was described as a wealthy loyalist who died in 1678. He was fined by the Parliament commissioners, presumably for being a loyalist, to the tune of £80. He owned various properties, including land below Northernhay and a house on Paris Street. In an earlier era, it was customary for funeral attendees to drink after the funeral, and when this Robert died it is said that 10 gallons of claret, 9 gallons of sack from the Canary Islands, and 4 quarts of cedar were consumed.

Iowa Land Patents to John M. Phipps

As noted earlier, it would appear that there’s literally no end to the records pertaining to John Meshack Phipps or Phips, who was born in 1812 in Virginia. He was a son of Jesse Phips of Ashe County, North Carolina and later Owen County, Indiana and finally Putnam County, Missouri, and a grandson of Samuel Phips of Wilkes County and later Ashe County, North Carolina. In at least a couple of the numerous newspaper articles about John, he testified that he left Virginia when he was 18, in 1830. He came to Indiana, and stayed in Sangamon County, Illinois for about four months, then moved to Iowa. He lived eight or nine years, according to his own testimony, in what was at first known as Kishkush County, Iowa (later Monroe) before moving to Decatur County, Iowa. In Decatur County, he said, he bought 800 acres before moving to Jackson County, Missouri. He then returned to Iowa and settled in Harrison County, then returned to Missouri.

This testimony only accounts for some of his travels. Some of his meanderings are accounted for in an earlier post in particular, in addition to various other posts. That earlier post doesn’t account for the land patents issued to him in Iowa, which are listed below. Presumably he was the John M. Phipps mentioned in all of the patents listed. John had said in a newspaper interview that he bought 800 acres in Decatur County. The list below accounts for 640 acres of that land, plus an additional 60 acres in Union County, assuming that the John M. Phipps there was also him.

  • 5 October 1852: Patent issued to Benjamin F. Dooley for military service, 160 acres in Decatur County, reassigned to John M. Phipps
  • 10 March 1854: Patent issued to Jesse Philips for War of 1812 service, 80 acres in Decatur County, Iowa, reassigned to John M. Phipps
  • 1 May 1855: Patent issued to John M. Phipps of Decatur County, Iowa for 40 acres in same
  • 15 May 1855: Patent issued to John M. Phipps, assignee of John of John Branner of Lucas County, Iowa, 40 acres in Decatur County, Iowa
  • 15 May 1855: Patent issued to John M. Phipps of Decatur County, Iowa, 80 acres in same
  • 15 May 1855: Patent issued to John M. Phipps of Decatur County, Iowa, 40 acres in same
  • 1 December 1855: Patent issued to Robert Elsey for War of 1812 service, 60 acres in Union County, Iowa, reassigned to John M. Phipps
  • 3 June 1856: Patent issued to John M. Phipps of Decatur County, Iowa, 40 acres in same
  • 15 September 1875: Patent issued to Samuel H. Cain for military service, 160 acres in Decatur County, Iowa, reassigned to John M. Phipps

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: (https://www.archives.gov/innovation-hub). The part I wanted to point out to you is the Citizen Scanning section: (https://www.archives.gov/innovation-hub/scanning.html). The material scanned will show up in the National Archives Catalog: (https://catalog.archives.gov/). 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.”

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:

William Fyappes of Lichfield, Staffordshire, 1571

We’ve seen some interesting variant spellings of “Phipps” in early records. One of the most creative is William “Fyappes” in a 1571 will or administration document from Lichfield, Staffordshire, England. The same name appears as “Phyppes” in the estate inventory.

The name appears in an index volume which indexes the volume of Wills and Administrations which covers 1562-1624, from Lichfield. The actual record appears on p. 155 of that original volume. This is indexed in Phillimore, Calendars of Wills & Administrations in the Consistory Court of the Bishop of Lichfield and Coventry, 1516 to 1652, London: British Record Society, 1892, p. 207.

Lichfield, by the way, is about 41 miles southwest of Nottingham. Berkshire heraldic visitation sources appear to indicate that the father of Francis Phipps of Reading, Berkshire, who we’ve referred to on numerous occasions and who was born about 1610, was a George Phipps of the Nottingham area. George’s father was supposed to have been a Robert Phipps of Nottingham.

George Reeves, Husband of Anne Phipps

Regarding the George Reeves who married Ann, Anne, or Anna Phipps, daughter of Francis Phipps of Reading, Berkshire, England, and who moved to Virginia, it should be helpful to note that there appear to have been at least TWO men named George Reeves who came from England to Virginia, if all the information claimed in sources is correct.

One of these men named George Reeves was living in London when he married Anne Phipps, daughter of Francis Phipps, in 1675. He later moved to Virginia, which is where he supposedly died. The other George Reeves had previously been living in Virginia, but was now in England when he wrote his will in the same year, 1675. Whether these two individuals were related is unclear.

As noted in various earlier posts, an abundance of circumstantial evidence appears to probably link another George Reeves, the much later one who was the father in law of Samuel Phips or Phipps of Wilkes and later Ashe County, North Carolina, with the earlier George Reeves who married Anne Phipps. Interestingly, circumstantial evidence also appears to link Samuel Phips to the much earlier Francis Phipps of Reading, who was Anne’s father.


The Virginia Magazine of History and Biography, Vol. 11, July 1903, pp. 68-79, includes an installment of an ongoing series titled “Virginia Gleanings in England” by Withinton. This includes information on pp. 78-79 about one of these individuals named George Reeves. That article includes an abstract of the will of George Reeve, also Reeves. His will was dated 1 November 1675 and was proved 26 April 1689; in other words he had died by this time. His will referred to him as “of the Island of Virginia, Merchant, now residing in England.” This would, of course, indicate that he had lived in Virginia prior to 1 November 1675.


The other George Reeves is the subject of a marriage record abstracted in Chester and Armytage, Allegations for Marriage Licences Issued from the Faculty Office of the Archbishop of Canterbury at London, 1543 to 1869, London: Harleian Society, 1886, p. 134. There it is recorded that George Reeves married Anne Phipps on 21 September 1675 at Lee in county Kent. This was, again, the same year in which the other George Reeves wrote his will.

The George Reeves who married Anne Phipps was a bachelor of St. Augustine’s in London, and was age 26. Anne was of Lee in Kent and was a “spinster” whose age was about 18. In those days, the term “spinster” simply meant that she was unmarried. The record also notes that her parents were dead and that she was marrying “at the disposal of John Blagrave, of Arborfield, Berks [Berkshire], Esq., & Thomas Bullock, of Binfield, Berks, Gent., who consent.”

Although it may have just been coincidence, it appears that some Phipps and Blagrave connections continued in America, as discussed in past posts. Although the marriage license refers to Reeves as being of St. Augustine’s in London, H.R. Phipps says he was of “Ln,” which one would assume referred to Lincolnshire.

As noted in earlier posts, H.R. Phipps said that George Reeves “deserted” his wife Ann Phipps, after marrying her, and “died in Virginia.” This marriage is also noted in other sources, including Foster, London Marriage Licences, 1521-1869, London: Bernard Quaritch, 1887, p. 1124; H.R. [Henry Ramsay] Phipps, “Phipps Families of Berkshire,” The Berks, Bucks & Oxon Archaeological Journal, Vol. 18, No. 1 – New Series, April 1912, p. 17; and Duncan and Barron, eds., The Register of All the Marriages, Christenings and Burials in the Church of S. Margaret, Lee, in the County of Kent, from 1579 to 1754, Lee, Kent: Charles Rorth for the Lewisham Antiquarian Society, 1888, p. 7.

Various other sources and past posts refer to George Reeves’s wife Ann, Anne, or Anna Phipps as being the twin sister of Constantine Henry Phipps (who became Lord Chancellor of Ireland). Both were born in 1656 in Reading, Berkshire, England. Their parents Francis Phipps and his wife Anne Sharpe are discussed in various past posts. Francis appears in one of the heraldic visitations in Berkshire, and was the source for the Phipps information found in The Four Visitations of Berkshire, Vol. 57, p. 195; and Crisp, ed., Visitation of England and Wales, Notes, Vol. 8, 1909, pp. 156-161. Francis, who was born about 1610, was a son of George and Anne (Elliott) Phipps.


By the way, a certain John “Ryves” seems to have been living in Westmoreland County, Virginia during the 1650s and 1660s. A certain George “Reeve” was administrator of the estate of his brother Thomas Reeve, with a ffrancis (Francis) Reve also mentioned, in a 1671 administration somewhere in Virginia. This is referenced in McIlwaine, Minutes of the Council and General Court of Colonial Virginia 1622-1632, 1670-1676, with Notes and Excerpts from Original Council and General Court Records, into 1683, Now Lost, Richmond: Virginia State Library, 1924, p. 287.

Then the same source, on pp. 296-297, refers to the widow of ffrancis (Francis) Reeves as administering the estate of her late husband. The abstract also appears to refer to this ffrancis as a brother of Thomas Reeves, deceased, with a George Reeves having been another brother.

An unconfirmed secondary source refers to George Reeves and his wife Ann as being mentioned in county court records in Middlesex County, Virginia in 1682. If true, this would presumably refer to George Reeves and his wife Anne (Phipps) Reeves who married in 1675.

Then one of the individuals named George Reeves supposedly died in Middlesex County, Virginia in 1688, according to an unconfirmed secondary source. The one who married Anne Phipps, however, was said by Crisp to still be alive in 1695. According to H.R. Phipps, the husband of Anne Phipps died in Virginia, but she returned to England where she lived with her sister Mary at Lee in Kent.

One secondary source says that the will of George Reeves was probated in London in 1689 after he died in Middlesex County, Virginia. This appears to be incorrect, however, and may be confusing the (apparently) two different individuals, or misreading the Virginia Magazine abstract. That abstract says that the will of George Reeves was presented for probate in Middlesex County on 2 April 1689, but it does not say whether this refers to Middlesex County, Virginia or Middlesex County, England (London). That abstract says that he was living in England when he died.

This entire subject appears to be an area in which it would be helpful to examine actual records, since some earlier writings may have confused two or more individuals or two or more locations. There was certainly considerable opportunity for confusion. For example, a reference later in the Virginia Magazine abstract is to a deed dated 1707 from Charles Reeves of Middlesex County, England as heir of George Reeves of Virginia, deceased, but conveyed to a man of Middlesex County, Virginia. The abstract concludes by noting that George Reeves had been a resident of Middlesex County for a number of years, but without specifying which Middlesex County.

The abstract in the Virginia Magazine of History and Biography refers to George Reeves “of the Island of Virginia, Merchant, now residing in England,” not Virginia, who wrote his will 1 November 1675 but who had died by 23 April 1689. That is when letters of administration were issued to his brother Charles Reeve AKA Reeves. The abstract, at that point, also refers to this George Reeves as having been a George Reeves, Jr. That being the case, who was Sr. and who was Jr.? Were there THREE individuals named George Reeves?