James Phipps in Surry County, North Carolina, 1812

The webmaster of the A Witcher Genealogy website has found a deed which is highly significant to those researching the Phipps or Phips or Fips etc. family in northwest North Carolina. We’ve already known from other records that some sort of relationship involving the family of Samuel Phips of Wilkes and later Ashe County, North Carolina, on the one hand, and that of John Phips or Fips who died about 1769 in Charlotte County, Virginia, on the other hand, appeared highly probable. That has appeared to be the case for a variety of reasons, some of them having to do with interactions between the family of John’s daughter Elizabeth Phips or Fips (who married Ephraim Witcher) with the family of Samuel Phips. Ephraim and Elizabeth moved into Surry County, North Carolina, where the deed transcribed below was written.

The newly found deed appears to point to these relationships in an even stronger way. In 1812 in Surry County, North Carolina, James Phipps bought 100 acres of land on Christian’s Creek. The deed was witnessed by two of the Witchers – John and James. The webmaster believes that James is probably the brother of Elizabeth Fips or Phips who married Ephraim Witcher. The deed was also witnessed by Lewis Phipps.

In past posts, we’ve noted a James Phipps, perhaps the one who bought the land in Surry County, who was born about 1790 in North Carolina. In the 1840 and 1850 censuses he was living in Madison County, Georgia, which is adjacent to Elbert County. A Lewis Phipps was living in Elbert County by 1799.

Lewis Phipps was directly involved with Ambrose Witcher, who appears to have been related to Ephraim Witcher, son in law of John Fips or Phips of Lunenburg and later Charlotte County, Virginia. We know from various other documents that this John Phips or Fips had ties to Brunswick County, Virginia. Another individual who came through Surry County, North Carolina was Jordan Phipps,son of Benjamin Phipps of Sussex County, Virginia, who is believed to have been the brother of Joseph Phipps of Brunswick County, Virginia.

The Lewis Phips or Phipps who was in Madison County, Georgia was presumably the same one who later surfaces in Lawrence County, Indiana. The latter location is where various close relatives of Samuel Phips of Ashe County, North Carolina migrated. The Lawrence County connections show even more evidence pointing back to John Fips or Phips of Lunenburg/Charlotte Counties, Virginia through his family’s relationships with the Potter and Roy families. You can explore this further through various previous posts.

In the deed transcribed below, James Phipps purchased land from a certain Wilson Davis. Who was he? Searches have not turned up much about him, but there was a Mary Ann Davis, called Polly, who according to unconfirmed secondary sources married Jonathan Stamper, Jr. Presumably this Mary was related to the Wilson Davis of the deed.

The Jonathan Stamper, Sr. family was closely associated with the Phips family and their relatives in the Surry, Wilkes, and Ashe Counties area of North Carolina. Jonathan Stamper – either Sr. or Jr. or both, but usually not indicated – appears in various records in that area. Jonathan Stamper, apparently Sr., was Surry County constable at one time.

The sister of this Jonathan Stamper, Jr. who married Mary Davis was Martha Frances Stamper, called Frankie. She married Jesse Toliver, of the family from whom Taliaferro Witcher, son of Ephraim Witcher, presumably derived his name. (Taliaferro is pronounced “Toliver.”) Samuel Phips of Wilkes and later Ashe County, North Carolina submitted testimony on behalf of this same Jesse Toliver when he applied for a Revolutionary War pension.

Jesse Toliver’s son John married Anna Long, and descendants of John Toliver were a part of the Long-Phips outlaw gang, as was Samuel Phips’ grandson John Meshack Phips, who married one of the Longs. John and Anna (Long) Toliver’s daughter Mathursa Toliver married Mathew Phips, son of Jesse Phips and grandson of Samuel Phips of Ashe County, North Carolina.

As for the Mary Davis who married Jonathan Stamper, Jr., multiple website refer to a story that asserts that she was killed for her gold by men named Hart, Cox, and Bledsoe. Various records demonstrate an extremely close connection between the Phips family in the area and the families of Cox and Hart. More Stamper connections to the Long and Phipps families are evident in the “Lineage of Jonathan Stamper and Mary ‘Polly’ Davis” web page linked below.

Further, another secondary source links the Stamper family to the Mayo family. We’ve discussed the Mayo surveyor connection earlier. Yet another secondary source refers to one of the Stampers in the area, a John Stamper, as owning and using a surveying instrument of some kind. Also, we’ve found unexpected Burton connections over and over and over, ad nauseam, and John Pleasants Burton, another individual who made the trek from the Ashe County area to Lawrence County, Indiana, married Susannah Stamper.

From Surry County, North Carolina Deeds Book M, pp. 549-550:

[p. 549:] Wilson Davis to James Phipps, a Deed.

This Indenture made this fourteenth day of January in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and twelve between Wilson Davis of the one part of the County of Surry and State of North Carolina and James Phipps of the County and State aforesaid of the other part witnesseth that for and in consideration of the sum of two hundred Dollars to me in hand paid by the said James Phipps the receipt I hereby acknowledge and myself fully satisfied and paid and have bargained sold and do now convey to the said James Phipps a certain tract or parcel of land containing one hundred acres lying on both sides of Christians Creek in the said County of Surry, beginning at a white oak and red oak running East twenty five chains crossing the Creek to a State [presumably error for “stake”] then North forty chains to a pine then West twenty five chains to the beginning including one hundred acres be the same more or less, with all the conveniences of ways waters watercourses [p. 550:] minerals hereditaments and appurtenances to the said land belonging or in any wise appertaining to have and to hold to the said James Phipps and his heirs forever, and the said Wilson Davis doth for his part warrant and defend the said land forever to him the said James Phipps and his heirs free and clear from the claim of claims [presumably error for “claim or claims”] of any person or persons whatsoever. In witness whereof I have hereunto set my hand and affixed my seal the day and date above written.
[Signed:] Wilson his X mark Davis (seal)
Assigned [presumably error for “Signed”] sealed & deliver’d in the presence of us
[Signed by witnesses:]
John Witcher
James Witcher
Lewis Phipps
Surry County May term 1813 The execution of the within Deed was duly proven in open Court by the Oath of John Witcher & ordered to be registered.
Test Jo Williams CC [for Court Clerk?]
By Jo Williams Jun. D.C. [for Deputy Clerk?]

Some related web pages (there are lots more):


Samuell Phips in Undated Tax List, Wilkes County, North Carolina

Prior posts have referred to the undated militia list from Montgomery County, Virginia, found between two records dated 1781, showing “Sammuwill Phips” and “Sammuell Phips Sen.” This was in the same very general area later defined as Wilkes County, North Carolina and Grayson County, Virginia (and eventually Ashe County, North Carolina).

From his age at the time, we know that the Samuel without the “Sen.” designation (in other words, Samuel, Jr.)  in that militia list would have to have been the Samuel Phips who shows up in various Wilkes County, North Carolina records, as does his father in law George Reeves. By 1800, this younger Samuel appeared exclusively in Ashe County, North Carolina records except when he was referred to in Grayson County, Virginia as an heir of his father in law George Reeves who, by that time, had been appearing in records in that county, which is across the state line and adjacent to Ashe County, North Carolina

No other record has been found so far regarding the older Samuel. Perhaps he died in the Montgomery County, Virginia/Wilkes County, North Carolina area shortly after the militia list, or perhaps he moved on to another location. An undated tax list in Wilkes County, which is partially transcribed below, lists “Samuell phips” along with members of other families which became interrelated with his family.

That list only shows one Samuel, so presumably the older one had died or moved by this time. He is shown with 400 acres and 1 poll. Published abstracts of other tax lists in Wilkes County, North Carolina show Samuel Phips (Jr.) with 400 acres. He appears as such, called simply Samuel Phips according to abstracts, in an undated list which may date from 1793, and again with 400 acres in 1794, 1795, and 1797, but with 450 acres in 1799.

The idea that part of Montgomery County, Virginia may have been redefined later, first as part of Wilkes County, North Carolina and later as Ashe County, North Carolina is suggested by the cluster of related surnames which appear more or less together in Montgomery, then Wilkes, and then in Ashe.

In the list transcribed below, Thomas Collins appears on the same page as “Samuell phips” in Wilkes County. Then an 1801 Ashe County land entry record, according to an abstract, refers to a land entry by Thomas Collins adjacent to Samuel Phips in Ashe County. Various specific individuals listed below in Wilkes County as Samuel Phips neighbors appear later as such in Ashe County.

In the list below, all names are consecutive and are found on the same page. Close relationships and involvements have been noted in past posts with some of the surnames on the page, perhaps most notably the Long and Toliver families. The page which follows the one transcribed below contains yet more pertinent names, including another Toliver (John Toliver) and Zachariah Spurling (his daughter Jane, known as Jennie, married Samuel Phips’s son Jesse).

Persons Names | Acres Land | Pols | Stud [left blank]

Samuelll Wilson | 60
John Tyler | 100 | 1
John Long | 400 | 1
William perry | 200 | 1
Enoch Osborn | 600
Zachariah Gibson | 65 | 1
Samuell phips | 400 | 1
Stephen Chapall | 300 | 1
James Cheshire | 200 | 1
James Maxwell | 550 | 1
Andrew Seabolt | 150 | 1
petter Seabolt | 100
Adam Seabolt | 100 | 1
David Edwards | 160 | 1
Moses Toliver | 150 | 1
Widow Wyn’s | 100
Samuell Indicat | 100 | 1
Christopher Manyard | 200 | 1
Henery Brewer | 200 | 1
Charles Toliver | 500 | 1
Richard Williams Esqr. | 290 | 2
Francis Bryan | 250 | 1
Jesse Tolliver | 150 | 1
Bartholemew Oston {Austin| | [blank| | 1
Winkel Crouse | 600 | 1
Gabriel Jones | 60
William Maxwell | 600 | 1
Adam Crouse | 200 | 1
thomas Collins | 70 | 1
Jacob Stamper | 120 | 1
Young Edwards | 160 | 1
Silvanus Brewer | 100 | 1
Theophilus petty | [blank] | 1
John Carroll | 150 | 1
John Carroll [again] | [blank} | 1

From Parish Registers

From William Graham F. Pigott, The Parish Registers of Abington Piggotts Otherwise Abington juxta Shingay in the County of Cambridge, Norwich: Agas H. Goose, 1890, pp. 57, 63, under burials:

  • Sarah Phypps, widow, 24 October 1753
  • Henry Phypps, aged about 74, 17 October 1769

From The Parish Registers of Ongar, Essex, Frederick Arthur Crisp, 1886, p. 124, under burials:

  • Edward Phypps, 3 December 1716

From Hereford, Shropshire Parish Registers, Vol. 14, Pt. 2, The Register of Ludlow (incomplete citation, apparently 1900), p. 1208, under marriages:

  • William Hughes to Susanna Phypps, witnessed by Edward Powys, Richard Wood, 30 April 1786

From W.P.W. Phillimore and W.F. Carter, Worcestershire Parish Registers: Marriages, Vol. 1, London: Phillimore & Co., 1901, p. 82, under marriages at Alderminster, from the Bishop’s transcripts in the Edgar Tower at Worcester:

  • William Phypps to Mary Blackwell 1 October 1626

Constantine Phipps of Reading, Berkshire, England

The following are otes from Robert Phipps, associate of King’s College, London, in an article titled “Sir Constantine Phipps and Sir William Phips.” This article appeared in Gentleman’s Magazine, January 1854, pp. 46-48:


  • Born 1655 Reading, Berkshire
  • Resided Heywood House, White Waltham Parish near Reading
  • Admitted as student, Gray’s Inn, 11 February 1677
  • Knighted by Queen Anne and appointed as Lord High Chancellor of Ireland 22 January 1710/11
  • Appointed as a Lord Justice of Ireland 22 January 1710/11, 3 December 1711, 22 March 1712
  • The Commons of Ireland petitioned for him to be removed as chancellor, but the House of Lords intervened on his behalf, 1713
  • Resigned as chancellor 9 October 1714 with the accession of George I
  • Received DCL degree from Oxford 20 October 1714
  • Returned to Heywood
  • Died 9 October 1723 (on anniversary of his resignation), buried at White Waltham

The assertion that he returned to Heywood after his chancellorship deliberately contradicts the claim that he retired to the Middle Temple. The author believed that the Heywood associated with Constantine is not the same as a residence of that name which had been purchased by the Phipps family of Westbury Leigh. That latter family’s Heywood, just a few miles from Constantine’s Heywood, was “on the borders” of Berkshire and had been purchased from the Earls of Marlborough.

The author also says that the pedigree of the Phipps family of Westbury Leigh goes back to 1568. He believed that the Heywood of Constantine had come from the family of his wife Catherine, daughter of George Sawyer of Bullingham in Herefordshire. George Sawyer died there in 1665. She was a granddaughter of Sir Edmund Sawyer of Heywood in Berkshire.

The author also believed that since Constantine had been born in Reading, he may have been related to James Phipps of Swallowfield, which is near to Reading. James Phipps, he says, married the oldest daughter of Sir Giles Brydges. Brydges was the first baronet of Wilton Castle in Herefordshire.

An 1826 Ashe County, North Carolina Deed

An Ashe County, North Carolina deed is transcribed below, dated 17 September 1826. This deed should be of interest to Ashe County, North Carolina Phips or Phipps family researchers, although that surname never appears in the document.

The deed serves as yet more evidence which appears to connect the family of Samuel Phips, Jr. who died in 1854 in Ashe County, North Carolina with that of John Fips or Phips who died about 1769 in Charlotte County, Virginia. As discussed in various earlier posts, based on groundbreaking research by the “A Witcher Family Genealogy” website, John Fips or Phips’s daughter Betsey married Ephraim Witcher, and they were the parents of Taliaferro Witcher. John Fips or Phips bore clear connections to the Brunswick County, Virginia Phips or Phipps family, which is abundantly evident in records pertaining to his widow after he died.

Although surprising to some, “Taliaferro” is pronounced identically to “Toliver.” The Samuel Phips family of Ashe County maintained a close relationship to the family of Jesse Toliver, sometimes Taliaferro, in that county. Ephraim and Betsey moved into Surry County, North Carolina around 1769, where Ephraim died in 1819.

In 1777, part of Surry County became Wilkes County, and this is where Samuel Phips appears in records before showing up in Ashe County beginning with the 1800 census. That change was evidently due to part of Wilkes County becoming Ashe County in 1799. Jordan Phipps, from the Sussex County, Virginia Phipps family which appears probably connected to the Brunswick County, Virginia Phipps or Phips family, bought land in Wilkes County while living in Surry County, North Carolina in 1799.

The deed transcribed below is from Rankin Cox to “Tolifire” (Taliaferro) Witcher. Rankin Cox is said to have married women named Phipps as his second and third wives, according to unsourced claims. Rankin Cox is supposed to have died in Lawrence County, Indiana, the same place where close relatives of Samuel Phips of Ashe County, North Carolina also moved. Potter and Roy relatives of the John Fips or Phips family also moved there, as did John Witcher Phipps.

The land which was sold in Ashe County, North Carolina was adjacent to Andrew Cox. As discussed in an earlier post, John Landreth complained in court in Ashe County on 13 April 1816 that he was “beaten and abused” by several people, without provocation. Those people were all members of the Phips and Reeves families – plus Andrew Cox.

The deed was witnessed by A.B. McMillan. He, along with George Reeves, signed an 1845 Ashe County administrator’s bond pertaining to the estate of John Phips, as discussed in an earlier post. John McMillan’s daughter Nancy married Joseph Phips, as discussed in an earlier post.

The land in the deed was on the waters of Rock Creek. Samuel Phips lived on Rock Creek.

From Ashe County, North Carolina Deed Record Book C, p. 153:

A deed from Rankin Cox to Tolifire Witcher 384 Acres.

This Indenture made this Seventeenth day of September in the year of our Lord one thousand Eight hundred and twenty Six by and between Rankin Cox of the one part and Tolifire Witcher of the other Witnesseth that he the Said Rankin Cox for and in consideration of the Sum of Six hundred Dollars to him in hand paid by the Said Tolifire Witcher the receipt whereof is hereby acknowledged and himself fully Satisfied and paid, hath bargained, Sold, and conveyed unto him the Said Witcher a certain tract or parcel of land containing three hundred & Eighty four acres be the Same more or less in the County of Ashe and State of North Carolina lying on the waters of Rock Creek Beginning at a white oak where a conditional line Joins under Coxes old line, runing [sic; running] East one hundred and forty three poles with Said line to a Whit oak, thence South one hundred and forty Poles to a White oak, then west fifty Poles to a Stake near the Wagon Road, then west ten Degrees South forty Poles to a White oak on the top of [“a” missing] hill, thence South twenty five degrees west Seventy Poles to a Chestnut, thence west nine degrees South one hundred and eleven Poles to a white oak, then North fifty four Poles to a line, then west to a path, then North with the path and Osborns line two hundred and Sixty Poles to Andrew Coxes corner, then South to said conditional line, thence to the first Station, Together with every right, title & privilege and emolument to the said land belonging or in any wise appertaining, and he the said Rankin do bind himself, his heirs, executors and Administrators to warrant and forever defend the aforesaid primises [sic; premises] to him the [“said” missing] Tolifire Witcher with all other appertainancies [sic; appurtenances] free and clear of all claims and incumberancies [sic; encumbrances] of any person or persons whatsoever. In witness there hereunto [something like “whereof I hereunto” would be expected] Set my hand and affix my Seal, Signed [“in” missing] the presents [sic; presence] of,
A.B. McMillan
]Jesse Osborn

[signed:] Rankin Cox (Seal)

North Carolina
Ashe County
Feby term 1828 The within deed [“was” missing] duly proven in open court and ordered to be Registered.
Test T. Calloway C.C.C.
by Richard Gentry D.C.

Will of Jesse Phipps, 1834, Adams County, Mississippi

The 1834 will of Jesse Phipps of Adams County, Mississippi refers to land that he owned in Adams County and in adjacent “Wilkson” (Wilkerson) County. The proving of the will mentions that one of the witnesses, William Phipps, had died between the time of the will (25 October 1834) and the time it was proven (27 April 1835). More about these individuals appears in past posts which are linked below.

From Adams County, Mississippi Will Records Vol. 2:

[p. 95:]

Copy of the last Will & Testament of Jesse Phipps

In the name of God Amen, I Jesse Phipps being Weak in boddy of sound & perfect mind & memory; I do make & publish this my last Will & testament in manner & form following I. E. first, I give & bequeathe unto my belovid wife mary twenty Dollars. Second & lastly my personal property Viz 9 negros matt a man of 36 years of age his wife Hannah same age & towe [sic; two] children one boy named Edmand aged 2 years the other a girl name Caroline aged 2 months Mary aged 24 years & one boy child named John age 4 years Rachel a girl about 12 years of age Ben a boy nine years of age Isaac a boy age 5 years my Horses 4 head in adams county where now resid[e] & thar in wilkson county on Buffalow my cattle Hogs Hous Hold furntur Kitchin & all the monys that is due me by act not[e] or other wise afer all my lawfull debts is paid It is my will and true desire that the above Property be kept to gether while my youngest child is of age & there there [sic; word repeated] must be & Equal divission made be between myself blood children Viz My Daughter Caroline mtilda the Eldist my son Routh Henry 2nd Oldist my Daughter Elizbeth Jane 3 the oldst my Son Obid Jesse 4th oldist my son Thomos Hutching 5th Eldist – my Daughter Sarah ann, as touching on my wife and her child Sarah and the little effects that she brought into the family if it is her will & wish to remain in the family and Act and do the part of a mother It is my will but she has no power whatever over the little property to make way with it, without privilege from my Administrator which I hereby name appoint and Constitute T. G. Ellis & my son R. H. Phipps as my Administrators, I furthermore will and order that my daughter Caroline Matilda is to be provided for and kept in the family as I know she has been a faithful child, and though not capable of protecting and taking care of herself, furthermore my two guns is to be managed as above, this being my last Will and Testament revoking all others by me made in witness whereof I have hereunto set my hand & Seal this 25 Oct 1834

[signed:] Jesse Phipps

Signed, Sealed, published & declared by the above Jesse Phipps to be his last Will and Testament in the presence of us who at his request and at his presence have hereunto subscribed our names as witnesses to the same

James Hornsby
Wm Phipps
Henry Phipps

[p. 96:]

State of Mississippi
Adams County
Probate Court
April Term 1835

Personally Came into open court James Hornsby and Henry Phipps two of the subscribing Witnesses to the annexed instrument of writing purporting to be the last Will and Testament of Jesse Phipps deceased who being duly Sworn deposith and saith that the Said Testator was over the age of twenty one years at the time of his de cease [sic; decease] that he this affiant Saw the Said Testator and that he was of Sound and disposing mind at the time of his Signing the Same that he the affiant Subscribed his name as a witness to Said instrument in the presence and at the request of said Testator as well as in the presence of the other tow [sic; two] subscribing witness [sic] & that Wm Phipps one of Said witnesses is now dead – Sworn to & Subscribed before me this 27 day of April A. D 1835

James Hornsby
Henry Phipps

F Wood Clk

Relationships suggested by the above:

Father: Jesse Phipps, died between 25 October 1834 and 27 April 1835, presumably in Adams County, Mississippi
Mother: Mary
Children, apparently in birth order:

  • Caroline Matilda Phipps
  • Routh Henry Phipps
  • Elizabeth Jane Phipps
  • Obid Jesse Phipps
  • Thomas Hutching Phipps
  • Sarah Ann Phipps

See also:

John and Benjamin Phipps: 1820s Virginia Surveyor Connections

A Greensburg County, Virginia chancery case had to do with a complaint from John Wyche, living in Brunswick County, Virginia, in the 1820s. Wyche claimed that in 1816, several “executions” against him, in the name of Barney Stewart, had been given to Robert Wallace, who was Brunswick County’s deputy sheriff.

Wyche insisted that he had complied with all the demands of those executions some time ago, but that another execution was issued against him. It was issued by, as he put it, “some person wishing to harrass & disturb” him. The identity of this person was unknown to John Wyche.

That execution, according to Wyche, was in the hands of Thomas Gibbon, Brunswick County coroner. Wyche said that Barney Stewart had moved to Tennessee, and that there was reason to believe that he was no longer living. John Wyche swore to his statements on 6 August 1821, but settling the matter took several years.

The case was being tried in the chancery court in Greensville County, Virginia, which is adjacent to Brunswick County. This was because the judgement against Wyche, who was living in Brunswick County, was bought by Barney Stewart, who was evidently living in Greensville County. Wyche claimed that the injunction had been dissolved, and that there was no basis for a new execution issued against him to the benefit of a certain Charles Cordle. Cordle was the defendant in the chancery case.

It was also alleged that testimony on Wyche’s behalf by three men, one of whom was John Phipps, had not earlier been filed or even received by the court. John Phipps supplied new testimony in 1823. Testimony was also supplied by Randolph Price, who referred to Wyche as “Capt. Wych.” Another record in the chancery case file refers to him as “Capt. John Wyche.”

Testimony from Benjamin Hobbs, also dated 1823 in Brunswick County, referred to the “Westwardmill” (Westward Mill), the “Tools & Profits” of which were divided by Joseph Saunders and Robert Wallace in 1814. Hobbs said that, in the same year, Wyche “had nothing from the Mill but what he bought of said Wallace or Saunders.” Others testified essentially the same thing, using more or less the same words.

Hobbs said that “the Blacksmiths work necessary to be done for or about Westwardmill when he lived there was done by Wyches Smiths at his shop at the spot & that Wyche found the Iron & steel.” Although a bit unclear, this seems to suggest that John Wyche had been running some sort of blacksmith shop in which he hired multiple blacksmiths.

William Saunders, also testifying from Brunswick County, noted that from 1808 or 9 until the fall of 1815, “the Blacksmiths Work necessary to be done for & about Westwardmill was done by said John Wyches Smiths in his shop at said Mill.”

We’ve discussed the Wyche family on various occasions, and have noted speculation that it’s the same family represented as Witcher. The latter family had direct Phipps, Phips, or Fips family connections, as discussed in previous posts. The Wyche family in Brunswick County appear in records as associated with the Reeves family, which appears to be the same Reeves family from which George Reeves was derived. He was the father in law of Samuel Phips or Phipps who died in 1854 in Ashe County, North Carolina.

John Phipps, who testified on behalf of John Wyche, said that he was, in his own words, “well acquainted” with the Hartwell family, including Littlebury S. Hartwell. The Hartwells maintained a very close relationship with the Cocke (Cook) family, which we’ve discussed on various occasions. From there, connections can be shown to the Pleasants family, with a close association with the Burton family which was also associated with George Reeves. (He married a Burton.)

Regarding John Phipps who supplied testimony on behalf of John Wyche, John Phipps also mentioned Benjamin Phipps as having given a note to Wyche which had been executed by Robert Wallace. Note that in an earlier post, we examined an 1821 Brunswick County “tripartite” mortgage deed which involved Lucy Jackson as well as Charles Merritt and his wife Fortune, of the first part, Benjamin Phipps and John P. Malone of the second part, and John Phipps of the third part. All were of Brunswick County. This deed was witnessed by John Wyche.

Then another Brunswick County deed, dated 1825, was transcribed in yet another earlier post. This was a deed from John Phipps and his wife Nancy of Brunswick County to Joshua Clark, also of Brunswick County. Again, the deed was witnessed by John Wyche, but this time by Winfield Phipps as well. This would seem to place this John Phipps as the one who was a brother of Winfield, both being sons of Benjamin Phipps who married Lucy Tuberfield, that Benjamin being a son of Joseph Phipps of Brunswick County who married Sarah Williams. (See also here.)

Earlier, in 1803 in Brunswick County, John Wyche acted as surety for a marriage bond involving the marriage of George Woodruff to Sarah (“Sally”) Manning. This Sally would appear to be the one whose mother was a Phipps, a daughter of Joseph and Sarah (Williams) Phipps of Brunswick County, who married Joel Manning as is evident from Joseph’s will.

Mrs. Howard Woodruff, who wrote the book on Joseph Phipps and his family, noted in her 1985 book on the Woodruff family that John Wyche was “most likely a relative.” She noted that the Wyche family was closely associated with the Woodruffs “over several generations.” Mrs. Woodruff also noted an 1807 deed in which George Woodrough takes up an option on property one boundary of which “follows along westward mill road.”

That land, she said, adjoined land owned by Edward Williams. He was very likely related to Sarah Williams of that county, who married Joseph Phipps. Mrs. Woodruff also noted a land deal involving George Woodruff and a certain William Wyche Wilkins. Joseph Phipps of Brunswick County was involved in land deals in Bute County, North Carolina involving two Wilkins men from Brunswick County, one of whom had married a Wyche.

The name Woodruff appears among itemized expenses in the chancery case records. One curious item in the expenses is for “amt. of Surveyors tickets vs. T. Powell” followed by other names. The settling of the 1769 estate of John Fips, earlier Phips, of Charlotte County, Virginia, who clearly is derived from the Brunswick County family, refers to a Powell lawsuit. The same expenses also include other Powell references, in addition to a Jas Rawlings. We’ve discussed direct Rawlings connections in prior posts.

The name Harris also appears in the records, and we’ve discussed the Harris surveyor connections in various posts. Hardaway is another name which appears, and we’ve also discussed Hardaway connections. George Hardaway, for instance, entered into a mortgage deed with Benjamin Phipps in Brunswick County, in 1822. The same name, George Hardaway, appears in the chancery case file.

One of the records is signed by George Hardaway and bears the names D.B. Stith and J.P. Malone among the witnesses. John P. Malone was one of the parties of the “tripartite” mortgage deed which was mentioned above. D.B. Stith was presumably one of the successive Drury Stiths, at least one of whom was a well-known Virginia surveyor from Brunswick County. The Stith family intermarried at least once with the Hardaway family. There was even one early Virginia surveyor named Stith Hardaway.

As noted above, John Wyche was heavily involved with “Westwardmill” (Westward Mill). Today, Westward Mill Road appears on maps in the area of Lawrenceville in Brunswick County. The Wyche connection with Westward Mill becomes even more evident when all pages of the 76-page chancery file, which is digitized in the Library of Virginia website, are examined.

The connection with Westwardmill would seem to identify this John Wyche as the one who wrote to Thomas Jefferson on 19 March 1809 from that location. Past posts have noted indirect ties to Thomas Jefferson through the Epps family, a surveyor family with direct connections to, once again, George Reeves, and through the “Jeaffreson” family of the Caribbean, with direct connections from that family to the Phipps family.

John Wyche wrote to Jefferson, both being literate men, about Wyche’s desire to form a “Westwardmill Library Society.” In his letter, some names appear which also appear in the chancery case, including Hobbs, Gholson, and even Joseph Saunders, who was specifically mentioned as important to Westwardmill and to the chancery case.

And – this is the kicker, if you’ve been following this blog – this John Wyche was a surveyor. We’ve encountered numerous surveyor relationships at seemingly every turn, and always in an unexpected manner. John Wyche was also a justice of the peace, the Brunswick County coroner, the sheriff, and a county militia lieutenant, at various times in his career. He died in 1848.

Another individual providing testimony in the chancery case was John Lightfoot, with his testimony taken at Powellton in Brunswick County. John Lightfoot, perhaps the same one (or perhaps an earlier generation), witnessed a deed dated 28 August 1777 in Brunswick County from Joseph Phips and his wife Sarah and Robert Davis, Jr. This would be the Joseph and Sarah (Williams) Phipps or Phips who were discussed above. For more about John Lightfoot and the Phipps family, see here and here.

The final document in the chancery file is signed by John Wyche, John P. Malone (as mentioned above), and James Wyche. In the online chancery case file, depositions from John Phipps appear as pages 30 and 36. He is mentioned at a couple other points in the text as having provided testimony. Why such a big deal was made regarding this matter for several years is unclear. John Wyche was well respected, and the evidence seemed overwhelmingly in his favor.

Document at p. 30:

Brunswick County Scts,

This Day John Phipps of lawfull age personally appeared before me the subscriber a Justice of the peace for the said County and made Oath on the holy Evangelist of Almighty God that the assignment by Benjamin Phipps to John Wyche of a Note Executed by Robert Wallace to Said Benjamin was made in the Life time of the said Wallace and as well as the said John Recollects [but?] at any rate as long before Wallaces death as from Brunswick Superior September Court till the following February early in which last mentioned month Wallace died – The Note alluded to is dated on the twentyeth day of March Eighteen hundred & Eleven and is given for One hundred & fifty five Dollars due the first day of October next ensueing the date – Signed by Robert Wallace & Witnessed by [Hernchea?] Parham

The said John Phipps on his Oath further saith that he has many times for a Series of years seen Littlebury S Heartwell Write and been well acquainted with his the said Hartwells hand Writing and that he belies [sic; presumably error for “believes”] the three papers marked H1. H2. H3. are in the proper hand Writing of said Littlebury J Heartwell who was for Several years in the employment of the said Robert Wallace probably from sometime in the year 1814 till the fall of 1817 that he acted as a Deputy sheriff with Wallace and as far as the said Phipps remembers or believes It was Generally thought and understood that Heartwell in the discharge of his Official Conduct in the Service of Writs – Exxecutions &c was governed or controverted almost entirely by Wallace Given under my hand this 31- day of May 1823. –

[signed:] John Phipps

Sighned [sic; Signed] & sworn by John Phipps this 31- day of May. 1823 –

[signed:] A Powell J. P

Document at page 36:

The deposition of John Phipps of lawful age taken at Powellton [in Brunswick County] on Friday 17th day of July 1829 agreeably to notice and entered to read as evidence in the trial of a suit in chancery depending in Greensville County Court, between John Wyche complainant, and Charles Cordle, admr. of Robert Wallace decd., defendant This deponent, being first duly sworn on the Holy Evangelist, of Almighty God, deposeth and saith, that the assignment by Benjamin Phipps to John Wyche of a note which note is in the following words, letters and figures, to wit, 155 [which is circled] I owe and promise to pay or cause to be paid unto Benjamin Phipps the just and full sum of one hundred and fifty five dollars on or before the first day of October next, for value received of him as witness my hand and seal this twentieth day of March eighteen hundred and eleven Robert Wallace (seal) Teste [Hinchea?] Parham and on the back of the same the following endorsement, I assign the within to John Wyche Given under my hand, Benjamin Phipps Teste John Phipps, was made in the lifetime of said Wallace and as well as the said John recollects, at any rate, as long before Wallace’s death, as from Brunswick September Superior Court, till the following February early in which last mentioned month, Wallace died, the said John Phipps in his oath, further saith that he has many times for a series of years seen Littlebury S. Heartwell with and been well acquainted with his the said Heartwells hand writing and that, he believes the three papers, marked, H1. H2. H3. are in the proper hand writing of said Littleburry S Heartwell, who was for several years in the employment of said Wallace, probably from sometime in the year 1814, till the fall of 1817. that he acted as a deputy Sheriff with Wallace and as far as the deponent remembers or believes it was generally thought, and understood that Heartwell in the discharge of his official duty in the service of writs Executions &c, was governed or controverted almost entirely by Wallace and this deponent further saith that the three minor a[?]s or receipts one marked W and dated the 7th Decr. 1813. purporting to be a receipt from Wallace to Wyche for $134.59. was signed by the said Robert Wallace in his own proper hand writing in [?] also the other two memorandums or receipts, marked E & F, one dated 1 May1817 and the other 18th October 1817. and further the deponent saith not

[signed:] John Phipps

[p. 37, back side:]

The foregoing deposition of John Phipps sworn to and solemnly before us this 178th July 1829 Given under our hands and seals this 17th

F. [M?] Green J P (seal)
James Rice (seal)