The Children of Dennis Linchey/Lindsey (abt. 1700-1762): Margaret Lindsey and Husband Robert Phillips

Phillips, Robert, Walter Clark, ed., The State Records of North Carolina, vol. 22, Miscellaneous (Goldsboro, NC, Nash Bros., 1907), p. 165
Granville County, North Carolina, Militia List of Capt. Jonathan Kittrell’s Company, 1771, in Walter Clark, ed., The State Records of North Carolina, vol. 22: Miscellaneous (Goldsboro, NC: Nash Bros., 1907), p. 165.

Or, Subtitled: Genealogical Puzzles and the More You Learn, the More Confused You Become

A Long Introduction: Robert Phillips the Mystery Man

I’ve been dithering over the next installment of my postings about the children of Dennis Linchey/Lindsey (abt. 1700-1762) because, to be honest, Robert Phillips is a mystery man for me. The more I try to find new information about him, the more confused I am. I had decided to follow my posting about Dennis’s daughter Catherine and her husband Roger Thornton with one about Robert Phillips and his wife Margaret. We know from Dennis’ will that one of his daughters married Robert Phillips, and I’ve told you why I suspect that daughter was Margaret and not Elizabeth, the other married daughter at the time the will was made, in addition to their sister Catherine, who we know, from sources other than the will, married Roger Thornton.

I’ve tried for years to get a clear picture of Robert Phillips, but no matter how much research I do, I inevitably end up confused and frustrated by the sparse information I can find about him. Part of the problem is just that: information about Robert Phillips seems to be sparse. It’s not clear (to me, at least) where he was before March 1749, when he shows up in Edgecombe County, North Carolina, as a chain carrier for a survey done for William Teant. I think he may have been just coming of age at this time, which would explain why there are not earlier records for him.

It’s not clear who Robert’s parents were. I have been unable to connect him to other Phillips families in Edgecombe-Granville Counties. Again, if Robert was just coming of age when he shows up in William Teant’s survey documents in 1749, as I suspect may have been the case, then it’s to be expected that there might not be abundant pre-1749 documentation of his family connections.

Not only are records for Robert Phillips sparse: the handful of records I can turn up for him do not provide much helpful information. I find no records naming any of his and Margaret’s children, or giving any information at all about his wife. All that we know of Margaret is what her father says about her in his 1762 will bequeathing to her his plantation’s “working Tules” and giving the use of the plantation to Robert Phillips until Margaret’s brother Benjamin had come of age.

We know from Dennis Lindsey’s will that Robert and Margaret had a son Dennis Phillips born before the will was made. But I find no records of Dennis in Granville County, and though a number of researchers have concluded that Robert and Margaret’s son Dennis is the Dennis Phillips who died in Chatham County, North Carolina, by 14 February 1831, I never find any indicators of links between that Dennis Phillips and Robert Phillips or other members of Dennis Lindsey’s kinship network in Granville County. I do know that Robert Phillips was a corporal in Capt. Jonathan Kittrell’s Granville County militia unit in 1771 — while Dennis Phillips of Chatham County is said to have been the Dennis Phillips who served in Capt. Berryman Turner’s regiment of Caswell-Chatham Counties during the Revolution. Or perhaps I should say more precisely: I know that a man named Robert Phillips was a corporal in Capt. Jonathan Kittrell’s Granville County militia unit in 1771, and I think this is the Robert who married Margaret Lindsey, primarily because I don’t find a clear record of other Robert Phillips in Granville County in this period.

I ask myself why a father and son would have been living separately from each other in the 1770s when the son would apparently have been in his teens, and would have served in separate military units — in different counties — when there are indicators that Robert Phillips lived up to at least 1781. In that year, he was exempt from taxation in Granville County.

Lots of puzzles. A fragmentary, confusing picture, one that seems to be made even more confusing by DNA evidence — if those who report that they can trace their ancestry to the Dennis Phillips who died in 1831 in Chatham County are correct in concluding this is the Dennis Phillips named as a grandson in the 1762 will of Dennis Lindsey. The more work I do to try to sort out Robert and Margaret Lindsey Phillips, the more confused I find myself.

A note about why I’ve moved from Dennis Lindsey’s daughter Catherine and her husband Roger Thornton to his daughter Margaret and husband Robert Phillips: as I’ve noted previously, I think Dennis’ son William was likely close in age to his sister Catherine, and that these were the oldest two of Dennis’ children. I’m skipping over William as I discuss Dennis’ children, because I have much more information about him than I do about Dennis’ other children, and want to save William for last.

It seems likely to me that the other two daughters who were married when Dennis made his will in August 1762 — Margaret and Elizabeth — were probably next in order of birth in the list of children. We know from the will that their siblings Mary, Winnifred, and Benjamin were all not yet of age in August 1762.

Robert Phillips’ appearance as a chain carrier in Edgecombe County in March 1749 places his birth before 1733, and likely around or before 1730, I think. If his wife Margaret was near him in age, then she would evidently have been born by 1730 or in the early 1730s. As we’ll see when we move on to Dennis’ daughter Elizabeth, her husband Ephraim Clanton was of age by 1757 and seems to have been born by 1736-7, when his brother David is also thought to have been born. I suspect his wife Elizabeth was born in the latter half of the 1730s, too: since I can find no information about either Margaret or Elizabeth except what Dennis Lindsey says about them in his will, I have no option except to make broad guesses about their year of birth based on what we can discover about their husbands.

All Information I’ve Yet Discovered about Robert Phillips, Husband of Margaret Lindsey

With that long set of prefatory remarks out of the way, here’s the sum of what I have been able to discover about Robert Phillips. I should note, too, that I’ve concluded that there were no other Phillips men named Robert in Edgecombe-Granville Counties up to at least the mid-1760s, when it becomes unclear to me whether another Robert Phillips has entered the picture — but I never find more than one Robert Phillips on Granville County tax lists from the 1740s to the early 1780s, when it appears the Robert we’re tracking died:

  • 25 March 1749: Robert Phillips is a chain carrier for William Teant’s survey of 346 acres in Edgecombe County, with the tract adjoining Jones.[1] Joseph Hancock is the other chain carrier.

This is the first record I have been able to find of the Robert Phillips who then appears in Granville County records and who married Margaret, daughter of Dennis Lindsey. As I have noted above, this record indicates that Robert was of age in 1749 and therefore was born before 1733 and likely before 1730. I should note here, too, that I am making the assumption that this is the Robert Phillips subsequently found in Granville records, because many early Granville residents are previously in Edgecombe records, and because no Robert Phillips shows up in Edgecombe records after this initial mention of a man with that name.

I have looked for other records connecting Robert Phillips to William Teant, without finding any. William’s surname appears as Tant or Taunt in other sources. William Taunt is in Capt. Osborn Jeffrey’s militia in Granville in 1754, and on the 1757 tax list (as William Tant) in Granville. His name appears in a list of those charged with road work in Bute County in 1771. I should note that the research I have done on this person is anything but exhaustive.

  • 1750, 1751, 1752: Robert Phillips is on Granville County tax lists.[2]

In 1751, Robert is enumerated in the tax list of David Phillips, constable.  Robert has one tithe and is listed next to his brother-in-law Roger Thornton and Roger’s brother John, each with a tithe, and also next to two men named John Phillips, both with a tithe. Also close to these men is Daniel Underwood, a name we’ll encounter in other records involving Robert Phillips that we’ll discuss in a moment, and a person closely connected to David Phillips, the constable in whose district Robert Phillips is enumerated.

Both Daniel Underwood and David Phillips came to Edgecombe-Granville Counties from Orange County, Virginia, and both had roots in North Farnham parish in Richmond County, Virginia. As we’ll see when we take a close look at David Phillips in a subsequent posting, Daniel Underwood married Catherine, daughter of Jeremiah Strother and Eleanor Savage of Richmond County; Catherine was a sister to the Jeremiah Strother for whose April 1748 survey on Sandy Creek Dennis Lindsey was a chain carrier, and who settled next to Dennis Lindsey.

Also enumerated close to Robert Phillips and the two John Phillips on this 1751 tax list for the district of David Phillips, constable, was John Brantley, another name closely associated with David Phillips in other Granville records.

Who are these two men named John Phillips, and what, if any, is their connection to Robert? One of them is evidently the “Black John” Phillips of the 1752 tax list.

In 1752, Robert Phillips is taxed in the district of John Brantley, along with Roger Thornton, Roger’s brothers Henry and John, the latter named as a constable, Daniel Underwood, “Black John” Phillips, Dennis Lindsey, Abraham Bledsoe, father of Henry Thornton’s wife Catherine, and John Gant, another person linked to David Phillips in various records.

  • 5 March 1757: Robert and Jer Phillips are chain carriers for a survey done on behalf of Samuel Huckaby for 275 acres on both sides of Little Shocco creek in Granville County.[3] The land description notes that the tract adjoined Underwood (i.e., Daniel Underwood), John Gaunt, and Huckaby’s own line. John Gaunt is the John Gant I’ve just mentioned.

Note that Roger Thornton’s brother John sold John Gant 50 acres on the south side of Little Shocco on 2 December 1747, with David Phillips and Alex Sutherland witnessing the deed.[4] This is the same Alexander Sutherland who witnessed Thomas Owens’ sale of land in Granville to Dennis Lindsey on 17 November 1746.

In addition, on 2 Dec 1746, David Phillips of Granville County sold to Daniel Underwood of Orange County, Virginia, 213 acres on Little Shocco, part of 640 acres granted to Phillips on 20 April 1745.[5] Finally, on 25 March 1749, Roger Thornton’s brother Henry had a grant for 200 acres in Granville County, with the land description stating that the land joined that of David Phillips.[6]

An exchange between Bob Little and Cliff Gant on the Phillips forum at the now defunct Genforum site on 11 June 2007 suggests that John Gant was born about 1734 and that he married Susannah, daughter of David Phillips.[7]

The 1757 grant to Samuel Huckabay on Little Shocco is recorded as a deed in Granville County deed books, with the deed again stating that the land joined Underwood and Gant. The deed is witnessed by Sugan Jones and Thomas Zachary.[8]

If the Jer Phillips who was a chain carrier with Robert Phillips for Samuel Huckaby’s/Huckabay’s 1757 Granville survey is the Jeremiah Phillips who died in Chatham County by 14 November 1805, then this 1757 document may strengthen the case for linking the Dennis Phillips who died in Chatham in 1831 to Robert Phillips of Granville.[9]

  • 1760: Robert Phillips is in Gideon Macon’s tax list in Granville County with one tithable. Roger Thornton is in the same list, also with a tithable. Also in this list is Daniel Underwood.  No Phillips names other than Robert’s appear in this list.
  • 1761: Robert Phillips is taxed in Granville in Sandy Creek District, along with Dennis Lindsey (listed for Ephraim Clanton), and Roger Thornton.

This tax listing suggests to me — as I’ve noted previously — that Dennis was living at the end of his life near his married daughters and being cared for by their families.

  • 1762: Robert Phillips is taxed in Granville in Capt. Hawkins’ District. Roger Thornton is taxed in the same district, with a John Ballard listed among his two tithables. Dennis Lindsey has dropped from the list, since he died in this year. Robert Phillips also appears in the insolvents’ tax list for 1762 and again in 1763.
  • 13 April 1762: Within months before his death, Dennis Lindsey sells Robert Phillips 130 acres on Sandy Creek at Bufelow [sic] branch adjoining Dennis’ former line and Charles Liles. The deed states that the land was from a deed Dennis Lindsey obtained from “his Lordships office” on 7 March 1761. The deed was witnessed by Roger Thornton, John Pendergrass, and Aaron Fussell.[10] I have discussed this deed previously and provided a digital image of the original. Like Roger Thornton, John Pendergrass has pre-existing ties to the Phillips family from which David Phillips comes, a point I’ll explain in a later posting.

If one puts together several pieces of germane information in connection with this deed, a certain picture of Robert’s and Margaret’s circumstances as Dennis neared death seems to emerge. Note that 1) there seem to be no previous land records for Robert in Granville County, which suggests he owned no land prior to this land sale, and perhaps farmed with his father-in-law; 2) 1762 and 1763 tax lists in Granville state that Robert was insolvent; 3) Dennis Lindsey made a point of leaving the use of his plantation to Robert Phillips until his son Benjamin came of age, and he left his daughter Margaret his plantation tools.

It appears to me that Robert Phillips and wife Margaret were not in robust financial circumstances, and that Margaret’s father made special arrangements for them in his will for that reason. If it’s the case that Robert lacked economic stability, this might well account for the dearth of records for him. All of these clues about apparent financial stress in Robert Phillips’ case, coupled with the will’s stipulation that Dennis Lindsey’s daughter Margaret inherit his plantation’s working tools and that Robert Phillips was to have use of the plantation until Benjamin Lindsey came of age, seem to me to point to the conclusion that it was Dennis’ daughter Margaret who married Robert Phillips.

  • 19 April 1762: Dennis Lindsey sold to James Wooton 200 acres on both sides of the Buffalow branch on the south side of Sandy Creek. The deed notes that this land was another piece of Dennis’ 1761 Granville grant. The witnesses to this deed were Dennis’ sons-in-law Roger Thornton and Robert Phillips, long with Aaron Fussell.[11]Again, I discussed this deed previously and provided a digital image of it.
  • August 1762: Robert Phillips is named as a son-in-law of Dennis Lindsey in Dennis’ Granville County will, which stipulates (as we’ve seen — and see here) that Dennis’ daughter Mary should live with Robert and his wife until Mary had reached age 16, and that Robert was to have use of Dennis’ home plantation until Dennis’ son Benjamin had come of age.
  • 22 March 1763: Robert Phillips sells to Robert Day for £15 Virginia money the 130 acres on Sandy Creek that Dennis Lindsey had sold him on 13 April 1762. The deed notes that the land was at Wootons spring branch and joined Liles and Estice. Witnesses were George Platt and Nathaniel Peebles; the latter proved the deed at Bute County court in August 1764, and it was recorded.[12]
  • 28 February 1767: Henry Fuller sells to William Phillips 175 acres on the north side of Tar River in Granville County, Dan Hunter, Henry Fuller, and Robert Phillips witnessing the deed.[13] But note the 1767 tax list cited below, in which a William Phillips is listed near Robert Phillips.

I am not clear about exactly who this William Phillips is. David Phillips (the constable of the 1751 tax list) had a son William who is thought to have been born about 1723. By 1767, David’s family had moved from Granville to Orange County, North Carolina, though there are occasional references to members of this family in Granville after their move to Orange around 1755.

  • 1767: Robert Phillips is on Stephen Jett’s tax list in Granville, along with an Anthony Phillips who is listed beside William and Chandler Phillips.

These Phillips names seem to appear suddenly in Granville County records in this period, and their sudden appearance does make me wonder if the Robert Phillips of the 1767 deed of Henry Fuller to William Phillips, who is also probably the Robert in this 1767 tax list, is a different man than the man who married Margaret Lindsey. Yet, unless the Robert Phillips who married Margaret Lindsey has died or moved out of Granville by 1767, this is the only Robert Phillips I’ve found on tax lists for the county in 1767.

  • 1771: Robert Philips was a corporal of a Granville County militia company by Capt. Jonathan Kittrell.[14] A Moses Phillips is in the same unit.
  • 7 August 1781: Robert Phillips was exempt from taxation in Granville Co.[15] This record suggests to me that Robert Phillips may have been infirm by this point. I do not find records in Granville County or elsewhere for him after this time, but if he’s the Robert Phillips paid by the Hillsborough auditor’s office in June and October 1783 for Revolutionary service (see the records below), then he may have lived into 1783.[16]
Phillips, Robert Rev. Pay Voucher 1783
Pay voucher to Robert Phillips, Hillsborough auditor’s office, 10 June 1783, from “North Carolina Revolutionary Pay Vouchers, 1779-1782” at FamilySearch (originals held by North Carolina Archives).
Phillips, Robert, Rev. War Pay Voucher 1783 (2)
Pay voucher to Robert Phillips, Hillsborough auditor’s office, 1 October 1783, from “North Carolina Revolutionary Pay Vouchers, 1779-1782” at FamilySearch (originals held by North Carolina Archives).

Dennis Phillips

The only child of Robert and Margaret Lindsey Phillips about whom I have information is their son Dennis, who is named in the will of his grandfather Dennis Lindsey in August 1762. Robert’s tax listings in Granville never show him with a son of age listed in his household, which suggests that, if he had other sons, all sons were minors in the years in which Robert shows up in the tax lists. Nor do I find any other records for Dennis Phillips in Granville County, beyond his mention in the will of Dennis Lindsey.

The will of Dennis Lindsey provides no clues as to the age of his grandson Dennis Phillips in 1762. If we assume that the grandson was a small boy when the will was written, then Dennis Phillips may have been born in the period 1755-1762. If his father Robert lived in Granville County up to the early 1780s, and if Dennis was born in the 1750s, one would expect references to Dennis Phillips to begin occurring in Granville records by the early to mid-1770s. But as I have noted previously, I can find no such references.

As I note above, various researchers believe that a Dennis Phillips who was in Capt. Berryman Turner’s Caswell-Chatham County militia unit in 1779 is the Dennis Phillips who died in Chatham County by 14 February 1831.[17] Researchers have also concluded that this man is the Dennis Phillips named as a grandson in the 1762 Granville will of Dennis Lindsey.

Phillips, Dennis, 1801 Land Grant (4)
18 August 1801 survey for 18 acres for Dennis Phillips on Tysons Creek in Chatham County, North Carolina, from land grant packet held by the North Carolina archives — Chatham County warrant 682, grant 32

His listing in a militia unit in 1779 suggests that this Dennis Phillips was born by the mid-to-late 1750s. Dennis entered land in Chatham County on Tysons Creek, 10 February 1801. An order to survey the land was issued 10 May 1801, and the land was surveyed 18 August 1801, with William Phillips and Willis Elkins as chain carriers for John McIntosh’s survey.[18]

Phillips Dennis Estate (1)
14 February 1831 administration bond of Willis Phillips for estate of Dennis Phillips, Chatham County, North Carolina, from loose-papers estate file held by North Carolina Archives.

Dennis Phillips’ loose-papers estate file held by the North Carolina archives, shows Willis Phillips being made administrator of Dennis’ estate on 14 February 1831. Lenza Phillips and George Henry give bond with Willis for the administration. The estate’s personal property was sold on 26 March, with the primary buyer a Mary Phillips who was, according to documents in Dennis’ estate file, his widow: the file contains her petition in May 1831 to Chatham court for her widow’s portion, which was allotted on 29 July.

A posting by Rebecca Sheriff, a descendant of Dennis Phillips, on 2 June 2003 to the Genforum Phillips discussion board states that Dennis Phillips married Mary Sanders, a daughter of a Quaker couple, Benjamin and Leah Smith Sanders. According to Sheriff, Dennis and Mary Phillips had children 1) Lindsey/Lenzible (b. abt. 1794), married a) Dorcas Nall, b) Lucy; 2) Sarah (born 1798), married Henry Phillips; 3) Joel (born abt. 1802), married Lydia; 4) Willis (born 1805), married a) Isabel Nall, b) Margaret Welsh; 5) Leah (born 1807), m. William Nall; 6) Miriam (born 1807), married Archibald Shields; 7) Sanders (born 1812), married a) Sarah Perry, b) Sarah Laird; 8) Mary (born 1813); and 9) Deborah (born 1813), married Matthew Phillips. Sheriff’s list also includes an Emory Nall who was born in 1820 and appears, according to her research, to be a son of Dennis Phillips.

Rebecca Sherrif’s posting notes that Dennis Phillips was in Capt. Turner’s company during the American Revolution, and that he owned 200 acres on Tysons Creek in 1815 and paid no poll tax in that year, since he was over 50. In 1815 Dennis was living next to William Phillips. The family was in the Bear Creek community on Tysons Creek, according to Sheriff.

In another Genforum posting on 29 May 2000, Rebecca Sheriff states that Mary Sanders belonged to the Cane Creek Monthly Friends’ meeting in Chatham County, and was disowned by the meeting for marrying out of the Quaker community. As she notes, Chatham was formed from Orange County, and records of the meeting prior to the formation of Chatham in 1771 comprise families in Orange County (and surrounding counties).

As I’ve noted previously, I haven’t found any clear records linking Dennis Phillips of Chatham County to Robert Phillips of Granville County. Several pieces of information would seem to suggest that this Dennis Phillips is the grandson Dennis Lindsey names in his 1762 Granville will. The given name Dennis is not common in Phillips families in North Carolina in this period, and this is the only Dennis Phillips I spot in North Carolina records in these years.

A number of researchers estimate the birthdate of the Dennis Phillips of Chatham County around 1756 (though I haven’t seen any explanation of how researchers arrive at that birthdate, or the documents they are citing). If that’s an accurate birthdate, then it, too, seems to fit: it does seem to me likely that the Dennis Phillips who was Dennis Lindsey’s grandson was born in the 1750s.

The fact that Dennis and Mary Sanders Phillips named a son Lindsey has also been cited by researchers as another indicator that Dennis Phillips of Chatham County was the son of Robert Phillips of Granville County. It should be noted, however, that Dennis Phillips’ son Lindsey appears in various records as Lindsey Bell Phillips or Lenzible Phillips.

I’m fairly confident that Lindsey Bell Phillips was named for the Chatham County Revolutionary officer Lindsey Bell, who was a corporal in Capt. John Montgomery’s Chatham County militia unit in 1772. Serving in that unit in 1772 were Jeremiah, Joel, Lewis, and William Phillips, all of whom are likely closely related to Dennis Phillips.[19]  Lindsey Bell appears to have no connection at all to Dennis Lindsey.

As I’ve noted above, if the Jeremiah Phillips of this militia list and other Chatham County records is the man who was a chain carrier with Robert Phillips for Samuel Huckaby’s 1757 survey in Granville County, then the case for the Dennis Phillips who died in Chatham County in 1831 being the son of Robert Phillips seems to me to become stronger. It should also be noted that Orange County, North Carolina, the parent county of Chatham, was formed from Granville County (along with other counties).

So much does not seem to fit as I try to connect Dennis Phillips of Chatham County to Robert Phillips of Granville County, however. Much of this story is unclear and inexplicable, in my view. Here are some questions I have as I try to connect Dennis Phillips of Chatham County to Robert Phillips of Granville County:

  1. If Dennis of Chatham was of age by the late 1770s, then why does he not appear at any point in Granville records in the 1770s?
  2. Why would a father be living in Granville and a son just coming of age be living at the same time in Chatham, serving in two different military units?
  3. Why do no records exist showing any connection at all between the Dennis Phillips of Chatham and the kinship network of Dennis Lindsey and Robert Phillips in Granville?
  4. Why do none of the names of Dennis Phillips’ children in any way echo names of family members in that Lindsey-Phillips kinship network in Granville?
  5. Why do no Granville records show any children for Robert and Margaret Phillips, in fact? We know of their son Dennis only via the will of his grandfather Dennis Lindsey.

After examining the records I can find for Dennis Phillips of Chatham County, I remain as confused as I am when I try to figure out Robert Phillips of Granville County. I’m of a divided mind about the man in Chatham County — about whether he is, indeed, son of Robert Phillips and Margaret Lindsey.

And I continue to wonder about the many strong connections between the members of the Phillips family of North Farnham parish in Richmond County, Virginia, found in Granville County records, and Dennis Lindsey and his family. To me, these connections suggest the strong possibility that Robert Phillips is somehow tied to the Richmond County Phillips family that moved to Orange County, Virginia, and then to Edgecombe-Granville Counties, North Carolina, in the same time frame that Dennis Lindsey and a number of other families closely tied to him made the same move.

The DNA of known descendants of those Richmond-Orange-Granville families does not match that of known descendants of Dennis Phillips of Chatham County, North Carolina, so I could be entirely off on a tangent in thinking that Robert Phillips is related to the Richmond County Phillips folks who moved to Edgecombe-Granville in the early 1740s — if the Dennis Lindsey of Chatham County is, in fact, son of Robert Phillips. This could be one of those genealogical surprises where what seems to be a plausible picture of a family and its kinship connections is countered by inconvenient facts.

I’ll tell you more about those other Phillips folks in Granville County records who originate in North Farnham parish in Richmond County, Virginia, and why I’m tempted to connect Robert Phillips to them in my next posting….

[1] Granville Grant Patent Bk. 11, p. 280, grant 1185.

[2] I’m citing the original Granville tax lists, which I researched at the North Carolina archives a number of years back.

[3] Granville Grant Patent Bk. 11, p. 375, grant 1629. William S. Powell notes that Shocco Creek rises in Vance County and flows through Warren County to the Warren-Franklin line, where it merges with Fishing Creek: The North Carolina Gazeteer (Chapel Hill: Univ. of North Carolina Press, 1968), p. 452.

[4] Granville County, North Carolina, Deed Bk. A, p. 32.

[5] Ibid., pp. 5-7

[6] Granville County, North Carolina, Patent Bk. 14, p. 78, grant 57.

[7] And see Cliff Gant’s posting about John Gant and Susannah Phillips to the Phillips board at, 21 July 2001. This posting erroneously suggests that Susannah’s father David Phillips originated in Surry County, Virginia.

[8] Granville County, North Carolina Deed Book C, pp. 318-320.

[9] Jeremiah Phillips’ loose-papers estate file held by the North Carolina archives shows Chatham County court granting Lazarus Phillips administration of Jeremiah’s estate on this date.

[10] Granville County, North Carolina, Deed Bk. F, p. 292.

[11] Ibid., pp. 259-260.

[12] Warren County, North Carolina, Deed Bk. A, page 10, for Bute County.\

[13] Granville County, North Carolina, Deed Bk. H, pp. 357-8.

[14] See Walter Clark, ed., The State Records of North Carolina, vol. 22: Miscellaneous (Goldsboro, NC: Nash Bros., 1907), p. 165, transcribing Granville County militia lists of 1771.

[15] See Thomas McAdory Owen, History and Genealogies of Old Granville County, North Carolina, 1746-1800 (Greenville, South Carolina: Southern Historical Press, p. 239).

[16] The North Carolina Archives show, in the index for their Revolutionary War Army Accounts (Record ID: 13.30.44928) three entries for a Robert Phillips — vol. A, p. 138; vol. V, p. 33, folio 1; vol. XII, p. 26, folio 2. I have not examined these records.

[17] See “Troop Returns of Captain Turner’s Company, Caswell-Chatham Counties, Under Command of Colonel McDowell,” in North Carolina Revolutionary Troop Returns (RG 5864), North Carolina Archives. This is a payroll for men in Turner’s company dated 15 March-30 July 1779; Dennis Phillips is #58 in the Chatham County section of the payroll. See also the transcribed muster list of Capt. Berryman Turner’s regiment at J. D. Lewis’ The American Revolution in North Carolina website.

[18] I’m citing the papers in the original land grant packet held by the North Carolina archives — Chatham County warrant 682, grant 32.

[19] See Sue Ashby’s transcribed “Militia Officers of Chatham County in the Revolutionary War and Other County Officials” at the USGenweb site for Chatham County.

9 thoughts on “The Children of Dennis Linchey/Lindsey (abt. 1700-1762): Margaret Lindsey and Husband Robert Phillips

  1. Very interesting and informative…I am a relative of Dennis Phillips, so information on Robert is always helpful.

    Jim Phillips


    1. Jim, thanks for letting me know this was helpful. I would love to make headway on the Phillips branch of the Lindsey family. I’m not entirely sure that the Dennis Phillips of Chatham County, North Carolina, who married Mary Sanders, was the son of Robert Phillips and Margaret Lindsey — but could be very wrong in doubting this. It would help with the sorting if direct descendants of Dennis were DNA matches to known descendants of Dennis Lindsey (d. 1762).


  2. I am a descendent of Labourn Phillips from Randolph/Chatham County, North Carolina (circa 1794-1868) who owned land in Chatham County in the 1820s and then moved to Washington (part of which became Russell and then Dickenson) County, Virginia. For years, my cousins and I have been studying the Phillips connections to Dennis Phillips of Chatham County, North Carolina from the perspective of the Willis Phillips branch. Both lived in the same area as evidenced through land records and Willis’ will probated 1804 in Chatham County, North Carolina. Several others lived along the Tyson’s Creek/Hillsborough area as well. According the the Phillips Family Y-DNA Project, it appears through Y-DNA testing that there were two branches of Phillips in the same area at the time: Group 8 and Group 10. My family is from Group 10. We have conflicting views on which of these Phillips families in the area are connected and how–brothers, sons, cousins? Family lore and one Bible record claim Labourn’s father was Joel Phillips and mother Phoebe who never left Randolph County, North Carolina. Yet the evidence points to Willis Phillips and wife Phoebe as the parents of Labourn. We appreciate the work you have shared and would like to know if you have found any information pertaining to Willis or Labourn.


    1. Thank you so much for your interest in this posting, Marg. The Phillips families in Chatham County confuse me precisely because I have long seemed to think there are at least two different — and perhaps unrelated — families with that name living in the county at the same time, just as you suggest. And I’ve never been sure I have sorted them correctly. Some of the given names you mention do sound familiar to me. I will check my files and see if I have information on Willis or Labourn and let you know if I find something — or if I don’t happen to have any information about them.


    2. Marg, I’ve been going through my Phillips files, and do find two references to a Willis Phillips who was apparently in Chatham County, and was son of Dennis PHillips. My notes say the following:

      On 2 June 2003, Rebecca Sheriff posted the following to the Genforum Phillips thread about a Dennis Phillips who settled in Chatham Co., NC: “I will try once more for HELP in finding the ancestors of Dennis Phillips, b. circa 1756, d. circa 1831 in Chatham County, NC. Married Mary Sanders, a Quaker, daughter of Benjamin and Leah Smith Sanders. Known children:

      Lindsey “Lenzible” Phillips b. ca 1794 m Dorcas Nall (2)Lucy
      Sarah Phillips b. 1798 m. Henry Phillips
      Joel Phillips b. 1802 m. Lydia ?
      Willis Phillips b. 1805 m (1) Isabel Nall (2) Margaret Welsh
      Leah Phillips b. 1807 m. William Nall
      Mirium Phillips b. 1807 m Archibald Shields
      Sanders Phillips b. 1812 m (1) Sarah Perry (2) Sarah Laird
      Mary Phillips b. 1813
      Deborah “Deby” Phillips b. 1813 m Matthew Phillips
      Emory Nall b. 1820 m Nancy Nall

      And then the following:

      On 29 May 2000, Rebecca Shrriff posted the following to the Genforum Phillips thread: “Searching for information on family of Dennis Phillips b. abt. 1755-56 d. abt. 3/1831 in Chatham County, NC. Married Mary Sanders member of Cane Creek Monthly Meeting, Chatham County, NC (and parent Orange Co., NC). Mary was disowned for marrying out by Cane Creek MM. Mary is daughter of Benjamin Sanders and Leah Smith. Do not have any information on parents of Dennis. Have the names of some of their children: Lindsey, Deborah, Sanders, Sarah, Joel. Willis, Leah, Mirium, Mary, Emory (Emry).”

      This may well be information you already had, but it seems at least one person researching Dennis Phillips of Chatham County thinks he had a son Willis.


      1. Thank you so much for checking your information sources for the early Phillips Families in Chatham County, NC. We think Dennis was the brother of our Willis (uncle of this Willis) as our Willis Phillips died in 1804. This family is part of our Phillips DNA Project Group 10. We have checked the Cane Creek MM in the past as we think our Willis married another daughter of Benjamin Saunders named Phoebe. She is also named Elizabeth in some places in the estate of Willis (1804). As we are revisiting our research, we plan to review those minutes again, also. We appreciate your help with this mystery and your dedication to use evidence as a basis for explaining theories and expressing questions for further consideration!


      2. I doubt I have been of much help at all, but happy to keep looking for information to assist you. Do you think your Willis who was perhaps brother of Dennis was a son of Robert Phillips and Margaret Lindsey, as a number of researchers think Dennis was? I have never been certain that this is correct — that the Dennis Phillips in Chatham County is the Dennis Phillips named as a grandson in the will of Dennis Lindsey in Granville County, North Carolina.


      3. As we periodically go back through our many records and theories, like you, we are not sure the Dennis Phillips grandchild of of Robert and Margaret Lindsey Phillips is the same Dennis in Chatham County North Carolina with our Willis or if Willis is a grandchild as well. With additions of DNA links, the Lenzible/Lindsey Phillips is our DNA Phillips kin as a cousin to our Labourn. The oldest Family Bible record we have seen lists Robert as Labourn’s brother. This we know is true. The rest remains speculation. The Bible record of our Labourn’s brother Robert continues the name of Robert, but lists Joel and Phoebe Phillips as their parents. While we believe Phoebe (also listed as Elizabeth in places) was the wife of Willis and father of our Labourn per the Estate papers of Willis, we have not been able to find evidence that the Bible listing of Joel as patriarch is correct. Willis did have a brother Joel who married a Sarah, and there are several other Joels (like the one in Wilkes County GA), but we have not found evidence that matches the records we have linking a Joel as other than Labourn’s uncle. Mysteries like these keep us busy, and new records as well as review of old ones certainly give us many possibilities. Thanks, again, for checking your records!


  3. You’ve done outstanding research on this set of Phillipses. I wish I had more to add. It surely would solve a problem for me if I could be sure the Dennis Phillips in Chatham County is the Dennis Phillips named in Dennis Lindsey’s 1762 Granville County, North Carolina, will. When I found out that the son of Dennis Phillips named Lindsey was almost certainly named for Lindsey Bell, that altered my perspective on this question a bit, and I became less certain that this Chatham County Dennis Phillips was the grandson of Dennis Lindsey. But I continue to keep an open mind about this, too.

    It definitely causes a big headache when families keep replicating the same given names. Sorting out my Odom family in Nash, Edgecombe, Chowan Counties, North Carolina, is such a big problem for that reason: Richards, Johns, Abrahams, Aarons and Jacobs galore, living side by side in the same time frame.


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