Or, Subtitled: Recurring Names, Plausible Patterns, and DNA Stumbling Blocks
This is the second half of a two-part set of postings. The first part, which is here, discussed the life of David Phillips in Richmond and Spotsylvania-Orange Counties, Virginia, prior to his move to North Carolina in 1742.
David Phillips in Granville County, North Carolina
I find David Phillips entering land in Edgecombe County, North Carolina, on 15 November 1742, nine months after his final land sale in Orange County, Virginia. On that date, David entered 600 acres on both sides of Little Shocco Creek in Edgecombe. This land fell into Granville at that county’s formation in 1746 and now flows through Warren County to the border of Franklin and Warren Counties.
As we saw in the previous posting about Robert Phillips and Margaret Lindsey, John Thornton, brother to Roger Thornton who married Catherine Lindsey, sold John Gant (who may have married David’s daughter Susannah Phillips) land on the south side of Little Shocco on 2 December 1747, with David Phillips and Alex Sutherland witnessing. And on 2 December 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.
These documents place David Phillips, when he settled in Edgecombe-Granville County, in the vicinity of his cousins Roger, Henry, and John Thornton, who all acquired land on Little Shocco in the 1740s, and who, like David, came to Granville County, North Carolina, from Orange County, Virginia, with prior roots in North Farnham parish in Richmond County, Virginia. As we’ve noted several times, in 1751, when David Phillips, constable, headed a tax district in Granville County, Roger Thornton and his brother John were enumerated in that district along with Roger’s brother-in-law Robert Phillips, who is listed next to Roger Thornton. Next to Robert Phillips, two men named John Phillips are listed in the same tax list. I am not certain of their identity.
The Daniel Underwood to whom David deeded land on Little Shocco in Granville County on 2 December 1746 was a son of John Underwood and Elizabeth Slaughter of Richmond County, Virginia. He was born about 1711 in Richmond County, and married Catherine, daughter of Jeremiah Strother and Eleanor Savage. As I noted in a previous posting in this series, this is the same Jeremiah Strother for whose April 1748 survey on Sandy Creek in Granville County Dennis Lindsey was a chain carrier, and who settled next to Dennis Lindsey. The Strother name takes us right back to Dennis Lindsey’s first appearance in Richmond County, Virginia, when he and several of the other Irish servants who were indentured there with him on 1 June 1718 were placed in families with close ties to the Strother family. As we’ve noted, the Strother connections continue in Dennis Lindsey’s life right to the end of his life, when he sold land in Granville County to James Strother of Culpeper County, Virginia, in May 1761.
There are direct connections between these Richmond County Underwoods and one of the people to whom a servant arriving in Virginia with Dennis Linchey/Lindsey was indentured: Dennis’ fellow servant William Welch was indentured to Francis Woffendall, whose brother-in-law Benjamin Strother was a brother to Mary Strother, wife of Francis Suttle, to whom Dennis Linchey/Lindsey was indentured in 1718.
On 28 June 1719, Daniel Underwood’s father John Underwood and his wife Elizabeth sold a tract of land in Richmond County, Virginia, to Francis Woffendall (the deed gives his name as Woffendale), with Benjamin Strother and John Underwood witnessing the deed. An interesting 6 August 1742 instrument filed in King George County shows that the Underwood family had direct dealings with merchants in Bristol, England — a significant discovery, given the fact that the Irish servants including Dennis Linchey brought to Richmond County, Virginia, in early 1718 were brought there by a Bristol firm (and here), and that the Strother family had direct dealings with businesses in Bristol.
The 6 August 1742 document concerns an ironworks, grist mill, coal house, and other buildings that Bristol Ironworks had erected in King George (previously Richmond) County on land patented by William Underwood, which John and Daniel Underwood along with Richard Tutt and Benjamin Johnson had sold to the Bristol company. Some of the original partners of the company had died, and on 13 May 1741 in Bristol, the company gave power of attorney to John Tayloe to settle its business in Virginia.
To return to an account of David Phillips’ years in Granville County: on 28 November 1746, David sold to John Phillips 100 acres on the south side of Little Shocco, John Martain and Joseph King witnessing the deed. The John Martain witnessing this deed is the same John Martin who witnessed Dennis Lindsey’s first land purchase in Edgecombe County in February 1744. He, too, came to Edgecombe (later Granville) County from Orange County, Virginia, and was a neighbor of Dennis Lindsey, appearing in many documents of Dennis Lindsey in Granville County.
Again, who is this John Phillips to whom David sold this piece of land in November 1746? Is he the John Phillips enumerated on the Orange County, Virginia, tithables list in 1739 separately from David and his brothers Leonard and William? And is he the John Phillips who bought land south of Shocco Creek in Granville County from John Gibbs on 2 October 1749? Later, on 21 April 1755, John Phillips sold to John Gibbs, both of Granville County, 100 acres out of a tract sold by Gibbs to Phillips joining Benjamin Thomson and William Williamson. Daniel Underwood was a witness to this land sale. John signs with witnesses Daniel Underwood and Benjamin Ward. Is this John Phillips one of the two men named John Phillips enumerated in 1751 next to Robert Phillips in Daniel Phillips’ tax district in Granville County? Both Benjamin Thomson and William Williamson are also in the 1751 tax list of David Phillips in Granville County.
Next, as I’ve noted previously, when John Thornton sold land to John Gant on Little Shocco in December 1747, David Phillips was a witness to this deed. I’ve also noted Henry Thornton’s March 1749 land grant in Granville, which states that Henry’s land was next to David Phillips’ land.
On 31 May 1748, when William Eaton petitioned Granville court for permission to erect a mill on Shocco Creek, the court issued a warrant for the survey of two acres owned by Colonel Edward Moseley on the opposite side of the creek, and Daniel Underwood, David Phillips, and Abraham Bledsoe were appointed by the court as appraisers to oversee this process.
Then comes the 1751 tax enumeration showing David Phillips, constable, as head of a tax district in Granville County, with those enumerated in the district including John and Roger Thornton, Robert Phillips, and two men named John Phillips, all enumerated in a row. Also in this list are David Phillips Jr., Daniel Underwood and John Gant with sons William and John.
By 1752, it appears that David Phillips was making preparations to move from Granville to Orange County, North Carolina: on 25 Feb 1752, he sold to Richard Pinnion (the deed gives David’s name as Davis) 327 acres of his plantation on Little Shocco at Daniel Underwood’s line. The deed notes that this was from 640 acres granted to David on 20 April 1745. James Brantley, John Gibbs, and Shirley Whatley witnessed the deed.
The Final Years in Orange County, North Carolina
I have not done much research in Orange County records for David Phillips. Nancy Kiser’s invaluable work on David Phillips, which I noted in the first posting in this two-part set, shows him appearing on an Orange County tax list in 1755 with William, Stephen, James, and David Phillips and three men named John Phillips. Her notes about this tax list state that William was David’s oldest son and was born about 1724, and David Jr. was his third-born son, born about 1730.
In August 1761 when Orange court appointed Michael Holt Jr. to oversee construction of a road from Pine Ford to the Haw River to the fork of the road westward and from Trollinger’s Ferry, Benjamin and Jesse Phillips were appointed to the crew to work the road, along with John Gant. Nancy Kiser thinks Jesse was a son of David, and that Benjamin is possibly another son. The reference to John Gant links the Phillips folks now living in Orange County back to Granville County, and indicates that John Gant made the move to Orange County along with the family of David Phillips.
In June 1762, David Phillips had a grant for 700 acres on the south side of Haw River on Nelson’s Run in Orange County. The grant document identifies him as David Phillips Senr., planter, and says that this land was surveyed 27 February 1762 with William Rainey and John Rennals as chain carriers.
On 4 January 1763, Thomas Sharp received a grant of 313 acres on Nelson’s Creek of Haw River in Orange, with the grant stating that the land was on David Phillips’ line and that David was a chain carrier along with John Trollinger on 12 July 1760 when the land was surveyed.
On 20 January 1763, John Phillips had a survey for 683 acres on the west side of Haw River, joining Trollenger and Sharp. In February 1765, Orange County court minutes show David and William Phillips ordered with others to lay out a road from the mouth of the Reedy Fork on Haw River to the Cape Fear road.
The final reference to David Phillips I find in the notes about him that Nancy Kiser has generously shared with me is his listing in 1768 along with David Jr., William, James, John, and Joseph Phillips among those signing a regulators’ petition in Orange County. It appears that he died, very likely in Orange County, sometime after he signed this document.
Once again: I’ve provided these notes about David Phillips because it has long seemed to me very likely that the Robert Phillips who married Margaret, a daughter of Dennis Lindsey, is related to the Phillips family from which David Phillips comes. As we’ve seen, David Phillips and Dennis Lindsey followed the same migration pattern at the very same time: from Richmond County, Virginia, where Dennis was indentured in 1718, to Spotsylvania County, where Dennis sought unsuccessfully to patent land in the fork of the Rapidan in 1728. David sold his land in Richmond County by August 1728 and then moved to Spotsylvania, settling in the fork of the Rapidan in what became Orange County.
By 1744, Dennis Lindsey had moved from Virginia to Edgecombe (later Granville County), North Carolina. There are indicators he left Virginia a few years earlier and was in Edgecombe County somewhat earlier than 1744. David Phillips left Orange County, Virginia, in 1742 and patented land there. When he did so, he settled next to his cousins Roger, John, and Henry Thornton. These Thorntons came from a family closely connected to David’s family in North Farnham parish in Richmond County, Virginia, and had gone from there to Orange County, Virginia, before moving to North Carolina in the 1740s. Roger Thornton married Dennis Lindsey’s daughter Catherine. From 1751 to 1762, when Dennis died, Roger Thornton and Robert Phillips, who married Dennis’ daughter Margaret, appear in the same tax district in Granville County. They appear to be living side by side on David Phillips’ 1751 Granville tax list.
There are abundant reasons to lead one to conclude that David Phillips and Robert Phillips are very likely related to each other. Yet, if the Dennis Phillips who died in Chatham County, North Carolina, in 1831 is the Dennis Phillips whom Dennis Lindsey names as a grandson in his 1762 will in Granville County — son of Robert Phillips and Margaret Lindsey — then the DNA of known descendants of that Dennis does not match that of known descendants of David Phillips and his brothers.
What is one to make of that finding? DNA evidence is incontrovertible, and I surely do not doubt this DNA finding. I do, however, have quite a few reservations about concluding that the Dennis Phillips found in Chatham County, North Carolina, records is the son of Robert Phillips and Margaret Lindsey. I’ve outlined my doubts here. In addition to the doubts I express in the posting to which I’ve just pointed you, I’d note, as well, that Dennis Phillips of Chatham County did not name a child either Robert or Margaret, and I don’t find either of those given names running down the first generations of this Phillips family following Dennis.
I could be totally off track in suggesting that the Dennis Phillips of Chatham County is not the son of Robert Phillips and Margaret Lindsey, and this could be one of those genealogical cases where many plausible bits of information simply point in the wrong direction. Still, it seems to me that, given the many indicators that Robert Phillips might well have been part of the David Phillips kinship network with so many ties to Dennis Lindsey and members of his kinship network, it’s worth continuing to ask about a possible connection between Robert Phillips and the Phillips family to which David Phillips belongs.
 Edgecombe County, North Carolina, Land Warrants and Plats, file 42.
 Catherine Strother’s sister Elizabeth, who was born about 1709 in Richmond County, married George Underwood, Daniel Underwood’s brother.
 Richmond County, Virginia, Deed Bk. 7, p. [418?]. On 31 May 1743, Francis Wolfendale of Hanover parish in King George County sold this land to Thomas Turner of the same, with the deed noting that it had come to him from John Underwood and wife Elizabeth on 29/9 June 1719, and that they had the land from a grant to Francis Slaughter, 10 September 1662, which Francis Slaughter bequeathed to Elizabeth Underwood by his will (King George County, Virginia, Deed Bk. 2, pp. 476-8). Francis Strother was a witness to this deed.
 King George County, Virginia, Deed Bk. 2, pp. 429-431. This document gives the name of the Bristol company as both Bristol Ironworks and Bristol Iron Mine Company.
 Granville County, North Carolina, Deed Bk. A, pp. 219-220.
 Ibid., Bk. B, pp. 43-4.
 Ibid., pp. 474-5.
 The original tax list is transcribed at George Baumbach’s site, “George’s Genealogical Research Filing Cabinet.”
 Granville County, North Carolina, Deed Bk.B, pp. 40-1.
 Nancy Kiser’s notes cite Orange County, North Caroline Court Minutes – 1752-1761, Book I, transcribed by Weynette Parks Haun, 243 Argonne Dr., Durham, NC 27704.
 Nancy Kiser’s notes identify this as Orange County Land Grant #19.
 Nancy Kiser’s notes cite a source identified as SSLG 100-B and North Carolina Patent Bk. 12, p. 32.
 Nancy Kiser’s notes cite North Carolina Patent Book 12.
 Nancy Kiser cites Orange County court minutes.