Note: There is a great deal of confusion over the parentage of Abner Phillips of Surry Co., NC, although there seems to be general agreement that he was a member of the large Phillips family of Hopewell, New Jersey. Many people from Hopewell NJ ended up in Surry Co. NC due to the land disputes with Col. Daniel Coxe that plagued Hopewell in the mid-1700's. In fact there was a community on the Yadkin River called the "Jersey Settlement."
Some researchers have concluded that Abner Phillips was the son of Phillip Phillips (b. 1704) of Hopewell, and the son-in-law of Richard Phillips (b. 1705). Other researchers believe that Abner Phillips was either the son of Richard Phillips (b. 1705) or was Richard Phillips' son-in-law, the husband of Richard's daughter Elizabeth Phillips.
This Abner (b. 1737) should not be confused with a different Abner (b.1717) who was the son of Phillip Phillips (b. 1678).
A connection between Abner and Richard is suggested by two unrecorded deeds in the possession of the New Jersey Historical Society (transcription posted on Hunterdon Co., NJ, GenWeb Archives, <www.rootsweb.com/~usgenweb/nj/hunterdon/hunterdon.htm>. On April 3, 1770, Abner Phillips "of Hopewell" and his wife Elizabeth Phillips conveyed their one-half interest in "all that tract and Parcel of land situated and being in the town of Hopewell aforesaid on Smith's mountain and butted and Bounded as by the survey thereof According to a Survey of a deed given by Daniel Coxe unto Job Phillips and Abner Phillips containing forty acres of land . . . " The deed notes that this parcel was purchased by Richard Phillips from Daniel Coxe and that Job Phillips and Abner Phillips became tenants in common after the decease of Richard Phillips. On April 16, 1770, Abner Phillips and Elizabeth likewise signed over to Job Phillips their interest in a property that Richard Phillips had purchased from Cornelius Anderson in 1749.
It seems from these deeds that either Abner or Elizabeth was the child of Richard Phillips and the sibling of Job Phillips. It is hard to say which. In any event, it does make sense though that Abner would have sold his land prior to leaving New Jersey, which he appears to have done sometime after 1770. Abner Phillips disappears from the records of Hopewell. NO Abner Phillips appears on the Hunterdon Co. NJ Rateables List of 1786, or the tax list of 1793.
According to research shared by Susan J. Galls, on June 19, 1775, there was an Abner Phillips who bought 200 acres "in the great fork of the Rapahannack River" in Culpeper Co., VA, and sold it on Nov. 21, 1783 (Culpeper Deed Book H:93 and M:92).
Susan Galls also discovered the following tidbit from the court records of Fauquier Co., VA (which is next to Culpeper Co.): in 1783, Abner Phillips where he acted as the "attorney in fact" (i.e., agent) for "Phillip Phillips OF MAIDENHEAD, NEW JERSEY" in a lawsuit against one David Cale.
We then find an Abner Phillips in Surry Co. NC where he appears on the tax list in 1786.
On March 17, 1788, Abner Phillips bought bought 400 acres on the "North side of the Yadkin River" from William Terrell Lewis (Surry Deed Book D:419-20). It is this land on which he is buried (now Yadkin Co.). He also appears on the
There were Phillips in Surry Co., NC as early as 1771 according to tax lists (in particular, Joseph, Bennett, George, and William) but their relationship to Abner is unknown.
1790 Surry Co. Census, p.186: ABNER PHILLIPS
3 w/m under 16 2 w/m over 16 3 w/f no slaves Also listed in the 1790 census (relationship to Abner):
p.183: CORNELIUS PHILLIPS, 1 w/m over 16 (Abner's son) EPHRAIM PHILLIPS, 1 w/m over 16, 1 w/f (Abner's son) ROBERT PHILLIPS, 1 w/m over 16, 1 w/f (??) SOLOMON PHILLIPS, 1 w/m over 16, 1 w/m under 16, 2 w/f (??) WILLIAM PHILLIPS, 3 w/m over 16, 4 w/m under 16, 3 w/f (??) p.184: JONATHAN PHILLIPS, 1 w/m over 16, 2 w/f (??) p.185: MARK PHILLIPS, 2 w/m over 16, 1 w/m under 16, 2 w/f (??) 1800 Census, Surry Co., NC: ABNER PHILLIPS
2 w/m 10-16 1 w/m 45+ 1 w/f 16-26 1 w/f 45+ no slaves 1809, ABNER PHILLIPS was bondsman in the marriage of his son Phillip Phillips and Susannah Spencer.
1810 Census, Surry Co., NC, p.193: ABNER PHILLIPS
1 w/m 16-25 1 w/m 45+ 1 w/f 45+ no slaves I've been told that Abner's dates of birth and death are from his gravestone at the Greenwood Cemetery in Elkin, Surry Co., NC. Documention needed.
WILL OF ABNER PHILLIPS
Abner Phillips Will recorded Feb. term 1813, Surry Co., NC, Will Book 3, p.103
In the name of God Amen this tenth day of November in year of our lord 1812 I Abner Phillips of Surry County & State of North Carolina being sick and weak in Body but in perfect mind memory thanks be given to God For the Same Calling unto mind the mortality of my body and knowing that it is appointed for all men to die I do make and ordain this my last Will & testament that is to say first of all I give and Recommend my sole unto the hand of the Almighty God that gave it and Body I recommen to Earth to be Buried in decent manor at the discresion of my Executors Nothing douting but at the general resurrection I Shall Receve the Same again by the mighty power of God And as Tuching Such Worldy Estate whare
with it hath pleased God to bless me in this life I give and dispose of the land in the following manor and forme I give and Bequeath to my beloved wife Elisabeth all my Rail and Parsonabel astat her natural life
and at hir death I give and bequeath all my land and property that my wife at death holds to my Son Philip and he shall give to Each and Every of my children Thirty dollars in trade Except my Son Cornelius he shall give him one dollar all to be paid in one year after my wifes death. And I do apoint my beloved wife Excecutress and Philip my son Executor to pay and collect all my just debts.
In witness were of I have set my hand and seal the day above wrote in presence of
Abner Phillips (seal)
John Baily Jurat
Sources of info:
Brent Holcomb, "Marriages of Surry County, North Carolina: 1779-1868" (Baltimore: Genealogical Pub. Co., 1982).
Kelly Ratliff, Abner Phillips lineage <http://www.geocities.com/Heartland/Hills/8288/phillips.htm>
Family tree shared by Susan J. Galls
A book I have not personally read: "The Phillips Family" by Shirley Phillips Friel
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