TRACT # 2P: Micajah Phelps, Sr.

Micajah Phelps, Sr. of

North Carolina

(b. bef. 1760 - d. 1816)

Compiled and Published by Susan Elise Heinbuch, Ph.D.

July 1995

This (email) herewith serves as my granting official permission to you and others to post my genealogical research and to disseminate it as widely as you would like for any benefit it may be to others.   Permission granted by: Susan Phelps Bedrosian (F/K/A Susan Elise Heinbuch b. 1959). Dated: November 13, 2008

This document was found in the family genealogy section of the NC Library in Raleigh, NC.  under GR 929.2 P539H.   Note:  Footnotes were not transcribed and should be retrieved by the serious researcher.  This document was scanned and may contain OCR errors.



This is the second in a series of tracts in preparation by the compiler. This specific tract focusses on the compiler's 4-greats grandfather, Micajah Phelps, Sr., who was born before 1760, probably in Hertford County, in northeastern North Carolina. Micajah's father, James PHELPS, Sr. (d.1794, Gates County, N.C.), and his immediate family were the subjects of the first tract--see Tract I P: James Phelps. Sr. Also, refer to the lengthier Preface presented in Tract 1 P for details concerning my rationale and methods behind this research.

In addition to using endnotes to provide the sources of my information, many also contain comments and details that may be of value for directing others' Phelps-related research.

Acknowledgments. It is not possible to conduct meaningful genealogy without the generosity and assistance of many people. It is also impossible to mention, or even know, all of those that provide help, many work behind the scenes. I mention here a few who were especially helpful in the development of this particular tract: Miriam Phelps White of Chesapeake, VA, Robert Bridger Phelps of Alexandria, VA; and William J. Hunter, Wildwood, N.J. (all three are fellow Southern Phelps family genealogists); Harry Thompson, Historian, Windsor, N.C.; Veronica Haskett, Editor, newsletter for the Family Research Society of Northeastern, N.C.; and several generous members of the family association, Phelps Connections, based in Lompoc, CA.

Below is my direct drop Phelps ancestry beginning with the father of Micajah Phelps, Sr., James, who, to date, is the oldest identifiable ancestor on my Phelps line.

Compilers' PHELPS Ancestry

1. James PHELPS, Sr. (bef. 1740 - d.1794)  m (Ist). --- --- (mother of Micajah) (hef. 1750 - d. abt. 1788)

    2. Micajah PHELPS (b. bef. 1760 - d71816) m. Susannah --- (b. bLf. 1770 - d. abt. 1818)

          3. John PHELPS (be. 178() - d. 1821) m. Mary 011.1. (bef. 1794 - d. bcf. 1850)

             4. Reubin L. PHELPS (b. 1817 - aft. 1870) m. I larriett BOWEN (b. 1813 - aft. 1880)

                 5. Miles Thomas PHELPS (h. 1855 - d. 1914) m. IAuard Watson BIRD (13YRD) (h. 1857 - d. ca. 1905)

                    6. Howard Talmadge PHELPS (h. 1898 - d. 1977) m. Marguerite Kt)1.131? (h. 1901 - d. 1977)

                           7. Doris Anne PHELPS (h. 1936 - ) m. Arthur Worthington IWINf3UCII (b. 1938 - )

                              8. Susan Elise HEINBUCH (b. 1959 - ) m.  Hrach BEDROSIAN (b. 1929 - )



Micajah Phelps, Sr.

of North Carolina (b. bef. 1760 - d. 1816)

Compiled by: Susan Elise Heinbuch, Ph.D., New York, 1995

Micajah PHELPS Sr. was born around 1760, probably in what was then Hertford County, North Carolina before it became Gates County.' He was the son of James PHELPS, Sr. (d. 1794, Gates County, N.C. ).` The name of Micajah's mother is not yet known, but she was the first of two wives to James Phelps, Sr. [Refer to note 3 in the 'Sources and Notes' section of this tract for a discussion of two possible surnames of Micajah's mother, and, therefore, of James Phelps, Sr.'s first wife.] 3

Micajah is believed to have married only once to Susannah ---, by whom he fathered six children: John, Robert, Ann, Elizabeth, Micajah, Jr. and Muntrandy. 4 As of this writing, Susannah's maiden surname remains unknown. 5  It is believed that Micajah Phelps, Sr. and Susannah married in Hertford County, N.C., but this has not yet been confirmed.

Micajah Phelps, Sr. made his will on 20 September 1816. The will was- witnessed by William Fleetwood and Edward Gill.  6  Micajah died shortly after he made his will. It was presented for disposition to the November 1816 Court of Bertie County by Edward Gill.

Micajah's will specifically mentions his wife, Susannah, and his six children. His will also states that that which is left to Susannah, upon her death, is to be divided among Micajah's three daughters. Since this division of the residuary estate was ordered by the Bertie Court in August of 1818, it is presumed that Susannah died after November 1816 when Micajah's will was proved and before August 1818 when her part of the estate was ordered to be inventoried for redistribution among her daughters.

Specifically, in August 1818, the Bertie County Court "ordered that John Webb, Banajah Nichols, Humphrey Lawrence and George Ryan or any three of them to divide the estate of Micajah Phelps, Sr., deceased, 'among his residuary legatees and that they make return to next court ...Teste: Thomas Taylor, Clerk." The result of this inventory was that on 7 November 1818, each of Micajah and Susannah's three daughters inherited 120 pounds, six shillings and ten pence.

Micajah's Occupation and Residences

In his 1816 will, Micajah bequeaths his cooper tools to his sons, Robert and John Phelps. Thus, it is possible to assume that among Micajah's activities during his life, lie was a cooper, which is a barrel maker.

In addition, given his numerous activities concerning the purchase and selling of land, both wooded and fannable, in both Gates and Bertie Counties, Micajah Phelps, Sr. was also a farner.

Micajah lived for many years in Gates County before removing, along with several of his adult children, to the Merry Hill area of Bertie County, N.C.

Micajah is known to have been an adult male in 1786 residing in Gates County because lie appears on the list of North Carolina Taxpayers for that year and county. 7  He is also listed in the 1790 Census of the United States as a head of household residing in the Edenton District of Gates County, North Carolina. In this census, his household is said to consist of eight individuals: One free white male over the age of sixteen years, this would be Micajah Phelps, Sr. Three free white males under sixteen years of age, presumably Micajah, Sr.'s three sons: John, Robert and Micajah, Jr., none of whom were born before 1774 if they -were under sixteen in 1790. Also listed were four free white females, all ages, presumably his wife, Susannah, and his three daughters: Ann, Elizabeth and Muntrandy. No other free whites or slaves are listed. Micajah is also listed as a head of household residing in Gates County, in 1800. 8

Summary of Some Land Transaction Itnvolving Micajah Phelps Sr.

Micajah was quite active in the purchase and selling of land. Summaries of some of the land transactions in which he was involved are described below.

On 27 August 1787, in Gates County, Micajah Phelps was a witness along with William Draper and Abraham Morgan to a land transaction in which John Arnold and his wife Patsey sold land to James Pruden. The land was bordered on one side by Micajah Riddick's land. 9

On 18 May 1793, in Gates County, Micajah Phelps bought 100 acres from Thomas Smith, Sr. for 40 pounds. The land also bordered William Cleaves and Jonathan Smith's properties. Witnesses to the transaction included Humphrey Hudgins, Jonathan Smith and Thomas Smith, Jr. 10

On '26 May 1800, in Gates County, Micajah Phelps' property is mentioned'as border for a 100 acre land transaction occurring between Jonathan Williams and John Cuff, Jr. 11

On 28 December 1800, in Gates County, Micajah Phelps bought two tracts of woodland totalling 100 acres from William Cleaves for 100 Pounds. Witnesses to the transaction were William W. Riddick and William Phelps, Micajah's brother. Since Micajah was a cooper, perhaps the woodlands purchase was for lumber to make barrels?' 12`

On 20 February 18081. in Bertie County, Micajah Phelps bought, for 800 dollars, a parcel of land "estimated to contain two hundred and thirty one acres more or less" from John Webb. Witnesses to the deed  were B. Nicholls and Clara Nicholls. The land is described as being situated "on Cashoke Swamp bounded by the lands of Robert West, Elizabeth Pugh, John Burn, John Boswell, and Mary Hodgson." This deed was proved before the Bertie County Court in May 1809 by oath of Benajah Nicholls.13

On 11 March 1808, in Gates County, Micajah Phelps sold to Daniel Southall land estimated to be 200 acres for 750 dollars of "Current money of the United States of America." The deed mentions that the acreage involves "the whole of two tracts" Micajah had earlier acquired on 18 May 1793 and 28 December 1800. It mentions a Swamp on the land that appears to named "Whitefish." The witnesses names were blunt' on the photocopy I reviewed. 14

In 1810, in Bertie County, Micajah Phelps bought land from Elizabeth Pugh. 15

In 1812, in Bertie County, Micajah Phelps bought land from William Sutton, "guardian. 16

On 13 January 1813, in Bertie County, Micajall and Susannah Phelps deed fifty acres to their' son John Phelps, a "deed of gift." Witnesses were Reuben Lawrence and John Boswell. The deed was proved before the Bertie Court, February Term 1813. The land involved appears to be part of the land Micajah purchased in 1808. It mentions both Cashoke Road and Frasher Swamp. 17

On 29 January 1813, in, Bertie County, Micajah and Susannah Phelps deed fifty acres to their son Robert Phelps, a "deed of gift."  Witnesses were Reuben Lawrence and John Boswell. The deed was proved before the Bertie Court, February Term 1813. The land involved appears to be part of the land Micajah purchased in 1808. The deed mentions both Cashoke Road and Frasher Swamp and borders the land that Micajah and Susannah had, a few weeks prior, given to their other son John. 18


Children of Micajah PHELPS, Sr. and Susannah --

Micajah Phelps, Sr. and Susannah --- had. six children. Details about them are provided below. Note: the birth-order may not be correct.

+   1. John PHELPS was born before 1780, possibly in either Hertford or Gates. He died in 1821 in Bertie County, N.C. He married Mary GILL about 1812. John is believed to be the oldest of Micajah's children. John Phelps and Mary (Gill) Phelps had at least five children: (a) Louisa Phelps (b) John Dorsey Phelps (c) + Reubin L. Phelps (d) Mary Phelps (e) Asa Phelps.  19   More on John Phelps, son of Micajah, Sr. in Tract # 3P: John Phelps and Mary (Gill) Phelps, and on Reubin L. Phelps, son of John in Tract # 4P: Reubin L. Phelps and Harriett (Bowen) Phelps.

2. Robert PHELPS was born before 1780, possibly in either Hertford or Gates. He died before 1848, possibly closer to 1840 and possibly in Bertie County, N.C. He married Mary WILLIAMS per bond  dated 1 June 1806 in Gates County, N.C. Bondsman was Lodowick Matthews. Witness was Law Baker. Evidence suggests that Robert and Mary had at least eight children. Three of them were: (a) William Phelps (b) Micajah Phelps (c) Jesse Phelps.

Robert Phelps is known to have engaged in at least three land transactions in Bertie, N.C. In 1813, Robert and his brother, John, purchased land from their parents, Micajah and Susannah Phelps. In 1818, Robert and his brother, Micajah, Jr., purchased land from their brother, John Phelps. In 1820, Robert purchased land from William Fleetwood.

On 27 December 1849, Jesse Phelps, son of Robert, sells eighteen acres of his Bertie County land, "where I know live" to John M. Capehart for fifty dollars. This land was Jesse's one-seventh share of his father's estate that he had inherited. In this deed is also mentioned that this parcel of land is bounded on one side by land owned by John D. Phelps who was Jesse's first cousin and the son of Jesse's father's brother, John Phelps. 20 No more is known.

3. Ann PHELPS was born before 1790, possibly in either Hertford or Gates. She died probably about 1834, probably in Bertie, N.C. She married before 1816 to William GILL, who was the brother of Mary GILL who married John Phelps, Ann's brother. Ann (Phelps) Gill and William Gill had at least four children: (a) Thomas Gill (b) Martha Gill (c) Charity Gill (d) John Gill.

Ann's husband, William Gill, died in 1826. Ann is presumed to have died about eight years later, about 1834, because on 11 August 1834 her nephew, William Phelps, son of Robert Phelps and Mary (Williams) Phelps, posted a $300.00 bond to the State of North Carolina to be the guardian of Ann and William Gill's four orphaned children: Thomas, Martha, Charity and John. William Phelps also posts an administrator's bond on 12 May 1835 in the amount of $1,000.00 concerning the-four children of William and Ann Gill.

Then, on 14 August 1837, Jesse Phelps, also a son of Robert Phelps, posted a $150.00 bond to be the guardian of his deceased Aunt and Uncle, Ann and William Gill's, four children. It is not known why Jesse Phelps assumed this guardianship from his brother, William Phelps. But it is assumed that as of 1837, Ann and William Gill's four children were not yet adults. It is also known that Jesse Phelps, soon after posting this bond, married Charity Gill, his first cousin.-  21  No more is known.

4. Elizabeth PHELPS was born before 1790, possibly in either Hertford or Gates. She probably died after 1840, probably in Bertie, N.C. She married Alfred ARES before 1818. It is not known if Elizabeth and Alfred had children.

Elizabeth Phelps (spelled 'Elisabeth' in some records) inherited 120 pounds, six shillings and ten pence from her father, Micajah Phelps, Sr. when his estate was finally settled in 1818. However, this money was paid to her husband, "Alfred Ares in right of his wife, Elisabeth") as was customary of the time. 22 r~o more is known.

5. Micajah PHELPS Jr. was born before 1790, possibly in either Hertford or Gates. He died after 1820, probably closer to 1840, in Bertie, N.C. He married Rachel ---. 23 ' It is not known if Micajah, Jr. and Rachel had children.

Micajah, Jr. was active in some land transactions, all in Bertie, N.C. In 1818, Micajah, Jr. and his brother, John, appear to have engaged in a land swap, John bought property from Micajah, Jr. and Micajah, Jr. bought property from John. On 23 June 1819, Micajah, Jr. and his "wife, Rachel," sold "fifty acres ... more or less" to Mary Ashburn in consideration of the sum of $250,00 dollars. This property sale involved land that started at Cashoke Road and bordered John and Robert Phelps' land (They were Micajah Jr.'s brothers). A swamp is mentioned in the deed (It looks like 'Frasher' or 'Francess' Swamp). Witnesses to this 1819 deed appear to be Miles Ashburn and John Baswell (poss. Boswell). No more is known. 2'4

6. Muntrandy PHELPS was born before 1790, possibly in'either Hertford or Gates. She died probably after 1840. She married Joseph JOHNSON sometime after 1818. (She was not married as of 7 November 1818 when her father's estate was distributed.) 25 No more is known.


NOTE:  Endnotes were not transcribed but are available in the NC Library