Phelps of Caswell County,Person and Nearby Counties, NC  (Including those who moved to Kentucky)

Chronology by census years 1800-1850 with annotations

 Douglas Kemper Phelps



NOTE:  This research may not reflect the most recent research.  It was current around 2001.


The well known 1788 will of James Phelps of Caswell Co, list as his sons: William, Ambrose, Obadiah, Reubin, Thomas and Larkin.  The objective of this table is to determine which Phelps remained in Caswell County and which was the father of my Ambrose Phelps, b. 1805, d 1850 in Caswell County.


The reader may find helpful  "A Guide to Understanding the Table “Phelps of Caswell County,Person and Nearby Counties, NC” and My Conclusions.  It is  found here.



Scroll to the right to see all the information.


James Phelps’ sons are printed in purple and are numbered 1-6.




1777 Cas Tax list

Land grants

1780 tax list

1784 tax list

1786  Cas Census

1790 Cas Census

1800 Census

1803 Cas taxables


1810 Census

1820 Census

1830 Census

1840 Census

1850 Census

Mary Phelps

Wife of James Phelps






Living in Richmond district

(upper-to-mid right side of Caswell)









Joshua Phelps  WHO?








Joshua Phelps Richmond Dist







John Phelps Who??





1786 wit to James’ will










James Phelps


11/20/1778 entered 320A on Mill Crk (Wins Mill Crk likely See other land entries), border Ann Smith & Va line


grant was  1779, December 20


Richmond dist on Mill Crk, 2 white polls, 0 black pools, 292a 461 lbs

Died 1785-86










1. Ambrose, son of James Phelps

born 1776-1780 (deduced), died 1837


Youngest son of James (see James’s will)


Moved to KY







Amby Felps Caswell NC

1 male 1774-1783

1 fem 1774-1778



Ambrose 120 Richmond Dist


Ambrose Felps Pulaski, KY

1 male 1765-1784

1 fem 1765-1784


son b 1794-1800

   Cabird b 1801



son b 1801-1810

Anderson/Ambrose? Jesse?





2 fem. Under 10

1 fem 10-16




Second Ambrose at Pulaski:

Ambrose Felps Pulaski, KY

(appears to be a duplication or correction)

1 male 1765-1784

1 fem bef. 1765

2 males under 10

2 fem. Under 10

1 fem 10-16



Ambrose Phelps Pulaski

1 male 1776-1794

1 fem 1776-1794


son b. 1796-1804




son b. 1805-1810



son b 1811-1820



2 fem under  10

1 fem 10-15



Ambrose Phelps Pulaski

1 male 1770-1780

1 fem 1770-1780











1 female 20-30




(Ambrose dies abt 1837) Estate settled in Pulaski


Anderson Phelps, son of Ambrose of KY.


Born bet 1800-1810







Not in census



Not in census

Not in census

Anderson Phelps Pulaski

B, 1800-1810


1 male under 5


1 female 20-30

Anderson Phelps Butler Co.

B. 1800-1810



In 1860 in Butler Co,  an Anderson Phelps, B 1805 is living with James M Phelps, age 32,




Anderson Phelps Butler Co, B.1825


Anderson Felps, B 1820 living with a Julian Phelps next door to Jess Phelps Butler Co Age 30

2. Larkin, son of James

Born 1773 (1850 mortality census record) , before Obediah (who was 2nd youngest son)

Moved to KY







Not in census

Larken Richmond Dist 120


Larcin Felps Pulaski, KY

Born 1765-1784

Wife b. bef  1765



4 males 1800-1810

1 male 1794-1800

1 fem.1800-1810

2 fems 1794-1800

Larkin Phelps Pulaski

B. 1796-1804(error because children b. abt 1807)

Wife b. bef  1775

2 males 1804-1810


1 fem 1810-1820

1 fem 1804-1810

Larkin Phelps Pulaski

Larkin Phelps Pulaski

Died 2/1850 per mortality census


3. Obediah, son of James

born 1774 (see reasons below


Jim Phelps has a date of 11/5/1775(no support


Was 2nd youngest (see James’ will)

Moved to KY






m. 1796

Obadiah Felps Caswell NC

Born 1756-1774

Wife b.1756-1774




Obediah Richmond Dist 120


Obediah Felps Pulaski, KY

Born 1766-1784

Wife b. 1766-1784


3 males under 10

1 male 10-16

1 female under 10

2 females 10-16



Obediah Phelps Pulaski

Born bef 1776

Wife b.bef 1776



Obadiah Phelps Pulaski


(need this data)


Jim Phelps has a death at Nov  7,1838

Obediah Phelps Pulaski

born 1780-1790

(does not agree with previous ages.  Likely was Obediah Jr.)

Obediah Phelps Pulaski


(need this data)


.  Likely was Obediah Jr.)


1777 Cas Tax list

Land grants

1780 tax list

1784 tax list

1786  Cas Census

1790 Cas Census

1800 Census

1803 Cas taxables


1810 Census

1820 Census

1830 Census

1840 Census

1850 Census

4A. Thomas Phelps (the older Thomas)




Glouster Dist, 287 pounds

9/10/1778 land grant: 640A,  N Hico


10/1/1779 land grant: 484A,  N Hico

Glouster Dist 1140a 2212 lbs

Glouster Dist,  1 white poll, o black polls, 1084a, 461 lbs

Glouster Dist

Living in Glouster district (mid-to-lower right side of current Caswell Co)


(1784-87 NC Census: Glouster district, WM 21-60: 1; WF all ages 3;   1 black <12 or > 50)

Thomas Felps Caswell NC

Born. Bef 1756


Wife b. bef 1756


1 girl 1774-1784

2 girls 1755-1774








Thomas Phelps Glouster Dist 680






Thomas Phelps Caswell

Born bef. 1766


Wife b. bef 1766








Had 13 slaves

Thomas Phelps

Born bef 1775



He died 1823, age 96. 

Caswell will  probated in 1823  shows 3 married daugh, one deceased, no sons


14 slaves





4B. Thomas Phelps, Sr  (the younger Thomas), son of James

 born  bet. 1766-1770 (deduced)  Died 1849


Likely married Mary Pass in 1791, since the older Thomas' daughters were born before Mary's marriage.







Living in Richmond district (upper-to-mid right side of  present Caswell)

Thomas Felps Caswell Co

Born 1755-1774


Wife b. 1755-1774















2 boys 1790-1800

Hiram (to TN)  & John (documented by researcher Jacob Phelps)





2 girls  1790-1800

Also a Thomas Phelps Jun Richmond Dist 147   Junior??


Thomas Felps Caswell Co

Born 1766-1784


Wife b. 1766-1784










1 boy born 1801-1810




1 boy 1795-1800

1 boy 1785-1794





4 girls borrn 1801-1810


2 girls born 1795-1800



No slaves

Thomas Phelps Caswell  Co

Born bef 1775


Wife b. bef 1775


2 boys 1811-1815:

Richard A.  (in  Thomas Sr’s will)

& Thomas H. as documented by researcher Mark Phelps.)




1  boy 1805-1810






(not reported)




2 girls  1795-1804


4 of original 6 girls not in census, who are they?


1826: buys land in Person co.


Had 1 slave.

Thomas Phelps Person Co.

Born  1761-1770


Wife b.  1761-1770


1 boy  1811-1815 Richard A. 




Thomas  H.  not reported



1 boy 1801-1810.

Should  be Ambrose, b. 1805








2 girls 1801-1810

Not in the census.

Person C: Married Polly McKissack in 1845  At age 74!




















would be abt  50 in 1849.

Died 1849  His 1849 will, in Person Co., list him as Sr.  

Wife is Polly


Will lists wife, 2 sons, 2 daugh and also refers to  Thomas H.


Wills to adult son Richard A. 


1 boy and 1 girl are under 21.

4C.  Thomas Phelps of Kentucky








None listed in Ky.



None listed in KY.

Adai Co, KY

Madi. Co, KY

Call Co, KY


Thomas H Phelps, Jr. of Person Co. – Son of Thomas Phelps, Sr. (4B), grandson of James

B 1813,

 d. 1880

Based on 1880 Mortality Census.







Not in census



1813: Thomas H. Born outside Person Co.

Not in census

1830:Thomas H. moved to Person Co.








1839, this Thomas??  buys from an estate sale – along with an Ambrose Phelps

Thomas Phelps,Jr  Person Co.  Adjacent to Caswell 

Born  1811-1820


Wife b.1811-1820


1 son  b.1836-1840


1 girl  b.1836-1840




Thomas H Philips 

Person Co.



B 1813


Wife B. 1813


Boy b. 1838


Girl b. 1841

Boy b. 1843

Boy b. 1846

Boy b. 1849


In 1860 census, data missing


In  1870 census he & she born in 1805??


Thomas H. Died 4/1880 (mortality sched says born 1818         à>

Ambrose Phelps (1805-1850) of Caswell Co. son of  Thomas Phelps, Sr. (4B), grandson of James.



Ancestor of Douglas Phelps, New Bern, NC







Not in census

Born 1805 in Caswell Co. (documented)



1803 Taxables, Richmond



Not in census




1812: wife Elizabeth born (documented)

Not in census

Not in census







Later records show that  Ambross’s  4  daughters were born:

Bet 1834-1840

Bet 1836-1841

Bet 1838-1845

Bet 1842-1852




1836, property record is the  first record of Ambrose (1805-1850) in Caswell Co.


1837, mentioned in property xact


1839, he buys small item from a John Russell estate sale – along with a Thomas Phelps

AmbrosePhillips Caswell Co

Born 1801-1810


Wife born 1811-20



2 girls b. 1831-35


2 girls b. 1836-40

exact  sex and very close ages of known children of Ambrose (1805-1850)  and also matches age of known wife.


1842, Ambrose Phelps is indentured on property on S Hyco Creek.


1848, mentioned in court records.

Ambrose Phelps Caswell in Mortalityi Census, d. 1850

5A.  William

Phelps of Caswell Co., son of James Phelps.

1754-1824. A William Phelps died in Caswell in 1824 at age 70 as reported by the Raleigh Star. He was a Rev. War veteran. 






William Phelps


Living in St. Lawrencedistrict (upper-left side of current Person Co.)


1786, January 10, Marry - Jane Warrin

Not in census

William Phelps Richmond Dist


William Felps Caswell

B. bef 1766


Wife b. 1766-1784

Boy b. 1795-1800

Girl b. 1795-1800

Girl b. 1785-1794


William Phelps Caswell Co

Born bef  1774,


No wife

No children reported.  All now would be over 20.


No slaves


Died 1824 Rev. War soldier, age 70, near Milton, Caswell.




5B.  William Phelps of KY







Not in census



William Felps Sr Grayson Co, Ky

B. bef 1765

Wife b.bef 1765


Male b 1765-1784

William Phelps Butler Co

William Phelps Butler Co

B. 1790-1800

William B Phelps Butler Co


5C. William Phelps of KY







Not in census



William Felps,Jr Grayson Co, KY

Born 1765-1784

Wife b 1765-1784

5 girls  

William Phelps Butler Co

William Phelps Butler Co

B 1790-1800










1800 Census



1810 Census

1820 Census

1830 Census

1840 Census

1850 Census

6. Reubin Phelps, son of James 1761-1770 based on the one ceusus.








Living in Richmond district (upper-to-mid right side of Caswell)


Bought property in Caswell in 1799 Book C p372

Not in census



Not in census

Person Co. 1821 listed as a buyer of hoes in Hamblett estate

Halifax co census M+F  b 1761-1770   M 5-9  M10-14  M b 1791-1800  F 10-14  2F 20-29  2f 30-39 

A Reubin married Mary M Taylor May 16, 1848 in Caswell


His will of 1837


John Phelps

Person Co.



Proved James' will likely







St Lawrence District

Not in census



Not in census

Not in census

(Will of John Phelps, Person Co. 1837)


(b. 1792:LJP)

(d. abt 1839: court record)


Could be a different person than the 1790 John.



Richard A Phelps

B 1816 (MLP)















Hiram Phelps

Caswell Co.

Born bet 1775-1794

(B abt 1796, D abt 1865:JLP)


Son of Thomas Sr. per descnd.Jacob L Phelps







Not in census



Not in census

Caswell Co.

Born 1775 –1794

1 f  0-10

1 f 10-16


Person Co. &

Davidson Co

Person Co. &

Davidson Co


Moved to Tenn in 1842, per Jacob Lester Phelps, descnd of Hiram


Frances B. Phelps

Caswell Co.

Born bef 1774

Who is this???







Not in census



Not in census

Caswell Co.

Born bef 1774

Wife b. 1775-1794

2 sons b. 1811-1820

1 f  0-10

1 f  10-16


Not in census

Not in census


Isham Phelps

Caswell Co.

Born 1790-1793







Not in census



Not in census

Not in census

Not in census

In Halifax Co, Va from two  Caswell  deed records: 1831/32


B 1790-1800


1 boy b 1835-1840

2 girl b. 1835-1840

1 girl b. 1830-1835


Born 1790

Wife b. 1830 

8 children

Had 1 slave

Demsy Phelps of KY.







Not in census



Not in census

Not in census

Demsy Phelps Pulaski Co



Cabird Phelps of KY















Cabird Phillips

B 1802 NC

Wife born 1811 NC

4sons 5 girls

Jesse Phelps of KY.

B. 1804







Not in census



Not in census

Not in census

Jesse Phelps Butler Co

B 1805-1810


2nd Jesse Phelps Butler Co???


 Jesse Phelps Butler Co

B 1800-1810

Jesse Phelps Butler Co B.1804, Wife Nancy B 1804

Ambrose Phepps/Phipps

Wake & Orange Co. A documented Phipps, not a Phelps.

Born 1800-1810, son of Dudley Phipps.

Married Susan Holloway 1828, 8 children

Married Martha Wilson 1867








Not in census



Not in census

Not in census

Ambrose Phipps/Phepps  Wake Co, NC

B. 1800-1810

Wife b. 1800-1810


No children


Was in Wake tax list, Lick Creek area

Had 1 slave.

Ambrose Phipps

Wake Co. NC


B. 1800-1810

Wife b. 1800-1810


1 boy 1830-1835

1 boy 1835-1840,


1 girl 1830-1835

1 girl 1835-1840

In 1840 our Ambrose Phelps had only 4 girls, no boys.


Ambrose Phipps

Orange Co.


Dudley Phipps, Wake Co

Born 1780-1790, a documented Phipps, not a Phelps.  Father of Ambrose Phipps.







Not in census



Not in census

Not in census,




But is in Wake tax list

Dudley Phipps

B. 1780-1790

Wife B.1780-1790


1 boy 1800-1810, named Ambrose Phipps born 1805


1 boy 1810-1815

1 boy 1820-1825


2 girls 1800-1810

2 girls 1815-1820

1 girl 1825-1830


 Was in Wake tax list, Lick Creek area

Had 2 slaves, prop.

Not in census
Not in census


Reason for the 1774 birth date chosen for Obediah:


1. The census records of 1800, 10, 20 (I dont have 1830), give a net birth range of 1766-1774. This range fits agrees with all 3 census records. This puts the upper limit at 1774.

2.  He was the second youngest son of James (as specified in James' will).   Ambrose was named as the youngest, and the 1800 census records give a net birth range of 1776 - 1780 for Ambrose.  So Obediah's birth has to meet that requirement. 

3.  Obediah was married 1796 per known records. We might assume he was married between 20 and 25, perhaps older.   Meaning between 1771 (maybe earlier) and 1776.

4.  Larkin , who was older than either Obediah or Ambrose, was b. 1773 per 1850 mortalitiy census records.  So Obediah had to be born after 1773


Therefore to agree with those 4 points,  the only logical birth year that fits all that is 1774



A Guide to Understanding the Table “Phelps of Caswell County,Person and Nearby Counties, NC”

And My Conclusions


Douglas Kemper Phelps, New Bern, NCC

Draft 11/18/2001



The purpose of the table


The document “Phelps of Caswell County,Person and Nearby Counties, NC” includes many of the records of the Phelps who could be related to Ambrose Phelps (1805-1850 of Caswell Co, NC) who was my great, great grandfather. The table is a visualization of those and other the key facts.


As documented by the 1850 Caswell,  NC Mortality Census an Ambrose Phelps died that year and was born in Caswell in 1805 (or about 1805).  His children moved to Forsyth County in the late 1800’s.  My primary goal was to determine his father. Ambrose died young so was likely never named in a will.  I have found no specific record proving his parentage.   But this table may gives a evidence as to who was most likely Ambrose’s father – and who was clearly NOT his father.  Further, it may allow one to deduce information about other Phelps.


Probably the earliest Phelps in Caswell are the sons of a James Phelps.  His well-known 1788 will of James Phelps of Caswell Co, list as his sons: William, Ambrose (the youngest), Obadiah, Reubin, Thomas and Larkin..  Based on the data I have, I agree with other researchers that Ambrose, Larkin and Obediah moved to Kentucky.  I am not certain of William or Reubin, but it is evident that Thomas did not move. A large Phelps family developed in Kentucky with reunions currently active.


How to Use the Table


While there are many records related to the Phelps of Caswell and Person Counties in the 1800’s, it is sometimes difficult to know to which Phelps the fact applies.  This is especially true for Ambrose Phelps and Thomas Phelps, since in the early days the last name is sometimes recorded very differently and there were three Ambroses and three Thomases in the general area.  Even though property, marriage records, census records, etc. show different spellings, it is possible to identify a specific Phelps by first organizing the 10-year census records - which show birth year ranges of the family including the head of household, wife, and the numbers of sons and daughters in the family – allowing one to construct an identification or “fingerprint”. For example: A John Jones is listed in 1840 as born between 1775 and 1810 in a census.  In a later census a John Jones is listed as born between 1800 and 1820 while another John Jones was listed between 1815-1830.  One can deduce that the latter Jones is most likely a different person.  Confirming information can be made using this approach with his children and wife.   This technique sometimes allowed me to identify individual children and wives as unique people.  Most importantly, one may narrow the range of birth years reported by comparing several census records.


I used this approach in setting up the “Phelps” table with rows for each Phelps and columns for each 10-year census. Each Phelps’ census record was applied to where it fit, based on birth ages of the family.  I then applied many of the key facts documented on my paper “Key Facts to Determine the Father of Ambrose”.  Note that in some census records Phelps might be spelled very differently and a junior and senior may not be designated as such. In a single county census one might find two Thomas Phelps and a Thomas Felps.  However, by tracing the birth years of all the family in a census record, a clear identification is observable.  This is especially true when a census family is matched already known family members and birth years.  (Pre-1850 census records do not list individual named family members).  The table allows one to visualize where each Phelps was over time.


Conclusions From the Table


Who were the sons of James Phelps (died abt 1788, Caswell Co. NC) and where did they go?


1.        Ambrose Phelps, youngest son of James, was in Caswell in 1800 but was recorded as Amby Felps.  (Amby” is very likely to be the shortened version of Ambrose.  For example “Amby” was used as a middle name of my great grandfather which came from his father, Ambrose.)  There is general agreement that he was a son of James and moved to Pulaski, KY by 1810, had children there and died abt 1837.   There was a second Ambrose Phelps in recorded in Pulaski in 1810 but based on a review of the census records, that entry was either a duplication or a correction.  In any event that Ambrose never appeared again in any census.  Based on many records in Pulaski, including his will, it is evident he died there.


2.        Larkin Phelps, son of James, shows up in the 1810 (as Felps) through 1840 census records in Pulaski.  There is general consensus that this Larkin was a son of James and he moved to Kentucky.


3.        Obediah Phelps, son of James, is first in the 1800 Caswell census as Felps but afterwards is in Pulaski through the 1850 census. In 1803 Obadian Phelps sold 70 acres to Thomas Phelps. (10/28/1803  Deed Book N page 91-2 ) It was adjacent to Ambrose Phelps (the one who moved to Ky) There is general consensus that this Obedian was a son of James and he moved to Kentucky.


4.        Reubin Phelps, Bought property in Caswell in 1799 (Book C p372) but was only in the 1790 NC census.  Yet he was recorded in 1821 as a buyer of hoes in Hamblett estate sale.  And a Reubin married in 1848 in Caswell.  It is odd that he was missed in all the censuses – unless he lived with someone else. So it is possible to say this Reubin was a son of James and stayed in Caswell and had no children – or that he left the area completely, whereabouts unknown.


5.        Thomas Phelps, 4A and 4B. (Changed 2/2004) These two by the same name are listed in Caswell Co in the 1800 and 1810 censuses. In 1820 one is listed in Caswell; the other was not listed but died in 1823.  The other continues in the Person County census in 1830 and was married in 1845 and died in 1849.  (A Thomas Phelps, Jr. appears in the 1840, 1860 and 1870 censuses.)   Kentucky censuses do not show a Thomas (4C) until 1820 through 1840, each in a different county.  So it seems that Thomas did not move with his brothers and remained in Caswell.   It is commonly reported that James was born 1735-1740. Supporting that is that since his son William was very likely the oldest son. He was born in 1754 (reported in the Raleigh Register paper), meaning James would have been about 20 at William's birth, a reasonable age.  Thomas 4a was born in 1727, too early to be James' son.  So Thomas 4b, born bet 1776-1770 (based on census record deductions) had to be James' son.


6.        William Phelps.  William (6A), born 1754, is listed in the Caswell Co censuses of 1810 and 1820.    Williams 6B and 6C are in Grayson Co, KY in 1810: a Sr. and Jr.  They appear again in another county in 1820 and 30. A William Phelps died in Caswell in 1824 at age 70 as reported by the Raleigh Star, Therefore he was born in 1754. He was a Rev. War veteran.  Either this William or the William (6B) of Kentucky could have been the son of James.  Ky census records should be reviewed.  But it is likely that William 6a was a son of James Phelps.




Applying source records to the proper Thomas Phelps


Fact:   A Thomas Phelps was born in 1727. As reported in in Abstracts of Vital Records from Raleigh Newspapers Vol II , p 553 – “Raleigh Register”, he died in 1823 at age 96.  Therefore he was born in 1727.

            This fact has to apply to Thomas 4A, born before 1766 as shown in the censuses.  On the other hand, Thomas 4B was born between 1766 and 1770 as deduced from census records.



Fact:  In 1821, a Thomas Phelps' will list daughters Elizabeth Wisdom, Nancy Roan, Rachel Sargent, Delsshe (Delphia? Roan), dec'd.   NO mention of a wife or sons.   (Caswell Abstract of Wills 1800-1850  Caswell Will Bk I, Pg 247 4/1821, probated 10/18/23.)

            This fact has to apply to Thomas 4A because his 1800 census lists him with 3 daughters.   Thomas 4B had a wife in 1820 (just before the 1821 will) and  2 girls and 3 boys.


Fact:  On 12/17/1791 a Thomas Phelps married Mary Pass in Caswell Co.  (Caswell Co Marriage Bonds) 

This fact very likely applies to Thomas 4B yet could possibly apply to Thomas 4A.  In the 1800 census, Thomas 4A had three girls born before the 1791 marriage date and names them (only) in his 1823 will. He would have been 64 at the 1791 marriage. His 1800 census record shows a wife born bef 1756 meaning she would have been at least 35 at the 1791 marriage.   Thomas 4B had four children reported in the 1800 census, all born between 1790 and 1800 – which fits the 1791 marriage.   Also, the reported ages of 4B and his wife in the 1800-1830 censuses both allow for a typical youthful age at the 1791 marriage.


FactIn 1845 a Thomas Phelps married Polly McKissack in Person county.   

This fact applies to Thomas 4B based on a personal family genealogy by Mark Latham Phelps whose ancestor is this Thomas. This Thomas is Thomas Phelps Sr based on Phelps Sr’s  will in 1849 listing a wife named Polly.  Interestingly, this Thomas 4B would be 75-80!  

This fact does not apply to Thomas 4A since he died in 1823.  This marriage did not apply to Thomas H. (as listed in the 1840 Person census) because his children were born between 1836 and 1840, before the 1845 marriage and he was officially a Jr, not a Sr.


Fact:  In 1849 a Thomas Phelps,Sr.’s will in Person Co lists Polly as his wife with 2 sons, 2 daughters (two children under 21) and refers to a Thomas H(?) Phelps, likely his son.

            This fact applies to Thomas Phelps 4B based on a personal family genealogy by Mark Latham Phelps.  Further, since this Thomas had so many children over the years, it appears he had young children with Polly and named them as recipients.  His other children would now be 45 to 50.


Fact:  There is a Thomas Phelps Jr and a Thomas H Phelps.  Were they the same and who was the father?

 They were the same and the father was Thomas Phelps, Sr (4B) based on a personal family genealogy by Mark Latham Phelps.  Additionally, a Thomas Jr is listed once in the 1840 Person Co census.  A Thomas Phelps appears in the Person Co censuses of 1860 & 1870.  The 1880 Person Co mortality census lists a Thomas H Phelps who died that year, born in 1818 and had lived in Person Co since 1830.  Thomas H and Thomas Jr. are clearly the same person.  Thomas H and a son Robert appear in the 1849 will of Thomas 4B. Census records of 1820 and 1830 for Thomas Sr. show two sons born between 1811-1820 while he was in Caswell Co.  Thomas H. had lived in Person since 1830.  With this evidence and  - since census records show no boys for Thomas 4A - Thomas 4B was the father.






Who was the father of Ambrose Phelps (1805-1850 of Caswell Co)?



1.        The father must have been living in Caswell Co in 1805 where Ambrose was born, because the Mortality census states he was born in Caswell.

2.        Since it was common in the early 1800’s for Phelps to be spelled Felps, either name is acceptable.

3.       His father may have been a brother of Ambrose, son of James Phelps, who moved to KY.  Ambrose’s (born 1805) youngest son was named Jacob Amby Ibsam/Ibzam Phelps.  While “Jacob” likely came from his mother’s father’s name, “Ambrose” may have been a name from an uncle.  “Amby” (perhaps short for Ambrose) was handed down through several descendants.)


The most likely candidate is Thomas Phelps Sr (4B).  The reasons are:

1.       Based on the analysis in the table, Thomas Phelps, Sr (4B) had eleven children, all were born in Caswell County.  He moved to Person by 1830. In the 1800 census he had two boys and two girls born 1790-1800.  In 1810 he reported nine children: two boys and two girls from the 1800 census and 4 new girls born 1801-1810 and 1 new boy born 1801-1810.  In the 1820 census he reported nine children but not the same nine:  Four of the six girls from 1810 are not reported, the two pre-1800 boys are omitted,  but two new boys born 1811-1820 are reported, and the boy from the 1810 census is reported.  


A total of 5 boys were reported in the censuses. The ancestry work of Mark Latham Phelps names the two boys of 1811-1820 as Thomas H, b. 1813 and Richard A, b. 1816.  Jacob L Phelps, researcher, has documented two other sons: Hiram b. 1790-1800 and John Phelps b abt 1792.   Therefore, there is one boy unaccounted for and according to the census of 1820 (supported by 1810) he was born 1805-1810. This fits Ambrose Phelps who was born in 1805 in Caswell County.


2.       Ambrose’s property of 1842 was on the South Hyco Creek in Caswell.  This area is a few miles from the Phelps cemetery and home place of Thomas Phelps Jr and Sr. in Person County. 


3.       In 1839, Thomas Phelps and an Ambrose Phelps bought from an estate sale in Person Co.  Their names are listed together.  Thomas, Sr (who moved to Person about 1830) would have been about 70; Thomas H, 21; Ambrose, 34.   Ambrose is likely buying with his father or brother.


4.       Even though Ambrose is not known to be in the Phelps cemetery in Person County, that is understandable since he died before the others including Thomas Sr.  He likely was buried in Caswell County.


5.       Ambrose’s indenture of property in 1842 list a Thomas Phelps as the person he owed the most –likely his father. 

Who probably wasn’t his father?



1.        William Phelps of Caswell Co (1754-1824), but in 1810 his children were a boy b.1795-1800, Girl b. 1795-1800, Girl b. 1785-1794.  Ambrose would have been 5 in 1810, not matching the youngest boy’s age exactly.   Yet, the age is close, and this William was in the Revolutionary war (a rumor handed down that our line had a patriot).


2.        Reubin Phelps   It is very unlikely that Reubin was Ambrose’s father, since Reubin  was never listed in a census in Caswell or Person. Whereabouts unknown. Yet, this is conceivable.




Who definitely wasn’t his father?


1.        Ambrose Phelps, who moved to Ky.   There is no possible connection between the Ambrose who moved to Pulaski and the Ambrose Phelps (1805-1850) of Caswell County.  Strangely, Ambrose of  Pulaski did have a son, Anderson, born in the same period as Ambrose of Caswell Co.  One researcher offered that his nickname was Ambrose, but after extensive research I have proved that there was never a son of Ambrose in KY named Ambrose.  This sometimes-reported claim is due to errors in reporting in KY.  I have a paper documenting this oversite.  Census records indicate that Anderson was in Kentucky at least through 1850, well past the time Ambrose of Caswell (1805-1850) had property transactions..

2.        Larkin and Obediah, as shown by the table, their children were born in Ky.

3.        Hiram Phelps appears in the 1820 census.  He was born 1775 –1794, a reasonable age for Ambrose’s father, but he had no sons in 1820 when Ambrose would have been 15.  While Ambrose may have left by then, that is not likely..

4.        Isham Phelps. In the 1850 Caswell census he was born in 1790. Bible records state 1793. That would be only 12 years before Ambrose was born. 

5.        Ambrose or Dudley Phepps/Phipps of Wake Co.  As noted in the “Key Facts” document Dudley Phipps was the father of Ambrose Phipps, born in 1805.  This Ambrose married in 1828 to Suasn Holloway and had 8 children. He married again in 1867 to Martha Wilson.  This was well described by several researchers.  Additionally, in the census, Ambrose Phipps’ children do not match those of our Ambrose.

6.        Francis B Phelps Born bef 1774, is old enough, but in the 1820 census he had sons born 1811-1820, not matching Ambrose’s birth of 1805.


Who else conceivably could be his father?


1.        A John Phelps, never in the census during this period, but I have a note that he had a will in 1837.  Will follow this up.

2.        Someone outside Caswell or Person Co.   I have researched the adjoining states and counties with no suspects.