John Chipman of Pittsylvania Co., VA

*Handley Chipman’s manuscript, written ca. 1790, states there were Chipmans “Spread even from Canso Eastward to Virginia Westward, if not farther both ways.”  {See:  “Handley Chipman’s Thanksgiving & The Chipman Family Of Virginia” post.}  This is contemporary primary evidence.  Handley Chipman must have been referring to John Chipman of Pittsylvania Co., VA, the subject of this post.*

I received a letter dated 23 Mar 2001 from Elizabeth Pearson White who was beginning to work on her article (co-authored with Edwin Wagner Coles) about the Chipmans of DE.  As she put it, [I] “have been slowed down trying to untangle the unholy mess of the Chipmans in Delaware.”

White & Coles had some NY and DE Chipman material I didn’t have, and I had VA Chipman records they didn’t have.  We didn’t exchange information, so the account of John Chipman of Dorchester Co., MD and John Chipman of Pittsylvania Co., VA was unresolved when their article appeared in 2003.

John Chipman of Pittsylvania Co., VA was listed on the 1770 tax list.   It makes no sense to enter 1200 acres in Halifax Co., VA in the fall of 1766, be appointed Constable of Pittsylvania County on June 26, 1767, then purchase 50 acres in MD on May 9, 1768, return to VA to be taxed in 1770, then sell the same 50 acres in MD in 1771 ( the deed lists him as being of Dorchester Co., MD, not VA), and return again to VA and sign an Oath of Allegiance in 1777.   Thus we have two John Chipmans.

It seems clear John Chipman (b. ca. 1728 based on the 1749 Lunenburg Co. tax list) of Pittsylvania Co., VA was the son of James and Mary (Minor) Chipman.  Why?  The problem is not as difficult as it might appear.  We know John Chipman of Pittsylvania Co., VA had to be (for chronological reasons) a great-grandson of John and Hope (Howland) Chipman).  He wasn’t a remote descendant, but what were his antecedents?

John and Hope had two surviving sons:  Samuel and John.  Samuel’s progeny are well known (at least to that point) and can be eliminated.   John (known as Hon. John Chipman for his government service in RI) had four sons by his first marriage.  The Pittsylvania John was b. ca. 1728, and therefore can’t be a son of Handley Chipman, b. 1717, the son by Hon. John Chipman’s second marriage (there was no issue of his third marriage).  By Mary Skiff, John had four sons who had families:  James, John, Paris, and Ebenezar.   Ebenezar was b. 1709 and didn’t have a son named John.  His older brother John remained in MA and didn’t have a son named John, either.  That leaves Paris and James as possible fathers for John Chipman of Pittsylvania Co., VA.

Paris Chipman I didn’t name any grandchildren in his will.  It’s a curious document, for he didn’t give the married names of any of his daughters, either, though it’s known Milly married — Commeans, and Mary was unmarried.

However, there’s a document which indicates his sons Paris II and (presumably) John didn’t have surviving issue:  a deed filed in Dorchester Co., MD dated 13 Aug 1813, in which Draper Chipman, Ameilia Commeans, and Mary Chipman conveyed to Arthur Wheatley their interest in land owned by Paris Chipman II in Dorchester Co., MD.  Evidently Paris Chipman II had died intestate.  In 1813 Draper Chipman was a resident of KY, so we may presume there was no difficulty in learning of an interest in the property of Paris Chipman II.  If John Chipman, son of Paris Chipman I, had surviving issue, they would have inherited their father’s interest in the tract.  There was a John Chipman (d. 1829) residing in Sussex Co., DE (as did Ameilia Commeans and Mary Chipman) who was a mill operator, and yet wasn’t a party to this deed.  I think it obvious this individual wasn’t a grandson of Paris Chipman I.

John Chipman disappears from the Pittslvania Co., VA records after 1777.  This was a volatile and active section of VA, and daughter counties should be searched for records.  Since this man isn’t listed in the comprehensive 1787 VA tax lists, he was probably deceased by then, so the period of interest is 1777-1787.



John Chipman

Pittsylvania Co., VA

Lunenburg Co., VA:  Tithes of Cornelius Cargill, 1749.  One tithe for John Chipman.

Halifax Co., VA was formed in 1752 from Lunenburg Co.

March 10, 1752.  Jno. Chipman:  survey; 197 acres on both sides of Cane Creek.

July 14, 1755.  John Chipman enters the vacant land not exceeding 400 acres between Hogan, Thomas, and Harris lines on Cane Creek.

1760.  Halifax Co tax list:  John Chipman, William Chipman.  (William Chipman is undoubtedly the same who fought in the French & Indian War from Fort Loudon, VA.)

1760, July court, Halifax Co.  “It appearing to the court that William Chipman son of John Chipman age 7 years next September 17 has lately and causally had apiece of the under part of of his left ear taken off by the belt of a mare.”  (Contributed by Connie Taylor)

February 15, 1764.  John Chipman 400 acres on branches of Cane Creek beginning at his corner, adjoining his own land and the Read and Clay lines.

May 21, 1764,  John Been (Bean) to John Chapman [sic], both of Halifax Co., 190 acres on both sides of Cane Creek, being part of a larger tract granted to John Been by patent dated September 10, 1760.   Rec June 21, 1764.  (Halifax Co. Deed Book 5, pp. 15-16) This deed is interesting because John Bean wasn’t the original patentee; James Hogan was.  See Virginia State Land Office Patents no. 34, pp. 713-714.

December 25, 1765.  John Chipman 400 acres both sides of Fall Creek beginning at Innes fore and aft.

January 27, 1766.  John Chipman 400 acres on a branch of Dan River adjoining Hogan, Terry and John Owens.

May 15, 1766.  John Chipman of Halifax Co. to Roger Atkinson, merchant.  190 acres on both sides of Cane Creek whereon said Chipman now dwells, part of 383 acres granted by patent to James Hogan September 10, 1760.  Signed:  John Chipman (JC).  Witnesses:  Ben Lankford, Thomas Dillard Jr., Theops. Lacy, Jno. Donolson.  Recorded:  July 17, 1766.  Deed Book 6, p. 18.  (There is no wife relinquishing dower in this tract, indicating she was deceased.  This tract is the same purchased of John Been on May 21, 1764; see above.)

Deeds from Entry Record Book 1737-1777 (covers Halifax, Pittsylvania, Henry, Patrick, and Franklin counties).

October 26, 1766.  John Chipman 400 acres on the south fork of Smith River beginning at the mouth and up both sides.

October 28, 1766.  John Chipman 400 acres on Buffaloe Creek beginning at Wards upper line.

November 1, 1766.  John Chipman 400 acres on top of the Main Mountain adjoining his own lines on the north and northeast side.

Pittsylvania Co., VA was formed in 1767 from Halifax Co

1767.  Tithables taken for Pittsylvania Co. by John Dix:  John Chipman, Constable, one tithe.

June 26, 1767.  “John Chipman came into Court and took the Oath of a Constable as also the several Oaths by Law prescribed.”

1770.  Tithables for Pittsylvania Co.:  John Chipman.

Pittsylvania Co.  Will:  Joshua Worsham Sr.  Left to sons Robert and Joshua one half each of a tract  of land on Hat Creek on the waters of Smith River which was purchased from John Chipman.  Probated August 29, 1771.  (The Smith River area became Henry County after 1777.)

1777.  Pittsylvania Co.  Oaths of Allegiance:  John Chipman, Jacob Chipman.  (John Chipman’s Oath of Allegiance qualifies descendants for DAR membership.)

[Most of this material was compiled by Lucille Payne of the Pittsylvania Co., VA Historical Society in 1987/8.  I ran across Maud Carter Clement’s volume on Pittsylvania County and found John Chipman had been constable in 1767.  I thank Lucille Payne for her time spent tracking down these records.

No one (except Handley Chipman) knew there had been Chipmans in colonial VA.  My conclusion is that John Chipman of Pittsylvania Co. was Handley’s nephew; and as a hypothesis he had four sons in this birth order:  William, James, Jacob, and John.  The fate of William and Jacob is unknown, but James and John were residing in Sussex Co., DE by the late 1780s; James Chipman being the progenitor of the Chipmans of Scott and Grant Cos., KY.  There may have been daughters of whom we presently have no record.

Pittsylvania Co. wasn’t the most hospitable place to live.  In 1749, people with a modicum of common sense and decent regard for their physical well being were living in the established settlements to the east.]


This Indenture made this fifteenth Day of May in the year of our Lord one thousand seven hundred and sixty six and in the fifth year of the Reign of our Sovereign lord King George the third Between John Chipman of the County of Halifax and Parish of antrim Planter of the one part and Roger Atkinson of the County of and Colony of Virginia Mercht of the other part Witnesseth that the said John Chipman for and in consideration of the sum of Eighty pounds Current money of Virginia to him in hand paid by the said Roger Atkinson the Receipt whereof he the said John Chipman doth hereby Acknoldge and thereof and of and from Every part and parcel thereof doth hereby acquit Exonerate and Discharge the said Roger Atkinson hath granted Bargained and sold aliened Enfeoffed and Confirmed and by these presents Doth grant Bargain and sell their Enfeoff and Confirm unto the said Roger Atkinson all that tract and parcel of land situate in the County of Halifax and Parish of antrim and on both sides of Cane Creek whereon the said John Chipman now dwells Containing by Estimation one hundred and sixty acres Being part of 383 ac granted by pat to James Hogan date the 10 day of Sep 1760 Limited Bounded Describd as follows Beginning at a Corner Birch on the said creek Thence North Eighty seven Degrees East one hundred and fifty poles Crossing Cane Creek and a branch to pointers South five Degrees East one hundred and seventy six pos to pointers Thence a new dividing line North Eighty four Degrees West two hundred and seventy six pos Crossing Cane Ck to a white oak and pointers Thence the patent line North twenty four Degrees East one hundred and fifty seven poles to the first  … and all trees woods … profits Commodities advantages hereditaments and appurtenances whatsoever to the said tract or parcel of land and premises above mentioned belonging or in any wise appertaining and also the Revertion and Revertions Remainder and Remainders Rents and Services of the said premises above mentioned and of every part and parcel thereof with the Appurtenances and also all the Estate Right Title Interest Claim and Demand whatsoever Either in Equity or in Law of him the John Chipman of in or to the said premises above mentioned or in any part thereof to have & to hold the said one hundred and ninety acres of land and premises above mentioned and every part and parcel thereof with the Appurtenances unto the said Roger Atkinson his heirs and assigns to the only proper use and Behoof of the said Roger Atkinson his heirs and assigns forever and the said John Chipman for himself & his heirs doth warrant and agree to and with the said Roger Atkinson his heirs and assigns by these present that the said John Chipman the said one hundred and ninety Acres of Land and premises above mentioned  and Every part and parcel thereof with the Appurtenances unto the said Roger Atkinson his heirs and assigns Against the said John Chipman & his heirs and all and Every Other person and persons whatsoever Shall and will Warrant and forever Defend By these presents In Witness whereof the said John Chipman hath to these presents set his hand and Affixed his seal the Day and year first above written —-

John JC Chipman his mark

Sealed & Delivered in present of

Ben Lankford

Thos Dillard

Theops Lacy

Jno. Doneleson

Memorandum that on the day and year first within mentioned full peaceable and quiet possession and livery of seizen of the within mentioned one hundred and ninety Acres of land sold made and delivered By the within named John Chipman unto the within named Roger Atkinson to hold to him his heirs and Assigns forever According to the proper & true intent and meaning of the within written Indenture.

Jno JC Chipman his mark

Sealed in presences of

Ben Lankford

Ths Dillard

Theops Lacy

Jno Donelson

[Halifax Co., VA Deed Book 6, pp. 18-20.  To my knowledge, this is the first time this deed has been transcribed.  I’ve never seen so much legalese in a deed, which may reflect a cloud on the title or the uncertainties of life on the VA frontier.

The absence of a wife relinquishing dower indicates she was deceased, or he was married to a wife who was not his wife when the property was purchased, and therefore she had no dower rights in the property.  The use of the “JC” mark suggests John Chipman was semi–literate.

Jno (John) Donelson, who signed as a witness, was the father of Rachel Donelson who married President Andrew Jackson.]


~ by Jeffrey Thomas Chipman on April 4, 2011.

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