FATE / Dollar Gets A Lot For His Money / By Using The 1880 Census I Discovered My Chipman Family Came From DELAWARE / Kent Co., DELAWARE Probate Papers

     In May 1971 my father visited Ripley, Tennessee, the county seat of Lauderdale County.  

His guide on that occasion was William Mack Chipman, Sheriff of Lauderdale County.

[William Mack Chipman (1889–1977), posing (right) with two escaped convicts who were captured attempting to cross the Mississippi River.  William Mack Chipman was the son of Benjamin F. and Anna (Shoemake) Chipman.  Click on image to enlarge it.]

My father was told William Chipman (1814-1874) had a brother named Fate Chipman (1820-1898) who was a bachelor and lived around Ripley.

My father made a penciled note on ruled notebook paper as follows:

Fate Chipman uncle of B.F. Chipman

born 1820, died 1898, born in Arkansas, bachelor.”

Born in 1824, Frederick Chipman was the last child of James and Betsy Chipman.  He married Mary Ann Prendergrast on 20 Apr 1853 in Madison County, Tennessee.  William H. Davis was a witness on the bond.  Davis had earlier married Frederick’s older sister Delilah.

In 1860 Frederick Chipman was living with George and Mary Ann (Jones) Chipman in Lauderdale County, Tennessee.

On 21 Feb 1867 the Madison County court granted Mary Ann (Prendergrast) Chipman a divorce from Frederick Chipman on the grounds that he had deserted her in 1856 and refused to return and live with her.

There was no issue of the marriage.

On 26 Feb 1867 Mary Ann married John R. Woodard in Madison County.  By 1880 the couple was living in Lauderdale County.

I have no doubt Frederick Chipman was Fate.

B.F. Chipman is Benjamin F. Chipman (1858–1939), whose middle name may have been “Fate.”  Benjamin F. Chipman was the son of William Chipman (1814-1874) and wife Milly Standifer.

I don’t know who told my father about Fate Chipman, but since the notes he made in that section concerned Benjamin F. Chipman, it was probably a descendant of his. 

This is oral history, and there’s some truth there:  Frederick Chipman had once been married, but he repudiated his wife, and never remarried.  He was born in 1824, not 1820; I don’t know when or where he died.


Elsewhere in his notes, my father recorded this tale:

“Ben and Tom moved to Leavenworth, Kansas, owned land, sold it to an Indian named Dollar, then returned to Ripley, Tenn?”

“Ben” is Benjamin F. Chipman.  “Tom” is Thomas Jefferson Chipman, another son of William Chipman and Milly Standifer.

It makes sense that Ben Chipman and Tom Chipman tried homesteading in KS; their father William Chipman had mortgaged and lost the family farm.  Leavenworth is the county seat of Leavenworth Co., KS, and the city is considered within the Kansas City, MO metropolitan area.  A check of records in Leavenworth Co. might corroborate this tale.  Since Ben Chipman was born in 1858, the records we’d look for would date from the 1880s or later.  I don’t know why Ben and Tom didn’t remain in KS.  Unlike west TN, where the main crop was cotton, the principal crops in KS were wheat and corn, a different type of agriculture.

James and Betsy Chipman also had three known daughters:  Paulina Chipman (never married); Mary Chipman, d. 31 Oct 1871, who married Harrison R. Latham; and Delilah Chipman, of whom I have nothing further beyond what is said above.


Here are two Mayflower descendants in the 1880 Lauderdale Co., TN Federal census (p. 173). James Washington Chipman (top of image) and Thomas Jefferson Chipman (bottom of image) were sons of George and Mary Ann (Jones) Chipman.

The 1880 Federal Census was the first to list the birthplace of parents.


Here they gave their own birthplace as TENNESSEE, George’s birthplace as DELAWARE, and Mary Ann’s as SOUTH CAROLINA. DELAWARE consists of three counties (New Castle, Kent, and Sussex) and is the second smallest state in the United States at 2,489.27 square miles. Chipman families in the antebellum period are found only in Kent and Sussex counties.   Since George Chipman was born in 1803, our Chipman family was in DELAWARE in 1803.

James Washington Chipman married on 7 Jan 1879 in Haywood Co., TN, E.C. (Bettie) Pipkins, a granddaughter of Washington Chipman.  James Washington Chipman and Bettie Pipkins were first cousins once removed.

Charles Monroe Chipman was a grandson of William Chipman (1814–1874).  In a letter dated 1 Feb 1961 to William Gayle Chipman, Charles Monroe Chipman refers to George Chipman (1803–1878) as “my grate uncle,” and therefore a brother of his grandfather. Charles Monroe Chipman also refers to  Acton Chipman, a grandson of George Chipman, as his second cousin, meaning they had the same great-grandfather. Please bear in mind Charley Chipman was a very old man when he wrote this letter, and he spelled phonetically.  You can sense the loneliness.  A transcription of the letter follows.

Feb. 1, 1961

706 Pruitt st

Kennett Mo

Dear William Chipman

in answer to your letter my father was Tom Chipman he was borned in Lauadordle County Tenn at he was 84 years old a death and has been dead 30 years lived all his life around Ripley Tenn.

My Grandfather was Bill Chipman he dyed in 1874 – 4 miles North of Ripley – as for my grate Grandfather I do not no any thing about him

George Chipman lived 3 miles north of Ripley I dont no much about him altho I can remember him I do no he had Boy named Tom & Jim and he was my grate uncle this is not much information but I hope it will help some. as you no Im 90 years old my Self but Im sure we are kind if you can Come to see me and I can be of any more help please let me no I have 2 grandsons Sons living at Leland Missippi they are J.W. and HW Chipman over

have bought a 1000 acres of land down there. I new Acton Chipman very well be for he went to Missppi and got Killed he was my secon coson.

hoping to hear from you agin

your truly

CM Chipman

Genealogists will often encounter the terms “great-uncle” and “grand-uncle.”  They’re interchangeable, but in the interest of clarity, I use the term “great-uncle” to refer to a sibling of my great-grandfather, and the term “grand-uncle” for a sibling of my grandfather.  As my great-grandfather James Edward Chipman was also a grandson of William Chipman, George Chipman was his “grate uncle” as well.  Born in 1870, Charles Monroe Chipman personally knew George Chipman and his sons, so this information is unimpeachable.

George Chipman (1803–1878) was the brother of William Chipman (1814–1874) and Washington Chipman (1805–1871).  An muster roll in the Tennessee State Library and Archives shows on 14 October 1823 George Chipman was commissioned a lieutenant in the 31 Regiment Bledsoe Co., TN militia (Tennessee Militia Commission Book 4, p. 205).  Another record (NARA M346 Roll 0163 Document 15) lists George Chipman of Ripley, TN on 2 Jun 1862 receiving a payment of $38.78 for furnishing supplies to the CSA.

(IRS Direct Tax 1862, Lauderdale Co., TN, Dist. 2.  George Chipman is second from bottom.  He may have been selling supplies to the CSA, but the IRS was taking its cut.)

James Washingon Chipman and Thomas Jefferson Chipman had three sisters:  Narcissa Tennessee (“Tennie”) Chipman m. Rizen Berryman Ferguson; Mary Eudora Chipman (b. 9 Sep 1861, d. 4 Jan 1923) m. Millard Filmore Gray; and Anna Paulina Chipman m. Isaac B. Wheatley.

[Mary Eudora (Chipman) Gray 1861–1923]

According to the obituary of Narcissa Tennessee (Chipman) Ferguson in The Lauderdale Enterprise of 31 Dec 1915: “Mrs. Tennie Ferguson departed this life Friday, Dec. 24th after an illness of typhoid fever.  Mrs. Ferguson was born March 29, 1859, and was married in 1875 [actually 14 Feb 1877] to Mr. Berry Ferguson who preceded her in death three years.  For 23 years she had been a member of Grace Baptist church.  She is survived by five children—Mrs. Tessa Riley [Mrs. Fred Riley] of Los Angeles, Cal., Mrs. Effie Holloway, Mrs. Eddie Webb, George and Tom Ferguson of this county, and one brother and sister, Mr. James Chipman of Arkansas, and Mrs. M.F. Gray [Mary Eudora Chipman] of this place.  The funeral was conducted by Rev. Tracy after which her remains were laid to rest in the cemetery [Mary’s Chapel] here.”  Material in brackets mine.  

Federal census records are a valuable research tool and are among the first records consulted when compiling a pedigree.  At one time it was necessary to visit the National Archives and Records Administration to view census records, or order them through inter-library loan.  Today many census records can be found online.  Some libraries provide access to databases like Ancestry.com and HeritageQuest that contain images of census records. Often the websites of county genealogical societies have transcriptions of census records for that county.  Some states (like Iowa) conducted their own census at intervals between the Federal decennial, so check with state historical societies.


What follows are transcriptions I made from microfilm of the actual court records which show probate activity and guardian proceedings for minor children including the minor children of Stephen Chipman, father of Thomas and James Chipman.  Stephen Chipman was deceased by 23 Jun 1772 when his widow Agnes was granted administration of his estate.

I don’t believe Agnes Chipman to have been related to  Jonathan Emerson, as is sometimes alleged.  She remarried to Isaac Moore, a man of low character.  Moore took no interest in the education of his stepsons, even though there were more than enough assets to provide them with a good education by the standards of the day.

James Chipman, son of Stephen Chipman, was the grandfather of James Washington Chipman and Thomas Jefferson Chipman in the census records above.

References to other family members are included as they will be of general interest.

(Click on images to enlarge them.)

~ by Jeffrey Thomas Chipman on June 19, 2014.

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