Philips Family History

Revolutionary War Captain David Philips

The second generation of my American ancestors, resided in South Park Township, Pennsylvania. David Philips was born in Wales in 1742 and migrated with his fathers family to Chester County, PA in 1755. He is the son of Joseph and Mary Philips, our first American Ancestor (A1).

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Possible Location of the Philips Home

American Immigrant Generation II – REV. DAVID PHILIPS

“The Reverend/Captain David Philips was emphatically the leading clergyman of the pioneer days of Peters Township (now South Park Township, PA). He was born in Wales in 1742, and emigrated from that country to America with his father’s family, settling in Chester County, PA. He married during his residence at that place, and in 1783 came into Washington county and took out a warrant for land which now lies in both Allegheny and Washington Counties. This tract of land was surveyed to him as 390 acres, under the title of ‘Norwich’, and he obtained the patent for it March 4, 1786.”

“This quotation from the History of Washington County, PA., (1882), page 891, gives an insight into the life of service of that great pioneer Baptist preacher, David Philips, eldest son of Joseph.”

“Following his years of heroic service in the war (The American Revolution), David Philips accepted the Macedonian call to what was then the American frontier, in Washington County, southwestern Pennsylvania. He was ordained by the Peters Creek Baptist Church in his new home, and was immediately called to the pastorate thereof. At the same time he supplied the Finleyville, Elizabethton and Budd’s Ferry Churches.”

“The Rev. David dedicated a portion of his land to the Peters Creek Church, and assisted in the erection of a roomy log Churchhouse. This structure served the congregation throughout his ministry, and was replaced with a brick building in 1832. The Peters Creek Churchhouse stands today on the land which David Philips donated and dedicated to it a century and a half ago.”

Join the fight for liberty and independence?

“All four were active in organizing the Seventh Battalion, Chester County Militia. David Philips was Captain of Company 2, and Josiah a 2nd Lieutenant. All four brothers distinguished themselves for bravery. Joseph Jr. was an Ensign in the same battalion. Josiah was an associator and acted as scout when the army was at Valley Forge. John Philips was taken captive in New Jersey and in confinement in a prison ship at New York, where he was ministered to by his devoted wife.”

“It is recorded in the D.A.R. Lineage Books that the four brothers raised the company and distinguished themselves with bravery and heroic suffering.”

‘The Phillips Family History’ by Harry Phillips • Published by The Lebanon Democrat • 1935

Two of David’s sons John and Benjamin, migrated to Tennessee in 1797* The Phillips name changed to two “L” after that migration.

*Page 9 – ‘The Phillips Family History’ 

Whitechurch in Pembrokeshire:

Recommended Reading:

Phillips Family History: A Brief History of the Phillips Family, Beginning with the Emigration From Wales, and a Detailed Genealogy of the Descendants … Pioneer Citizens of Wilson County, Tenn.

38 thoughts on “Philips Family History

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  3. Does anyone know from where in Wales Rev. David Philips emigrated? I am related to him through my maternal grandmother. Thanks!

    • His father Joesph immigrated from Pembrokeshire, Wales. There is a picture of the house in the Phillips Family History book! David is buried near Pittsburg. His son John moved to Wilson County, Tennessee, which is my line.

    • Whitechurch………..Welsh name:Eglwyswen, Pembrokeshire, Wales. They were weavers and brought three large looms with them across the ocean. Do not confuse Whitechurch with another town named Whitchurch. I am a descendant of one of the brothers……….Josiah….nicknamed Josh.

      • Hello again, The Welsh name is spelled a couple of different ways…..Try Eglwyswrw, Pembrokeshire, Wales. They did not come from N. Wales. I have quite a bit of Philips family records, much of which comes from my Grandmother’s diaries….Ellen Philips Grove. Joseph Philips was the son of Josiah Philips and Joseph had a son named John Dennison Philips. He is my Great Great Grandfather. He emigrated from the original family home in Chester Co. PA….over PA to the Missouri River and then up the Mississippi to Mt Carrol, Ill.. His wife(Eleanor (Ellen) Evans had died in PA and he took his five boys West and settled in Illinois. They had a farm in Malden near Princeton, Illinois. If you’re interested I can tell you more about this branch of the Philips family. My Grandmother, Mother and I also attended Philips family reunions back in the 1960s, which were held close to the old original homestead. Nancy Clemens

      • Thanks again Nancy. The only thing that comes up in Google Maps is that one in northern Wales. Whitchurch does come up in southern Wales, but I know you said that was not it. I am meeting with a distant cousin soon that may know. She is headed over there to find it. My branch went from Chester County to the Pittsburg area (David Philps), and then into Tennessee near Nashville (John & Ben Phillips – and added the extra L). I wonder if they were using Revolutionary land grants from their father Rev/Capt David Philips? We have located the log cabin they built circa 1798 in Watertown, TN.

      • Hello again, I may have inadvertently confused you as Whitechurch has an E at the end of White. There is another town called Whitchurch without the E and this is not the town you want. The Welsh name is Eglwyswen or Eglwys-wen and it is in Pembrokeshire, Wales. The English name for this Welsh village is Whitechurch with the E. I think you will be able to find it now on a google search. My Grandmother, Ellen Philips…(sixth generation of the first Americans…Mary and Joseph) always talked about the Tennessee branch of Philips. It is interesting to hear about that line. It is amazing how many descendants that there are today from this original couple. By the way, Mary Philips maiden name is Cuthbert. I love the drawing of Rev. David Philips. It is amazing how much my brother, Scott, looks like him. Has the same Welsh, twinkly blue eyes. I’m guessing that Rev. David had blue eyes. Merry Christmas all, Nancy Clemens

      • Eglwyswrw, in Crymych is not it. It is spelled Eglwyswen, A.K.A. Whitechurch. Did you do a google search for this name? It seems that Google maps is not getting you to it. I found it just by doing a google search and didn’t bother with google maps. Glad you have this blog site. I just love the drawing of Rev. David Philips……your ancestor. All best to you, Nancy Clemens

    • my names is sharon murray lorenzo from princeton nj and my grandmother grace emma philips was from this family. we visited the philips family homestead in cardigan wales. glad to share more if you want to email or call- 908 230 8551 sharon

      • Sharon, do you have a photo of the homestead in cardigan? I live on Whidbey Island, WA and only recently became interested in the Philips heritage. My connection is through David to Josiah to James Blackmore Philips

  4. Joseph & Mary Philips emigrated to Pennsylvania from the village of Eglwyswen (Whitechurch), Wales

      • I’m a descendent of Mary & Joseph’s son, David (then his son Benjamin) & so on. I grew up in Lebanon, TN. Joseph & Mary were my great x6 grandparents. I have a couple of Philips family history books. One of which I’m listed in. As well as you, I’m sure!

      • Hi Renee. I am from Joe>David>John>David>John>JRGraves>John>Robert Phillps my father (adopted by his uncle as a Henderson.

      • I wish I did. I even reached out to some local historians in Wales. One day I’m going to go there in person to try to track it down. Judging from the Philips (one L with that line) in the Vincent Baptist Church Cemetery, they have kept the history alive. It might be worthwhile to try to connect with them. see:

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  6. I am related to Rev. David Philips and have a DAR ancestor number, but when I do Ancestor search it says no information available.

    • Are you using I have found lots of info on this family with Ancestry. I am descended from David Philips brother, Josiah. All four of the sons were in the Revolutionary war. I am in D.A.R. Let me know if you need help or more info. Nancy Clemens

      • Hi there. I was wondering what type of info I would need to become D.A.R? I am a descended of David philips through is son Josiah. I have been so interested in finding out all about the family history so much so that I was able to go to Pennsylvania and sought out the gravesites of David philips and the rest of his kids.

      • Hi Nancy, another Nancy here but from Washington State. I too, descend from Josiah, then to James Blackmore Philips. Would love to connect regarding this addictive genealogy journey.

  7. I just stumbled across this blog. I’ve been doing research on Reverend Captain David Phillips. I am descended from the Tennessee line where the Basses in Watertown married into Phillips, through my grandfather, whose mother was Mattie Athenia Bass. I currently have my DAR application in, just have to get a few birth certificates and death certificates. I plan to visit Watertown and also the Peter’s Creek Baptist Church, to have the experience of walking on the land that used to belong to my ancestor. I am in Michigan, by the way. I would be happy to compare notes with anyone who would enjoy doing so. Don’t know if I have any information you don’t have but it would be fun to chat. My email is My name is Lynn.

    • The Tennessee branch of our Phillips family was lead by our Welsh ancestor, Philip Philips. His brothers William (Billy), Col Fighting David, Joseph (married to Mary Cuthbert) from Pembrokeshire, etc. at one time or another ended up in Pennsylvania in the 1700s.

      Philip Phillips lived for a period in Washington, Bedford, Counties, PA, and possibly New Jersey. He travelled widely in Kentucky and Tennessee,. Built Fort Philips, fought natives, etc.
      William Phillips resided in Allegheny County, PA
      Col David Philips resided in Washington County, PA until moving to Davidson County, Tennessee, prior to his death in 1788.
      Philip Philips is reported to have migrated from Washington County, Pennsylvania, to Kentucky in 1779 or 1780. He had large land holdings in Kentucky and Tennessee. Virginia land grants entered in his name from 1782-1792 exceeded 53,000 acres. Old Kentucky grants exceeded 15,000 acres.

      • This John Philips was most likely Captain/Reverend David Philips’s son. Col David Philips was a brother to Philip Philips and the Rev David was his nephew.(John Philips his great nephew)

  8. Looking at our family history, and we can trace our roots easily back to George Augustus Philips in NY (1831 – 1885). Handwritten documents indicate we’re related to “3 Philips brothers that served in the Revolutionary War”. Just curious if your relatives described here are those gentlmen?

      • Greetings! This is Nancy Clemens. I am descended from one of the brothers of this Welsh Philips family. There were four brothers that fought in the Revolutionary war. I am descended from Josiah. When I was 16 I attended a Philips family Reunion near Chester, PA. at the St Vincents church where many of them are buried.

  9. This Josiah Philips didn’t settle in Tennessee but stayed in sw PA near Pittsburgh not far from his father Rev David and mother Mary Thomas. b. 1776 d. 1849 in Library, Pa, was married to Mary Boyer.

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