Rediscovering Lucy Phelps, daughter of James Phelps d 1786 Caswell CO, NC
by Mark Phelps 2/2008
Lucy Phelps, daughter of James Phelps d.1786, Caswell County, North
Carolina, married Willis Buckingham Smith in Caswell County on
November 11th, 1794. The Phelps and Smith families were adjoining
neighbors in the Richmond District of Caswell County, where the Town
of Milton lies today. Sometime after their marriage Willis Buckingham
Smith became Willis Buckingham having dropped the Smith from his name,
therefore later records of his family would be under the surname
Buckingham and not Smith. I suppose Willis inherited this trait as his
family had used different names before him. For more on this see the"
Last Will of Anne Smith, Grandmother of Milton, N.C." article link
So now Lucy Phelps, through no fault of her own, became Lucy
Buckingham instead of Lucy Smith in Caswell County records. Likewise
all Willis and Lucy's children took on the name Buckingham as well.
This Smith family offers a real challenge to historians who are
researching the descendants, because of their propensity to change
their last name, seemingly at will, with no explanation that I have
discovered as yet. The Smith family began in Caswell County with the
matriarch of the family, Anne Smith, a widow who received a land grant
from Lord Granville on August 2nd, 1760, seventeen years before
Caswell County was formed and was then Orange County. Although I have
not obtained a copy of the deed referred to below it shows an even
earlier presence of Anne Smith in present day Caswell County.
Quoted from Caswell County Historical Association Newsletter VOL.XXVI,
Number 2 Pg. 2 April 2003
Benjamin Merritt, whose descendants in Person County (cut off from
Caswell in 1792) reported in the HERITAGE OF PERSON COUNTY I. "He came
down from New York" and secured a Granville Grant of many acres on
both sides of the Dan River in two colonies. Benjamin built a mill
which he sold to Mrs. Anne Smith ca.1757 with acreage over 50 in the
tract, more than enough to start a flourishing frontier town.
Anne Smith's Grandson, Mason Smith, named in her Will, was later seen
as Amasa Stokes, Mace Stokes, Amasa Smith, Mace Smith. There are two
marriages listed for "Mace Smith" in Caswell County and they are the
second oldest Smith marriages in the County.
Mace Smith Constant Brown 12 Aug 1782
Mace Smith Margaret Coleston 18 Nov 1780
In 1793 James McGinnis deeded 100 acres of land to Amasa Stokes, on
both sides of Merritt's Mill Creek adjacent George Connally, Widow
Phelps(wife of James Phelps d.1786, the Virginia Line. Janes McGinnis
was a brother of Alsey McGinnis Pass, wife of Nathaniel Pass Sr.
Nathaniel and Alsey Pass's daughter Mary, married Lucy Phelps
"Buckingham"'s brother Thomas Phelps. James and Alsey McGinnis were
children of William McGinnis of Halifax County, Virginia. James
McGinnis married Elizabeth Williams, 15 Jan 1790 in Caswell County,
probably the granddaughter "Elizabeth Williams" named in Anne Smith's
In 1795 Willis Buckingham Smith deeded 50 acres to Amasa Stokes, on
the East side of Merritt's Mill Creek adjacent Charles Connally,
Amasa/Mason Smith/Stokes was the Executor of Anne Smith's will along
with Archibald Murphey. Mason Smith alias "Amasa Stokes" was charge
with the care and well being of Willis Buckingham Smith per Anne
Smith's Will, "Also I desire that Willis Buckingham Smith may be put
with Mason Smith with all that he has till he comes of age and the
said Mason Smith to keep him and all I have left to the said Willis
Buckingham Smith till then"
Lucy Phelps Buckingham/Smith, wife of Wills Buckingham Smith, left a
Will In Caswell County in 1843.
Caswell County, North Carolina
October Court 1843
Will Book P-page 21
Lucy Buckingham's Will
In the name of God amen I, Lucy Buckingham of the County of Caswell,
State of North Carolina, being weak in body but of perfect mind, do
hereby this day make ordain and constitute this my last Will and
Testament in manner and form as follows (Viz)
First-I give to my son, Byrd W. Buckingham, a gray Horse Colt.
Secondly-I give to my son, George B. Buckingham, one Feather bed and
Furniture and one Sow and Pigs.
Thirdly-I give to my daughter, Lidia M. Bennett, one Feather bed and
Fourthly-I give to my daughter, Martha B. Buckingham, one Cow and
Calf, one Sow and Pigs and all the balance of my household and kitchen
Fifthly-I appoint and wish my son, George B. Buckingham, to act as
Executor to this my last Will and Testament
In Testimony of which I have this day made this, my last Will and
Testament and signed my name, this the 2nd day of August in the year
of our Lord, One Thousand Eight Hundred and Forty Three.
Signed Sealed and Delivered in the presence of :
Edward H. Moore
TRANSCRIBED BY: Latham Mark Phelps 2008
There were at least four other children of Willis Buckingham Smith and
Lucy Phelps not mentioned in the Will:
John Thomas Buckingham:
married Susan Merritt (according to Buckingham Family website excerpt
below, probably a descendant of Benjamin Merritt mentioned earlier)
Caswell County Deed Book FF page 532, July 5th 1842. John Buckingham
to Byrd Buckingham and George Buckingham
" all interest in my Father, Willis Buckingham's estate, deceased"
Caswell County Deed Book FF page 625, October 1842. Patsy Buckingham
to Byrd Buckingham and George Buckingham
"tract of land formerly the property of my Father, Willis Buckingham,
married John Nichols:
Caswell County Deed Book GG page 687. George Buckingham to Byrd
"land on which Jon Nichols now lives and resides"--"to the support,
benefit and maintenance of our loving Sister and mutual friend, Keziah
Nichols, wife of John Nichols and the lawful heirs and children of her
James Buckingham married Mary Basdell, 16 Nov 1819 in Caswell Co.
As to the named children in Lucy Buckingham's Will, There marriages in
Caswell County were:
Bird Buckingham Frances Elam 24 Mar 1834
George Buckingham Joicy Tallaw 26 Nov 1833
Elizabeth Buckingham Richard Bennatt 15 Jan 1830
Martha Buckingham James A Taylor 11 Dec 1845
The James Buckingham who married Mary Basdell was probably the "male
child born around 1880(should be 1800) noted on a website that I have
listed an excerpt from on the Buckingham Family below:
This is the line of Buckingham's I am from. If you have and additions
or corrections, please let me know.
Willis Buckingham was born around 1775 in Caswell County, North
Carolina and died in 1842 in Caswell County, North Carolina. He
married Lucy?. They had the following children, all born in Caswell
County, North Carolina:
John Thomas, born around 1802. He married Susan MERRITT.
Patsy, born around 1804,
Elizabeth (Lydia), born around 1806. She married Richard BENNETT on
January 15, 1830.
Byrd W. and George B. (twins) born around 1813. Byrd married first
Francis ELAM on March 24, 1834 and second Mary ALLEN on August 10,
1866. George married Joicy TALLOW on November 26, 1833.
Martha, born around 1815. She married James TAYLOR on December 11,
John Thomas Buckingham married Susan Mary MARRETT. Susan was born
around 1802 in North Carolina and died after 1870. They had the
Francis Thompson, born around 1826 in Milton, Caswell County, North
Carolina. She married Thomas James MCGEE on December 14, 1843.
Eliza Ann, born on March 6, 1827 in Milton, Caswell County, NC and
died on April 16, 1906. She married James Madison MCGEE on January 2,
Franklin, born around 1830,
John Thomas, born around 1832. He married Louisa Clark COLLIER.
Mary Jane, born on May 19, 1834 in Caswell County, NC and died on
January 4, 1894. She married George Henry MCGEE on September 30, 1853.
Sidney, born around 1836 in Caswell County, NC. He married Mary E.
RAZZELL around 1860 in Kentucky. They had at least 10 children.
Curry, born around 1838 in Caswell County, NC.
Marmaduke, born aroudn 1840 in Caswell County, NC. He married Emily
Lilly Mary, born around 1842 in William County, TN. She married first
John COLLINS on November 25, 1857 and second, Robert E. BOYD.
Sarah Holland, born on November 9, 1844 in Lafayette, Christian
County, KY and died on July 14, 1928. She died in Provo, Utah and is
buried in the Provo City Cemetery. She married Francis Ashbury
Thus I have now "Rediscovered" Lucy Phelps, daughter of James Phelps d.
1786, wife of Willis Buckingham Smith, living as Lucy Buckingham in
the records of Caswell County till her death in 1843 and so have
uncovered the names of her children as well. I hope this will help any
Phelps,Smith or Buckingham family researchers to untangle these
families in the future.
Latham Mark Phelps---February 2008