At Last, here it is. This story is published with the gracious consent of John O. Hawkins.

The article is excerpted from the excellent book about Hiram Pipes written by John Hawkins and M. Wayne Pipes in 1987 and provides many insights into the family history. For a complete copy of his book about the Pipes family in N. Carolina, write to John at: Rt # 5 , Box 340, Lenoir N. Carolina or :

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copyright © 1987 &1996, John O. Hawkins

Almost every family has some sort of traditional story told about the progenitor of their line. Some tell stories of weddings which took place against parents wishes or romances between a man who was a commoner and a lady of royal blood. Others tell of foundlings on the doorstep or marriages to Indian princesses. Every researcher is certainly familiar with the oft-told story of the three brothers from Europe each going in a different direction when they arrived in the new world.

Some of these stories are quite interesting. In fact, they are usually more interesting than the facts. However, the serious researcher, when checking the facts written in stone, often comes up against a stone wall when an attempt is made to prove the stories.

The Pipes family has its share of traditional stories. By showing you some of the steps and principles used to prove or disprove the Pipes family stories, perhaps others can prove or disprove the stories told about their families.

The mysteriousness of the origin of the Pipes family in North Carolina comes to its apex in Hiram Pipes, the progenitor of the Pipes' in Western North Carolina. Ruth Sprinkle Smith, widow of the Rev. J.C. Pipes of Asheville, North Carolina, a descendant of Hiram Pipes, furnishes the following information:

"Hiram Pipes migrated to the united States, probably soon after the Revolutionary War. He came from England. He was married to Elizabeth Ellison of Germany before leaving Europe. He and his wife were among the first settlers on Dugger Creek which empties into Elk Creek at what is now Darby Post Office."

This information shared with me by Mrs. Smith by letter in November 1980.

lnformation attributed to Miss Minnie Day of Blowing Rock, North Carolina, also a descendant of Hiram Pipes, states:

"Great grandfather Hiram Pipes was a bound boy in a family of Ellisons. When he married a daughter of the home, her people disinherited her (feeling their superior social standing). Pretty soon the Ellisons moved from here to some place in Tennessee."

This information is found in "Brief History of the Storys"   by T.E. Story, compiled for the Story Reunion at Aho, NC, June 29, 1941. Two granddaughters of Hiram Pipes married into the Story Family.

An oral tradition in the Caldwell County branch of the family states that the progenitor of the Pipes family was a foundling who appeared on a doorstep of an elderly childless couple who lived on Dugger Creek in Wilkes County, North Carolina. Reputedly they reared the child as their own and upon their deaths he inherited their real and personal property. One version of the story says he was given the Pipes name because he was tall and slender "like a pipe." while a variation says he cried loudly and it was said he "had a strong set of pipes." Another version is that because his origin was unknown, his foster parents allowed him to choose his own surname and for some unknown reason he chose "Pipes." A third version is that the couple was named Pipes, and they gave their name to the foundling child whose identity they did not know. Obviously there is much fiction in these stories, but we are going on the premise that there must be a grain of truth in all family legends.

Keeping the legends in mind, let us look at the factual information available to us. Evidence found in the records of Wilkes County shows that Hiram Pipes was in the county by 1809 when he witnessed William Allison's will. However, he is not found in the 1810 census which lists only heads of families. As an unmarried man, he is likely a statistic In someone's household. An examination of the 1810 Wilkes County census returns for William Allison's household includes an extra male in the correct age bracket who cannot be a member of the family, so a speculation is that he is Hiram Pipes, too old to be bound to Allison, but not too old to be an employee. There is also an extra female in the household as well which presents another mystery of interest which will be mentioned later.

Hiram Pipes is shown on the muster roll of Captain Carlton's Company detached from Wilkes County to Wadesborough in 1815 as a part of the War of 1812. A marriage bond dated 5 November 1816 to Elizabeth Morris (not Elizabeth Ellison) is recorded in Wilkes County. The 1820 census is the first to show Hiram Pipes as head of a household as does the 1830, 1840, and 1850 Wilkes County census return. In addition there are some deeds and school records which place him in Wilkes County continuously from 1809 until 1855 when he is listed as deceased. The first years from 1809 until 1825, he was living on Beaver Creek in Wilkes County; after 1825 when he purchases land through the subsequent census reports, deeds, and miscellaneous records, he is located on Dugger Creek just as the family stories state.

For years we struggled with the mystery of Hiram Pipes' wife. The marriage bond states that his wife's name was Elizabeth Morris, while the tradition states she was Elizabeth Ellison. A search into the Allison or Ellison family (the name is spelled both ways) revealed the answer. William Allison wrote his will in 1809 naming among others his grand-daughter, Betsy Morrice [slc]. One of the witnesses to the will was Hiram Pipes, and a second witness was Rachel Bradley, a servant, who is probably the additional female shown in the 1810 census. More about Rachel later.

In 1821 after the death' of both Allison and his wife, the will was contested and suit was brought against the estate. James Wellborn was appointed administrator, and all of the heirs of William Allison are named. Of interest to the Pipes family is the statement: "Thomas Allison who died before the said William Allison left one daughter, Betsy, married to Hiram Pipes....'

After Thomas Allison's death, Betsy's mother, Ama (whose maiden name was Morphew) married Ephriam Norris and moved to Tennessee. This fits with the story that is told that Elizabeth's family moved to Tennessee because they did not approve of her marriage to Hiram Pipes. Apparently it was Elizabeth's mother who moved to Tennessee, and the reason may have been that her marriage to Ephriam Norrls met disapproval As Ephriam had been married to her sister prior to his marriage to Ama. This may be the facts behind the story told by Minnie Day. Incidentally, the oldest daughter of Betsy and Hiram is named Ama, and the name continues among her descendants.

There is still the matter of the Morris name on Elizabeth's marriage bond. Through a series of incidents, I was led to research the Calloway family where a daughter named Frances married a Mr. Morris and had three sons, James, Andrew, and William. One of these sons, either Andrew or William, married Betsy Allison and died shortly after his marriage. His widow later married Hiram Pipes. With these proofs, the mystery of Elizabeth Ellison/Elizabeth Morris was solved, and the family tradition is explained.

Proving my ancestry back to Hiram Pipes presented no difficulty. First of all, there was a family tradition of a Hiram Pipes, although relatives were not quite sure if he were the father or the brother of our ancestor, Thomas Pipes. The death certificate of my great-grandfather, William Pipes, lists his father as Thomas Pipes, again verifying the family story.

An indenture dated 5 February 1855, between the married children and the unmarried children of Hiram Pipes, who are dividing the property of their deceased father, lists Thomas Pipes as an heir as well as four other sons whom the family had said were Thomas's brothers.

In a petition to the Superior Court of Wilkes County, NC, dated 18 November 1873, Hiram's heirs have filed for settlement of his estate.This confirms again who his children are and gives some additional information because two of the children, including my great-great-grandfather, Thomas Pipes, have died. Thomas Pipes' children are listed as his heirs and my great-grandfather William Pipes is Included.

If you won't take my word, my birth certificate lists my father as Roby Hawklns, my father's birth and death certificate list his mother's maiden name as Ida Pipes, and Ida Pipes Hawkins' death certificate lists her father as William Pipes. In addition, I have an uncle with William as part of his name. All of this information falls in with the oral family history tradition.

The aforementioned Thomas Pipes was living next door to Hiram Pipes in 1850, and his household includes a five-year-old son named William. Living in the household with Hiram Pipes are several unmarried children including the four sons whom the family said were the brothers of our Thomas, and who are verified in the indenture of 1855 and the petition of 1873.

Incidentally these two documents are the only clues we have to Hiram Pipes' demise. The document dated 5 February 1855 states that he is deceased which means he died after an 1853 request for land for service in the War of 1812, and the date of the indenture. The 1873 document only states he died "on or about 1856."

Now we come to the place where we can examine the legends in the light of available records and see if there is any degree of truth in the legends.

One concrete clue concerning Hiram's ancestry has come to light. The 1850 census lists his birthplace as Surry County, North Carolina. In the 1880 census returns, all of the surviving children state that both their parents were born In North Carolina, not England and Germany as stated In the stories.

Hiram Pipes is the only Pipes in the index to the census for the state of North Carolina from 1820-1840. There are no Pipes listed In the North Carolina index for 1800 or 1810. Where then is the childless, elderly couple on Dugger Creek who reared Hiram as their own? If such a couple had existed, surely they would not have been missed by every census enumerator.

The only census return with a Pipes householder other than the ones which show Hiram is the 1790 census showing John Pipes living in the Salisbury district of Surry County. Neither John Pipes nor any other person of the surname Is found in the 1785 North Carolina State Census which admittedly is grossly incomplete.

The John Pipes household in 1790 consists of 3 white males over 16, 1 male under 16, 6 females and no slaves. The one male under 16 should be Hiram Pipes, who it can be determined from the various census returns, was born about 1784. However, neither life nor genealogical research is that simple, and before we can make a statement with certainty, we need to do more research.

A search of the Surry County records shows two men named John Pipes were on the 1771 tax list. Other people with the surname Pipes who appeared in the records of Surry County from 1771 to 1797 were Abner Pipes, Philip Pipes, Sylvanius Pipes, Priscilla Pipes, Susanna Pipes, Sarah Pipes, and Matthew Pipes. At various times the men named John Pipes are separated by the designation Junior and Senior, but sometimes the name stands alone.

By 1790 all of the Pipes family members have disappeared from Surry County except for Captain John Pipes with no Senior or Junior designation. Subsequent research indicates that one John Pipes, the apparent father of the John Pipes in the 1790 census, had moved to Spartanburg County, South Carolina, possibly as early as 1783, where he appears on the 1790 census and where he sells land in 1795. His wife, Priscilla Pipes, signs the deed along with her husband.

Philip and Sylvanius Pipes showed up in Kentucky before 1790, and they were joined by John Pipes of the 1790 census before 1800. Abner Pipes showed up in Mississippi and Louisiana shortly after he appeared on the 1771 tax list. A careful examination of Matthew Pipes on the 1782 tax list in an entirely different area from all the other Pipes families, indicates that the person of the tax list is probably Matthew Phipps who is on the 1790 census, but whose later history is not known. Susanna Pipes and Sarah Pipes married husbands and remained in North Carolina and will appear later in our study. Captain John Pipes and family left North Carolina about 1796 when Hiram would have been about 12 years old--too young to be left on his own and too young to have such fond memories of his birth place that he would come back in later years to an adjoining county. He must have remained in North Carolina.

Let's go back to the 1790 census of John Pipes with one male under 16, whom we think is Hiram Pipes. John Pipes left a will in 1821 in Kentucky which lists all of the children of his second marriage, none of whom is named Hiram. In fact a study of the family indicates that John Pipes and his wife, Mary (nee Morris) had four daughters and one son, Nathaniel, between 1781 and 1790, in such close proximity that there is no room for another child--even one who could have been left out of the will. We are back to square one.

The book THE DESCENDANTS OF JOHN PIPES JR. and correspondence with the compiler, Elizabeth Ellsberry, gave more information. The books sparse facts concerning the family's origin proved true. The Pipes family had come to Surry County from Morris County, New Jersey where some additional research was eventually done.

In a List of Debtors dated September 1750 attached to a will of Stephen Thompson, blacksmith, of Rockaway Township, Morris County, New Jersey, there is a business firm called Pipes and Brown. The names of John Pipes and John Pipes Jr. appear in the record of the First Presbyterian Church of Morristown, New Jersey from 1758 to 1760. In 1758, John Pipes contributed one pound toward the founding of a church and John Pipes, Sr., John Pipes, Jr., and Winsur Pipes were among the signers of an "Obligation to pa' the minister by rate" dated September 1760. The men pledged money to support a minister which probably indicates that they were landholders.

Mrs. Ellsberry also records another family story for us to examine. She states that Captain John Pipes, a Revolutionary War soldier, was married in Connecticut to Jemima Harriman, daughter of Joseph Harriman, about 1762 and they had anywhere from two to six sons depending upon who tells the story. No record of the marriage has been found, but the pastor of the Presbyterian Church that the Pipes' supported was named John Harriman, thought to be the father of Joseph and the grandfather of Jemima. The Harriman family was originally from Connecticut which may explain the supposed location of the Pipes-Harriman marriage.

In 1777, Revolutionary War Captain, John Pipes Jr., who was then about 37 years of age, plenty old enough to have had a previous wife, married Mary Morris, age 17, and in time moved to Surry County, North Carolina, and some 15 years later to Scott County, Kentucky. When Mary (Morris) Pipes applied in 1841 for a Widow's Pension on her husband's Revolutionary War service, she recounts John's life from her marriage forward, but says nothing about her husband having had a first marriage or any children by a previous marriage.

By examining the way the Surry County records are recorded, we can arrive at another conclusion. From 1780 until 1783, there is a definite designation given to John Pipes SENIOR and John Pipes JUNIOR. From 1783 until 1789, the records refer only to John Pipes--no Senior or junior designation. In 1789, the designations of senior and junior again appear. We have been dealing with three generations of men named John Pipes instead of two.

The 1789 tax list shows only John Pipes with 250 acres and two white polls. evidently John had a taxable in his household, possibly a son. However, his first four children born to wife, Mary, were daughters and the fifth, a son named Nathaniel, was born in the late 1780's. He would be the male under 16 In the 1790 census, but he would not be old enough to be recorded as a taxable. Could there be something to the story that John had sons by a previous marriage even though they are not included in John Pipes' will?

At this point, the scene shifts to Green County, Pennsylvania. Joseph Pipes, also a Revolutionary War soldier, lived there prior to 1790 until after 1850. According to the information taken from his revolutionary War Pension Request, he was born in Morristown, New Jersey in March 1763. This Joseph named a daughter Jemima, so Joseph Pipes must be the son of Capt. John Pipes' first marriage to Jemima Harriman. Also his name--Joseph--could be for his maternal grandfather, Joseph Harriman. According to the Greene County history, John Pipes, brother of Joseph, did not arrive in Greene County until about 1794. Could John be the additional poll in John Pipes' household in 1789 and one of the males over 16 in the 1790 census, leaving us with only one additional male for which to account, who incidentally is still a mystery. If this third male is named Pipes, his name does not appear in any extant Surry County record. Incidentally, there is an extra female in the household as well.

Meanwhile, back to Surry County, North Carolina. In an undated entry, possibly about 1771 or 1772, John Pipes enters land on Hanes Creek 'adjoining David Harriman.' The proximity of these two men supports a marriage of John Pipes to Jemima Harriman. The entry was never completed.

There are two John Pipes' on the 1771 Surry County tax list, but only one John Pipes on the 1772 tax list. Mary (Morris) Pipes states in her Revolutionary War pension that she married Captain John Pipes in 1777 in Morristown, New Jersey, and that some four years later they came to North Carolina where his father lived. Sometime me between the birth of his son, John, about 1766, and his marriage to Mary in 1777, Jemima must have died. John Pipes may have first come to North Carolina about 1771 with his first wife's relative, David Harriman, and perhaps with the death of his wife, he either returned to New Jersey or moved on to some other place. (There is another story of Captain John Pipes being in Georgia, but I have not been able to find any real or theoretical evidence to support it.) Whatever happened in the interim, we know that John Pipes was in New Jersey In 1777 when he married Mary.

In 1795, "Sarah Pipes, relict widow of Isaac Southard," appears in court in Surry County, North Carolina, with John Pipes to show why the children of Isaac Southard should not be bound out. Who is this Sarah?

An earlier connection with the Southard family is found in Surry County. Isaac Southard left a will dated 27 November 179O, recorded in Book E, No. 3, Surry County, NC, witnessed by John Pipes. In this will, Southard left his real property consisting of 200 acres to his wife whose name is not given. John Pipes Senior helped make an appraisal of Isaac's estate with the appraisal dated 1 August 1791. In 1792, Sarah Southard appears on the Surry County tax lists with 200 acres of land. In 1794, Sarah Pipes appears on the tax lists with the same 200 acres. This tells us that Sarah married a Mr. Pipes after the 1792 tax listing, but where is he in 1794?

The John Pipes with Sarah in court in 1795 must have been the one we have been calling Captain John Pipes a.k.a. John Pipes Jr. Isaac Southard, also from New Jersey, may have been a relative of either John Pipes or his wife, Mary. There is some evidence that Sarah and Isaac had at least two children. John Pipes could have gone to court with Sarah because she was a relative through the Pipes family, maybe even a daughter-in-law, because the children indicated were relatives of either he or his wife, because Sarah was a neighbor, or even a combination of the reasons.

With John Pipes Sr., about 79 years of age, husband of Priscilla, in South Carolina, possibly as early as 1783 when he sold his land in Surry County, the one we have formerly called John Pipes Jr., about 49 years of age, must have taken the designation of John Pipes Senior on the 1789 land grant. This would only have happened if there was another John Pipes of age to assume the title of Junior. John Pipes Jr., about 22 years of age, is the chain carrier--a job more likely to be assigned to a 22-year old than a 49-year old. The younger John must be the John Pipes who is in Greene County, Pennsylvania, about 1794. If this assumption is correct, he would be the right age to be the "Mr. Pipes" who married the widow of Isaac Southard in Surry County between 1792 and 1794.

In February 1777, Sarah Pipes along with the other children of Samuel Carter granted power of attorney to Reuben Shores. This proves that Sarah Pipes is a daughter of Samuel Carter and his first wife whose name is not known. In an earlier Surry County Court record in 1771, Samuel Carter was charged with fornication on the body of Susanna Pipes, sister of Captain John Pipes. When Samuel's will was probated about 1812, a wife named Susanna was mentioned.

One more bit of information from Wllkes County seems to fit in here. In 1802, Hiram Carter was bound to James Brown, who just happens to be a next door neighbor to William Allison whose will Hiram Pipes witnessed in 1809. At the next term of court, the same Hiram Carter appeared and had the binding revoked. The first appearance of Hiram Pipes with William Allison next door to James Brown in 1809 is too much of a coincidence to be ignored. Add to this the close association of the Carters, the Pipes, and the Southards in Surry County and a scenario begins to develop.

If Sarah (Carter) Southard married a Mr. Pipes as her second husband. which she must have to be listed as Sarah Pipes on the 1794 tax list, in a court appearance in 1795, and on the power of attorney in 1797, and with all the other Pipes men being married or having moved away, she must have married a son of John Pipes whom he listed as a poll In 1789 and probably one of the 3 males In the household over 16 In 1790. John Pipes' appearance in Greene County, Pennsylvania, in 1794 at the same time Sarah Pipes first appears on the Surry County tax list might indicate he had married and immediately deserted her. John Pipes in Greene County, Pennsylvania, married Eleanor Slater about 1795 and they subsequently had a daughter whom they named Jemima, adding more credibility to the story that Captain John Pipes had married Jemima Harriman. By 1801, Sarah Carter had married her third husband, Raleigh Poe. No record of a divorce has been found, but by 1801, John Pipes would have been missing from Surry County for seven years and could be considered legally dead.

We have already stated that Hiram Pipes was born about 1784. If Hiram Carter is the person who is later called Hiram Pipes (and there are no more references to a Hiram Carter), he could very easily have been born to Sarah Carter, who, according to census returns was born about 1766 or 1767. Perhaps his father was John Pipes, son of Captain John Pipes, also born about 1766 or 1767. Both John and Sarah would have been in their teens at the time of Hiram's birth and may have been thought to be too young to be forced into a "shotgun wedding." Sarah then married the widower Isaac Southard who died about 1791. After Southard's death, she married John Pipes, perhaps under pressure from both of their families to "legitimize" their son. John deserted her, going to Pennsylvania, where his brother was living, assumed the status of "single man," eventually married, and had a family.

Hiram Pipes who was living in Wilkes County under the name of Hiram Carter may have learned that his natural father was a Pipes and decided to use his rightful name. This would account for the story that was told that he chose his own name after he became an adult. Stories of foundlings are often used to cover illegitimate births.

If you will permit a digression regarding Rachel Bradley whom I mentioned briefly twice before. Rachel was a hired girl in the household of William Allison at the same time Hiram Pipes appears to be working on the Allison farm. A few years later, Rachel was called to court in Wilkes County regarding the binding out of her several illegitimate children. I am descended from George W. Bradley, born about 1812, who appears to be a son of Rachel, probably born while she was living In the Allison household. No bastardy bond is recorded for any of Rachel's children, and there is no record or tradition of who the father or fathers of her children were. But she and Hiram Pipes were living in the same household at the same time. Could it be possible...? But that's another case study!

We have moved from the realm of factual Information into speculation, but speculation based on some evidence. We've taken the family legends and blended in the known facts and what you have just heard is my interpretation of what has emerged. It has given the researchers something to work toward, and we may have even started some new family legends for genealogists in the future to prove or disprove.

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