On September 13, 1702 John Phippin was baptized in West Cranmore Parish, Bruton, Somersetshire, England. His surname was spelled Phippen in a document dated September 8, 1714 which addressed the removal of his family to Brewton Parish from West Cranmore Parish.

During July of 1718 John was convicted by the Summer Asize Court of the Western District of theft and larceny and his surname was recorded as Pippen. The shipping order of August 20, 1718 shows his surname as Tippen, however, his surname was recorded as Pippen during March of 1719 in the Queen Anne’s Co, MD records upon his arrival in that colony. During his lifetime in Maryland his surname was recorded as Pippen, Pippin and Pipen.

As John’s descendants spread throughout the United States and Canada, some continued to use the spelling Pippen while others used Pippin. However, researchers will find several variant spellings in county records, state and federal censuses and other records. These variants include Pippens, Pippins, Peppen Pipin, Pipins, Piffin and others.

Beletha Phippen and family were enumerated in the 1810 Census for Sussex County, DE. He served as a soldier during the War of 1812 under the name Belitha Phipin, and in the 1820 Census for Sussex County, DE his surname is spelled Pippen.

The spelling of this family’s surname continues to change through the years as Beletha’s sons married and moved out and established families. For those who remained in Sussex County, DE and Somerset County, MD the spelling variants were Phippen, Phippin, Pippen and occasional Fippen.

Beletha’s son, Ebenezer, was a soldier during the War of 1812, and muster and payrolls show his surname as Phippen, Tippen and Touppin. Ebenezer was in Hamilton Co, OH by the time of the 1860 Census. His children settled in Ohio and Indiana and in census through 1920 the various spelling in the spelling of their surname as Tippins, Tippen, Phipins, Phipens, Fippen and Flippin.

The surname of the descendants of the Richard Pippin line of Gloucester Co, VA has also evolved. The Abington Parish Register contains both Pippin and Pipen. Other documents in the Gloucester Co records sometimes contain the surname spelling as Pipen and Pippins. 

Richard’s son Isaac moved into Warren Co and old Bute Co, NC and the records of those counties contain the surname spelling of Pippin as Pipin, Pippen and Pipen. Descendants of Isaac who moved into Johnson Co, IL spell the surname as Pippins.

I once received a query from a lady with the surname Pipins asking if she was a descendant of John Pippin the immigrant. Research revealed that her surname changed with the generation of her ancestor Wayne Hampton from Pippin to Pipins and his descendants continue to carry the spelling Pipins.

Wayne Hampton Pipins was a descendant of Richard Pippin of Gloucester Co, VA.

Charles Wareing Bardsley in A DICTIONARY OF ENGLISH AND WELCH SURNAMES, WITH SPECIAL AMERICAN INSTANCES explains the surname “PIPPIN – son of Philip, a variant of Phippen and found on co[unty] Somerset [England] where Phippen is a familiar name.” Perhaps the history of our surname predates Bardsley’s definition.

“Geo: Fitzpen GF
Als (Alias) Phippen

From FITZPEN or PHIPPEN,…: The signature of George, above is taken from the Fitzpen or Phippen Arms and Pedigree and certified to before the Clarenceux King of Arms at the Herald’s Visitation in Cornwall in 1620 by the Rev. Geo. Phippen of Truro in said county. It was taken from page 3 of FITZPEN OR PHIPPEN AND ALLIED FAMILIES. It shows that the transition from Fitzpen to Phippen went thru several generations where the family used both names. It also shows that even in the 1600s, the name was “Fitzpen”, not “Fitz Pen”.

“The name “Phippen” is patronymic, and is a corruption of Fitz-pen (Fitz or Fils from the Latin Filius meaning son),
being a Norman prefix to an old British name. Camden says Pen, in British, signifies the head or top of anything,
example: The Pennine Alps and Apennines, and Pennon’s Hill in Devonshire. There is an old English couplet still common [late 1800s] in Cornwell:
By Tre, Ros, Pol, Lan, Care, and Pen
You may know the most of Cornish men.”

“The name “Pen” or “Penne” occurs frequently in early English Records, such as the Hundred Rolls, The Patent Rolls, the Fine Rolls, etc., extending back from the Crusades even to the time of the Conquest; and is found in the Roll of Battel Abbey (Sussex)”

On September 13, 1702 John was Baptized John Phippin; his surname became Pippen in the Asize Court records, and Pippen, Pippin and Pipen in the Maryland Colony records. What is our surname? 

A kinship between the John Pippen, Beletha Phippen and Richard Pippin lines is, to my knowledge,  yet to be established.  

~Submitted by Jim Pippin                                                                                                            


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