Major and/or Gatlin Phillips  

Research by Amita Hallman -

After many hours of research, I came to the conclusion that Gatlin Phillips and Major Phillips are not the same person and wondered if you would make a correction on the Old Dobbers website and in Ancestry if you agree with my determination after reading my findings here.

Major Phillips is listed in the 1840 census in New Bern along with David, Lacy, Peter Sr, Peter, and John L Phillips. The 1840 census indicated Major was in his 20's. I read that he was born about 1813/1815. He does not appear in the 1850 census but I read on Old Dobbers that he was involved in quite a few land deals in the 1850's (with Thomas Abbott, John King and Arden Wiggins). Major appears in the 1860 census residing in the 3rd ward city of New Berne. He was listed as living alone, having occupation of merchant and living close by J. B. Oxley. It appears he resided in New Berne most of his adult life.

The first census Gatlin would be listed in would be 1850 but I could find no listing for him in Craven, Pitt, or Lenoir counties, sometimes going through each screen image because of so many misspellings of "Phillips". I know that Gatlin was in or near Pitt county in 1858 and 1859. Gatlin's marriage in April 1858 to Mary Venters took place in Pitt county where Mary had been living with her mother and step father. Another reference to Gatlin was in 1859 about a court docket involving Gatlin and a G. Hoyt in Pitt county. I discovered that G. Hoyt resided in Greenville in Pitt county in the 1860 census.

I found Gatlin in the 1860 census listed as Gatlin "Phlleps" age 35 so he may have been born in 1825. In 1860 he resided in Lenoir, Contentnea District with Mary and John (age 1). His occupation was overseer. He is listed close by John S Phillips, Wright Phillips, Matthew Carr and next to a Mary Edwards farm. The 1860 census appears to be the only census he was listed in.

I do know for sure that Gatlin married my great grandmother, Mary Venters, in April 1858 and had a son Alonzo, my grandfather, born in 1864. These are the only two facts of Gatlin's life that I am 100% confident of. Alonzo's death certificate indicated that his father was Gatlin Phillips who was born in Craven County, NC. The death certificate was filled out by my grandmother so I do not know if she remembered correctly the county of birth. I have visited the gravesite of Mary Venters and her tombstone lists her as the wife of Gatlin Phillips.

Gatlin died in 1868 according to his probate file and I include here some of the file which lists his name in different ways and may provide a clue as to whether “Major” was a first name or a military rank:

Phillips, Major Gatlin Estate 1874 Gatlin (Maj) Phillips Probate 1874 Craven County Commissioners viewed the estate May 29, 1868

Another reference to Gatlin Phillips in 1854 was found in Sidney Phillips Coward's will in Greene county. Her will was witnessed by Franklin Thomas (neighbor of Sidney) and by Gatlin Phillips.

I went through all the Deed Books on the Old Dobbers Lenoir site and found only one property reference to Gatlin: Jan 1880 in Deed Book 1: William Coward and wife Ann of Greene county to John Best of Lenoir $1000 for 400 acres tract adjacent to W. F. Stanley, Gatlin Phillips (deceased), Coward's Bridge, Great Contentnea Creek, known formerly owned by J.B. Stanley and wife drawn from her father's estate.

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