Appalachian Thursday–My WV Heritage
I unfortunately missed the 2016 meeting of the French Creek Pioneers, but did get copies of the booklet printed for the occasion along with a reproduction of the original 1916 souvenir booklet. Talk about a literary treasure!
There are sections for several of the key families that settled in French Creek including my ancestors, the Phillips. The first Phillips to come to America was Nicholas who turns up in records from Dedham, Mass., in 1630. Six generations later, in 1815, David Phillips moved his family to French Creek. His son Horace (pictured) was my Great-Grandma Jane’s grandfather. Phew!
In the 1916 booklet there is a sort of essay titled “Impressions of the Phillips Family,” written by a grand nephew of Horace. Today, I simply want to share this priceless bit of writing with you verbatim.
The descendants of Deacon Nicholas (his title almost always gets thrown in) show a certain type of physique; they do not differ widely in stature, complexion, shape of head, general cast of countenance or manner of speech. This type has perhaps become accentuated by intermarriage.
In mental characteristics, they also appear to be much alike although varied , as a matter of course, by different environments. As a family we have always been inclined to personal integrity, morality, and to religion within certain conventional restrictions. But we have hardly kept pace with the general advance of ideas.
The watchword has been “Loyalty” rather than “Loyalty and Progress.” While we may have lived up to our lights in general, the disposition has been to hold fast to the beliefs of the past, rather than with open minds to seek the new truths everywhere to be found. With many excellent traits, this mental attitude must, in any family, be a serious drawback to the attainment of full character, and fatal to the highest progress.
Well. I guess that’s to keep me humble.