When my husband and I took on the family farm in West Virginia, a big part of the reason was to preserve family history. Turns out I’m pretty sentimental and I’m fascinated with history–especially my own.

This land has been held by a descendant of David Phillips for 187 years!

I’ve known for years that my brothers and I are the seventh generation to live on that particular parcel of land. But I’d long wondered, just how much of it actually goes back seven generations?

In going through Dad’s papers my brother pulled out a legal-size folder full of papers “about the farm.” There are old deeds, maps, and handwritten notes. Among them is a page in my father’s hand that traces the property’s history back to 1833 (with county deed book citations in case I want to look it up as well). That means the land has been in our family for 187 years!

Turns out there are only eight acres that have passed through all seven generations, but I think it’s fair to assume the other 50+ we now own were part of the original tract since it was originally 1,460 acres!!

Here’s the rundown:

  • David Phillips acquired a 1,460-acre tract from David Stringer on February 4, 1833.
  • Horace Phillips received a portion of the original tract upon his father, David’s, death in 1849.
  • Horace willed 8 acres to his son David Phillips and his wife Serena on August 22, 1870.
  • David and Serena conveyed those 8 acres to Perry S. Loudin (son-in-law) and Jane Phillips Loudin (daughter) on December 4, 1909.
  • Jane Phillips Loudin Howes conveyed the 8 acres to her son, Rex Phillip Loudin, on May 3, 1943. The house my dad grew up in was on that parcel.
  • Rex conveyed the land to his son, Larry Phillip Loudin (my dad), on March 19, 1971, along with several additional tracts of the original 1,460 acres that had been purchased over the years, totaling 98.5 acres.
  • And then my husband and I purchased 58.5 acres including the 8 consistently in the family in February 2018.

Now THAT is a legacy!