I’m in West Virginia visiting family today. Thanks to spring break we’re all in the same place at the same time for once. A gift too precious to set aside for blogging. I’ll check in at the weekend! Below are some images from home that inspired settings in Appalachian Serenade and Miracle in a Dry Season. Always happy to return to such special places.
Today I thought I’d share another installment from the 1976 edition of The Pioneer–a booklet put out periodically by the Descendants of the French Creek Pioneers. This one is about Elijah Phillips who was brother to my great, great, great, great-grandfather David Phillips. Elijah Phillips married Cynthia Goodwin of Ashfield, Mass. They had seventeen (!!) children. Four died in infancy, four stayed in Massachusetts, and the remaining nine came with their parents to French Creek in 1814. They came by ox team and traveled for six weeks. In French Creek, they established a home on Mulberry Ridge. Cynthia died in January 1829 of consumption at the age of 69. Elijah was described as being “low in stature with dark eyes and hair, inclined to corpulency, full of life, a great talker, a man of good sense.” His wife was “slender, of medium height, fair complexion and blue eyes, modest and quiet.” Elijah left home because of a dispute over the Revolutionary War. He was a Patriot and his father–Phillip Phillips–was a Loyalist. The disagreement and move effectively severed relations with most of Elijah’s family except for his brother David who also left home due to his Patriot leanings. One of these days I may have to go all the way back to the early 1800s for the setting of a novel. I surely have plenty of material . . . If nothing else, I think I can take a lesson […]
One of my greatest treasures is a collection of letters from my grandmother. She was from a generation that hadn’t quite given up paper and pen for the telephone and certainly not for e-mail. I doubt she ever sat down in front of a computer, although she marveled over the laptop I carried to her house a time or two. Not only do the letters resurrect memories, they also remind me of the way people back in French Creek, WV, talk and the things that are important to them. Weather and family being at the top of the list. Here’s a sample from May 17, 1999, when we still lived in SC. I kept her choice of capitalization which I see not as incorrect, but as a way to emphasize what’s important. Just a few lines along with pictures of Bessie’s Birthday. There was three that didn’t turn out very good but the ones that I’m sending you were pretty good. Bessie survived it all pretty good. Her son in law Elmer (Caroline’s husband) got his Big Toe and the one next to it cut off in a lawn mower accident 2 weeks ago on his job. He is getting along O.K. He worked at the High School so he won’t be going back to work the rest of the school year. It is beautiful here now. The Honey Suckles are Blooming real pretty and some of the other flowers […]
Last week I wrote about being descended from David Phillips whose father-in-law fought in the Revolutionary War. The same booklet that reassures me I am, indeed, a Daughter of the American Revolution, also offers up some interesting tidbits about other ancestors living in French Creek, WV. Here’s one about David’s brother, Elijah Phillips, and his son Edwin’s dog. I’ve put […]
I’m the seventh generation to grow up on our family farm back in West Virginia. There was David Phillips, Horace Phillips, David Phillips, Jane Phillips Loudin, Rex Loudin, Larry Loudin, and then me. My nieces and nephews aren’t currently living on the farm, but they visit often and know it well. Generation number eight. During my last visit with Dad (who lives on the farm still) I discovered two copies of The Pioneer–a booklet put out by the Descendants of the French Creek Pioneers. The group met every other year and Virginia Bly Hoover, who seemed to be the perpetual secretary for the group, would write up an account along with details about various descendants. I have the 1960 and 1976 booklets. Dad always claimed that on the day I was born, Virginia registered me with the Daughters of the American Revolution (DAR). I will confess to sometimes thinking this was hyperbole or legend. But, according to one of my now prized booklets I am, indeed, a descendant of a Patriot. The first David Phillips and his brother Elijah were Patriots while their father, Philip (yes, Philip Phillips) was a Loyalist. They left home over a dispute regarding the Revolutionary War and eventually made their way to West Virginia (then Virginia). It was David’s father-in-law, my great-great-great-great-great grandfather Uriah Goodwin who actually fought in the war. This is why I write about my home–about West Virginia and the farm that […]