The Village Yankee

The Texas Story Project.

My great grandfather, William R. Phillips, moved the family from Tennessee to Abilene, then Jones County in about 1884.

I suspect his service to the United States during the Civil War made life among his Confederate neighbors a bit uncomfortable. In fact, his household was divided: my great grandmother had at least one brother bearing arms for the Confederacy. Only a couple of stories have filtered down to me about that time period.

I had an uncle, Charles Sinclair Phillips, who was born in 1894 out there in Jones County.  His mother promptly died, and he was sent to live with his Phillips grandparents.  His grandfather died in 1896.  Sinclair told me once of a conversation he had with his grandmother.  "Mama," he said, "How come you to marry Papa, with him being a Yankee?" "Because he was a good man," she said.

Another time, my dad, Morris S. Phillips, was in Merkel calling on a customer (a butcher) and was asking around about stories from his grandparents' day. Daddy said a certain Tom Green related this one: One day, Tom and his crowd were walking home from school out in rural Jones County and took a shortcut across my great grandmother's farm. They stopped in her house to pay their respects and headed on home. Upon arriving home, Tom ran up to his mother.  "Mama," he exclaimed, "We stopped by Mrs. Phillips' house today, and you know what?  They have a picture of Abe Lincoln on the wall!"  "Well, don't be talking about it" she said.  "They're Yankees."

Timothy Phillips is a living historian, retired clinical scientist, and great grandchild of William R. Phillips

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