Sumac

I was just down this weekend. I was on cold medicine and then throwing out things that had great value to me and just feeling like I’m failing the book and I didn’t get to a park so I’m failing Pith a little. Blah blah blah.

So, I made sure to get up and take the dog for a walk, because, in general, when I’m feeling such uniform blues which are just floundering for a reason to exist, it’s because I’m a little physically stagnant. Not always, but often enough that walking needs to be tried. And this weekend was pretty stagnant.

Anyway, the sumac is in a deep red and that always makes me feel good, like I am overhearing a very profound secret in a language I don’t know. Not that you can tell from this picture, but trust me. The sumac knows some shit.

I also spent the evening digging in my dead ancestors, which makes me happy. There’s something calming about pouring through old records. And here’s what I noticed yesterday. As well as Luke Phillips living next to a C T Phillips in the 1840 census, in two other censuses we find him living near Phillipses–a Jay W. Phillips, who is just a couple of years younger than Luke and also born in New York, and a Frank Phillips, who, it turns out, is Jay’s son. Frank Phillips is also the name of my Grandpa’s dad (Luke’s grandson). Could Oscar have named his boy after a cousin? Weirdly enough, Jay also has a son, Bruce, but my Dad says my grandma named all them so that’s got to be just one hell of a coincidence.

So, I’m feeling pretty confident in a way I can’t prove, that Luke and Jay are brothers. So, that got me thinking of this C T Phillips. Now, there is no C Phillips I could find in Oakland County before or after 1840, but this C T Phillips would have been a generation ahead of Luke and Jay (Jay’s not in the 1840 census, maybe because he was living with CT?). And I did find a Charles Phillips in 1830 in St. Clair County (which is a few counties northeast of Oakland). His son, also Charles, was the blacksmith (though, from what I found in Google books, they may both have been blacksmiths.) AND Charles Jr. has a brother, Archibald.

Two nice things about Archibald. One, he lived with Charles his whole life and never married. Two, he’s got an unusual name (as opposed to Charles), so I was able to use Archibald to trace Charles down through the years. I also found Archibald and Charles’ mom–Derutia, another unique name, easy to search for. And through her and Archibald, I was able to learn that Archibald was born in Fort Edward, New York and that Charles Sr. and Derutia came to Michigan before at least Archibald, if not most of their children, in order to secure land, and then were followed by the children.

So, now, I’m deeply suspicious that Charles and Derutia are Luke and Jay’s parents as well (I don’t know if you remember, but other distant relatives had Luke being born in a town in New York that didn’t exist until after he’d already come to Michigan).

And that makes me happy. I’m not sure how to prove it, but that’s my suspicion.