Phillips Family Excitement

I got a phone call this morning. Right as I was getting in the shower. It sounded suspiciously like the voice my dad used when he pretended to be my Great Grandpa Frank. I should back up. I sent a letter on Monday to the grandson of Barlow Phillips, who is alive, still, and living in Marshall, which is the next town over from Battle Creek.

This morning, he called me. And he sounded like my dad. But older. He is funny and smart, so whip-smart. His son is in Memphis, weirdly. He didn’t know much about the family, contrary to what my Uncle B. thought. But he said one thing interesting.

His dad got his job at Fort Custer after World War I through Hildreth Phillips. He wondered if that was my grandpa. My grandpa would have been ten. Now, we Phillipses are precocious, but I doubt any of us are getting folks government jobs at ten.

But the other Hildreth Phillips? The one I have wondered about whether he’s related to us or if it’s just the coincidence to beat all coincidences? He would have been in his forties.

I can accept that there might be two unrelated Hildreth Phillipses in Michigan at the same time. I suppose. I cannot accept that the one Hildreth Phillips got a relative of the other Hildreth Phillips a job AND that his son would be under the impression that the Hildreth Phillips who got him a job was related to them, if they were not, in fact, related.

The other Hildreth?

The great-grandson of Asa Phillips. I suspect Hildreth’s grandfather Jonathan may have been Luke’s brother.

But more than that, I loved that Barlow’s grandson was funny and charming and sharp. I love that he sounded like my dad. It felt like a different possibility for growing old as a Phillips.

4 thoughts on “Phillips Family Excitement

  1. In my late-afternoon haze, I read the title of this post as “Phillips Family Restaurant.” I would patronize such an establishment.

  2. How many Hildreths were there up there anyway? It’s not biblical (is it? Paging Coble), it’s not common, no famous people with that name, right? Seems like it has to be a family name. And not an awful one. On my Dad’s side, I have a great great great something male named Hilarius.

  3. One tip I have for anyone eating at the Phillips Family Restaurant is “pray with a fork in your hand and one eye open” because the other patrons will try to steal food off your plate and you may need to stab at them.

    Jess, what’s especially weird is that, for my grandpa, it is a family name. His name was Hildreth Heistand Phillips and his mom’s maiden name was Heistand and his dad’s mom’s maiden name was Hildreth.

    I’ve looked and the other Hildreth’s people settled mostly in Ionia and my last name Hildreth people were in Charlotte, so I don’t think he got the name the same way my grandpa did.

    Unless he was known as a cousin already and so him having the name and my great grandma’s mother in law having the name made it attractive?

    I kind of love HIlarius.

  4. Hillary, Hilarius, Hilarion, and other variants are uncommon but not rare names for men before the 1950s. One of the earlier founders of communal monasticism in Europe was a Hilarios. For some reason, once Edmund Hillary climbed Everest the name got transferred to women, much the way Ariel is becoming a female name in Anglophone countries today.

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