I Love Them Already

People, I am having to ban myself from Phillip Phillips’s family. I just wasted half of my lunch hour looking up his descendants, trying to figure out if there were rhyme or reason to which ones “became” white and which ones “became” black.

I do NOT want to do that much work on people who might not even be my family.

And yet, my desire to slip Jeruel’s census records to my racist relatives is at an all-time high. Come on, history! Give me relatives that will scandalize my other relatives! I found a bunch of Reuben’s descendants (Reuben is Jeruel’s brother, Philip’s son) in Kalamazoo at the same time Jeruel’s people are in Barry and my people are in Charlotte, Marshall, and Battle Creek.

Bridgett found mention of Augustus in the history of the place they lived in Ohio (Augustus is Reuben and Jeruel’s brother): “1817 Augustus Philips, said to be a descendent of the Indian chief King Philip, settled on the south half of Lot 53, sharing the property with F.A. Abbott. Philips’ parents arrived in 1820.” If this is the case, it means that there there isn’t just the English Phillips family (centered around Windham and Pomfret) in Connecticut, but that Phillips was a last name adopted by Philip’s descendants.

At the least, it means that I can’t take for granted that anyone named Phillips from Connecticut with a layover of a generation in New York who’s now in the midwest is related to the huge Phillips family. Unless, of course, in Phillip’s case, where he married into that family.

I despair a little of ever finding Luke’s parents, but I am having a blast learning about all the Phillipses that are probably not them.

Things, Secret Things

1. The gun guys I’ve been emailing with have been so helpful. I can’t even begin to tell you. Yesterday, they were teaching me all about sighting a rifle and how you come to learn at which distances your rifle is going to put a round right where your sight is aimed and at which distances it’s going to be a little higher and a little lower. Everything else about our discussion has been appealing to me as a writer. I’m not sure how much of it is going to be visible on the front end of the book, but by god, it’s going to make that character better. But something about learning the arc the bullet makes… oh, that appeals to me just viscerally. Like the way you learn your car and its quirks, you learn your rifle and its quirks.

Seriously, there’s a good argument for birth control giving women unprecedented freedom, but I think I’d like to argue for the machine first.

2. Yesterday I stumbled upon a plausible reason why Luke Phillips’s parents might be so impossible to track down. I had been operating under the assumption that the Phillips family that was in Connecticut and then came to New York and then came to the Midwest was one family. And then I found Phillip Phillips married to Elizabeth Phillips and they both were born in Connecticut, had at least one kid who was born in New York, and then they came to the Midwest–the standard arc for Connecticut Phillipses. Elizabeth’s maiden name was Phillips and she’s clearly a part of the large Connecticut Phillips clan I must also be related to in some way. But there’s NOTHING on Phillip’s family. I thought I’d find him as a cousin in there some place, but no.

Here’s the census entry for his son, Jeruel (or Jeruth) and his family, living in Barry, Michigan in 1860. Note how close Barry is to Charlotte, Marshall, and Battle Creek, where my known branches of Phillipses are.

I think there’s a small, but meaningful possibility, that something similar could explain why Luke’s parents can’t be found (or that, perhaps, Phillip and Elizabeth were Luke’s parents). I’m still 75% sure I’m eventually going to find his parents among the branch of the family that is full of other Almyras and Franks.

But, in the meantime, I have been asked to not share this with any family members and, if I find definitive proof that this is Luke’s branch of Phillipses, that this is the census record of one of Luke’s brothers, to not share it, ever, with my aunt.

Ha ha ha ha ha. Oh, U.S. history, you make people try to keep some weird secrets.