In the last post, I wrote what I have found on the “mysterious” Captain Benjamin Allen Phillips and Mary Nicholas Cazey, my 3rd great grandparents. You can see their story here: The Mysterious Captain Phillips
I had been unable to find parentage for either of them and decided to research their children in case I could find some clues to the mystery. This was in vain. However, what I did find were some interesting stories that were just begging to be told. After all, every one of the ancestors I find has a story, some more revealing and colorful than others, but stories to be told after all. These are some stories I found about my 3rd great aunts and uncles!
The first child of Capt Benjamin Phillips and Mary Cazey was Maria Ann Phillips who was born in 1811 in Lynchburg, Campbell County, Virginia. I did know that Benjamin and Mary were married in 1811 also and Maria’s birthplace tells me their residence at that particular time although they were married in Henrico County VA. Luckily, I found a marriage announcement from the Lynchburg Virginian newspaper from Monday, June 16 1834 (page 3) revealing that Maria had married James William Oliver! James was a plasterer by trade and they lived in the Lynchburg area. I found a record of eight children for the couple but the marriage years must have had some rough times as two of their daughters died quite young. Amanda Oliver died at age 12 and Mary E Oliver died at age 10 – both from unknown causes. Harriet Oliver, born 1835, did not have a death date or other information so may have also died young. Their son Benjamin died at about 15 or 16 years old. Other children were Richard Monroe Oliver, William H Oliver, James M Oliver and Frances Indianna Oliver. Maria’s husband, James, passed in 1878 and Maria passed in 1880 at the home of her daughter Frances.
Elizabeth Ann Phillips was the second child of Capt Benjamin and Mary Phillips and was born in 1815. Elizabeth married Peter Garrett Akers on 29 June 1836 and they had two known children, Charles Edward Akers and Elizabeth C Akers. Sadly, this marriage did not escape tragedy either! The year after her daughter was born, Elizabeth herself passed away on 15 March 1842 at the young age of 27! She died after a painful illness of eight months at her father’s residence. Elizabeth was buried in the Old City Cemetery in Lynchburg VA.
Benjamin and Mary Phillips’ third child was also a daughter, Mary Catherine, born in August of 1819 in Lynchburg. She married a trader named Francis Smithson and they had at least one son named Darius. However, it seems things did not go well for Mary Catherine! When she was 50 years old, it was noted on the 1870 Census for the family that she was classified as “insane!” Now this could be a generalized term applied for many disorders. It was also noted that she could not read or write. Ten years later, I found Mary Catherine as widowed and in 1900, she lived with her sister Caroline Phillips Ford and was 80 years old. None of the other census records noted any insanity for Mary and she died in 1905 at age 84.
The first son of Benjamin and Mary was their 4th child, Benjamin S Phillips, who was born in 1820 or 1822. This son married Sarah Elizabeth Burch, who was also called “Lizzie Burch.” They were married on 27 Jan 1859, just before the Civil War. Now the Phillips family in interrelated with the Burch family so Benjamin S and Lizzie may have been cousins. Interesting that Ben was 37 and Lizzie was 22 at the time of marriage – a difference of 15 years! When the Civil War began, Ben enlisted in the Confederate Army and served in the 1st Regiment of the Virginia Artillery, Company H. I found one son of theirs named Henry Clay Phillips. All I could discover about his death was that Benjamin died after 1861 which makes me wonder if his death had anything to do with his service during the War.
Frances J Phillips was another daughter of Capt Benjamin and Mary and was born in 1830. There may have been another unnamed son born before her but this is not verified. Frances married Edward J Taylor in 1850 and they lived in Lynchburg also. Little is found about Frances except that in 1880 she was a widow and living with a cousin in Powellton, Brunswick County, VA. She died 9 July 1885 in Lynchburg at about age 55.
Although it was difficult to find a lot of information of the above siblings, I struck a bonus with the next daughter, Caroline Agnes L Phillips! Caroline was born in January of 1831 and married Simeon Walter Ford on 14 Dec 1849 in Lynchburg when she was 18 years old. Simeon Ford, according to the 1880 census, was a Yard Master for the Railroad. I found eight children of Caroline and Simeon Ford including: John Ford (1853-?); Ella Ford (1853-1904, possible twin of John); Anna Alice Ford (1855-1893); James Ford (1856-1870); Alpheus Marcellus Augustus Ford ( 1856-1870, possible twin with James); Thomas Ford (1859-?); Mary Lillian Ford (1860-1941); and Simeon Walter Ford, Jr. (1862-1941). This last son, Simeon Jr., married a first cousin, Nannie Belle Phillips, the daughter of Oscar F Phillips, Caroline’s brother. I wrote their story in another blog. You can check it out here: Simeon and Nannie Belle Ford – A Surprising Couple!
One surprise on the 1880 Census for Elon, Amherst County VA where they lived (near Lynchburg) is that Caroline and Simeon had an adopted son who was five years old in 1880 and named Blucher Ford. Blucher died in 1899 at age 24 of unknown causes. Caroline Ford died as a widow on 26 Feb 1904 at age 65 and she died at home after an illness of two months. According to her obit, Caroline “bore her sufferings with Christian resignation and fortitude.” Her son, Alpheus, arranged her burial and paid $40 for her casket and another $10 for 2 hacks (?) for a total of $50 which he paid in cash. That was a good deal of money for that era!
Son of Caroline and Simeon, Alpheus Marcellus Augustus Ford, will be remembered for his unusual name and was quite a character. He married a Susie St. Claire and they had about 6 children. Alpheus died of a cerebral hemorrhage in 1937. Without going too far into researching collateral ancestors, I did find some interesting things about a couple of Alpheus and Susie’s children.
One of their sons named Ralph Michael Ford died at age 48 and the cause of death was a sub-dura hematoma due to a fracture of the left temperal bone. According to the death certificate, his death was ruled a homicide as the injury was sustained in a fist fight! He died at age 48 in 1950. That had to be quite a fight! I did search for newspaper articles or other information on his death but have not found anything as yet.
Another son of Alpheus and Susie was named Simeon W Ford after his grandfather and he served in WWI. I was lucky to happen upon a picture of him in his WWI uniform!
Of course there are more stories of the Fords that will have to wait for another day.
Going back to the children of Capt Benjamin Phillips and Mary Cazey, their last child was my second great-grandfather, Oscar Fitzallen Phillips. Oscar was born in 1832 and married Nancy Jane Burch, the daughter of Stephen Burch and Elizabeth Miller McDaniel. I have written a post of their history and you can find their family story here: A Family of Phillips!
All in all this was quite an interesting family!
- Virginia, Marriages 1785-1940. Salt Lake City, Utah: FamilySearch, 2013; FHL film 32235; Page: 50 & 56.
- Find A Grave for Elizabeth A Phillips Akers; Memorial # 98257231; http://www.findagrave.com.
- Year: 1870; Census Place: Lynchburg, Henry Ward, Campbell, Virginia; Roll: M593_1638; Page: 490A; FHL film 553137.
- Virginia Marriages, 1785-1940; Indexing Project (batch) number: M86877-9; System Origin: Virginia-EASy; Source film number: 32268; reference number: Page 11-5.
- National Park Service. U. S. Civil War Soldiers, 1861-1865 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations Inc., 2007.
- Year: 1880; Census Place: Elon, Amherst, Virginia; Roll: 1353; Page: 199A; Enumeration District: 018.
- Diuguid’s Note of deceased for bural of Caroline A Ford; Diuguid Funeral Home, Lynchburg, Virginia.
- Virginia Department of Health; Richmond Virginia; Virginia Deaths, 1912-2014.