Did you spot it? Did the dates ring a bell? Our 5th and 6th great-grandfather John Phillips, whose great-great-granddaughter was our (great-)great-grandmother Goldie Fouts, was born during the Revolutionary War and died during the Civil War. But let’s not jump ahead too far.
John Phillips was born in Hagerstown, Washington Co., Maryland on 26 June 1776, today 244 years ago, just eight days before the Declaration of Independence. The town was called Elizabethtown at the time: Jonathan Hager, a German immigrant, had bought 200 acres of land in the Great Appalachian Valley in 1739, called it Hager’s Fancy and named the town he founded there in 1762 after his wife Elizabeth. In 1814, it was renamed Hagerstown, following popular use.
But by that time, John Phillips was not living in Hagerstown anymore. We are not sure when he left the area, but records show that his parents already went west towards the Old Northwest, with little John and his siblings no doubt.
By the beginning of the 19th century, we find John marrying west of the Ohio River in Barnesville, today located in Belmont Co., Ohio. Funnily enough, Barnesville was named after one James Barnes who happened to have been born in Maryland and was the first settler in the Barnesville area. Go figure.
Regardless, John Phillips married Catherine McFarland, daughter of Irish immigrants, in Barnesville on 12 September 1809, at a time when warriors of Tecumseh’s Confederation, armed by the British, hoped to rid the territory of American settlers and increasingly raided their towns and farmsteads. John, by then father of two and the third on the way, enlisted in the War of 1812 on 4 September 1812; the necessity to defend his homeland surely did not need to be impressed on him, but we do not know any particulars about his life as a soldier. He survived the war, this much is sure, and the family stayed in Barnesville where six more children were born to John and Catherine.
John Phillips passed away in his 87th year on 9 June 1863, smack-dab in the middle of the American Civil War. His life was indeed framed by armed conflicts on American soil.
Requiescat in Pace now, Great-Grandpa John.