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What Time Is It?

What Time Is It?
By Joe Phillips Dear Me
What Time Is It?
By Joe Phillips Dear Me

What time is it? I don’t know much about my great- grandfather, and the more I learn, the odder he seems. We never met, of course, since he was born in 1839 and died in 1922 at age 83. My father knew him, and every story he told made his grandfather seem just a half-bubble off.

Elijah “Lige” Madison Phillips had three children by his first wife, Josephine Bomar, granddaughter of Armstead Bomar. She died three weeks after my grandfather was born, and he was nursed by a neighbor, “Aunt Martha” Moody.

Then “Lige” had eight more children with Nancy Elliott Phillips, who was 14 years younger.

My line came from the first wife. Dad said that Lige named every horse “Mary” whether it was female or not, and every Mary was “The best hoss I ever owned.”

Lige carried a watch that didn’t work. “Or,” said my father, “maybe it worked but he couldn’t tell time.”

It was a “railroad watch,” a prized watch carried by railroad men, and could vary no more than 30 seconds per week.

Lige liked to have dinner (lunch) at noon every day. He cut a notch into a board on his back porch and drove a nail so that its shadow fell into the notch at noon. That day.

He didn’t know that his sun clock would only be right two days a year.

Lige was one of eleven brothers who marched off to war in 1861. At some point one of his fingers was shot off, then he became a POW at Point Lookout Prison until 1865. His father, Henry Phillips, struck a deal with a man offering a farm to anybody who would take his place in the army. In that day you could hire someone to go to war in your place. All eleven sons plus Henry went to war. Three sons died in Virginia. Henry was sixty years old, an old man in the 1800’s, when he went marching off to participate in what some of my gentle-folk relatives called “The Recent Unpleasantness.”

Henry was captured and sent home more than once. Whether he got the farm? Who knows?

One of Lige’s brothers, David Franklin Phillips, became a doctor and moved to Osage, TX, where he and another man had a long-time dispute about owed money. They eventually shot it out in the continued from page

middle of a road west of Crawfordville, TX.

The survivor, also a doctor, was a better shot, and Dr. David F. Phillips died right there.

As if that sketch wasn’t bad enough, the surviving opponent was Dr. Benjamin Aiken Phillips, his son.

But back to the original question. You can still call the time/temperature line at 404-522-8550.

Elijah M. Phillips

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