Wednesday, May 22, 2013

The Farm & Henry Ludwig

Today I'm thinking of my cousins Don, Lois & Peggy who are undoubtedly hard at work as the days of spring and summer settle in in late May.  They are living on the original family farm in Pennsylvania, and Peggy fills me in from time to time about all the work involved to keep the property running.  I'm happy to say there is still some farm blood running through the Phillips veins.   It was nearly one year ago that some of the Ohio and Pennsylvania (and Colorado & Canada!) cousins reunited on the Phillips farm for a tour of the old stomping grounds.  This Memorial Day the temps will be a bit milder, maybe in the 70's, while last year we suffered through a hot and sweaty day!  Our hosts in Pennsylvania couldn't have been more welcoming and accommodating as we found some shade in the backyard tent for lunch.  A tour through the Baker cemetery, Fort McIntosh and the Old Economy Village rounded out a wonderful day of family history and getting to know one another. 

Group shot from the beautiful grounds of the Phillips Family Farm

 Henry Ludwig Phillips

George & Marie Christine had five children, as I listed out in the January post.  The first child, Henry Ludwig Phillips, has remained an enigma to us.  He was born on April 11, 1831 in Germany, making the journey to America when he was 7 years of age.  What a journey to take through a young child's eyes.  And what adventures faced him after arrival?  With Marie Christine busy with four more children, I imagine a lot was expected of Henry in those early days of travel and settling on the farm.  What daydreams did he have as he worked the horses or went to town on errands? 

While we have no good paper trail for Henry, it is rumored that perhaps Henry worked with a religious group called the Harmonites.  Old Economy Village is a historic community once run by the Harmonites, and formed by George Rapp with his adopted son Frederick Rapp.  It will be interesting to follow up with further research as we have not been able to track down Henry through any other avenues.  The Harmonites were an extremely resourceful, organized and productive group of people.  Once you signed the agreement to become part of their group, you agreed to give all worldly possessions to the group.  Everyone was equal and each had everything they needed.  The only trouble was that upon joining, you also agreed to become celibate, which ultimately led to their demise.  If, in fact, Henry did join in with this group in some fashion it may be hard to trace.  Along with being equal, they did not place name markers on graves.  They were excellent record keepers, but to date, we have not located Henry.  The search remains open on all avenues concerning this family member - he may have joined the Civil War efforts or settled down with a wife somewhere.  The mystery continues!

For my next post, I will be working with the second child of George & Marie Christine - George Peter Phillips.  Most of what we know about George Peter comes from the diligent research of Tom & Carolyn Phillips in Colorado.  I'm so grateful to have their information to include!

Till next time...

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