His boyhood days were probably spent in the fields farming and learning to hunt and fish. There
were no schools in the area at the time he lived there. The Eberhart school was on the
other side of the river, not far away but may not have been built early enough for John to have
benefitted. It was an old log building which has now been moved over to Buffalo on the site
where "Buffalo Days" festivities are held each year. John's older brothers did not sign their
names to governmental documents but John did, so perhaps he did benefit from some early
When the Civil War came, feelings ran high in the Dallas County communities. There were a
good many who sided with the Confederacy but most in Dallas County joined the Union. Perhaps
religion played a part in this as most churches in S.W. Missouri took a stand against slavery.
("Our Religious Heritage" by E.T. Sechler, 1961). It should also be noted that Dallas Co.
had many settlers from states farther north such as Illinois and Indiana while most of S.W.
Missouri was settled by people from Tennessee, Kentucky and Alabama. So the families took
one side or the other and went off to war to fight each other.
The Phillips brothers entered the Union side but they did not all join up at the same time or
even in the same companies, John being the exception. He joined Company C, 46th Regiment of
the MO Volunteers on 22 Aug 1864 with his older brother, Elisha Herman Phillips. They were
active until they were mustered out 6 Mar 1865. The records find no injuries for John during
We assume that John returned to his father's farm to live with his family. Abraham died just
about three years later. John bought a cow and her calf, a plow with gears, and some wagon
materials from the estate. He continued living there with his brothers. The 1870 census
finds Sanders listed as head of house. Brother William, age 28, John age 25, George age 22,
(Joseph) Marion aged 20, and Elisha Herman and his family. The children of Elisha listed
with them in 1870 were William, Elizabeth, Thomas and Ruben the baby. This was quite a
house-full for a log cabin.
John and his brother,Silas, courted daughters of Francis Hildebrand. John married Elizabeth
(Betsy) in 1873. We have found no public record of this marriage so it may have been
performed by a minister who forgot to record it.
John and Betsy Elizabeth built a log home about 3/4 of a mile southeast of Benton Branch
Church. The London Smoke School was later built across the road to the south of their land.
The cabin is in a forested area with a pasture north of them. There used to be a spring down the
hill on the southesast side of the cabin.
We have visited the remains of this old cabin. A granddaughter, Louie McClung describes it
and drew a diagram. The fireplace was on the west with the main room centered around that.
Two beds were on the opposite wall. Clothes were hung on hooks in the S.E. corner. Cooking
was originally done at the fireplace. A large "grandfather" clock was in the S.W. corner
and the sewing was kept there. The front door is on the south with a stone step. (We found
this same kind of arrangement at the site where we believe Abraham's cabin was situated).
On the north side of the room there were steps that led up to the attic. The roof was gabled,
running east to west, leaving room for a bedroom upstairs. The children slept upstairs.
Later, as the family expanded, a lean-to was built on the north side of the house for a
kitchen. It had a wood stove on the west side and table on the east side. People still often
took their plates in around the fireplace to sit and eat and visit.
Years later, a summer house was built on the east side of the cabin. It was a single
large room built of oak boards. It had windows all around which were screened in during the
summer and then boarded up during the winter and used to store food. Louie remembers that it was
surrounded by holly-hocks and morning-glory flowers. The vegetable garden was to the
north of the house.
The cabin sits on a level area at the top of a hill. The spring was located down the hill
a little way and all the water for use in the cabin had to be carried up the hill.
Life was not easy for women in those days. The families had to be very self-sufficient.
Betsy Elizabeth must have had a spinning wheel and loom, as her daughter, Laly, saved a
dress which Betsy had spun and woven and sewn herself. It was one of the few momentoes she
kept from her own mother. She cut up pieces of it to give to descendants.
John and Betsy Elizabeth had six children about two years apart. The first born in 1875 and the
last in 1886. they were: Mary Ellen (Molly), Carolina Rena, Louis John, Laly Sylvia,
Cleopatra Anne, and John Alva. They lost Carolina when she was nearly two years old.
Betsy Elizabeth was carrying Louis John at the time they lost their baby. Louis also
John Alva was born 5 April 1886. Just nine days later Betsy Elizabeth died. They had very little
medical help in those days and if a delivery went hard, there was not much that could be done.
John buried her at the Scrivner Cemetery with the rest of her family. Her dates read:
b. 7 May 1854 and died 14 April 1886. She was the daughter of Francis and Syrena Williams
Hildebrand. A history of Francis's family is found as the first child of David
Hildebrand. in the Hildebrand Saga.
John was left with four children to rear and a tiny baby. In those days they found another
mother, usually a relative and sometimes a neighbor, who was also nursing and gave the baby
to the lady to be "wet-nursed" until the baby was old enough to bring back home. Laly did
this for her husband's cousin, Bill Sweaney, when his wife died in childbirth.
John took care of his little children for almost three years before he found another wife. He
married 20 Dec 1888 to Melinda Paralee Hildebrand. She was a distant cousin to his first
wife. Paralee was born 10 May 1851 in Franklin county, Illinois. Her people came from the
Meramec settlement near St. Louis as did Betsy Elizabeth's. Paralee's parents were
Michael Norman and Sirena (Johns) Hildebrand.
After Calvin died, Paralee married Ezra Louck. The Buffalo Reflex carried this article in the
17 Sept 1885 issue: "A correspondent sent us the following item of news: 'married Sept. 1st
1885, Mr. E. Lock and Mrs. P. Lawson. A few evenings afterward the friends came to serenade
them, but alas, they had fled. But as there were several women among them, they searched until
found and surrounded the house and did not yield until a treat was agreed upon--cider for
the boys and candy for the girls. Mr. Lock said he never had more fun in his life. He is
75 years old.'"
There were no children born to Paralee's marriage to Ezra Louck and he did not live much longer.
John took Paralee's children and her step-children into his home then he and Paralee had two more
children: William Seberry and Ellis Green born in 1889 and 1892.
John's obituary states that he had joined with the Christian Church at Pea Ridge at an
early age. In 1885 the Benton Branch Free Will Baptist Church was organized. The first
preacher was assigned in 1891. W. M. Phillips was a preacher there from 1914-16. Laly
was Freewill Baptist in her youth and believed in foot washing as a part of a worship service.
No doubt the family attended this beautiful little church perched on a hill and surrounded
by maples. This is a beautiful place in October with the trees in "full bloom". John and
several members of the family are buried in the cemetery behind the church.
Louie McClung remembers that Grandpa Phillips had a long white beard which hung to his
He would give his grandchildren some change to go up the road to the little grocery store
to buy hard candies. There was only a path over to the road that is now Hwy K.
John lived out his days on his farm and reared his family there. In 1898 he applied for a
disability pension under an act of Congress of 1920. He applied due to old age disability
and ailments due to his advanced years. He had a stroke in the late spring of 1927. All the
children who survived had married and had families of their own by then. Paralee could not
take care of him by herself as he was paralyzed. Laly left an older daughter, D.J., to
cook and care for her family and took the two youngest, Louie and Sheridan, with her to take
care of her father. Louie can remember that Laly had to change the sheets several times a day
and wash them. They hauled all that water up the hill and did the laundry by the lean-to
kitchen where they could heat the water. They had to spoon-feed "grandpa" but he got
weaker. His son, Seberry and his wife, Nancy, came. Louie remembers that Seberry went to the
store over at London Smoke and brought back corn flakes for breakfast. It was the first
time she had ever had corn flakes for breakfast.
Seberry and Nancy had left their two oldest boys at home to take care of the farm animals.
They stayed at Grandpa Phillips's the rest of the summer and did not have the chance to put
in a crop that year.
John died 29 Aug 1927. He was buried at Benton Branch Cemetery with a military marker. The
funeral services were conducted by Rev. Geo. Sturdevant at Benton Branch.
Paralee applied for a widow's pension and sent their marriage license to Washington as
proof of marriage. We are fortunate to have that copy available. W.S. Phillips and O.H.
Scott witnessed her application.
Paralee died 16 Jan 1938 at Long Lane and was also buried at Benton Branch Church Cemetery.
The first child of John Washington and Elizabeth Hildebrand Phillips was born 13 Sep 1875 in
Dallas County. She was 10 years old when her mother died. She had a big job helping her
father take care of his very young family.
She married James William (Jim Will) Hicks 18 Jan 1891 by Thomas Hutchinson at his home in
Dallas County. Edna Hicks says that Jim Hicks' parents were Tom and Jane Gann Hicks. They had
three boys, Benjamin, Jim Will and John (?). Benjamin Hicks was the one who married Belzora
Lawson, Mollie's half-sister.
Molly and Jim had three children: Eddie S., Lewis and Alice. They reared their family on
a small place near London Smoke, the old Wicks' place. They were still there when Eddie and
Edna had their first baby while living with them. It was a one-room house with a lean-to
kitchen. For a time they didn't have a horse or transportation. They later lived just
east of the intersection near Ernestville. Ernestville had some stores, one run by Arch
Howerton. They kept a general store there.
Louie McClung remembers going to visit "Aunt Molly" for a week or so at a time when she was
young. Molly's children were grown and gone by then and she enjoyed having Louie "because
I was such a chatter-box." they lived near Ernestville and Molly would send Louie to the
store for her which was just a little way from their place. Louie remembers that Aunt Molly
was hard of hearing.
A large crowd of relatives gathered at the home of Mr. and Mrs. J. W. Hicks of near
Phillipsburg Sunday, October 6, in honor of Mr. Hicks' 71st birthday which was the 3rd. A
good dinner and an enjoyable time was had by all. The afternoon was spent in visiting and
all enjoyed the music furnished by Eddie Hicks, Marion Evans and Everett Sweaney, also the
singing by Sheridan Sweaney.
Those present were: Mr. and Mrs. Eddie Hicks, Mr. and Mrs. Oscar Henson and two children Ray and
Roy, Mr. and Mrs. Louis Hicks and children Maxine, Jimmy and Wayne, Mrs. Dick Dame and
children Dale and Bennie Joe, Mr. and Mrs. Calvin Hicks and children Dorothy Louise and
Lucile, Mr. and Mrs. Clifford Evans and children Genevieve, Leon, Barbara Jane, and Wanda
Jean, Mr. and Mrs. E. O. Sommerville and sons Ray and Billy, Mr. and Mrs. Loyd Hicks and
daughters Alice and Avis, Mr. and Mrs. Everett Sweaney and son Sheridan, Mr. and Mrs.
Marion Evans and son Jim, Mrs. Belzora Austin and sons Albert and Dean Hicks and the honorees,
Mr. and Mrs. J. W. Hicks.
All departed in the evening hoping all may be together again soon.
Signed: One Present"
Jim Will Hicks died 9 July 1946 and Molly lived six more years by herself. She was living
with her son, Eddie Hicks and his wife, Edna, when she died 25 March 1952. Edna says she would
take turns living with them and Lewis. When she got tired, she would come back to be with her
and Eddie. Edna says she was a good hand to quilt but she mostly enjoyed helping out with
her grandchildren, sewing or making clothes.
Mollie and Jim Will attended Harmony church. They and their children are buried in the cemetery
(1) Eddie Silvester Hicks b. 12 Nov 1891 in Dallas County. He married Edna Huffman in 1914.
Her parents had passed away when she was a teenager and were buried in the Conway Cemetery.
Before her dad passed away, her father bought a little place in Conway and she and her aunt
stayed in the house. Eddie and his grandfather had moved up above them. She had to carry
water from the spring and Eddie passed by riding a mare with a little colt following her and
another pony that they later called Edna's horse. She was attracted to him then.
Jane Gann Hicks, Eddie's grandma, came to visit her and was quite a talker. They enjoyed
Eddie and Edna had three children: Ressie b. 1915 md Oscar Henson and had two boys. They
lived on the road west of Conway near Harmony Church. Edna remembers coming home from
church and fixing dinner for 20 people many a time. This was probably for all of Molly's
kids and grandkids. Edna says that Eddie always raised a large garden which they canned
and dried and preserved. They had no cellar. They didn't have a well and Edna carried water
from a spring to wash and mop and clean. Edna remembers helping Eddie plant fields. She would
lead a young horse to keep him walking in the right rows while Eddie was plowing and
Edna remembers Uncle Ellis and Aunt Mabel Phillips coming to visit. They came every spring with
the opening of fishing season at Bennett Springs.
Eddie died 13 Jan 1962. He is buried at Harmony Cemetery. Edna was still living in 1987 when
we taped an interview with her which supplied much of the above history.
(2) Huiey Louis Hicks b. 30 June 1894. He married Frances Caroline Perryman (dau. of Arnit and
Nancy Dule Perryman). They had five children:  Lawrence who md Emma Richardson and
they had 12 children.  Alma who md (Dick) Salis Dame.  Retha who md Chester Dame,
they had 13 children.  Clarence who md Ruth Stowell, had one son, Michal.  Maxine who md a
Keller, Kenneth Routh, then a Mr. Brown. She had 5 children by Keller.
Frances Perryman Hicks died 23 Feb 1936 and was buried at Harmony Cemetery. Louis md second,
Gladys I. Moore Oct 13, 1938. They had 10 children: Wayne, Doyle, Melba June (died in
infancy), Mary Sue, Lynda Lee, Paul Calvin, Tommy Keith, Edward Howard, Doris Kay and
Kenny Ray. James Todd was Gladys's oldest son.
(3) Lisa Allice Hicks was born 30 April 1897. She died in 1905.
91. CAROLINA RENA PHILLIPS
The second child of John Washington and Betsy Elizabeth Hildebrand Phillips was born 4 Apr 1878
in Dallas County, MO. She lived only two years. She died 19 Jan 1880 and was probably
buried at Benton Branch Cemetery though no marker can be found for her.
The third child of John Washington and Elizabeth Hildebrand Phillips was born 4 June 1880 in
Dallas County. He also died young.
The fourth child of John Washington and Betsy Elizabeth Hildebrand Phillips was born 31 June
1882 in Dallas County. She lived until Feb. 1978, almost 96 years. She was a source of encouragement in
the early work of this history. She married James Everett Sweaney 29 Oct 1900.
"I was born in Dallas County, Missouri. My mother died when I was little and I lived with
my father. He married again and I grew up with my step-mohter, Paralee. We played up and down
the branch and learned to spin and weave and pick cotton when we got old enough. We worked
for neighbors for 50 cents a week spinning. Then I dropped corn for a neighbor, when young,
for the same amount. When we wanted something, we went to a neighbor's, Rose Ann Wicks,
and worked for her. She would bake a cake or sew a dress.
Rose Ann Wick's husband's father was a Methodist preacher. Old lady Wicks organized a
Sunday School. We couldn't go as far as Benton Branch so she met with us. She taught us
songs like "Roll the Little Chariot Home." We met in a schoolhouse.
One spring, I went to Napoleon Coleman's school. We only had a BlueBack Speller to work from.
We sat on wooden benches. The log school was in a grove of trees. The London Smoke School
was built after I was grown. I remember walking to school three miles away but did chores
first. This was at the Benton Branch schoolhouse.
I did chores with my sisters. We scrubbed the floors with sand. We made mops out of shucks b
by boring holes through a square board with a handle. We used an old broom to scrub with when
we had it.
I had another boyfriend, Ed Cook. I was about to marry him before Everett stepped in. Once
we started off to Benton Branch to a revival there. He asked if he could take me home
after. I said, no, so he let me down off the horse and left me standing in the road.
George Phillips and Aunt Dut had a hard time. They had no well and had to pack water down a
hill from a cave. Elvira could carry water on her head without ever spilling a drop.
They had two boys, Johnny and Levi. Aunt Dut was crippled in a foot from where a snake had
hit her as a child. We used to go to pick huckleberries at their house.
I knew Everett when I was about 13 and felt sorry for him when his mother died but we were
just children then. I think we first met at a picnic.
If I wanted to go somewhere, I'd get a horse and go. I went to a funeral and crossed a creek
and went. I walked to church sometimes. Lone Rock was a Methodist church. I was
converted in a Free-Will Baptist Church. When Sister Annie was married, she had Rev. Wicks to
come up there. He read a long chapter and prayed and made them wait before he married them.
Jim Will and Mollie were headed for Pitcher, Oklahoma. Belzorie and Sister Annie was going
with them. Everett came one night and asked me. He said he was going to Joplin to work
in the mines and wanted to marry me and take me with him. There wasn't even time to sew a
wedding dress. I was married in Belzorie's dress. We went to Buffalo and were married by
Riley Hackler, a Justice of the Peace, under some pine trees in the town.
We camped out on the way to Joplin. We spent the first night on the bank of the Niangua.
When we got there, we lived with Annie for a while. We moved to Johnstown, Missouri and
worked for a cousin, Miranda Hackler. Mary Ellen and Jim Will lived close to us. They came
back before we did.
Nola was not quite a year old when we moved back to Dallas County. We moved back around
Windyville and lived on Bill Sweaney's farm. We lived up on top of a hill in a one room house.
There was a spring just a little way from the house and we set milk in it to cool it. We
lived there while Delila was born. There came a flood and we had to move away to a place
closer to Windyville. We had lots of sheep, hogs and cows but we had to sell them when the
flood came. We had to move the corn when the creek came too high.
Arlin was born at the next house. It was called the old Mary McKee place. She was a widow
and had a lot of children. She sold the place. Everett bought railroad land and we camped
while he built the house. Arlin was just a baby and Nola was eight. Everett built the
house, cleared the ground, and built the barn and the outbuildings. It cost $75 to have
the first well drilled. We have had three wells on the place. We had four children born on
Once when Everett was sick with pneumonie and there was a snow on, I had to saddle a horse
and go get somebody to cut wood. After Everett was converted we went to church again. They
washed feet. We sat on benches. The women washed the women's feet and the men washed the
Laly and Everett continued on their place about 5 miles west of Conway. The children married
and would bring the grandchildren in on Sundays. Sometimes everyone would come together and
bring pot luck and eat after church was out. Then in the afternoons the adults sat around
the yard visiting and the grandkids went for long walks down the pastures and along the
Everett died 12 May 1957 and is buried at Graham Cemetery in Webster Co. Laly lived there
on the farm for a while and then moved to a small home in Conway. She lived to be almost
96 and toward the end, Myrtle Day took care of her. She was still living at her home in
Conway when interviewed for this history in 1974. She died 1 Feb 1978 and is also buried at
(1) Nola b. 22 Apr 1902 md Lon A. Holiday 27 Sep 1922 and died 24 April 1981.
(2) Delila Josephine (D.J.) b. 5 Apr 1904 and md James Newton Howerton 12 Jan 1923. She
died 2 June 1978.
(4) Gladys Sweaney b. 15 Sep 1913 and md Frank J. Cunningham 31 Mar 1934.
(5) Myrtle Annie Sweaney b. 21 Jan 1917 md Wallace Joe Ervin Day 31 Mar 1934.
(6) Louie Evelina Sweaney b. 28 Aug 1918, md Herbert Donald McClung 2 July 1939.
(7) Sheridan Leon b. 6 Aug 1920 and md Dorma Lee Wilkerson 3 Nov 1941.
This family history is recorded in the Sweaney History.
94. CLEOPATRA ANNE PHILLIPS
Her mother died when she was not quite two years old. She was reared by her step-mother,
Paralee. When she was 18, she married James E. Murrell 15 March 1902. They had two
daughters, Lois Ola and Oma Geneva. She married Leonard Coffelt 30 Aug 1912 and had two
children: Millie Elizabeth and Louis. Her children have been interested in family history
and have contributed to this work.
Annie reared her children in Dallas County. Part of the time they were in a valley not
far from the original homesite of Abraham Phillips.
The sixth child of John Washington and Betsy Elizabeth Hilderbrand Phillips was born 5 April
1886. His mother died a few days after his birth. He lived to age 21. He died 13 March
1906 (7). Laly kept a picture of him taken with a couple of friends.
The seventh child of John Washington Phillips and by his second wife, Malinda Paralee
Hildebrand was born 5 Nov 1889 in Dallas County, MO. He grew up on the place close to
London Smoke School. He married Nancy Smith 31 Dec 1907 at Buffalo, Missouri. She was
the daughter of John D. Smith and Margaret and was born 2 May 1892 near Long Lane.
Seberry and Nancy had a place within a mile east of Laly and Everett Sweaney's farm. All
the children from both families went to Shady Grove School. Times were hard during the
depression years. They raised garden for the table and Seberry did trapping.
Later,when some of the children were married and moved to California, Seberry and Nancy
moved there too. Seberry died 18 Sept 1976 at Modesto, CA and Nancy died 8 June 1968 at
Salida, CA. They are both buried at Lakewood Memorial Park, Modesto, CA.
They had eight children: Alva Lee, Lester Lloyd, Orville Hugh, Robert Paul, Naomi Nurean,
doris Geneva, Donald Wesley, and a baby daughter who was born and died the same day: 28
Jan 1932. She is buried at Graham Cemetery.
The second child of Seberry and Nancy Smith Phillips was born 18 Dec 1914. He married Charlotte
Geneva Covell. they had eight children: John Doublas who md Marilyn Tina Groppo; David Looyd;
James Robert who md Jo Ann; Dianna May who md Garth Powlson; Sheila Marie who md Wayne
C. Knack; William Joel who md Jill Hearing; Saunders De Paul; and Terri Ann.
The third child of Seberry and Nancy Smith Phillips was born 21 Jan 1918 in Dallas County
MO. He md Wanda Stringer. They had three children and reside in California.
The fourth child of Seberry and Nancy Smith Phillips was born 21 July 1920 in Dallas
county, MO. He married Frances Cotis.
The fifth child of Seberry and Nancy Smith Phillips was born 16 Aug 1922 in Dallas Co., MO.
She married Earl Richardson. They had six children.
The sixth child of Seberry and Nancy Smith Phillips was born 7 Oct 1924 in Dallas County,
Missouri. She married Lester Ray Richardson (a cousin to Earl). He worked for a railroad.
They had several children.
The seventh child of Seberry and Nancy Smith Phillips was born 27 Jan 1928 in Dallas Co.,
MO. He married Mary North.
The eighth child of John Washington Phillips by his second wife, Paralee Hildebrand
Phillips was born 20 mar 1892 in Dallas Co., MO. He married Mabel Adams, a daughter of
John and Prudence Stow Adams.
They moved to western Kansas and he worked for an oil company. They had five children:
Chester, Princess Mae, Emma, Norma, Keulan.
The family came back to Dallas County on vacations. Ellis liked to fish at Bennett Springs.
Ellis died 24 June 1979 at Madison, Kansas. The funeral was at Lamont, KS.
Email may be sent to: Judith McClung
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