Our Patriot Ancestors
     . . . Biographical Sketches

Elijah Phillips

  Elijah Phillips was the second son of William Phillips. He was born in 1766. Elijah would have been fourteen years of age in 1780. After the action at the Heater cabin, Elijah was taken by the British and Indians northward and held in Canada for a couple years.

  Elijah was taken, according to certain accounts, northwestward to Chinklacamoose Old Town on the Susquehanna River (on the site of present-day Clearfield, in Clearfield County), and from there to some point in Canada. British official, Guy Johnson at Fort Niagara, stated (in his letter to Governor Haldiman) that "Lieut Dochstedder is just arrived after having reduced a rebel Block House ~ the commanding officer of which and others are brought to this place ~." Whether one of those 'others' was Elijah is not known with any certainty. The fact of the matter was simply that Elijah was also held captive in Canada for a couple years until he could either escape or be released. Elijah also returned to the Morrison Cove, shortly after his father.

  It has been said that after he returned to the Morrison Cove, Elijah was ostracized by some people who felt it wasn't fair that he should live when their relatives and friends had lost their lives. They could not comprehend the fear and anxiety that Elijah, a boy only fourteen years old, would have experienced as he was taken and held in captivity. True, he had not died, but he suffered nonetheless.

  Elijah Phillips returned from captivity to Bedford County around the same time as his father in 1782. Five years later, on 14 March 1787, Elijah received pay for service in the Bedford County Militia. At some time during the next three years, Elijah moved south to the Bourbon County region of western Virginia. Bourbon County was formed in 1785 from a portion of Fayette County, Virginia. The region would be part of the new state of Kentucky when it was removed from Virginia in 1792.

  Elijah Phillips was married to Hannah Corwin in October 1790 at Bourbon County, Virginia. Hannah was born on 30 November 1774 in Virginia. Elijah and Hannah gave birth to four children: Mary, William, Sarah, and Jesse Corwin. Elijah is believed to have died in March 1799 at Kentucky.

  In 1817, after Elijah's death, Hannah Phillips married Philip Kenton. Hannah died at some time prior to 1850. Her name was not recorded alongside her second husband's on the 1850 US Census.

  Despite the fact that Elijah was not known to have returned to Bedford County, Pennsylvania just prior to his death, a tombstone has stood on the property once owned by William Phillips to the south of the borough of Williamsburg. The tombstone bears the inscription: "Here lies the body of Elijah Phillips." Since the 1970s, the Phillips property has been owned by the Biddle family. They have maintained the gravesite since then, claiming that it contains the remains of the son of William Phillips whom they believe died in 1795. The only 'proof' that Elijah, the son of Captain William Phillips, is buried on the Phillips ~ now Biddle farmstead comes from William F. Keagy, of the Bonner~Sollenberger American Legion Post 456 of Williamsburg. Mr. Keagy was the only source of the claim, and the fact that he is since deceased, and the Post has no paperwork to back up his claim, there exists no proof that Elijah is buried here in Pennsylvania. Documentation actually proves that Elijah is buried in Kentucky, having died there circa 1799.

  Of Elijah and Hannah Phillips' children, Mary married Samuel Taylor and they took up residence in Champaign County, Ohio.

  The eldest son, William Phillips, is not known to have married. He also resided at Champaign County, Ohio.

  Sarah Phillips had been married to Samuel Taylor first, and upon her death he married her older sister, Mary. Samuel and Sarah had no children.

  Jesse Corwin Phillips, the youngest son of Elijah and Hanna, married Eleanor Stewart. The couple also resided at Champaign County, Ohio and gave birth to twelve children.