Elizabeth Ann Phillips

Anne Elizabeth Woodard Anderson

Elizabeth Ann, daughter of Elizabeth Watkins Hamblen, was born in Prince Edward County, Virginia, on March 8, 1771. She married George Foster on February 12, 1793 in Prince Edward County. Two daughters, Patsy and Obedience, were born to this couple and while they were still babies, the family set out for Tennessee

Besides the four Fosters, the party consisted of their three negroes, her father-in-law and his three daughters, and three negroes. They were about six weeks on the road. They brought their possessions in a two-horse cart and everybody walked except the mother and the babies.

George Foster died one month to the day after they arrived on the Cumberland. Elizabeth had a very hard time. In the spring, when her corn began coming up, her fence burned. She lived in a cabin with a dirt floor, spun for her neighbors in exchange for meat.

In February 1801 she married John Bowers and on November 27, 1801, as son, George Bowers, was born. Two years later, her second husband died and she was left with three small children. This time she supported her family by weaving.

On Septemer 6, 1805, she married William Phillips, also of Davidson County. In 1807 they had a daughter, Eleanor. Very soon afterwards, circa 1808, the family moved to the banks of the Elk River, later Giles County. There, William bought severl parcels of land. He was elected a magistrate from his area, and the captain of a military company. It looked as if good fortune was going to come to Elizabeth at last, but she was widowed again in 1818.

Elizabeth Ann witnessed one more tragedy in her life. On June 28, 1825, Eleanor, who had married Joachim D. Lindsay, was murdered by her husband. He escaped and the cause was never determined.

Elizabeth continued to live in the old home surrounded by her remaining children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren. The original Phillips home beside a bountiful spring burned and the family built another not far away. As "Grama Phillips" grew older she went often to sit beside the old spring and wander through the cemetery.

While on a visit to Limestone County, Alabama, she broke her hip and died of pneumonia on December 28, 1865 at the age of 94. She was brought back to Giles County and laid to rest in the family cemetery with her loved ones. She had known both suffering and happiness and had borne both in such a way that her life became a legend to her many descendants.

Copied from the Giles County Historical Society Bulletin of June 20, 1976, Page Three.

Submitted by: Judith May Reeves McKee