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James and Selina Phillips House, Historic Marker, Brazoria CO. TX.
The Phillips home serves as a landmark in the formerly, First Capital of the Republic of Texas-1836, Columbia, TX. where the Phillips family fought for Texas Independence. Price Phillips' grandfather, James Ray Phillips, joined the Texas forces at Velasco and fought with Henry S. Brown's Div. I. Brazoria County records show that James Ray was a brother of Zeno Phillips, one of the "Old 300" with land in Brazoria County. Sidney Phillips fought at Velasco and also at San Jacinto. He was a half-brother of Zeno and James Ray.
The land, originally owned by Dr. Rees Porter, has significiant historical value because it was there that the first hospital was built in Texas. It was also the site of the first cloth manufacturing in Texas 1836.
Privately owned, the Phillips home is on the Brazoria County tax roll. The current appraised value of the home, before restoration, is $133,940. One lot of land is included in the appraisal value. The home is located at the intersection of Duval and Main Street in the residential historic community of East Columbia. It is situated approximately a half mile from SH 35. State Highway 35 is a major highway leading east and west from Angleton, TX. into West Columbia, and forms the northern boundary of the site of Duval and Main Street. The Brazos River and the old Front Street location form the southern boundary of the property. Historic Presbyterian Church is directly in front of the home. It faces south to Main Street and the Presbyterian Church. The surrounding development appears to be primarily historic with a few newer homes built in recent years. This is a small community with approximately 25 homes. The property is less than a half mile from the Bell's Landing Marker on the river bank and is adjacent to the Carrie Nation Marker. She became proprietor of the Columbia Hotel (1877), which enjoyed patronage from steamboat travel on the Brazos and from the Columbia Tap Railroad. She was an unusual woman, one who was later to gain country-wide fame in her crusade against liquor, was noted as a hatched-weilding saloon-smasher. The site is diagonal from the historic Nash-Wright Home.
The James Price Phillips Home, now 87 years in age, is of the practical and economical, balloon framed, American Foursquare design found throughout the United States and made popular by Frank Lloyd Wright, the popular American architect. This design became an American standard in the early 1900's and dominated neighborhoods throughout the first decades of the 20th Century, replacing the more complex Victorian fashioned houses.
John Gayle Phillips, born 1858 at Waverly Place, TX. near Columbia, is the son of James Ray Phillips and the father of James Price Phillips, born 1888. "Price," as friends and family called him, built this home in East Columbia after purchasing the land from relative Bettie Patton Sweeny in 1917. James Rays' sister, Francis, was Betties' grandmother. The family legend is told by a granddaughter stating, "This house was built in 1920 by Price Phillips as a gift to his wife, Selena, at the birth of their youngest child, Oliver Wendel Phillips born July 1, 1920."
The land itself carries a high degree of significance. A member of the Sweeny family writes, "Another place of interest in East Columbia that has been rather overlooked is the old Dr. Porter place which was the same place where Karl Hagemeier lived. This property was bought by Price Phillips who tore down the old house and built his new home to the east of it in the pecan grove. The old Porter place should be marked by a historical marker because it was there that the first hospital was built in Texas for the soldiers of the Texas Revolution. It was also the site of the first cloth manufacturing in Texas. Mrs. Porter made cloth for the soldiers of the Columbia Company."
The home was owned by the family up until 1978. It was sold to Connie and Milam Munson at that time by Anne Casey Phillips Smith, widow of Joe Adriance Phillips, son of Price and Selina.
The Phillips family originally came to America from middle England. The Texas Phillips line is traced back to Thomas Phillips born 1599 and his only son, William Phillips, Esq. born 1679. Son, William, the immigrant to America in the early 1700's, settled in Scurry County, Virginia. Family genealogy finds the 6th generation of descendants of Thomas and William in Texas. Joseph Phillips born 1734 in Wilkes County, Georgia served as a "Minute Man" in the American Revolution, receiving a grant of 250 acres of land in Washington County, Ga. for his service to his country. In later years we see Joseph's sons James Ray and his brother Zeno become "sons of the Republic of Texas." Zeno is listed as one of the original settlers to Texas.
All four brothers: James Ray, Zeno, Sidney and John Clarke came to Texas during the colonization by Stephen F. Austin, migrating from Alabama to Texas. James Ray Phillips originally settled along the San Bernard River in southern Brazoria County with his brothers.
On April 14, 1828 James Ray Phillips took the oath of allegiance to both the religion and laws of Mexico as required by Article 3 of the colonization law of the state of Coahuila and Texas dated March 24, 1825. He was then 26 years old, single, 8 dependants, from Alabama and responsible for 9 souls total.
In June 1832, James Ray fought with Henry S. Brown's Division I, at the Battle of Velasco. James Ray's son, John Gayle is the father of James Price Phillips. Half-brother, Sidney, joined the militia at Brazoria and fought with Henry Smith's Division II. He also fought at San Jacinto. Half-brother, John Clarke, served in Co. D., 1st Regiment Cavalry of the Texas Army in 1837. The North America map would be forever altered after the Battle of San Jacinto on April 21, 1836.
Descendant James "Price" Phillips, at age 23, married Selena Harris Lee on September 25, 1911. They had four children: James Price, Jr., Lina Lee, Joe Adriance and Oliver Wendel "Wink" Phillips settled in Columbia, TX. Price was both a businessman and rancher and the legacy he left his descendants before his death in 1944 at 56 years, was one of "a dreamer and a schemer." Today he would be seen as an intriguing man with a keen imagination and vision - someone who woke up in a different world each morning full of ambition, aspiration and zeal. In other words, there was never a dull moment when Price was around.
Source: Texas Historical Commission, Historical Application: James and Selena Phillips House, Text dated May 15, 2008
Texas Historical Commission, Official Texas Historical Medallion and 16"x12" plaque without post for attachment to wood, Brazoria County (Job #08BO0l)
JAMES AND SELENA PHILLIPS HOUSE
JAMES PRICE PHILLIPS, DESCENDANT OF A BRAZORIA COUNTY OLD 300 FAMILY, MARRIED SALENA HARRIS LEE IN 1911. THEY HAD FOUR CHILDREN, AND PRICE BUILT THIS HOUSE FOR HIS WIFE TO COMMEMORATE THE BIRTH OF THEIR YOUNGEST CHILD, OLIVER WENDEL, IN 1920. THE SITE HAS BEEN A PECAN ORCHARD NEXT TO THE DR. REES PORTER HOME, WHICH SERVED AS A HOSPITAL FOR SOLDIERS OF THE TEXAS REVOLUTION. THE PHILLIPS HOUSE IS AN AMERICAN FOURSQUARE DESIGN WITH PRAIRIE AND CRAFTSMAN STYLE DETAILING. THE TWO-STORY FRAME CONSTRUCTION HOUSE HAS A SQUARE FLOOR PLAN AND BLOND GONZALES BRICK IN THE PORCH COLUMNS AND CHIMNEY. THE HOME REMAINED IN THE PHILLIPS FAMILY UNTIL 1978.
RECORDED TEXAS HISTORIC LANDMARK - 2008
MARKER IS PROPERTY OF THE STATE OF TEXAS