Member Ancestor Photos

Marie Obermiller's Phillips Family Photo (Group 8)



My maternal grandmother, Mary Pharabe Phillips (1878 MS - 1962 MO), was the only child of Ida Alice Clark (1857 MS - 1939 MO) and Joshua Sutton Phillips (1852 MS - 1879 MS).  Her nickname was Pharo.  Joshua died 11 August 1879 in Clay County, Mississippi, when he was only 27.  Pharo and her mother and step-father, John White, came to Arkansas by wagon train from Mississippi.  Pharo had only an eighth grade education, but she taught the children on the wagon train to read.  In Arkansas, Pharo had to pick cotton to help make money, dragging those bags of cotton to the end of the rows in the scorching sunshine.  Pharo got engaged, but her fiancé died.  Then she married Arthur Thomas Bell.  She said that although they were engaged, when Arthur kissed her on the way to the church, she slapped him and knocked him out of the buggy!  To this day, I can still hear her calling him "Awthuh" in her soft Southern drawl.

Pharo pieced the most beautiful quilt tops and, being a very religious Baptist, belonged to a church group that did quilting.  If her friends didn't make tiny enough stitches, she would go back at night, remove the stitches that she didn't think were good enough and replace them.  At this time, she lived in Camdenton, Missouri.  Everyone saved material scraps for her.  She also braided throw rugs and made heavy comforters from donated fabrics - pant legs from worn-out trousers, velvet, corduroy, etc.  Those comforters were so warm!  She sold Fuller brushes door-to-door and saved enough money to buy a Singer sewing machine and then she made dresses for people.  She could make a dress pattern from scratch and she earned money as a seamstress during the Depression.  Pharo had a green thumb and grew every kind of flower.  She could cut slips (even from funeral bouquets) and plant them and they would grow.  She knew wild plants and gathered greens for food and others for healing.  Pharo was multi-talented!