Other branches of our family tree



Pauli Phillips

Margaretha Schalz

All that is known is that this couple are the parents of Johann.


Johann Phillips

Maria Heinen (1766-1842)

Johann and Margaretha were married in Edingen, Germany. The marriage license is dated 28 December 1791.

They had two known children:

   Katherina Phillips 1799-?
   Johan Phillips     1802-1868   m. Helena Haller


Johann Phillips (1802-1868)

Helena Haller (1812-?)

Johann was born in Edingen, Germany, in 1802. Helena was born in Irrel, Germany, just across the Rhine from Alsace-Loraine, France.

Johann spoke German and French equally well (and apparently English, too), and made his living as an interpreter and settler of minor border disputes on the bridge between the two countries. His son, John Henry could remember people coming to the house at night, getting his father out of bed to act as arbitrator of the latest altercation at the border.

There were four children, all born in Irrel, Germany:

    Christian Phillips  1831-?    m. Mary ?
    John Henry Phillips 1841-1919 m. Mary Raiza
    Anna Phillips       1845-?
    Theodorus Phillips  1850-?

Helena Haller is something of a mystery. The specialist in German genealogy at the LDS Library in Salt Lake City could find no record of her death on either side of the Atlantic. But her birth was recorded in the church in Irrel, Germany, December 4, 1812. Her maternal grandfather died the year her parents were married. When she was three her grandmother died. Her father died in January 1816 when she was four, and her other grandfather died then, as well.

She married Johann Phillips at age 17, when she had only her mother, Catharina Steins and her grandmother, Margaretha Bettig. The genealogist could not find death dates for them.

There is a mystery about Johann and Helena's departure for America. Johann seems to have left first, taking with him Christian and young John Henry. This left Helena behind in Germany with the two younger children.

The family history ends at that point, with no clues. One wonders if she and Johann had a parting of the ways in 1857. Perhaps a difference of opinion on the wisdom of the decision to leave Germany for America. Perhaps her mother had died and left her property in Germany that she was reluctant to abandon. But they were Catholic, and rather than split up the family she may have left with them for the New World. Perhaps she and the two youngsters died on the voyage and were buried at sea, which would explain the lack of a death record. If only someone had asked about this mystery!

At any rate, Johan emigrated to America in 1857, finding his way to New Buffalo, Michigan. It is not known what his work was there. Christian, his older son, was a shoe-maker and lived in New Buffalo all his life.

Johann died in 1868, which would be about the time his son John Henry and Mary left for Pokagon. He is buried in Pine Lake Cemetery, New Buffalo. The location is Sec. 22, T 37, Center Township, LaPorte County.


John Henry Phillips (1841-1919)

Mary Raiza (1846-1930)

John Henry , born in Germany, came to America in 1857 when he was 16 years old. He came with his father Johann and his older brother Christian. They settled in New Buffalo, Michigan where he later married Mary Raiza.

On 28 March 1865, at age 24, John enlisted in the Union Army. His English was good, and he knew Morse code. He was in the 8th Michigan Calvary.[1] The 8th existed from 1863 to the final muster in 1865. The total strength was 3,025 men. Its losses were 24 killed in action, 7 died of wounds, 290 died of disease.

Civil War veterans records at the National Archives in Washington DC have this physical description of him: 5 feet 5 inches height, 165 pounds, brown eyes, black hair, "brunette" complexion. The Civil War file contains all the letters written by his various sons in later years, trying to secure a Civil War pension for Mary Raiza Phillips. They finally succeeded.

John Henry was discharged from military service 22 Sep 1865. Shortly thereafter, he and Mary Raiza were married in the Catholic church in New Buffalo. Unfortunately, the church later burned down, destroying the records of the marriage and the birth records of their first eight children:

   Elizabeth Phillips 1865-1954  m. Joseph Kibler
   William Phillips   1867-1935  m. Jessie Bowers
   Anna Phillips      1868-1960  m. John Hoover
   Frank Phillips     1870-1956  m. Laura McCleese
   George Phillips    1872-1942  m. Eva Lewis
   Charles Phillips   1874-1936  m. Blanche Garwood
   John Phillips      1877-1947  m. Zita Lanigan
   May Phillips       1879-1938  m. Roy Waterson
   Edward Phillips    1881-?     m. Fern Robinson
   Maude Phillips     1883-?     m. Fred Barrett
   Robert Phillips    1886-1951  m. Edna Smith
   Nina Phillips      1887-1980  m. Ford Lake
   Berna Phillips     1892-1979  m. Gervis Bair

After the war, John Henry returned to New Buffalo. He worked for the Michigan Central Railroad, appearing in the 1870 census as a clerk, and in 1880 as a freight agent, doubling as a telegrapher.

After 1880, he had a chance to be Station Master at Pokagon, Michigan but the family would have to move there. This must have been a hard decision for them, moving to a new town where they knew no one. But the real problem was the language. New Buffalo was a German-language community, where little English was spoken. But they did it. My grandmother remembered speaking German at first, "And then when I was seven and in school, all the German went out of my head". She said all the children were so embarrassed that their mother could not speak English. "When she'd call us to come in from playing, we wouldn't come unless she called our names in English."

At meals, the men and boys were always served first. The girls and their mother ate at second table. John Henry taught all the boys Morse code. At the table they would tap out messages to each other, even if it was just "pass the salt." He knew what he was doing; what a good way to keep the boys orderly, and setting an example for the girls!

In addition to being Station Master at Pokagon, John Henry became Postmaster, and had a general store and a hotel (which really meant they took in boarders.) These various enterprises provided jobs for the children growing up. Everyone clerked at the store for a time. And my grandma remembered waiting on table for the boarders. As they grew up, all the boys worked for the railroad for a time. In later years were all were successful in various enterprises.

John Henry applied for a pension in 1904, and it was eventually granted -- $25 a month at first, then raised to $40.

John was an exemplary citizen and a good man. Arriving in America as a new immigrant boy, he enlisted in the army during the Civil War. He became a naturalized citizen, and was a respected member of the community. He worked hard to support a family of thirteen children. His many ventures to earn a living were all successful. He became a member of the Board of Supervisors of Cass County. He was a Mason, as were all of his sons.


Elizabeth Phillips (1865-1954)

Joseph Kibler (1859-1935)

For further information on this family, see the KIBLER and RAIZA pages of this history.

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Updated 4-9-03

[1]Michigan in the War, Michigan Adjutant General, State Archives, 1882.