I was always offering my brother George "Eddie" a bit of Serendipity when we talked Genealogy. Two particular times were when I gave him information regarding our Grandfather Joseph Phillip's, after his service in the Philippines during the Spanish American War having gone with his brother Fred back in service to fight in the The Second Boer War or the South African War, as some call it. It is unlikely that this had any credence as America's military did not have any part in that War, as only large number of American Mercenaries fought on both sides of that War, and the fact that Fred went on to serve as Captain in the U.S. Military.

My grandfather Joseph had come down with malaria while in the Philippines during his first deployment and was not able to serve for a second deployment. His brother Fred, born Aug. 15, 1882, may or may not have continued on to South Africa. (New information found 2010 regarding my great uncle (Capt. Fred Phillips ) The picture to the right is most definitely my great uncle Fred Phillips with the 1st Tennessee Regiment collar insignia on a Dress Uniform. I would really like to know if Fred did go on to South Africa and whether the picture is of Fred. I wish I had thought to ask another nephew of Fred, Paul Phillips, son of William Q. Phillips in this 1996 interview. My brother seemed very surprised that I would have known this if in fact it is true. Another was my great discover of Eula Mae McNutt and all the Payne information that I accumulated over the years. The discovery of my grandfather's diary's and his constant intent of listing exactly what he ate every day and more about his visits in Scott County, not long before his death leads me to believe that he was again investigating something in Scott County, Tennessee even after he retired and returned to Scott County.

Grandfather Joe Phillips

Little did I know how much Irene Sobodoske Baker's words meant at a memorial service my brother George "Eddie" had arranged after my mothers death in "January 1999" when she said "If you ever loose your brother Eddie your family has lost what holds it together."
meant.  My brother, Eddie passed on in August 2000 and now those words coming from a part of my grandfather Joe Phillips side of the family could have meant a lot had I not known how distant the Scott County family members kept from my mother Betty Phillips and her sister Jo Phillips. My grandfather, Joseph Phillips, although a great man in his time with the United States Treasury Department, found upon returning to Scott County, Tennessee that he was not quite as popular among the local residence and politicians. Especially after the long court battle that took place in Scott County to settle his Will. (Click on pictures of his appointment to the U.S. Marshal's Office and U.S. Treasury Department)

Grandfather Joe Phillips

The Baker and Carson, Jeffers and Duncan families are all prominent families in Scott County, and one would wonder why with such powerful Republican families that the unemployment rate remains so high. This is a great example of how over time that wealth unevenly distributed has an affect on the economy. Now in Scott County there was very little known of Joseph Phillips there except that he was supposed to have had an illegitimate son, which was something never proven in the long court case over his Will to his daughters and their children. He died in obscurity from what was deemed Malaria at Tobe Phillips Motel (OBELEE PHILLIPS - BURIED IN CARSON MEMORIAL PARK MAUSOLEUM) and was buried on a cold day in 1959 in the Irish Memorial Cemetery in Tazewell. Obelee Phillips was a first cousin twice removed, to my grandfather Joseph Phillips.

Mrs. Baker's husband James Toomey Baker was a nephew of my grandfather Joseph Phillips and it is my understanding that the Toomey and the Baker family never truly accepted my grandfather as part of their extended family in Scott County. This all came to light during a long and expensive lawsuit in Scott County Court during the 1960's. Having gotten the reputation as a "Revenuer" had not earned him much respect from the local mountain people and as my father always pointed out to me, the fact my brother had ventured into the same line of work, and the fact that growing up I could
Grandfather Joe Phillips

talk of nothing else that more than likely I too would not be well recievied on "Rocky Top" either. (Not referring to the "Rocky Top" salon that took the place of the "Black Cat" or "Mustang" where I know I have never been well received.)

The picture to the left was made in Louisville, Kentucky in the 1930's of the top G-Men of the time, my grandfather is wearing the white suit. I can identify about half of them and will add their names at a later date.

My grandfather, although not wealthy, was able to leave each of his eight minor grandchildren $10,000 in his Will for their education, from the sale of 360 acres of his and my father's property in Hale County, Texas. Although this Will should not have been allowed to be contested by any of the three daughters of Joseph and Birdie Stone Phillips it was by Ruth Phillips Avent and her husband Jack. This case lead to parts or all of the $80,000 that had been rendered by the sale of the 360 acres in Texas, owned by my grandfather and father and left to his heirs going to the Scott County Court and the lawyers involved. Former Ambassador Howard Baker, Jr., then a young ambitious lawyer in Scott County, appointed my and my sister Betsy's guardian ad liteum, left the case in 1959 for a more high profile case representing the Stearns Coal and Lumber Company, that he won a one-million-dollar judgment from the United Mine Workers for their use of violence and sabotage to disrupt Stearns's contract with a rival union.

Mining Boom Destructive to Land

Conservation Movement Comes to the Southern Mountains

The penetration of the mountains by railroads was a key unlocking the region's mineral wealth, as it had the region's timber. In McCreary County, Ky., for example,a virtual wilderness of untouched and unwanted wild lands . . . considered worthless for generations, overnight aroused the interest of the large corporations and land speculators whose agents invaded the territory on the heels of the new railroad.

As with timber lands, the sale of mountain lands to coal company agents was usually done willingly, even if unscrupulous methods sometimes were used. In Kentucky, where the Stearns Coal and Lumber Co. bought thousands of homesteads beginning in the late 1890's, William Kinne, the Stearns land agent, was received warmly and came to be regarded with respect and even endearment.
Grandfather Joe Phillips on Fork of Cumberland

Nevertheless, the transfer of landownership to land and development companies in the 1880's and 1890's insured that the control of the mining industry, and much of the profit from it, would flow outside the region.

Although Baker was successful in defending the Stearns Coal Company he was defeated in his effort to build a dam on the Big South Fork River and being the politician he is reversed his support once he found that he could not win an effort to dam the River. Scott County history will say that Baker lead the Washington Coilition to bring the Big South Fork Recreation Area to fruition although had he had his way most of what is now the BSFR would be a lake. Still I treasure my signed copy by Howard of Big South Fork Country. Now the BSF is in danger of being dammed again:
Damming the Big South Fork came under serious consideration in the 1950s. However, Congress never approved the proposal and then-U.S. Senator Howard H. Baker, Jr., led a charge to establish the Big South Fork National River & Recreation Area to prevent the near-disaster from becoming reality at a later date.

The proposed dam would be located near the Tennessee-Kentucky line, flooding the river gorge upstream along New River to around the Norma community and along Clear Fork to near the Brewstertown community. The gorges of North and South White Oak creeks would also be flooded, as would Bear Creek, Pine Creek and other major tributaries.

Sponsors say they have the support of House Majority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D � California, and House Republican leadership has pledged to lend serious consideration to the matter.

The debate is likely to rage for some time, though sponsors have said they would like to have a bill on the president�s desk before the summer recess in hopes that stimulus funding can be used for construction.

But some of the strongest opposition to the dam proposal may come from within government. The National Park Service is reportedly gearing up for a major fight to save the park, which is one of the Southeast�s leading destinations for equestrian trail riding and white water boating.

I wonder where Cousin Howard would stand on this proposal?

He went on to server two terms as Minority Leader of the Congress, one term as Majority Leader and as Chief of Staff for President Ronald Reagan. Then after years of arguing, being sent back to the court in Claiborne County where Judge A.G. Shumate took his cut, the case finally was awarded to the Avents but was handled poorly by the Courts, lawyers and perspective family members. Guy Curtis Jeffers was appointed as guardian ad liteum for my Aunt Jo's two children, Evelyn and Jimmy. Arzo or Alfonzo Carson, another young ambitious lawyer in Scott County to later become director of the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation was hired by my aunt, Ruth Phillips Avent. Carson is known to have blasted Honey Alexander back during Senator Lamar Alexanders campaign in 2002. He has criticized the TBI for who he worked and former Vice President Albert Gore for improprieties when dealing with Drug Dealers.(Click on picture to Right for More)

My parents made a very unwise decision by hiring Larwence Hughes, a decision that haunts me to this day. Lawrence was the son of a respected Claiborne County Lawyer H. Y. Hughes. I would imagine that the Avents stayed close to Carson during his political career. Both Avent sons married into "money" in Knox
Guardian Ad Litem

County and continued to "haunt" my family through the years. One son, Jeff, during my sister's college career at the University of Tennessee made obsene phone calls to her while she lived at an apartment complex close to school. He admitted it to her before he died. This shows the Avent arrogance that they came to laud after successful careers in Knox County. Both sons worked with the Tennessee Valley Authority and were always politically connected in Knoxville. I know during the early 1980's when I was Tree Farming on my parents 145 acre farm I contacted the TBI to report a stolen Grand Prix Pontiac with Hancock County Volunteer Fireman tags and was visited by a TBI Agent. Even though I reported that I had caught two men taking the engine from the car and had taken one to court for assault the friendly TBI thought my testimony and attempt to help someone recover their car was not worth their time. Have you noticed that Volunteer Firefighters usually get the bad end of the stick anyway. I even called Doug Tripp and the TBI in on new car parts winding up on the river bank along Point 31 floating down from Grissom Island, Grainger County and would have thought I deserved some sort of recognition but did I get any, NO!

I tried to stay in touch with Senator Baker but a conflict in our judgement impeded that in 1983. I am happy that he found his way though with the U.S. State Department, I never did.

It took me years to find what I had found while a volunteer at the Family History Center, Latter Day Saints in Knoxville and contained hand written documents from the Church of England in North Franham Parish Virginia records from the 1700's and her refusal to return it to me has perplexed me to no end. Had I not have trusted first my brother Eddie who in turn took it to Irene Sobodoske Baker the valuable material while on a visit during 1998 I would have all of the 1700's documents scanned and online to view. Instead I found them referenced the archival newsletters of the Scott County Historical Society. Even after I traveled to Scott County for the Air Show and went by Irene's reminding her of having lent them to her but sadly by that time her recollection was fading. I would not feel as obligated as I do to see that some of what I know about the Scott County part of the Phillips family and their feelings toward Joseph Phillips and his daughters be told had it not been the way they treated my mother and the reset of my immediate family, so many instances where they could have shown some kindness.

I questioned my brother repeatedly about the papers and he swore to me that he had taken them as I had asked and that Irene had promised to return them. I have asked her several times and she refuses to say she ever got them. Now with my brother gone I can only put what I know online and hope that someone will see what mean and spiteful people these people are.

The last contact I had with the Scott County branch of the Phillips family was in early in 2000 and it was with Attorney General William Paul Phillips father William T. (Bill) Phillip’s. Evidently William T. is from North Carolina line of Phillips and his wife is from the Tobias Phillips line, which is my line and from Virginia. What he told me is that he wanted me to change my web page to reflect that Margaret Sexton was not the wife buried with Joseph Phillips in Scott County, Tenn. I did this and put the following phrase: "It seems that Elizabeth Lawson was the second wife of Joseph Phillips. This according to William T. (Bill) Phillips of Oneida, TN. He said that Joseph's first wife died before he left Grayson or Scott Co., Va. I am hoping to be able to talk to Bill Phillips and visit the grave of Joseph Phillips and Millie Lawson."  on my web site link here. I also have several pictures of the gravestones of both Joseph Phillips and Millie Lawson Phillips. And since this I have found that Attorny General Paul Phillips's relation was not through his mother but his great-great-grandmother Jane Phillips who married Jasper Marion Phillips. Whether or not Jasper Marion Phillips is from a North Carolina branch of the family is yet to be determined by DNA evidence.

I have several newspaper clippings of Herbert M. Toomey's barnstorming days from the Knoxville Paper where he was putting on shows at Bearden Field and also Magee Tyson Airport during the 1930's. Picture to the right is of my Grandfather and Herbert Toomey, John Toomey's son and newsman William Hart. (Click for Enlargement)

Grandfather Joe Phillips

If by chance any of the Phillips family of Scott County would like to talk to me directly they can reach me by emailing me at joe@joepayne.org In the meantime I intended to begin to scan the hundreds of newspaper clippings during the early 1920’s, 1930’s and 1940’s of my grandfather Joseph Phillips career and post them to my site.  I also intend to research the case that involved the litigation of the Will of my grandfather Joseph Phillips and post it online.  Most of those records will be recorded in Scott County, Tennessee.

My mother always told me of the fancy large wood burning cook stove that was in the John Toomey house in Scott County, near the Railroad Track in Helenwood, TN. My grandfather, Joseph Phillips, bought the house from John Toomey, State Senator and delegate to the Republican National Convention from Scott County, before he died. John was married to my grandfather’s sister Elizabeth "Betty" Phillips. The stove was shipped from Sweden or Switzerland by one of the DODGE brothers who John Toomey had met while traveling through Scott County. The stove burned along with the house in the 1950’s. I remember the house and the stove. The following is from the Scott County, Tennessee web site.

The Treat School for Boys was established at Helenwood and operated until 1917. Its Summer Campus was at Oaks Bluff, Mass. on Martha's Vineyard, and its Winter Campus was in Scott County. These students were from some of America’s wealthy families. The best known were probably the DODGE Brothers (of the motor company family), and HORACE DODGE, Jr. was best remembered. Others were the nephew of J.P. MORGAN (of the New York banking family); the son of the president of B&O Railroad; the son of a Lexington, Ky. racehorse farm owner; the son of Dr. GRANDALL of St. Louis; and TOM ROBERTS (son of a Texas oil man).