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This is a true story of my family.


     It was on July 3rd, 1926 that the old draw bridge in Bainbridge, Georgia was opened to travelers for the
first time. I know this date very well, because it was also the wedding day for Ruth Donalson, age 19 and
M.O. (O'neal) Phillips. It was this day O'neal said, "Ruth, if we are going to have a farm,
I want fifteen boys."

At the end of the first year, there was indeed a new arrival, a girl! This was not what O'neal
had in mind. Ruth had plans of her own. She had decided with all those boys, she was going
to need help caring for them. So they named the new baby, Cappie Ruth. She was
the namesake for O'neals sister and Ruth.

    In December, 1928, Ruth did indeed give birth to a bouncing baby boy, John "Wilson". O'neal
got his first son even if he was not as healthy as O'neal had hoped for. Wilson was later
called "Bubba" by his siblings.

These were very prosperous times for the Phillips family, the "roaring twenties". Things were
really going good for them until it happened, the "Great Depression" in 1929 hit.   All
the businesses began to close. Economy was getting bad for everyone, even the Phillips family.
   Finances had gotten so bad by 1930, O'neal, Ruth and children had to move in with
O'neals mother, "Grandma Phillips".

    Then , in November, 1930, Ruth gave birth to another child, a girl, "Dollie" Estelle.
O'neal was begining to wonder if he would ever have his boys to help with the farm
of his dreams. This was child number three, and with the depression, there was no
money. Ruth had fifteen cents to buy Christmas for three children. She managed to
"stretch" those few pennies to make the day a happy one for her family.

   For the sake of his growing family, O'neal started work with the Workers Program of America
(W.P.A. as it was called). This was a government based job market brought about because of
the depression. These workers built roads, dug ditches and anything else needed for the
upkeep of the country.

   By 1931, O'neal had made enough money to get a house for his own family. So,
they packed up and moved from "Grandma Phillips" home. But babies were still being born,
and the deoression was not letting up. In 1932, another baby girl was born. This was child
number four and her name was Katie "Azziline". The worst was not over by any means.

   The depression in 1933 and now comes the worst tragedy known to this family. The
hemorrhagic fever outbreak struck many families in the area.

   Cappie Ruth, now five years old had been excited about starting school
in the fall. Besides going to school, the only other thing she wanted was a baby doll
and a rocking chair for Christmas. Ruth had already started making plans to make her
little girl's wish come true. But her plans came to a sudden halt! Cappie Ruth came in contact
with this dreaded disease. Her fever skyrocketed!! Not only this, but Dollie also caught
this dreadful fever. Now Ruth had two babies sick and no money for a doctor. Ruth
lost her first born daughter, Cappie Ruth. Dollie managed to survive, but lost all her
curly hair. When it finally grew back, it was thin and straight.

Her fisrt born was gone! This was the first of many heartaches for Ruth Phillips.
This was a pain she would face again. Ruth, being a strong lady, pulled herself
and her family together.

When Wilson started to school, he learned about comic books. They became an
obsession with him. He became the family comedian and very much afraid of the dark.
This was in 1934, and a fifth child was born, Oneal Phillips Jr. (Maston)
as he was called.

The depression still had not let up and the government had cut back on wages. This
meant even less money for this family with four children. So, they packed up
and moved back in with Grandma Phillips in 1935.

In the Summer of 1936, there was another announcement of a new baby girl, Nancy "Lois".
It was shortly after this birth, Dollie started to school. She really didn't want to go
and leave her "real live baby doll". But she did and enjoyed school so much, Dollie
wanted to take her "live doll" with her. Ruth had to explain that it was impossible.

Relief at last!! In 1937, the Great depression was over. Businesses began to start up again.
Oneal started farming again with Ruth by his side. There were three children now in school
and two babied at Ruth's heels. As everyone knows, Springtime brings planting time
on the farm. Along with the planting of crops in April, 1938 another baby was born.
This seventh birth for Ruth had given was a boy, "Harry" Anderson.

Shortly after Harry's birth, Wilson and Katie were laughing and playing at the dinner table.
Ruth had told them to behave. If they didn't, she was going to send them away from
the table. These two children just could not stop. So, Ruth was true to her word. She sent
Wilson out the front door and Katie out the back. The funnies turened to horror for these two children.
Katie decided to go around the house so they could laugh and play some more. As she ran,
she was giggling. Wilson, being afraid of the dark, heard the commotion, got scared. He
jumped up, ran into the house, yelling, "Mama, get the gun, get the gun, shoot it, shoot it. Get
the gun and shoot it". Ruth realized what was happening and started laughing. She called Katie
in to finish her supper.

The next year was 1940, and in March,the birth of another bouncing baby boy, William Smiley
"Billy". Harry liked having a little brother around. Harry was the type of child who was full
of energy and cold talk anone into doing anything. It didn't matter who it was or what it was;
he could make them like what they were doing. Billy, on the other hand, became very quiet
and would not talk. If he wanted something at the age of three, he would point and grunt.
Ond day a black lady came over to help Ruth. She saw Billy sitting in the yard by himself.
She asked him his name, but he wouldn't tell her. She said, "Boy, if you don't tell me your name,
I'm gonna put you in that rain barrell". She picked him up and he shouted, "Billy". Noone
has been able to shut him up since.

Things were looking good for this family until 1941. Oneal bought a farm of 750 acres. Then,
tragedy struck again, Ruth's father passed away. This same year World War II started. The
war didn't have much effect on the Phillips family. Things were fairly guiet for them until 1942.
Ruth gave birth to a ninth child, another boy, Donald Dennis.

It was beginning to seem that Oneal was going to get his "football" team. That was until 1944
and another girl, Etha "Yvonne". Now there were five boys and four girls. Donald, at the age
of two, would climb on the bed beside the new baby and say, "That my Ebon". He would argue
with everyone over her.

The late Summer of the same year brought another horror and sorrow to this family. Everyone
was in the yard shelling peas. Oneal decided to go see about his mother, who had been ill. Little
Donald wanted to show Oneal the pease he had shell. With all the other kids crowded around the
driver side of the truck, Donald went to the passenger side and climbed onto the running board.
No one excep Billy knew he was there. Oneal left with Donald hanging on. By the time Ruth
realized Donald was missing, it was too late. The truck rounded a bend in the road and hit a bump.
Donald fell off and rolled under the thires of this truck. Ruth chased after Oneal, but couldn't make
him hear her. Ruth found her baby boy lying in the road with tire marks across his tiny body.
She picked him up and carried him back to the house. Wilson jumped on the horse and chased after
Oneal to let him know what had happened. Donald passed way an hour and a half later.

This was a second child this family lost but not to be the last. Now, there were four boys and
four girls. That was until 1945, another baby and another loss. Ruth gave birth to a little boy,
Larry Calvin, who only lived seventeen and a half hours. This year brought an end to World War II and
another death in the family, Grandma Phillips. She did not see the end of the war.

In 1946, Oneal rented out the farm. So they packed up and moved yet again. This
was the only year Oneal share cropped. Spring of 1947 brought rains. Ruth was in her seventh
month a twelfth time with child. The porch was wet from all the rain and the wind was blowing.
A sheet of tin on the porch was loose. The wind blew the tin down hitting Ruth on the head,
making her fall. The fall caused her to give birth six weeks early to a three and a half pound
baby girl, Myra Jeanette.

This little girl, being so small was loved and spoiled by all the older siblings.
They had not long lost two little brothers and sure didn't want to lose this little girl. Myra
soon learned that whatever she wanted, she got it. Even if one would tell her, "No", she could
and would find someone who would give in to her. Lois, Billy, and her Daddy (mainly) gave
in to her every whim. Myra soon became "Daddy's shadow".

In 1949, Ruth gave birth a thirteenth time to andother little girl, Ruby Louise.
This birth only contributed to the spoiling of Myra. Ruby Louise only lived fifteen hours.
There had now been thirteen births with nine living. This was not to be the last birth.

By this time, the older children had gotten married and in 1950, a first gandson
was born. In 1952 a first granddaughter became sister to the grandson. They were Johnny
and Jane, children of Wilson. This was the start of a long line of grandchildren.

The week after Christmas of 1952, Ruth and Myra took a trip to Norfolk, Virginia. Katie
had married a Navy man, stationed in Norfolk. On January 2, 1953, Katie gave birth to a
baby girl. The reason for the trip, Katie wanted her mother with her at this time.

This was the year Myra turned six years old and still the "baby" of the family. Not
for long,because in August, there was one more new arrival to this already large family. This
was a fourteenth child and a boy, Walter Robert, "Bobby". Well, Myra was very upset that Ruth
would dare bring another baby into the house. This meant she was no longer the "baby" and she
didn't like it as all. Myra asked her Mother to take the baby back. When that didn't work,
Myra tried to get the dog, "Lady", to bury him in the back yard. The dog just sniffed the new baby
and walked away. Lady would have not part in Myra's plot to get rid this intruder. Myra wished
he would just vanish. Her reasoning was everyone started saying, "You have to be a big girl now.
You aren't the baby anymore".

Myra was pushed aside for the new baby boy. She felt abandoned and unwanted. When
Bobby turned one month old, Myra was carried off to school. She begged and pleaded not to
be left with those strangeres. But her pleas did not good. She was left behind. Myra built a shell
around herself against the little brother she didn't want. She really hated him until he was four
years old. Then one day, something happened that changed her mind.

Bobby was climbing a gate with a new pair of boots on and fell. Myra saw this and
began to laugh. That was the funniest thing she had ever seen, until he didn't move. She realized
he was really hurt and ran to him, screaming. When Ruth and Oneal started to take him to the
hospital, Myra threw such a tantrum, they had to let her go along. Bobby had broken his arm in two
places. Myra's feelings changed for her little brother that day and never wished him dead again.

Mr. and Mrs. M.O. Phillips raised ten children from fourteen births. This is a family
with much love for each other and respect for the parents. There were many ups and
downs during the years. In May of 1980, there was one more tragedy to this family. Harry,
at the age of 42, was shot and killed.

Oneal passed away in February , 1981. He had suffered a stroke which left him
paralyzed on his right side. Ruth live for eight years without her life's mate and
passed away in October, 1989. She was 82 yeas and 2 months at her death.

This couple is missed as much today as they were the day they passed away.
They will be forever in the hearts of all they left behind. The one thing they left
behind is the love we all have for each other and all the wonderful memories we share.