In 1918, John Pressley Phillips, the son of William Walker Phillips of Fresno, married Ruth Anderson, the daughter of David Pressley Anderson of Santa Rosa. Their common ancestor was David Adams, Jr., who served in the Revolutionary War, and both descended from solid, southern, established families that could trace their bloodlines to nobility in 17th Century Britain. Rooted in America, family members included both a British Loyalist and three signers of the Declaration of Independence. They flourished as planters in South Carolina and Mississippi until the Civil War. Like many Confederate families reduced to nothing at war's end, the Phillips and Andersons came to California to start over. Both families thrived -- in farming, banking, politics, the arts and community leadership -- especially in the fertile Central San Joaquin Valley. The marriage of these two southern families has linked two surprisingly rich and distinguished threads of ancestry. The names of relations in the near and distant past may startle as well as impress the reader.
Every family has a story to tell that is often lost as generations pass on. The author, John Renning Phillips, was born in Fresno, California. He never got to know his grandfather, John Pressley Phillips, who died 8 years before he was born. Fortunately, he knew his grandmother, Ruth Anderson Phillips, for nearly 30 years. With her, he began to capture major parts of the family story. This book is dedicated to the author's father -- the son of Ruth and John -- William David Phillips, on the occasion of his 80th birthday.
This book was conceived on the 110th anniversary of Ruth's birth, May 23, 1897. It is based upon the author's research over a three year period.
John Renning Phillips attended public schools in Fresno, California and earned a degree in economics from Occidental College. He has lived in San Francisco and London and currently resides in New York City with his wife and daughter. This is his first book.