BIRTH Born 12 Nov. 1786, Goshen, Litchfield, Connecticut PARENTS Daniel II and Elizabeth Porter MARRIAGE Irene Churchill CHILDREN 1. Betsey born July 1807, died 29 March 1810, Goshen 2. Daniel born 20 November 1808, Goshen 3. Eliza born 7 July 1811, Goshen 4. Darius Burgess born Abt. 1814, Goshen 5. Mary Ann born 15 July 1816, Goshen 6. Phineas Wolcott born 28 August 1819, Goshen 7. Harriet born 11 May 1823, Goshen DEATH: 20 May 1848, Richland, Kalamazoo, Michigan
One of two children born to parents who apparently married at the conclusion of his father's seven years' service in the Revolutionary War, Phineas grew up in Goshen, the northwest corner of Connecticut. His father Daniel's health declined as a result of his hardships in the war, and the sons Amasa and Phineas took over responsibilities on the large family farm surrounding Town Hill.
In 1809 Daniel died. Amasa and Phineas had married the Churchill sisters from Woodbury and lived in nearby houses at the top of the hill. Not ten years after their father's death, Amasa was killed in an accident on the farm, and Phineas at the age of thirty was left with both the family farm and the family debts. He tried to support his large family of eight, his father-in-law's family of five, and Amasa's wife and child. However, the effort proved too great, notwithstanding the family's hard work.
In 1836 Phineas sold out to his Uncle Moses whose efforts to acquire the Phineas Cook family farm at Town Hill had spanned two generations. Taking what money he could secure from previously unknown creditors, Phineas moved with his son-in-law Salmon Hall and his son Darius to Richland, Kalamazoo, Michigan where new land had been opened up for settlers. Salmon and Darius bought land after which Darius returned to Goshen for two years. Phineas took over his land bought in Salmon's name and built a cabin with Salmon as his neighbor.
The next year Young Phineas Wolcott and his older brother Daniel, who brought his wife and two children, made the trip up the Hudson River to Albany, across New York State via the Erie Canal, down Lake Erie on a steamer, and half a day's ride on the train from Toledo to Adrian, Michigan. After hiring a wagon the two men walked across Michigan and found their father's house in Richland. Their mother and sisters came the following year with Darius.
Enduring the opening of land, Malaria, clearing of timber, and re-establishing his family in a new frontier location, Phineas endured perpetual weakness and bad health as he helped his children become independent. His wife, concerned that his health would fail, turned their house into a hotel for wayfarers which added to the confusion. In 1844 his daughter Eliza and her husband joined the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and the next year his son Phineas Wolcott and his wife were baptized.
Phineas Wolcott and his little family emigrated to be with the Mormons in 1846, and Phineas Senior found himself alone with the farmwork. He died May 20, 1848 and is buried in Richland. His son Daniel lived ten miles north in Hastings, Barry County. Darius became editor of a small newspaper and lived in Niles, Berrien County until his death. Mary Ann died shortly after her father and is buried nearby. Eliza emigrated to Utah to be with her beloved Saints. Their mother Irene lived another 22 years, and is buried in Richland.