Sula Phillips was born November 15, 1865 in the town of Fulton, the daughter of Judge Eli Phillips and wife, Irena E. Collins. Eli Phillips was a store clerk in Richmond, west of the Tombigbee River during the 1840’s and early 1850’s before he moved his family to Fulton during the later 1850’s when he was elected probate judge of the county. He was later elected to the Mississippi House of Representatives and also served as the mayor of Fulton and elected to the position of justice of the peace.
The large antebellum Phillips house in Fulton was located at the corner of West Wiygul and South Cummings streets on the town square (present-day site of S & W Pharmacy) facing south. The late Zereda Green, Fulton historian, once wrote: “I remember Mrs. Phillips for her pretty flowers, hollyhocks and other flowers back of the house at the edge of the garden and orchard and the two large continuously blooming white rose bushes on each side of the walk at her doorway. She kept a pair of scissors hanging on a nail in the hall and on leaving, she always cut a bouquet of roses and gave us.”
On December 21, 1884 Phillip’s daughter, Sula married Malachi Cummings Betts, the son of Egbert Green Betts. Sula’s sister, Belle, married Albert Cummings Betts, Malachi’s brother.
Malachi Cummings Betts ran a Fulton dry goods store with his father and brother.(see blog posting for February 16, 2008 for further information about the Betts family). Sula Phillips Betts died in Fulton on February 20, 1890 and was buried in the Fulton Cemetery. Sula and Malachi Cummings Betts had one son, Charles. The Sula Phillips Betts tombstone reads:
Nov. 15, 1865.
Feb. 20, 1890.
God in His wisdom has recalled
The boon His love had given.
And though the body moulders here
The soul is safe in Heaven.
Photography by Bob Franks