The Phillips Farm House, located on Godwin Boulevard near Wills Corner, was built circa 1820 by John T. and Elizabeth Underwood Phillips. The house was built on a high ridge called the Suffolk Escarpment overlooking what was originally a stage coach route to Richmond. The Phillips Farm was originally 184 acres bequeathed to John T. Phillips by his father, John Phillips. Originally a one and one half story house built on an English basement, the house was doubled in size in 1948. Phillips Farm House is one of 14 clerestory houses built between the Blackwater and Nansemond Rivers in Isle of Wight and Nansemond Counties designed with contiguous clerestory windows across one façade of the house. These houses were thought to copy the window design of the textile mills of New England and were built when cotton was king in the south. The Phillip Farm House is considered the best preserved house of the original clerestory houses. It is listed on the register of Historic Homes in Virginia.
John T. and Elizabeth U. Phillips married in 1827 and had four children: John Theophilus Phillips, who became a doctor, James Jasper Phillips who was a colonel in the Civil War, Elizabeth Mary Phillips who married John David Corbell and was the mother of Sallie (LaSalle) Phillips who married General George Pickett of Civil War fame, and Sarah (Sallie) Ann Phillips who married James Eley. These heirs of John T. and Elizabeth sold the farm in 1868. Phillips Farm was sold many times through the years, with some owners continuing in residence. Edwin and Carolyn Bickham purchased the house in 1978, completely restored the house and continue to live in it to this date.
By Carolyn Bickham