Thursday, June 19, 2008
Phillips digs his bottles
By SUE WATSON
Tom and Ann Phillips will be among Holly Springs’ newest neighbors after the couple complete the renovation of Colonsay Cottage, built around 1840. The cottage is the birthplace of Holly Springs historian and museum curator Lois Swanee.
On weekends the Phillips have been excavating the well and cistern at the cottage, thought to have been filled in around 1900, according to Tom Phillips.
He has identified about 60 bottles stamped with Rather Drug Store and others stamped with Athey Drug and Seed he thinks are discards from the last century. The potter’s stamp on one bottle showed local potter C.J. Hollis was the maker.
The cistern did not turn up many artifacts, he said. But whiskey bottles were found in the privy in the backyard, a favorite spot in old times for the man of the house to hide his dew and slip out and take a swig now and then, he said.
Phillips, who started digging for glass bottles at age 12 and hasn’t missed a beat since, said places can be dated by glass if you know the history of glass making.
His favorite activity is spelled out on his T-shirt: “I dig old bottles.”
Although just a hobby, Phillips did some digging about 25 years ago in Holly Springs and has dug all over, from Boston to New Orleans to Quincy, North Dakota and all places in between.
The Phillips thought about buying one of the antebellum homes in Holly Springs about 20 years ago, but it was not time, they said.
Now it is time and the Phillips are excited about their little cottage, the friendliness of Holly Springs and the hospitality since they have been back working on their historic cottage.
“Everybody is so nice to us and friendly,” said Lisa Phillips.
Phillips has an internet business and deals in collectables and silver flatware.
He said after they get settled they may want to try opening a shop.
Jim Nolan of Holly Springs is the contractor doing the restoration of Colonsay Cottage.
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