Transcribed from A Standard History of Kansas and Kansans, written and compiled by William E. Connelley, Secretary of the Kansas State Historical Society, Topeka. [Revised ed.] Chicago: Lewis Publishing Co., 1919, c1918. 5 v. (xlviii, 2530 p., [155] leaves of plates): ill., maps (some fold.), ports.; 27 cm.


James W. Phillips

JAMES W. PHILLIPS. One of the substantial residents and prominent men of Stevens County, Hon. James W. Phillips, formerly a member of the State Legislature and since retiring to Hugoton a broom corn broker, is further distinguished as one of the pioneers in Western Kansas. Mr. Phillips has lived in different counties in the state, but the first farm he ever bought in Kansas lies in Stevens County and he yet owns it.

James W. Phillips was born in Morgan County, Illinois, September 18, 1866. His parents were Henry and Sarah E. (Garner) Phillips. Henry Phillips was born in Morgan County, Illinois, and was the youngest of his parents' children, the others being: Mrs. Maria Osborn, who died at Murraysville, Illinois; Nelson, who lived in Greene County, Illinois; and Henry and Uriah, twins, the latter of whom died in Sumner County, Kansas. Henry Phillips spent the greater part of his life as a farmer in Illinois and died in Greene County. After the Civil war he had moved with his family to Audrian County, Missouri, where he engaged in farming and then moved on a farm in Ralls County and there his wife died. In 1882 he moved with his son James W. to Sumner County, Kansas, but soon afterward returned to Illinois. In early manhood in that state he had married Sarah E. Garner, who died in Ralls County, Missouri, and her burial was near Vandalia in that state. Her father, James Garner, came from Texas to Illinois and died in Morgan County. To Henry Phillips and his wife the following children were born: James W., of Hugoton, Kansas; R. Albert, of Morgan County, Illinois; Minnie, who is the wife of John Rafferty, of Morgan County; Emma, whose married name is Garland, lives at Des Moines, Iowa; and Bertha, who is the wife of George Arnold, of Greene County, Illinois.

James W. Phillips attended the public schools in Illinois. He was sixteen years old when he accompanied his father to Sumner County, Kansas, where he continued to live until in September, 1887, when just past his majority, he made one of a company of home seekers proposing to locate in Morton County. His companions were Calvin and James Hart, Austin and Washington McManamy, Charles Francisco and John Bentley. Mr. Phillips had a team and after the party reached the vicinity of Richfield he enteerd[sic] a pre-emption near Richfield and occupied it at once and proved it up by commuting. As he was then a bachelor, his dugout was a rather primitive affair, consisting of a single room. During the first six months of residence he freighted goods into this region, and during the next six kept himself busy with any work the community afforded. He left Morton County after proving up and went to Pratt County, where he worked in a nursery until 1888. He then returned to Illinois, locating in Greene County, where he remained until April, 1905. Three years after returning to Illinois he was married. During two years he lived at Whitehall, Greene County, variously occupied, but later rented a small tract of land and operated it until he returned to Pratt County, Kansas, where he continued a resident for three more years. He then came to Stevens County and purchased a farm and now owns three quarters of the section in which it is situated. Since coming to Hugoton he has been interested in a brokerage business, handling broom corn. He built here an attractive residence of the bungalow type, a most convenient and comfortable home.

Mr. Phillips was married in Greene County, Illinois, November 4, 1891, to Miss Mary Frances Prather, who was born in Greene County March 18, 1872. Her parents were William A. and Jane (Scott) Prather, natives of Greene County, where they died, but of Kentucky ancestry and on the paternal side. Mr. and Mrs. Prather had the following children: Mrs. Rebecca A. Barnard, of Greenville, Illinois; Emeline, who never married; Logan, Benjamin F. and William H., all of whom live in Greene County; and Mrs. Phillips. Mr. and Mrs. Phillips have four children, namely. Everett E., who is a ranchman and farmer near Hugoton, married Estella Moser, a daughter of Edward Moser, and they have one son, Ebert Royce; Ernest C., who is in the marine service of the United States, a member of Company C, One Hundred Tenth Regiment. U. S. M., now stationed at Quantigo, Virginia; and Mabel L., who resides with her parents, as does Ruby F., who is the youngest of the family. Mr. and Mrs. Phillips are members of the Christian Church.

Mr. Phillips became prominent in the political life of Stevens County when he was elected on the democratic ticket to the State Legislature in 1910. Hon. Buckman was speaker of the House during his first term and Mr. Phillips was assigned to committee work on temperance, agricultural, irrigation and penal institutions. He introduced the bill, that became a law, giving Stevens County authority to vote bonds far artesian water and irrigation development, in which work the county spent the sum of $10,000. In 1912 he was returned to the House, his re-election indicating how highly the people of Stevens valued his public services. During this session he served under Speaker "Iron Jaw" Brown. His labors were given to the same committees as during his first term, and he took a deep interest in all the legislative work of the session. In pursuance to the instructions of the primary vote, Mr. Phillips cast his ballot for William H. Thompson for United States senator. During his entire period of public service Mr. Phillips was ever at the post of duty, and through example and precept exerted an influence of which his constituents approved, and retired from the political arena with an unblemished record.

Mr. Phillips is one of the directors of the Federal Loan Association in Stevens County and is identified with the many patriotic movements that the happenings of the times have brought about, and is generous in his contributions. He belongs fraternally to the Masons, the Odd Fellows and the Court of Honor.


Transcribed from A Standard History of Kansas and Kansans, written and compiled by William E. Connelley, Secretary of the Kansas State Historical Society, Topeka. [Revised ed.] Chicago: Lewis Publishing Co., 1919, c1918. 5 v. (xlviii, 2530 p., [155] leaves of plates): ill., maps (some fold.), ports.; 27 cm.

Volume 4 - Table of Contents

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