BIOGRAPHY - James R. Phillips

JAMES R. PHILLIPS, an enterprising and successful farmer, residing on section 28, Button Township, claims Ohio as the State of his nativity. He was born in Mahoning County, May 16, 1831, and is a son of John Phillips, a native of Scotland, who emigrated to the New World when a child of three summers with his father, James Phillips, the family settling in Ohio, among the pioneers of Mahoning County. The father of our subject was there reared, and married Miss Elizabeth White, who was born in Pennsylvania. With his wife, he afterward removed to Cuyahoga County, which was then an almost unbroken wilderness and, in the midst of the forest, he cleared and developed a farm, upon which he reared his family and spent the remainder of his life. He passed away on the 11th of July, 1840, and was laid to rest in the old family cemetery, He left a widow and four small children. Mrs. Phillips long survived her husband, her death occurring in February, 1881, when she was laid by his side. A beautiful monument now marks their resting place. Our subject is the eldest of their four sons; Nathaniel White, the second, resides with his family in Cleveland, Ohio; David Little operates the old homestead farm; and Nicholas Allen is married and also resides on the old homestead.

Our subject remained with his mother until after he had attained to man's estate, and in his youth acquired a good English education. On the 9th of December, 1856, in Mahoning County, he was united in marriage with Denisa Henderson, a native of Portage County, Ohio, and a sister of John Henderson, whose sketch appears elsewhere in this work. In the spring of 1859, they came to Illinois, locating first in Putnam County, where Mr. Phillips worked with his father-in-law for one year. In 1860, they removed to Kansas, settling near Lawrence, but, after one summer spent in that State, returned to Illinois, and again located in Putnam County, where Mr. Phillips purchased a sawmill and engaged in the manufacture of lumber. After six years he sold out, and, in the fall of 1867, came to Ford County.

In the meantime, on the 11th of May, 1864, he joined Company B, of the One Hundred and Thirty-ninth Illinois Infantry, and served until the following October. On his arrival in this county, he purchased a tract of wild land of eighty acres, and began its development, building fences, plowing and cultivating his land and making a good home. His farm is now one of the desirable places in this locality, and he is recognized as one of the thrifty and enterprising agriculturists of Button Township.

In 1882, Mr. Phillips was called upon to mourn the loss of his wife, who died on the 13th of October, leaving four children: William Henderson, who is married, and follows the printing business in Grand Crossing, Ill.; Albert H., who operates the home farm; Elizabeth, wife of Henry France, of Sawyer, Kan.; and Ella Frances, who is attending the home school. Mr. Phillips was again married, November 24, 1886, his second union being with Martha A. Ross, a native of Pennsylvania, and a daughter of Samuel H. Ross. They are both members of the United Presbyterian Church of Rankin. In politics, Mr. Phillips is a stalwart Republican, having supported every Presidential nominee of that party since he cast his first vote for Hon. John C. Fremont. He has held the office of Commissioner of Highways for several years, and has been a member of the School Board. His public duties have ever been faithfully discharged, and he is alike true to every private trust.

Extracted 04 Nov 2018 by Norma Hass from Portrait and Biographical Record of Ford County, Illinois, published in 1892, pages 230-231.

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