William Phillips, BiographyPorter County biographical sketches . . . .

Transcribed biography of William Phillips

WILLIAM PHILLIPS. Now living retired from active business, Mr. Phillips stands as one of those staunch and able men who have been prominently concerned with agriculture and stock-growing in Porter county, where he still owns his valuable landed estate of three hundred acres in Porter township. He has long been a resident of Porter county, has ever held secure place in popular confidence and esteem, has contributed his quota to the industrial and civic progress of the county and now venerable in years, he is enjoying "smiling prosperity and fair, prosperous days," having an attractive home in the village of Hebron and giving a general supervision to his farm and other property interests.

William Phillips claims the fine old Buckeye state as the place of his nativity and is a scion of one of its honored pioneer families. He was born on the old homestead farm of his father, nine miles north of Mount Vernon, Knox county, Ohio, on the 6th of January, 1835, and is a son of William and Polly (Walker) Phillips, both of whom were born and reared in Maryland, where the respective families were founded in an early day. The parents of Mr. Phillips were wed in their native state and within a comparatively brief period thereafter they immigrated to Ohio and numbered themselves among the pioneers of Knox county, where the father secured a tract of wild land and instituted the development of a farm. The section in which he was located was sparsely settled at the time and he and his noble wife endured with courage and equanimity the trials and vicissitudes which attended the pioneer life. William Phillips, Sr., became one of the representative citizens of his county and was one of its prosperous agriculturists for many years before his death, both he and his wife having remained on the old homestead until they were summoned to the life eternal and both having been consistent members of the Methodist Episcopal church. They became the parents of ten children, namely: Rachel, Rebecca, George, John, James, Ruth, Margaret, Mary, William, Jr., and Elisas, and of the number one son and one daughter are now living.

Like the other children of the family William Phillips, Jr., subject of this review, gained his early educational training in the little log school-house of the pioneer days, and in this primitive institution he found the advantages sufficient to give a substantial basis for the broad and varied fund of practical knowledge that he has since acquired through self-application and association with the multifarious affairs of a busy and useful life. He continued to be associated with the work and management of the home farm until he had attained to the age of twenty years, when he married and set to himself the winning of independence through personal effort, his marriage having been solemnized in 1865 and his wife having proved from the beginning his faithful and valued helpmeet and coadjutor. For three years they remained on the farm of Mr. Phillips' father, and they then came to Indiana, in 1858, as Mr. Phillips was desirous of finding a field for the winning of prosperity and independence by his own powers and efforts, his youthful ambition being equalled by his energy and determination of purpose. He made the trip from Ohio in one of the old-time "prairie schooners," or covered wagons, and his wife carried her firstborn child on a pillow during this trip to the new home, a journey that was considered somewhat momentous at the time and the necessary conditions of which seem strange indeed to the younger generation of the present day, in view of the network of railroads that now cover both Ohio and Indiana. The little family of here, of which the most important member was the winsome daughter, Hattie, who was five months old and who tipped the scales at twenty-five pounds, arrived in Porter county, Indiana, in May, 1858, and settled on a farm of one hundred and sixty acres which the husband and father had selected and purchased on a prior trip to the county. The homestead thus secured more than a half a century ago gave slight semblance the finely improved and valuable property which it now represents. Mr. Phillips paid thirteen dollars an acre for the property, which had been but slightly improved, and the family took up their abode in a partly finished and primitive dwelling on the place. The young couple, sustained by mutual love and sympathy, and feeling the urge of ambition and determined purpose, bravely set themselves to the task of improving the farm and winning the rewards which industry ever has in store. Their home was one of humble order and they had few if any luxuries, but peace and happiness found hospice by their fireside, and the passing years brought their gracious fruitage of prosperity and good cheer, though there were to be encountered the varied difficulties, perplexities and adverse circumstances from which no life is free. Indefatigable energy and good judgment on the part of both Mr. and Mrs. Phillips eventually gave to them most generous success, and the same was represented in a well improved, productive and valuable farm of two hundred and eighty acres. This fine homestead they still retain and it is one of the best farms in Porter township. Concrete evidences of thrift and good management on the part of these sterling pioneers are those shown in the attractive and commodious residence and other excellent farm buildings and in the well tilled fields which have taken the place of forest trees and scraggly underbrush. Mr. Phillips proved himself mindful of the aesthetic values as well as those of purely materialistic order, and this is shown in the fine shade trees about the old home, the while choice fruit trees stand in evidence of his versatility in the prosecution of his farming enterprise. The old Phillips homestead was a veritable haven of gracious hospitality, and there were often gathered together the many friends of both parents and children. The home circle was not permitted to be immune from the visitation of the angel of death, but Mr. and Mrs. Phillips have found that their married life on the whole has been one signally blessed, so that they are grateful for all that has been vouch-safed them during the long years they have walked side by side, sustained and comforted by mutual affection and commoness of interests. In 1911 they felt themselves justified in seeking release from the material cares and labors which had been their portion for many years, and they removed from their farm to the attractive village of Hebron, where they are now enjoying the well earned rewards of former years of toil and endeavor. They purchased a home here and in the same they still find pleasure in extending welcome to the many friends whom they have gathered about them during the long years of their residence in Porter county.

There has been demanded great concentration of thought and effort in winning success under the conditions that have compassed Mr. Phillips during his active career, but he has not been self-centered, nor has he looked entirely to self-aggrandizement. On the contrary he has at all times shown a deep interest in those things which have tended to advance the general welfare and has been liberal and progressive in his civic attitude. His political support is given to the Democratic party and while he has never been a seeker of public office he has given his co-operation in the furtherance of enterprises and measures projected for the general good of the community. A sense of loyalty induced him to serve for a number of years as school director in his township, but other than this he has held no public office. Both he and his wife are zealous members of the Methodist Episcopal church in their home village and are liberal in the support of the various departments of its work.

It is worthy of special note that of the members of the Phillips family in the generation of which the subject of this review is a member, seven out of the ten have lived to celebrate their golden wedding anniversaries. Mr. and Mrs. Phillips themselves had this distinction in the year 1905, and the occasion was made one of special interest, as more than one hundred guests assembled to do honor to the worthy couple who had assumed the marital bonds a half century previously. Relatives and other friends came from different states to pay tribute of respect and congratulation, and the event was one of marked order in the social annals of Porter county. Mr. and Mrs. Phillips, with children and grandchildren to do them honor, may look back in pleasing retrospect to the years that have passed and may recall with gratification the part they have played in connection with the industrial development and civic progress of this favored section of the fine old Hoosier state.

On the 5th of April, 1855, was solemnized the marriage of Mr. Phillips to Miss Rebecca Loney, who likewise was born near Mount Vernon, Knox county, Ohio, and the date of whose nativity was October 24, 1836. She is a daughter of John and Nancy (Mapes) Loney, who were numbered among the sterling pioneers of that county and of whose children two are living at the present time. To Mr. and Mrs. Phillips were born six children, -- Hattie, Elias, Dora, Alvin V., Vivian and Pearl. Hattie, the firstborn, completed a course in what is now the Valparaiso University and is now the widow of Daniel Rott. She resides in Hebron and has two daughters, -- Amber and Ruby. Elias, who is town marshal at Hebron, first married Miss Bertha Sweet, of La Porte county, who is survived by one child, Frederick. His second marriage was to Miss Martha Church, and they have two sons, -- Clayton and Gordie. Dora is the wife of Bernie S. Wise, of Chesterton, who has been a mail agent on the Lake Shore & Michhigan Southern Railroad for more than twenty years, and they have two sons, -- Clayton and Earl, the former of whom is a public school superintendent in the Philippine islands and the latter of whom is identified with a bicycle manufactory in La Porte, Indiana. Alvin V. Phillips is engaged in the undertaking and farm implement business in Hebron and is one of the representative business men of his native county. He married Miss Ann Sharp, and they have one son, -- Clarence. Vivia is the wife of Herbert Allenbrand, a prosperous farmer of Porter county, and they have one son, -- Lynn. Mrs. Allenbrand completed her education in Valparaiso University, as now designated, as did also her brother Pearl, the youngest of the children. Pearl Phillips is deceased, dying October 16, 1901. He married Miss Emma Carbian.

Source: Lewis Publishing Company. 1912. History of Porter County, Indiana: A Narrative Account of its Historical Progress, its People and its Principal Interests. Chicago, Illinois: Lewis Publishing Company. 881 p.
Page(s) in Source: 737-740

This biography has been transcribed exactly as it was originally published in the source. Please note that we do not provide photocopies or digital scans of biographies appearing on this website.

Biography transcribed by Steven R. Shook


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