Biography of Richard Phillips



Berrien County

Online Biographies


Also see [Railway Officials in America 1906]

Richard Phillips was born on the 26th day of October, 1810, in the county of Oxfordshire, England. At the age of twenty-two he emigrated to Halifax, Nova Scotia, but only remained there during one winter. He then proceeded to Canada, where he stayed about two years, going from there to Buffalo, N. Y., in 1834. He came to New Buffalo in 1835, in the employ of Mr. Nelson Willard, who brought the first load of dry goods ever landed at the place. On the 11th day of November, 1839, Mr. Phillips was married to Mary C., daughter of J. R. C. and Jane Brown, of Virginia. Of this union have been born six children, viz.: Charles L., born Aug. 22, 1840; Mary J., born Feb. 26, 1842, died May 21, 1858; Elizabeth, born October 31st, died same day; Sarah A., born Dec. 8, 1844; Catherine E., born Dec. 17, 1846; and Emma A., born April 19, 1849. Mr. Phillips settled at Michigan City, Ind., soon after his marriage, where he remained six months. He then moved his family to Hudson, Ind., and at the end of another six months, to Laporte, in the same State. He remained there until 1842, when he returned to New Buffalo. After staying there until 1845, he returned to Michigan City, but in 1847 he made his last move back, and located himself permanently at New Buffalo. Until this time he had been engaged in the mercantile business, but in 1847 he engaged as clerk on a steamboat, thinking the change would be beneficial to his health, as he was a great sufferer from disease. He served as clerk of the steamboats “Detroit” and “Sam Ward,” running on the latter from Chicago to St. Joseph, in 1847, and on the former from Chicago to Green Bay, in 1848. He remained at this employment for two years, but his health growing worse instead of better, he was obliged to abandon his life on the lake. Mr. Phillips was originally a Whig in politics, but subsequently joined the Republican party, whose principles he ever supported with all the firmness of character and tenacity of purpose for which he was distinguished. He represented his township as clerk and supervisor, attending to the duties of the latter position when unable to walk, being accompanied by his faithful wife as he rode to and fro in his buggy. Mr. Phillips, after many years of intense suffering from rheumatic gout, died on the 15th day of December, 1868. Both he and Mrs. Phillips were devoted members of the Protestant Episcopal Church. After her husband’s death, Mrs. Phillips successfully managed her affairs, keeping the family together until one after another of her children were settled in married life. She has lived to see them all well established in the world, and now resides on the lot adjoining the old homestead.

History of Berrien and Van Buren Counties, Michigan
With Illistrations and Biographical Sketches
of Its Prominent Men and Pioneers.
D. W. Ensign & Co., Philadelphia 1880
Press of J. B. Lippincoff & Co., Philadelphia.

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