Biography of Col. Delos Phillips
Kalamazoo County, MI Biographies



Kalamazoo County

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Also see [Railway Officials in America 1906]

Delos Phillips was born in Hamburg, Erie Co., N. Y., on the 24th day of October, 1839, and moved with his parents to Ypsilanti, Mich., when about six years of age.

He is the second of eight sons, six of whom are now living, He availed himself of the advantages of the very thorough schools at this centre of learning, and at the early age of fifteen was prepared for a scientific course in the university. The next four years were passed in preparation for a full classical course, and ho feels especially indebted to Prof. Joseph Esterbrook and Hon. S. M. Cutcheon, who had charge of hie preparation.

At the early age of seventeen, he taught a district school in the neighboring township of Augusta, and the next year in Nankin, Wayne Co. We find him entering the uaiversity in the regular classical course in the fall of 1859.

His fellow students during the next three years, in the class of 1863, found him a thorough mathematician, good in all brsucbeo of study, and perhaps as good a general scholar as the class possessed; he, at ibis time, being mere noted for general information and good delivery in oratorical efforts than for special minuteness in ciascicai or my thelogical lore.

The highest boners of the university at that time were considered to be in the position of president of the students' lecture association, to which he was elected in June, 1862.

During the previous year it had been hard to restrain his feelings of obligation to enter his country's service in the war of the Rebellion, and the vacation of 1862 gave him time to think of the country's need of men.

A dozen of his fellow-students called at his father's house, and offered to enroll their names, if he would. He had previously refueed a captain's commission through fear of the responsibility, but now he could nut resist the demands of patriotism, though he very much desired to complete his college course, nuw within one year of its close.

At this time, Hun. Chauncey Joslin, a warm personal friend, tried all his powers of persuasion to induce him to finish his course, and pursue the profession of law by entering his office as a student.

But the needs of the country and his willingness to servo in any capacity at length induced him to enlist as a private soldier in the 17th Michigan Infantry.

He carried a musket through the bitterly fought engagements of South Mountain and Antietam, Md. Gen. W. H. Withington, of Jackson, then in command of the regiment, for gallantry on the battlefield of Antietam, recommended him for a commission as 2d lieutenant, which he received in another company, there being no position vacant in his own.

On the 4th of July, with the surrender of Vicksburg, he was promoted 1st lieutenant, and again, in October of same year (1863), captain of his own ccmpany. He was present at every engagement of his command, and the 17th was a fighting regiment, until be was captured, in May. 1861, at Spottsylvania Court House, Va.

But be determined not to remain a prisoner, and after eleven daysí captivity, with four others, escaped from the cars near the northern border of North Carolina. Traveling through three hundred miles of hostile territory, the party reached the Unien lines at Charleston, on the Kanawha.

Arriving in Detroit, he was placed in command of the military district of Lake Superior, and assisted in raising the 28th and 29th Michigan Infantry Regiments. He was commissioned lieutenant colonel of the former, and commanded it from its organization, in October, to Dectmbcr, 1864.

In January, 1865, he resigned his command, settled his accounts with all departments satisfactorily, and prepared to fulfill business engagcmcnts at Marquette, Lake Superior, when he was requested by President Haven, of the university, to confer with thu faculty with a view to graduation in June.

They tendered him a diploma on account of his services sea soldier upon his studying eight weeks, and passing the studies of the second semester.

Tbrsugh the partiality of President A. D. White, of Cornell University, at that time Professor of History in the University, he was chosen as the valedictorian of his class.

He left Lake Superior in 1866, and in June became a citizen of Kalamazoo County, where he has since resided, engaged in the business of a manufacturer and dealer in musical merchandise.

In 1868 he was elected to the State Senate, at the age of twenty nine, being the youngest member of the body. He served on the committee of three which gave to Michigan the present free school system; his associates being Hun. P. R. L. Pierce, of Grand Rapids, sod Hon. L. D. Norris, of Ypsilanti. He was chairman of the committee on military affairs, and served on the committee upon reform schools.

In 1876 he was presidential elector, and by vole of the electorial college selected as messenger to Wasbingtou.

In 1878 he was honorably mentioned by the leadipg press of the State as Republican candidate for Secretary of State, but declined the proffered honor.

In politics he has always been a Republican, and a friend of the laboring man. He has for four years been chairman of the Kalansazoo County Republican Committee, and manages its affairs with good judgment. He possesses the good opinion of the people of his own county, and has received the especial mention of the press of the State for efficient work.

History of Kalamazoo County, Michigan
With Illistrations and Biographical Sketches
of its Men and Pioneers.
Everts & Abbott., Philadelphia 1880
Press of J. B. Lippincott & Co., Philadelphia.