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Col William Harlow "W H" Phelps
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Birth: Oct. 16, 1845
Cattaraugus County
New York, USA
Death: Jul. 26, 1916
Olmsted County
Minnesota, USA

h/o 1st Lois J Wilson, 2nd Bridgey O'Leary

Birth: Oldest of several known children.

Among his many different interests he was a law partner with home town lawyer, Judge Edmond O Brown, in Law firm, Phelps and Brown, later involved with Eugene O'Keefe, the Steadley brothers, Fred & Frank, and the McNerney brothers, Martin & P J, in 1899 in both, their Carthage Quarry northwest of town and the Center Creek Marble Company. P. J. McNerney built his beautiful home in the 1890's at 1146 Grand avenue. A classical revival, which has 10 fireplaces, each with different colored tile, and with beautiful, hand carved woodwork throughout and a hand-operated elevator serving four floors from the basement to the ballroom. It is built of Carthage stone, one of the most elegant homes in Carthage.

M. L. VanGilder in 1995 wrote: 9 December 1875, attorney James F. Hardin shot attorney William H. Phelps twice in a court room, who recovered (Phelps had been elected to state legislature in 1872). Then James F. Hardin was gunned down by blasts from shotguns on 3 February 1876 when going home. His widow signed a complaint against William H. and brother Charles H. Phelps with an arrest made. Both acquitted on 28 September, 1876.

He served in both Missouri House of Representatives and the Senate, also as an attorney for the Missouri-Pacific Railroad, with serious interests in his dairy farm.

Census: 1860, age 14 Hinsdale, Cattaraugus county, New York with parents & three younger siblings.

Census: 1870, age 24 Marion township, Jasper county, Missouri with wife & her brother.

Census: 1880, age 33 Carthage, Jasper county, Missouri with mother, wife & two children

Census: 1900, age 54 Carthage, Jasper county, Missouri widowed with three children at 1152 (old numbering) Grand avenue.

Census: 1910, age 63 Carthage, Jasper county, Missouri with 2nd wife & their two children at 1146 (new numbering) Grand avenue.

Their home was on the Victorian Home Tour: The Phelps House - 1146 Grand avenue - A classical revival built in late 1890's by W. H. Phelps, a prominent attorney. It has 10 fireplaces, all with different colored tile, and has beautiful, hand-carved woodwork. It has a hand-operated elevator serving 4 floors from the basement to the
ballroom. Along with the Leggett house and Platt house, it is built of Carthage stone.

Death: at Mayo Clinic's Saint Marys Hospital in Rochester, Olmsted county, Minnesota

Father: Cyrus Phelps b: about 1814
Mother: Charlotte (unknown) b: about 1821

Marriage 1: Lois J Wilson b: 6 NOV 1846 in Summit county, Ohio
Married: 1868 in Northfield, Summit county, Ohio

Known Children

Maude Helene Phelps b: 26 FEB 1874 in Carthage, Jasper county, Missouri

Florence B Phelps b: JUL 1876 in Carthage, Jasper county, Missouri

William Henry Phelps b: 13 SEP 1882 in Carthage, Jasper county, Missouri

Marriage 2: Bridgey O'Leary b: 16 FEB 1871 in Ireland.
Married: 1905 in Chicago, Cook county, Illinois

Known Children

Cyrus Phelps b: 14 NOV 1906 in Carthage, Jasper county, Missouri

George Emmett Phelps b: 6 FEB 1910 in Carthage, Jasper county, Missouri

He was older brother to Charles H Phelps.




Col. William H. Phelps, of Carthage, one of the foremost citizens of the state, and one of the wealthiest men in the southwest, prominent in state politics, and at present state senator from this country, died this morning at 3 o'clock at St. Mary's hospital, Rochester, Minnesota. where he underwent a major operation at the hands of the Mayo surgeons last Saturday for bladder affection. He was 70 years old last October.
He was a man of great vitality and energy, one who always seemed younger than he was. On the operating table he revived from the effect of the anesthetic before he had been taken from the operating room, but at no time fully rallied from the shock of the operation. His condition gradually grew worse until death ensued.

Poor Health for Two Years
Colonel Phelps' health had not been good for two years. During the past year, it has been giving him grave concern. For months he has been considering the advisability of having an operation performed for removing a complaint troubling him. When he finally determined to do so, it has caused his death.
He had had assurances from physicians whom he knew that there was every chance for him to survive the operation, and as the use of the knife seemed quite necessary, he went to the operating table cheerfully and with confidence. He had expected to leave the hospital soon and, with his wife and son, spend the summer at Rose Point in the Georgian Bay region in Canada. His wife and little son, George Emmett Phelps, were with him in Rochester.

His lifelong friend, Joe Shannon, of Kansas City, was also with him following the operation.
His son, Will Phelps, of this city left last night in response to the telegram received yesterday afternoon, which told that Colonel Phelps' condition was serious. He had gotten only to Kansas City, however, when the news of his father's death reached him, and he went no farther. The remains are expected to reach Carthage tomorrow afternoon over the Missouri Pacific railway.

Born in New York State
Col. W. H. Phelps was born on a farm near the town of Hinsdale, Cattaragua county, New York, October 16, 1845 and represents one of the old families of Connecticut. He was reared at the homestead where he was born, and was educated in the common schools, afterwards taking a course of study at Olean, New York, and then studied law in the office of Hon. M. B. Chaplain, at Cuba, New York, and completed his law studies at the Albany law school, graduating in 1867.
Hoping for more opportunity in the west, Mr. Phelps came the same year to settle in Carthage. That was 49 years ago and he has resided here since.

As a Young Attorney
On arrival here he was without means. For a little time he had no office and when he did provide an office he had a very small library for a beginning. He handled his first case before he even established an office.
He walked all the way to Preston, 10 miles northwest of Carthage, to offer his services to a defendant in a suit in justice court there, was accepted and won the case. He walked back home a very proud man.
From the very first Mr. Phelps took an active interest in politics and was chairman of the Democratic county committee in 1868. In 1874 he was elected a mamber of the state legislature from this county. He was prominent in the legislature from the first and soon became a leader in the councils of the Democratic party in the state.

Railway Attorney
Following his legislative experience he became attorney for the Missouri Pacific railroad, a position he held for many years. During that time he had an office in St. Louis and spent much of his time in that city and in Jefferson City, though Carthage remained his home. During those years he was never a candidate for office, although taking an active part in state politics.
After severing his connections with the Missouri Pacific railway, he was elected a member of the state legislature six years ago as the representative from the eastern district of the county. He held this position for two terms, a total of four years. Two years ago he was elected to the state senate from this county. He had two years of this time yet to serve.
He has often been a delegate to the national Democratic conventions and was a delegate at large from this state to the last one.

His Private Life
Mr. Phelps was first married to Miss Lois Wilson, at Northfield, Ohio in 1868. She was accidentally killed in a runaway accident in St. Louis in 1894. Their children were Helene, Florence and William H., jr. Miss Helene died several years ago while traveling for her health. Miss Florence is now Mrs. W. H. Rothert of Omaha, Nebraska, William H. jr, resides a short distance southeast of Carthage.

Mr. Phelps was again married in 1905 to Miss Bridget O'Leary, of Chicago, Illinois. Their two children were Cyrus and George Emmett. Cyrus died two years ago as the result of injuries he received when an automobile struck him in the street. George Emmett survives his father.

The Phelps residence is one of the finest in the county, build of Carthage stone and located on Grand Avenue
[**See note in above paragraph]

Loyal to Carthage
Colonel Phelps has always been public spirited and has ever had the welfare of Carthage near to his heart. He was very active in securing the use of Carthage stone in the state capitol, which is now being constructed of that material. It was more through his work than that of any other one person that Carthage secured the White River branch of the Missouri Pacific railroad.
Several years ago he bought a large tract of land seven miles northeast of town, erected a fine modern stone house on it, and equipped it well as a farm and placed it in charge of his son, William H. jr. He afterwards found that it would suit him far better to have a farm closer to town, so he sold that farm and four or five years ago bought land two miles southeast of town and made of it a well improved dairy farm.

Big Dairy Farmer
He added to his land holding by buying adjoining farms as his improvements on the place took shape. His has one of the best equipped dairy farms in the state. He did some successful alfalfa growing on a portion of the farm and his satisfaction in succeeding at this was very marked. Stone barns, stone sheds and stone walls enclosing the lots around the barn are features of the place. A large herd of Jersey cows and a smaller but equally successful her of Holstein cows are maintained on this farm.
It is rumored that Mr. Phelps' will provides that this dairy farm shall become a state or county experiment farm.

Kept His Charity Secret
Colonel Phelps was one of the most charitable of men. Numerous instances have been made public of his private contributions to those in need. He bought teams and presented them to farmers who lost their horse and were unable to secure others. He helped many a widow and schooled several young men, entirely at his own expense. So vast was his charity that, although his wish was to keep it entirely a secret, yet loving admirers told it.
He helped many companies to get started and that Col. Phelps held stock in nearly every industry that has started in Carthage. To the churches he was a liberal giver and paid no attention to the denominations. To his friends he was loyal to a degree seldom seen among men in public life. Especially to young men he was helpful in securing them employment and helping others in gaining political preferment.

Flag at Half Mast
The flag was flown from the courthouse tower at half mast today in Colonel Phelps memory.

Researched and prepared by Boggess and Brewer
Family links: 
  Cyrus Phelps (1814 - 1874)
  Charlette Phelps (1821 - 1880)
  Lois Jane Wilson Phelps (1846 - 1894)
  Bridgey O'Leary Phelps (1871 - 1962)
  Maude Helene Phelps (1874 - 1903)*
  Florence B Phelps Rothert (1876 - 1962)*
  William Henry Phelps (1882 - 1927)*
  Cyrus Phelps (1906 - 1914)*
  George Emmett Phelps (1910 - 1958)*
  William Harlow Phelps (1845 - 1916)
  Charles Harold Phelps (1860 - 1920)*
*Calculated relationship
Park Cemetery
Jasper County
Missouri, USA
Plot: Bl 19 Lot 1 Sp 6
Created by: NJBrewer
Record added: Oct 29, 2009
Find A Grave Memorial# 43671985
Col William Harlow W H Phelps
Added by: NJBrewer
Col William Harlow W H Phelps
Added by: NJBrewer
Col William Harlow W H Phelps
Added by: NJBrewer
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- bill
 Added: Dec. 2, 2011

 Added: Oct. 26, 2011
"He who allows his day to pass by without practicing generosity and enjoying life's pleasures is like a blacksmith's bellows; he breathes, but does not live." - Sanskrit proverb
- NJBrewer
 Added: Oct. 26, 2011

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