US Congressman. He immigrated with his parents to the United States in 1839, settled on a farm in Randolph County, Illinois and engaged in agricultural pursuits. He launched a career in journalism, was editor for the Chester Herald and then moved to the territory of Kansas and continued to work as a newspaperman in the early 1850s. He pursued the study of law, was admitted to the bar in 1855, became a special legal correspondent for the New York Tribune newspaper and penned several articles decrying the evils of slavery. Phillips remained active in the Kansas free-state movement and with the start of the Civil War, he enlisted in the Union Army and was commissioned as a Major. Promoted to Colonel, he commanded the 1st Indian Brigade and was wounded three times in battle. After the war he returned to Kansas, served in the Kansas State Legislature in 1865 and acted as an attorney to the Cherokee Indians in Washington D.C. In 1873, he was elected as a Republican to the Forty-third, Forty-fourth and Forty-fifth Congresses, serving until 1879. After he failed a bid for re-nomination, he retired from political life. He died at age 69 while visiting a friend in Oklahoma Indian Territory.
Bio by: John "J-Cat" Griffith