Among the members of the many families of early settlers who have forged
to the front in the realm of public life and in their daily avocations in
Marion county, Illinois, few indeed, have reached a higher standing than the
subject of this sketch, whose long life has ever been associated with the
progress of the county, especially in the township where he resides.
Samuel F. Phillips was born October 20, 1829, in the vicinity of Clarksville, Montgomery county, Tennessee. His father, Jonathan Phillips, came of a well known family in the state where he resided, and his mother's maiden name was Sarah Fowler, who came of a family equally well connected. Jonathan Phillips' father was Samuel Phillips, who, together with his wife, Nancy (Crow) Phillips, born in Virginia, were among the earliest settlers in Tennessee. The elder Phillips was a hardy and industrious farmer and he and his wife lived a long life on their farm in Davidson county, Tennessee, where they reared a family of eight children; four sons and four daughters. The sons were David, Thomas, George and Jonathan, the father of Samuel F.
Jonathan Phillips spent the early part of his life on his father's farm, and he received a limited education in the common schools in the neighborhood of his home. When he had reached manhood he married and in 1831 he and his wife drove in the antiquated vehicles of the period across the long stretches of country, starting from Montgomery county, Tennessee, finally landing and settled in section 1, Centralia township, Marion county, Illinois. At this time he obtained one hundred and sixty acres of government land at one dollar and twenty-five cents per acre, which farm he added to at different times until he had six hundred acres, becoming a farmer of more than average industry and he succeeded in improving and changing the appearance of the property. Though well known and widely respected in the locality, he never aspired for public patronage. In politics he was first a Whig and on the disappearance of the older party became a Democrat. He was a member of the Presbyterian brotherhood in religious life and a sturdy upholder of that belief. As a man and an active farmer, he was well known and widely esteemed. The date of his birth was in the year 1799, and his death occurred on April 2, 1856. His wife was born July 20, 1806, and died July 10, 1893. Her father, William Fowler, lived in Montgomery county, Tennessee, where he died. He had married a Miss Fyke and their union brought forth four children, two sons and two daughters, namely: Drury, Richard, Sarah, the mother of the subject of our sketch, and Mary.
Jonathan Phillips and his wife reared six children, James George Washington, died 1856, was, a farmer, married Margaret Sugg, and lived at home until his death. Another was Samuel F., the subject of this sketch. William, who married Rebecca Allen, was a farmer in Centralia township where he died in 1859. Joseph R. died April 2, 1862. Nancy married Isaac Phillips and lived at Cobden, Illinois. She, as well as her husband, is dead. John P., a farmer in Centralia township, married three times: first, Vitula Cazy; second, Martha Norfolk; and third, Ida Johnson.
As a boy, Samuel F. Phillips had little chance to go to school. However, he attended the local subscription schools at infrequent intervals. The circumstances of his youthful schooling did not affect him in after life, for he was always of an observant and intelligent turn of mind and in this way assimilated much useful information. He was of much assistance to his father in improving the paternal residence, and he remained there in a useful capacity until his thirtieth year. In 1859 in Davidson county, Tennessee, he married the daughter of Thomas and Eliza (Chadwell) Phillips, of the same county and name, his wife's first name being Nancy Jane. This Phillips family had come to Marion county, Illinois, settling there in section 12, Centralia township, in 1852. The father spent his life on the farm in his new surroundings where he died; his wife died in Odin, Illinois. The children of the marriage were: Nancy Jane, the wife of Samuel F. Phillips, the subject of this sketch; Martha E., who married Noah Wooters, both deceased; Mary K., who was the wife of James Stroup, both of whom are dead; Minerva T., the wife of Dr. J. J. Fyke, of Odin; Sarah B., the wife of W. D. Fatthing, attorney-at-law, at Odin; George died young, at home; William H., druggist at Iuka, Illinois, lives in Centralia township. He married Frances Summerville; Samuel D., druggist at Odin, married Jessie Lester; John G. married Laura Johnson, and lives in Oklahoma.
Samuel F. Phillips and his wife lead a happy domestic life and have had nine children. His sons and daughters are mostly all married and are important factors in the life of the community. William W. is a farmer in Centralia township and is married to Malissa Rial. Sarah E. married John H. McGuire, engineer on the Illinois Central Railroad at Centralia; they have two children, Tressa and Erma. Etta, the widow of G. W. S. Bell, lives near Centralia. Patra married John F. Guymon, of Centralia, and they have one daughter, Beulah. Martha B. is the wife of Charley Whitchurch, of Centralia township, and the mother of three children, Carl, Boyd and Harry. Allie married W. B. Carr, of Raccoon township. Alphia married Joseph L. Hill, of Ewing, Illinois. Samuel T. married Nora Sutherland, of Centralia township, and has two children, Hazel, born October 17, 1905, and Samuel Howard, born March 7, 1907. Samuel T. is a farmer in Centralia township. George Robert, another son, who is at home working with his father, is unmarried.
In the year 1860, Samuel F. Phillips located on his present property. Since then he has striven to enhance the value of the land. It consists of two hundred and fifty acres. He principally engages in stock raising and does a general farming business.
Samuel F. Phillips is a member of the Missionary Baptist church and is influential in church advancement matters. In politics he gives his support to the Democratic party. The first time he exercised his right to vote he recorded it for Granville Pierce.
The subject of this sketch has received fitting public recognition. His record as Justice of the Peace is of forty-four years standing, and he has been a Notary Public for fourteen years. He has been associated with the Board of Trustees of Centralia township for twenty years. For sixteen years he has been Township Assessor. He is also a member of the board of township high school. He is still in harness, his seventy-nine years weigh but lightly upon him, and it is the wish of a large circle of friends that he be long spared to his affectionate family, and to the people of his township for whom he has worked so diligently.
Extracted 11 Jul 2017 by Norma Hass from 1909 Biographical and Reminiscent History of Richland, Clay and Marion Counties, Illinois, pages 240-243.