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Geo. Howard Phillips (1845-1914), s/o Geo. W. & Olive Lamyra (Jones) Phillips

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25 Jul 2016 08:42 - 25 Jul 2016 08:45 #1722 by Mamie
George Howard Phillips; 1845-1914

George Howard Phillips was born at Whitewater, Wisconsin, on April 28, 1845. His parents were George W. and Olive Lamyra (Jones) Phillips, early settlers in Wisconsin and natives of Pennsylvania and Illinois respectively.

Adverse circumstances threw the son upon his own resources at the age of nine years, and developed in him that spirit of self- reliance and independence of character which was a marked characteristic to the day of his death. His early opportunities in an educational way were very meager; still he acquired the rudiments of an education in childhood, and an insatiable desire for knowledge overcame many of the earlier defects in his education and he eventually became a well informed man. He was a lover of books, and in later life a well selected library evidenced the fact that he was a reader and student.

While a mere boy he offered himself three times for service in the army in defense of his country. Once the quota of his locality had been filled when his company was ready, a second time his father refused to give his consent to the boy's enlistment because he was under age, but the third attempt was successful and he became a member of Company C, Fortieth Wisconsin Infantry, on June 2, 1864, and served to the end of the term for which he enlisted.

After his discharge from the army, he removed to Decorah, Iowa, where he learned the barber's trade. He later conducted shops in West Union (on two occasions), Belle Plaine, Denver, Colorado, Strawberry Point, and Manchester, Iowa, and in the month of May, 1874, became a permanent resident of Oelwein, Iowa. Here he conducted a barber shop, and having faith in the then village, invested his savings in real estate. From boyhood he had an ambition to become a lawyer and to acquire wealth. His early poverty and the many hardships which he had under-gone made such an ambition seem like a dream or perhaps a mockery.

He borrowed law books from his friends for his early reading and looked after business in Justice's Court for several years, when he quit the barber business and engaged in the earnest study of the law with A. C. Parker, then practicing at Oelwein, and with whom he was later associated in the practice for a couple of years. Mr. Parker will be recalled by the members of the Bar as one of the leading lawyers of Iowa who deceased at Des Moines a few days prior to the death of his friend. Phillips became a careful, safe counsellor, and at all times preserved an unswerving fidelity towards his clients. No lawyer was more careful in looking after the details of a case, and being a shrewd observer and judge of human nature, he always, when necessary, associated with himself other counsel able to protect fully the interests entrusted to him.

Few men have started in life under more unfavorable surroundings, fewer still have achieved greater success under similar circumstances than he. He became one of the rich men of Fayette County, being its heaviest tax payer for years. He died in the hospital at Waverly, Iowa, on November 23, 1914, following an operation. He left a widow, one son and one daughter.

Oelwein doubtless received greater benefits from his enterprise than it has from any other individual, as evidenced by the numerous business buildings erected and owned by him.
-A. N. HOBSON

Source: Proceedings of the Twenty-First Annual Session of the Iowa Bar Association, Held at Fort Dodge, Iowa June 24 and 25, 1915, published by the Association, 1915; Pgs. 74-75

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