Sunday, May 25, 2014

Dr. William James Phillips

Dr. William James Phillips was a rural doctor and surgeon for the Frisco Railroad in Beaumont, Kansas. In 1885 he came to Kansas, moved to Beaumont in 1895 and lived there until his death in 1929.

This article is based primarily on the two sources mentioned.

[Dr. William James Phillips' daughter Beulah married Fred Van Huss, and so is the maternal grandfather of Robert Van Huss, my father-in-law.]

The country doctor of the 1880’s and 90’s was a general practitioner delivering babies, setting broken bones, pulling teeth, tending snake bites, and wounds from gun shots and farm equipment. The country doctor might live on his own farm to make ends meet, and so would travel by horse or buggy to treat patients in outlying farms. They likely delivered every child within miles, and sat with the dying as they left this world for a better place, and these happenings often required a doctor to get up in the middle of the night to attend his patient. As cash was short on the prairie, the pay for a doctor might be a basket of eggs, a bushel of corn, or a side of beef.



The Phillips family originated in Wales. William James Phillips' paternal grandmother was Irish, coming to America at the age of nine. This paternal side of the Phillips’ family came to America in colonial years, later moving west  to Ohio, then Iowa, and finally, with William James Phillips to Kansas.

William James Phillips (1856-1929) was born in Washington County, Iowa on October 2, 1856. He was the second son of George Phillips and Susanna (Deen) Phillips.

William grew up near Iowa City. He attended public schools and an academy. In 1874, at the age of 18, William spent 15 months working on a farm along the Little Blue River near Washington, Kansas, (north of Manhattan and Clay Center and west of Marysville).

Six years previous, Cheyenne and Arapahoe had made a raid in the county. Four years previous, the Kansas Pacific Railroad completed its line along the Smoky Hill River from Kansas City to Denver.  Buffalo still roamed western Kansas.

In 1885 William graduated from the College of Medicine, State University of Iowa. [Announcement of the College of Medicine, the State University of Iowa, 1885-1886,] After graduation, Dr. Phillips settled in LaCrosse, Kansas to practice medicine, marrying the same year Maggie Z. Redman (1867-1958), (daughter of A. J. and Mary (Wright) Redman).

In 1895 the couple moved to Butler County and Beaumont where Dr. Phillips worked as surgeon for the Frisco Railroad. They bought a 130 acre farm at the southwest edge of town.

Page 32, 1905 Butler County Atlas, Glencoe Township

Dr. Phillips served as town clerk. He operated a drug store and acted as pharmacist. He was a Republican, and a member of Beaumont Lodge No. 465, Ancient Order United Workmen.

The Phillips family grew to eleven sons and daughters.

Clarence M. farmed 3 1/2 miles southwest of Beaumont; Hubert W. worked as a brakeman with the Grand Trunk Pacific Railway and lived at Biggar in Saskatchewan, Canada; Edith Fern was the wife of A. L. Milliken, station agent for the Frisco Railway at Altamont, Kansas; George A. drove an auto stage at Brawley, California; Pauline, the fifth child, died at three years of age; Helen M. is the wife of J. H. Nichols, an express messenger in Wichita; Beulah M. was a school teacher and would marry Fred Van Huss; as of 1918, Paul W. was attending a school of automobile instruction at Wichita and the three youngest Alwilda, Wendell and Ruth, were attending public schools in Beaumont.

Beaumont Cemetery, William J. Phillips and Margaret Z. Phillips

William died in 1929 at Beaumont and is buried in the Beaumont Cemetery just north of Highway 400. His wife Maggie died in 1958 and is buried next to him.

George Phillips

William's father, George Phillips (1814-1873), was born in Ohio on February 10, 1814. He was an early pioneer of Washington County, Iowa and died in Daytonville, Iowa on February 6, 1873. His career included farming, general store and hotel owner. He was a member of the Methodist Church and served both as steward and trustee. In politics he was an active republican.

[I find nothing of the family history of the Phillips before George.]

George Phillips married three times. He first married Elizabeth Deen, a native of Ohio. She died in Illinois and was the mother of ten children.

His second wife Susanna Deen (1831-1856) was a half-sister of his first wife. She died at Daytonville, Iowa, October 9, 1856, one week after the birth of William J. Phillips. She had one other child, W. S..

George Phillips married his third wife Judith R. Downing. Her only child, Thomas A. L., died at seventeen months.

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