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Bureau,Marshall,Putnam Biographical Records 1896 > George R. Phelps - Princeton Twp.

Source: The Biographical Record of Bureau, Marshall Putnam Counties, IL
Originally published 1896 S. J. Clarke Pub. Co. Chicago, IL

Transcribed by: Denise McLoughlin
Tampico Area Historical Society

Pages 412-413

George R. Phelps, who has long been identified with the agricultural interests of Princeton township, is a worth representative of one of the honored pioneer families of Bureau County. He traces his ancestry back to William Phelps, who, in 1630, came from England to Dorchester, Massachusetts, but about five years later went to Windsor, of the same state, where his death occurred July 14, 1672. He became a prominent citizen of that place, serving as magistrate for many years, and he and his wife were members of Rev. Mr. Warham's church. She died in 1689. In their family were seven children - William, Nathaniel, Samuel, Joseph, Timothy, Mary and Sarah.

The second of that family, Nathaniel Phelps, removed to Northampton, Massachusetts, in 1650 and on the 17th of September, of the same year, married Elizabeth Copley, who died December 6, 1712, and his death occurred May 27, 1702. He served as deacon of his church, and was the father of six children - Mary, Nathaniwl, Abigail, William, Thomas and Mercy.

Of that family, Nathaniel Phelps was born April 2, 1653, and died June 20, 1719. On the 27th of August, 1676, he married Grace Martin, who died August 2, 1727. She was anative of England, and a woman of strong will and character. Two children born to them, Grace and Nathaniel, both died in infancy, and the others were Samuel, Lydia, Grace, Elizabeth, Abigail, Nathaniel, Sarah and Timothy.

Nathaniel Phelps, of the above family was born February 13. 1692, and died October 14, 1747. He married Abigail Burman, who died June 12, 1727, and May 25, 1730, he wedded Mrs. Catherine Heacock. By the first marriage four children were born - Charles, Anne, Nathaniel and Martin; and by the second, Catherine, Lydia, John and Mehitable.

The third of the first family, Nathaniel Phelps, was born December 13, 1721, and died October 29, 1789. In 1750 he was united in marriage with Elizabeth Childs, of Deerfield, Massachusetts, who died July 28, 1769, and in 1773, he married Mrs. Rebecca Childs. Their children were Burnham, Elizabeth, Abigail, Nathaniel, Elijah, Ann and Rufus.

Of that family, Nathaniel was born June 5, 1757, and died March 4, 1833. He was married June 5, 1781, to Lucy Strong, whose deathoccurred in 1834. To them were born the following children - Diana, Burnham, Ebenezer S., Nathaniel, Lucy, who died in infancy; Adelia, Lewis, Lucy, Lucinda and Charles.

The last named, Charles Phelps, was born in Northampton, Massachusetts, October 24, 1802, and became the father of our subject. He departed this life at Princeton, Illinois, July 2, 1874. On the 10th of June, 1824, he led to the marriage altar Mary Strong, who was born December 24, 1801, and died December 2, 1877. In June, 1836, they emigrated to Bureau county, Illinois, locating first on section 3, Princeton Township, and later on section 10. He had entered his land in 1835 and devoted his entire time to farming. He was an upright, reliable citizen, and himself and wife were both faithful members of the Congregational church, of which he was trustee for many years. In their family were eight children - Maria, who died in infancy, August 11, 1826; George R. of this sketch; Harriet M., who married Isaac Carpenter and after his death John Lloyd, and now resides in Princeton; Ebenezer S. of Princeton; Mary E., who wedded William Green, and later William Starkey, and died February 14, 1895; Charles P., a resident of Princeton; Elijah P., who died in childhood, and Lucy A., wife of Gilbert Spaulding, of Nebraska. Ebenezer S. Phelps, an uncle of our subject, was one of the first of the colony from Massachusetts to come to Bureau County, and was a leading member of the Congregational church here. He was born September 3, 1788, and on the 24th of February, 1812, married Anna Wright, who was born May 10, 1781, and died in 1873. His death occurred the yeaar previous.

In Hampshire county, Massachusetts, George R. Phelps, of this review, was born February 20, 1827, and attended the common schools of Bureau county, which in that day were not very efficient in promoting excellence in scholarly attainments. With the exception of two years in the furniture business with his brother, E. S. his entire life has been devoted to agricultural pursuits, and he owns a good farm of sixteen acres on section 9, Princeton township.

On the 17th of May, 1871, he was united in marriage with Miss Julia R. Phelps, who was born in Northampton, Massachusetts, November 19, 1828, and is a daughter of Lewis and Asenath Phelps, both of whom died in 1872, at the age of seventy-five and seventy-seven years respectively. The former was a member of the Methodist Episcopal church, and the latter of the Congregational church. In early life the father was a clothier, but later engaged in farming, and was well and favorably known throughout the community where he made his home. The wife of our subject was one of a family of nine children, five of whom died in infancy. The others are Fanny E., widow of Horace Augur, and a resident of New Haven, Connecticut; Calvin W., of Northampton, Massachusetts, and Adelia C., wife of William E. Augur, of West Haven, Connecticut.

One daughter has been born to Mr. and Mrs. Phelps, Grace M., a graduate of the Princeton high school, who has been engaged in teaching in Bureau county for several years. The family are worthy members of the Congregational church. Mr. Phelps is a demitted member of the Masonic order, and inpolitics is a republican. He has satisfactorily filled the offices of assistant supervisor, commissioner of roads, and for many years has been a member of the board of school trustees, taking a deep and commendable interest in educational matters. In early life his father supported the whig party, and later became an abolitionist, being inclose sympathy with the movements of theunderground railroad in Bureau county.


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