History of Bureau County - Biographical Sketches 1885
CHRISTOPHER C. PHELPS, Selby, was born in Northampton, Hampshire Co., Mass., July 7, 1823. He is the son of Burnham Phelps (see sketch of O. S. Phelps). In October, 1838, our subject, with his parents, started for Bureau County, Ill., first taking a canal boat from Northampton to New Haven, and then to New York City by water, and then to Louisville, Ky., via Albany and Buffalo, N. Y., Cleveland, Ohio, and the canal across the state to the Ohio River, then down the river to Cincinnati, and finally to Louisville, where the mother, who had been sick some years with consumption, died. The family remained in Louisville for some months, the father working at his trade of blacksmith, while his son, C. C., worked in a hotel for his board. In March, 1839, they resumed their journey, taking a boat to St. Louis, then to Peoria, Ill, and finally at Peru they took teams to this county, their goods having been re-shipped no less than ten times. When settling in Bureau County it was in Dover Township, was here Mr. Burnham Phelps put up a blacksmith shop, which was probably the first in that township. C. C. Phelps attended school for parts of two winters at Dover after coming to the county, but most of his time was employed in helping improve the farm. When starting for himself it was as a laborer by the month, and for five years he worked in this county and in Wisconsin for from $8 to $12 per month. In 1855 he purchased his present homestead, and the following spring moved to it, when there were but very few improvements. His farm now contains 167 acres of land. November 16, 1854, he was married, in Troy, Wis., to Miss Harriet Leonard. She was born in Yates County, N. Y., February 7, 1827, and is the daughter of Truman and Roxanna (Allis) Leonard, who were natives of Massachusetts. When Mrs. Phelps was small her parents removed to Medina County, Ohio, and there died, he is March, 1846, and she in September of the same year. they were the parents of eleven children, all of whom were born in Yates County, N. Y. Of the family the following yet survive: Ebenezer Leonard, resides in Michigan; Mrs. Doreas Edwards, in Kansas; Ezra Leonard, Mrs. Lavinia Thayer, Roxanna A. Leonard and Mrs. Sarah Wadsworth, are in Ohio; Truman Leonard, in Davis County, Utah; Franklin Leonard, in Iowa; and Mrs. C. C. Phelps, of this county. Mr. and Mrs. Phelps are parents of two children, viz.: Alice A., born October 3, 1858, and Lyman S., born April 22, 1861. In politics Mr. Phelps has ever been a stanch Republican. He experienced all the difficulties and hardships to which the pioneers were subjected in their milling experiences, and trips to market at Chicago, descriptions of which are given in the General History.