Hon. Peter Phillips, pioneer merchant and farmer, born in 1817 in White (now Hamilton) County, one of twins of eleven children (six deceased) of Jacob and Sarah (Walker) Phillips, the father, of French origin, born about 1775 in North Carolina, and the mother born a few years later in the same State, of Irish stock. The parents were married in North Carolina, and soon went to near Shawneetown, where they remained until about 1815, when they located at Knight's Prairie. About three months after our subject's birth they settled in Franklin County, and engaged in clearing and farming until the father's death in 1842. In 1836 the mother died, where our subject and his twin sister, Mrs. Sallie Neff, were reared and educated in the old pioneer log schoolhouse. After our subject married in 1836, he located for six years on a tract given him by his father, and then on Long Prairie until 1857 after the death of his first wife (1848), and after his second marriage (1850). He then moved to Section 31, Town 5 south, Range 4 east, where his present farm is situated. In 1839 his
second wife died, and about a year later he married again, a wife who died in 1876. His present wife, the widow of William Combs and daughter of Lemuel R. Harrison, an old settler of the county, he married in 1878 at her home in Ewing Township. She was born in 1822 in this county. In 1862 he enlisted in Company F, Fifteenth Illinois Cavalry, and was honorably discharged in October, 1864, at Helena, Ark. He was at Vicksburg and other minor engagements, but never wounded nor captured. After July, 1863, he was first lieutenant. He had seven children by his first wife(five deceased) , five by his second (three deceased) seven by his third (four deceased), the living ones are John W., Joseph, Ethelind (wife of M. Kirk), Francis M., Henry, Andrew and Lucy. Although a pioneer who has cleared three tracts of land, he has now a fine tract of 200 acres, 160 of which are well cultivated. Under the township organization he served two terms as supervisor of Northern Township. In 1876 he was elected representative of the four counties, running ahead of his ticket, the Republican, which party was in the minority, and served two years. In 1880 he established his present general merchandise business. For nearly four years he has been post master of Gresham. Before the war he was a Democrat, and first voted for Van Buren. Since 1852 he has been a Mason, formerly of Benton Lodge, now of Ewing Lodge, No. 107. His family, excepting Francis and Andrew, are members of the Christian Church. He is among the most influential and respected citizens of his region, and is one of the most successful of business men.