John Finis Philips

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John Finis Philips
JohnFinisPhilips.jpg
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Missouri's 7th district
In office
1875–1877
Preceded by Thomas Theodore Crittenden
Succeeded by Thomas Theodore Crittenden
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Missouri's 7th district
In office
1880–1881
Preceded by Alfred M. Lay
Succeeded by Theron M. Rice
Judge of the United States District Court for the Western District of Missouri
In office
1888–1910
Nominated by Grover Cleveland
Preceded by Arnold Krekel
Succeeded by Arba Seymour Van Valkenburgh
Personal details
Born (1834-12-31)December 31, 1834
Thralls Prairie, Boone County, Missouri, U.S.
Died March 13, 1919(1919-03-13) (aged 84)
Hot Springs, Arkansas, U.S.
Resting place Mount Washington Cemetery, Independence, Missouri, U.S.
Political party Democratic
Alma mater Centre College

John Finis Philips (December 31, 1834 – March 13, 1919) was a lawyer, a cavalry colonel, a U.S. Representative from Missouri, and a judge.

Birth, education, and early career[edit]

Born in Thralls Prairie, Boone County, Missouri,[1] Philips attended the common schools, the University of Missouri, and graduated from Centre College in Danville, Kentucky in 1855. He studied law, was admitted to the bar in 1857 and commenced practice in Georgetown, Missouri.

American Civil War[edit]

Philips served as member of the Missouri Constitutional Convention in 1861. During the Civil War, he was commissioned colonel May 1, 1862 and commanded the 7th Missouri State Militia Cavalry.[2] During the Battle of Westport he was placed in command of a brigade when his superior, Brig. Gen. Egbert Brown, was placed under arrest by Maj. Gen. Alfred Pleasanton for not promptly attacking at Byram's Ford. Continuing in command after having taken the ford, Philips' brigade played a key role in the crushing victory at Mine Creek two days later. According to his diary he suffered an irritating wound to his right eye during the battle.[3]

Post war political career[edit]

Following the war he resumed the practice of his profession at Sedalia, Missouri. He served as mayor and later as delegate to the Democratic National Convention in 1868. He was an unsuccessful candidate for election in 1868 to the Forty-first Congress.

Philips was elected as a Democrat to the Forty-fourth Congress (March 4, 1875 – March 3, 1877).

Philips was elected to the Forty-sixth Congress to fill the vacancy caused by the death of Alfred M. Lay and served from January 10, 1880, to March 3, 1881. He was an unsuccessful candidate for reelection in 1880 to the Forty-seventh Congress.

He moved to Kansas City, Missouri, in 1881 and resumed the practice of law. He was a member of the defense team for the 1883 Gallatin, Missouri, murder trial of Frank James.

He served as commissioner of the Missouri Supreme Court 1883-1885 then as judge of the Kansas City Court of Appeals 1885-1888. He was appointed judge of the United States District Court for the Western District of Missouri by President Grover Cleveland in 1888 and served until 1910, when he retired from public life.

Death[edit]

He died at Hot Springs, Arkansas on March 13, 1919 and was interred in Mount Washington Cemetery, Independence, Missouri.[4]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ Directory of Towns...Boone Co. Missouri
  2. ^ MO A.G. report, p. 494
  3. ^ Lee, pp. 34-35
  4. ^ John Finis Philips at Find a Grave

References[edit]

United States House of Representatives
Preceded by
Thomas T. Crittenden
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Missouri's 7th congressional district

1875–1877
Succeeded by
Thomas T. Crittenden
Preceded by
Alfred M. Lay
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Missouri's 7th congressional district

1880–1881
Succeeded by
Theron M. Rice
Legal offices
Preceded by
Arnold Krekel
Judge of the United States District Court for the Western District of Missouri
1888–1910
Succeeded by
Arba Seymour Van Valkenburgh