Thomas Wharton Phillips

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Thomas Wharton Phillips
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Pennsylvania's 25th district
In office
Preceded byEugene P. Gillespie
Succeeded byJoseph B. Showalter
Personal details
Born(1835-02-23)February 23, 1835
Mount Jackson, Pennsylvania, U.S.
DiedJuly 12, 1912(1912-07-12) (aged 77)
New Castle, Pennsylvania, U.S.
Clarinda Hardman
(m. 1862; her death 1866)

Pamphila Hardman
(m. 1871; his death 1912)
ChildrenThomas Wharton Phillips Jr.

Thomas Wharton Phillips (February 23, 1835 – July 21, 1912) was a Republican member of the U.S. House of Representatives from Pennsylvania.

Early life[edit]

Phillips was born near Mount Jackson, Pennsylvania, in that section of Beaver County, Pennsylvania, now included in Lawrence County, Pennsylvania. He was the son of Ephram Phillips (1795–1835) and Ann Phillips (1796–1866).[1]

He attended the common schools and was also privately instructed.[2]


He engaged in the production of oil, and served as president of the Producers’ Protective Association from 1887 to 1890. He was president of the Citizens’ National Bank of New Castle, Pennsylvania, and a member of the board of trustees of Bethany College, West Virginia, and of Hiram College, Ohio.[2]

Phillips was elected as a Republican to the Fifty-third and Fifty-fourth Congresses. He was the Chairman of the United States House Committee on Labor during the Fifty-fourth Congress. He did not seek renomination in 1896. He resumed his former pursuits, and was appointed a member of the United States Industrial Commission by President William McKinley and served until its dissolution. He was a delegate to the Republican National Convention in 1908.[2]

In 1906, Phillips was approached by his friend, Dr. Ely Zollars, for held in establishing a bible college in what was then the Oklahoma Territory. Mr. Phillips agreed to pay Dr. Zollars salary for one year while his friend sought to secure a location for the school. Phillips became a long time benefactor of the school which was initially called Oklahoma Christian University.[3]

Personal life[edit]

Phillips was twice married. His first marriage was in 1862 to Clarinda Hardman (1837–1866), the daughter of David Hardman and Nancy Rebecca (née Arter) Hardman. Together, they were the parents of:[1]

  • Herbert Clyde Phillips (1864–1912), who married Idell Houghton in 1894.
  • Norman Arter Phillips (1865–1893), a banker.[4]

After the death of his first wife, he remarried in 1871 to his late wife's younger sister, Pamphila Hardman (1844–1933). Together, they were the parents of:[1]

  • Victor Karl Phillips (1872–1901),[5] who married Mary Mayme Lusk in 1898.[1]
  • Thomas Wharton Phillips Jr. (1874–1956),[6] also a U.S. Representative from Pennsylvania.[7]
  • Benjamin D. Phillips (1885–1968), who served as a member of the board of Citizens National Bank for 50 years. He married Undine Conant, and after her death, Mildred Welshimer.[8]

Phillips died in New Castle on July 21, 1912.[9] He was buried in Oak Park Cemetery, New Castle, Pennsylvania.[2]


Upon Phillips' death the trustees voted to change the name of the school to Phillips University in his honor.[10] The university closed in 1998, but Phillips Theological Seminary which separated from the university in 1987, continues to exist as of 2016.[11]


  1. ^ a b c d Phillips, Alexander Van Cleve (1942). The Lott family in America, including the allied families: Cassell, Davis, Graybeal, Haring, Hegeman, Hogg, Kerley, Phillips, Thompson, Walter and others. Edwards Brothers. Retrieved 14 May 2019.
  2. ^ a b c d "PHILLIPS, Thomas Wharton - Biographical Information". Biographical Directory of the United States Congress. Retrieved 11 May 2019.
  3. ^ University, Oklahoma Christian; Okla.), Phillips University (Enid (1909). Catalogue and Announcements. Oklahoma Christian University. Retrieved 14 May 2019.
  4. ^ General Catalogue of Officers and Students, 1837-1901. University of Michigan. 1902. p. 290. Retrieved 14 May 2019.
  5. ^ "SUDDEN DEATH OF VICTOR K. PHILLIPS -- He Was Believed to Be Recovering From Grip, When a Relapse Occured". New Castle Weekly Herald. 20 Mar 1901. Retrieved 14 May 2019.
  6. ^ "Oil Leader, Ex-Lawmaker -- Funeral Tomorrow for T. W. Phillips". The Pittsburgh Press. 3 Jan 1956. Retrieved 11 May 2019.
  7. ^ "PHILLIPS, Thomas Wharton, Jr. - Biographical Information". Biographical Directory of the United States Congress.
  8. ^ "Phillips kin dies in Butler". New Castle News. 24 Oct 1968. Retrieved 14 May 2019.
  9. ^ "PROMINENT OIL AND GAS MAN DEAD -- Hon. Thomas W. Phillips of New Castle Passed Away at His Late Residence Sunday". Butler Citizen. 22 Jul 1912. Retrieved 14 May 2019.
  10. ^ "DR. ELY VAUGHN ZOLLARS, PRESIDENT 1907-1916". Phillips University Legacy Foundation.
  11. ^ "About Phillips". Phillips Theological Seminary.


U.S. House of Representatives
Preceded by
Eugene P. Gillespie
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Pennsylvania's 25th congressional district

Succeeded by
Joseph B. Showalter