PORTRAIT & BIOGRAPHICAL ALBUM OF MORGAN AND SCOTT COUNTIES, ILLINOIS
Chicago: Chapman Bros., Publishers
THE REV. FRANKLIN W. PHILLIPS, M.D., for many years Superintendent of the Illinois Institution for the Education of the Blind, was born in Montgomery County, Ky., Nov. 5, 1827, and died at Jacksonville Jan. 17, 1888. His father, William Phillips, was a minister of the gospel, and descended from the old historic and highly esteemed Phillips family of Maryland. Both he and his wife died in Cincinnati, Ohio, and the subject of this sketch became for three years, during his boyhood, an inmate of the household of an uncle, at Paris, Ind. In 1840 he returned to Cincinnati, and entered Woodward College - now known as Woodward High School - from which he withdrew for the purpose of learning the carpenter's trade. Having made a profession of Christianity, and becoming a member of the Methodist Church, he, in 1845, began preparation for the ministry, and in 1848, after a rigid examination, he was admitted to the Kentucky Conference of the Methodist Episcopal Church, South.
His health having become impaired, he was reluctantly forced in 1856 to withdraw his connection from Conference and to locate. In doing this, Mr. Phillips was obliged to temporarily surrender the hope and ambition of his life. In the meantime, having read medicine, he attended lectures at the Kentucky School of Medicine at Louisville, and soon afterward began practice as a physician at the town of Livermore, McLean Co., Ky. He entered at once into a good practice at that place, afterward removing to Todd County, Ky., where he remained until 1864, when he began to cast around for a new location. The result was his investigation brought him to the conclusion that Illinois offered him a better field for his talents, and in the last year mentioned he removed to this State. His health having been restored, he believed it was his duty to re-enter the ministry, which he did by joining the Illinois Conference, and during the succeeding ten years he preached at Mattoon two years, Jacksonville four years,
Springfield three years, and Danville district one year. In June, 1874, he was made Superintendent of the Institute for the Education of the Blind, and while in that office introduced many reforms, and placed that great institution in the front rank of its kind in the United States. In his death the State sustained an irreparable loss.
Dr. Phillips was married at Mackville, Ky., in Oct., 1853, the daughter of Rev. Richard J. Dungan being the happy bride. She is now (1889), and has been for some years, the Matron of the institution over which Dr. Phillips so successfully presided for fourteen years.
In glancing at this brief sketch, it will be seen that Dr. Phillips was a man of more than the ordinary mould, and that the characteristics of industry, intelligence, integrity and influence were blended in him. In his management of the great institution for the amelioration of the sightless wards of the State, the Doctor exhibited rare ability, and though it is a common thing for humanity to praise the dead, in this case the duty is not perfunctory, but is one which becomes a pleasant task to all persons who were ever associated with Franklin W. Phillips.
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