Caleb Dilworth who married Emily Phelps was instrumental in organizing
our county. In 1873 he named our county after his father-in-law, William
Phelps. As far as we know, William Phelps never came to Phelps County.
William Phelps was born in New York in 1808 and for a long time was a steam boat captain on the Mississippi River. He provided much needed money to get our county started.
William Phelps came to Sangamon County, Illinois in 1820 and to Fulton County in 1827. He followed trading with the Pottawatomie and Delaware Indians for 20 years. He married Caroline Kelsey in 1830. Their children were Emily, Charles, Julietta T. and H.D. Phelps. He later married Tilley H. Guernsey in 1839.
William Phelps died Oct 18, 1889 In Lewiston, Illinois.
Caroline Kelsey Phelps died Oct 21, 1861 in Lewiston, Illinois.