Phillips, William A. (William Addison), 1824-1893

Alternative names
Birth 1824-01-14
Death 1893-11-30

Biographical notes:

William Addison Phillips was born in Scotland on January 14, 1824. He was well educated before the age of 15. He came to a farm in Randolph County, Illinois with his parents. At the age of majority he became associated with B.J.F. Hannah, editor of the Chester Herald. From 1852 to 1855 William was a newspaperman who also studied law and was admitted to the bar. He came to Kansas in 1855. He was appointed by Horace Greeley to be a member of the editorial staff of the New York Tribune. As such, he traveled to the Kansas Territory and published the results of his investigations in 1856 under the title, "Conquest of Kansas". He also aided a Congressional committee with this same topic. His writings made him very unpopular with the Pro-Slavery people. After the Civil War started, William was commissioned a Major of the First Indian Regiment. He was promoted to Colonel of the Cherokee Regiment and commanded a division in the field under General Schofield. This division included Indians, cavalry, battery and regiments from different states. Phillips fought in the battles in the Southwest. He was wounded three times and had four horses shot out from under him. Phillips returned to Kansas at war's end and was an attorney for the Cherokee Indians. He tried to advance their interests with the Interior Department. In 1872 Phillips was elected to Congress representing the Salina area. He became a prominent member of the Public Lands Committee. He studied land system and land tenure, and became an authority on the subject. His book was entitled, "Labor, Land, and Law". He married Margaret Caraway Spilman. William died on Thanksgiving Day, November 30, 1893 at Fort Gibson in the home of W.P. Ross.

From the description of William Addison Phillips papers, 1857-1937. (Kansas State Historical Society). WorldCat record id: 52290326


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  • American letters--History--20th century
  • Poetry
  • Cherokee Indians
  • Smithsonian Publications
  • Lawyers
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  • American letters--History--19th century
  • Soldiers
  • Legislators
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  • Kansas (as recorded)
  • United States (as recorded)