CHARLES H. LANPHIER - Charles Lanphier, city electrician, is a native son of Springfield, born September 26, 1854. His parents were Hon. Charles H. and Margaret t. (Crenshaw) Lanphier, who are represented elsewhere in this volume: Charles H. Lanphier, of this review, entered the public schools at the usual age, and not only pursued the regular high school course, but also took post-graduate work there. When he had completed his education he engaged in clerking in a drug store, beginning in 1874, and a little later he began business on his own account in that line in connection with O. P. Beck, under the firm style of Lanphier & Beck. Not long afterward his brother was admitted to the firm and the name was then changed to C. H. Lanphier & Company, being thus continued until 1880. Between the years 1880 and 1885 Mr. Lanphier, of this review, followed the machinist's trade in connection with the Illinois Watch Company, and during the two succeeding years he was associated with W. D. Richardson, who is considered to be the finest builder and contractor in the United States, and who is now Mr. Lanphier's father-in-law. He was associated with him for two years in construction work. Mr. Richardson built the new state capitol, the Lincoln monument, the First Methodist episcopal church and other of the fine public buildings, business houses and private residences of the city. He was also superintendent of the grounds and buildings for the World's Columbian Exposition at Chicago in 1893.
After severing his business relations with Mr. Richardson, Mr. Lanphier served as toolmaker for the Ide Engine Works in Springfield until 1889, when he entered the employ of the city, in order to assist in the building of the first fire alarm system. During that time the office of city electrician was created and Mr. Lanphier became city electrician under Mayor Woodreff, serving in that capacity for two years. On the expiration of that period he engaged in electrical construction work and, for a third term, he received the appointment of city electrician, coming into office after the last election in 1903, with Mayor Devereaux. He is now representing the interests of the city in the electrical department. During this time he has advanced many plans, which have been approved by the mayor and the water works department and he is now actively engaged in furthering the drive well system for the procuring of pure water. His experiments have met with success and will undoubtedly culminate in the results that he desires and for which he is working. When he took charge of the office at the time of his last appointment he found everything in bad condition and had to ask the city for funds, in order to place the department upon a basis which would enable him to do satisfactory work. He is a practical mechanic, and his knowledge and ability as an electrician as far above the average.
From his twentieth year, or since 1874, Mr. Lanphier has been connected with the Illinois national Guard, and is now holding the position of first lieutenant in a company of engineers. This is the only company of the kind in the United States and Illinois has reason to be proud of the organization. For almost three decades Mr. Lanphier has been identified with the National Guard, and has labored earnestly to uphold the military status of the state. He is also a member of the Independent Order of Odd Fellows and of the Mystic Circle.
Mr. Lanphier was married November 25, 1885, to Miss Emma Louise Richardson, who was born in Springfield, Marcy 17, 18670. In the maternal line she is a representative of one of the old families of Sangamon county. Her mother, who bore the maiden name of Lucy Willard, was born in Springfield in March, 1839, and was a daughter of Alexander P. Willard, who was closely connected with the well known families of Willard and Zimmerman in New York. Mr. Willard was born April 8, 1815, in Vernon, Oneida county, New York, and was married June 3, 1837, in Chemung county, New York, to Louise Higgie. The same year they came to Springfield, Illinois, and unto them were born two children, but one died in early childhood. The other, Lucy E., became the wife of W. D. Richardson, the father of Mrs. Lanphier. In 1841 Mr. Willard formed a partnership with Robert B. Zimmerman, a painter and glazier and a dealer in painters' materials. He thus continued in the business until his sudden death in Springfield on the 5th of May, 1865.
Unto Mr. and Mrs. Lanphier have been born four children: Annie R., born June 25, 1887, is now a student in her second year in the high school. Francine Ada was named for her two aunts, the name Ada being one common in the Richardson family. Of the two sons, both died in infancy; they were William Richardson and Douglas Crenshaw. Mrs. Lanphier is well known in social circles of Springfield, and has a very wide acquaintance in this city, in which her entire life has been passed. Mr. Lanphier is a Democrat in his political affiliations, active in support of the party, and is an Episcopalian in his religious belief. He owns property in this city, and through skill and ability in the line of his chosen calling, has won creditable success, and now is capably serving in public o