JOHN L. PHILLIPS. - Thirty-eight years have passed since John L. Phillips became a resident of Springfield, and though he came here in the humble capacity of an employee in a printing office he has attained to the highest office within the gift of the people of the city and has also won creditable success in business. Prominent and influential, of recent years he has had much to do with the city's progress along many lines and his administration has been practical, businesslike and beneficial.
A native of Belleville, St. Clair county, Illinois, Mr. Phillips was born August 1, 1851, a son of William and Margaret (Pulliam) Phillips. His paternal grandfather, John Phillips, became one of the pioneer settlers of St. Clair county. William Phillips was born in Virginia in 1822 and with his parents came to Illinois, after which he learned the carpenter's trade, which he followed for many years. He married Margaret Pulliam, who was born in St. Clair county, and becoming residents of Springfield the father's death here occurred in 1900, while the mother passed away in 1901, in her seventy-seventh year. They were laid to rest in Oak Ridge cemetery.
John L. Phillips pursued his education in the common schools of Mattoon, Illinois, and upon putting aside his text-books entered upon an apprenticeship to the printer's trade in the office of the Mattoon Gazette, while later he worked in the office of the Mattoon Journal. In 1865 he came to Springfield and entered the office of the Illinois State Journal, where he completed his trade and was continuously employed until 1882, during which time he won advancement, brining with it additional responsibility and also broader knowledge of the business. IN 1883, forming a partnership with his brother, David L. Phillips, he established a printing office in Springfield, which has since been enlarged and improved until their plant is now one of the best in the state and the firm are now the state printers for Illinois, in addition to having a large private patronage. The career of John L. Phillips has been successful by reason of natural ability, unremitting diligence and his thorough insight into the business in which as a young tradesman he embarked.
On the 16th of June, 1873, Mr. Phillips was united in marriage to Miss Lillie E. Paine, of Springfield, a daughter of Enoch and Emily S. (Shultz) Paine. His social relations connect him with Sangamon County Lodge, No. 6, I.O.O.F., also with Navarre Lodge, No. 142, K. P., and with the Sangamo Club, and he is a member of the Improved Order of Red Men. He stands today as a recognized factor in Republican circles, a man of influence, whose efforts in behalf of the party have been far reaching and effective. In 1883 he was elected a member of the board of aldermen from the seventh ward and served through the three succeeding years. Again in 1891 he was elected to the same office and by re-election was continued therein until 1900. In 1901 he was made his party's nominee for mayor, and in the April election the people endorsed the party nomination by electing him the chief executive of the capital city, in which office he served until the 1st of
May, 1903. A careful outlook over the field, a recognition of possibilities and of the needs of the city, and a deep interest in the public welfare and substantial improvement of Springfield has led him to give a businesslike and progressive administration, which has received the endorsement of the larger portion of the leading citizens of the capital.