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Notable Family Members
Notable Phelps Anson Green Phelps, Merchant and philanthropist Austin Phelps, Congregational clergyman, theologian and author Chance Russel Phelps, Private, USMC Charles Edward Phelps, Congressman, Judge, Author Delos Porter Phelps, Lawyer and U.S. Assistant Treasurer Edward John Phelps, Lawyer, educator Dr. Francis Phelps, Representative and Senator Francis G. Sanburn, Pioneer Resident of Knoxville, Illinois George M. Phelps, Master telegraph instrument maker and inventor Dr. Guy Rowland Phelps, Founder, Connecticut Mutual Life Insurance John Phelps, Clerk of the Court at the trial of King Charles I Judge James Phelps, Judge and Congressman Judge John Jay Phelps Judge, merchant, and entrepreneur. Judge John Phelps, Constitutional Convention Signatory from Connecticut John Wesley Phelps John Wolcott Phelps, Brigadier General, United States Volunteers Mary Ann Phelps Rich, Latter-day Saints Pioneer Mary Phelps Jacob, Inventor of the Brassiere Noah Phelps, A Patriot of 1776 and Revolutionary War Spy Oliver Phelps Merchant, Revolutionary War veteran, Representative, Senator land promoter Rev. Philip Phelps First President, Western Theological Seminary Richard Phelps, Bell-founder for Churches Throughout England John Smith Phelps Lawyer, Repesentative, Governor Samuel Shethar Phelps, Jurist, Congressman, and Senator Samuel Phelps, English Actor.html Stephen Sumner Phelps, Illinois Pioneer and Origin of the Hawk Eye State Name Thomas Stowell Phelps, Rear Admiral and Civil War Veteran William Walter Phelps, Congressman, Ambassador, and Judge William Wines Phelps, Judge, Latter-day Saint, Publisher and Writer William Lyon Phelps, American educator, author and critic

Notable Phelps Family Members

John Wesley Phelps

John Wesley Phelps (April 22, 1836—29 August 1921) [our 8th cousin once removed], was deputy sheriff of Hartford County, Connecticut, an army officer during the Civil War, and one of the best-known citizens, farmers and tobacco growers of the town of Simsbury, is a native of Connecticut, b. April 22, 1836, in Simsbury Center.(1)

Adapted from Beers, J.H. & Co. Commemorative Biographical Record of Tolland and Windham Counties Connecticut, Chicago; 1903.

The Phelps family of Simsbury trace their ancestry to William Phelps, who was b. in 1599, in Tewkesbury [since disproved -Ed.], England, emigrating thence to this country in 1630, and becoming one of the earliest colonists of New England.

John Wesley Phelps, our subject, spent his boyhood days on his father's farm, attending the district schools and also select schools. He was among the first to enlist from his State when the Civil war began, enlisting May 7, 1861, at Harford, in response to the call for three-months' men, in Company H (Capt. James W. Gore), 2d Conn. V. I. (Col. Alfred H. Terry). He participated in the Battle of Bull Run, July 22, 1861, and was mustered out at Harford Aug. 7, following. Returning home Mr. Phelps re-enlisted, Nov. 21, 1861, in Company H (Capt. Joseph R. Toy), 12th Conn. V. I. (Col. Henry C. Deming), being mustered in as sergeant, and the regiment was sent to Louisiana.

Mr. Phelps participated in the engagements at Georgia Landing, Oct. 27, 1862; capture of gunboat "Cotton," Jan. 14, 1863; Pattersonville, March 27, 1863; Bisland, April 13, 1863; siege of Port Hudson, May 25 to July. 1863. He was discharged Dec. 31, 1863, at Brashcar City, La., under Capt. John P. Lowell, and re-enlisted in January, 1864, becoming first sergeant in Company H (Capt. James E. Smith), 12th Conn. V. I., under Col. George N. Lewis.

In the Virginia campaign of 1864 John Wesley Phelps participated in the battles of Winchester, Sept. 19; Fisher's Hill, Sept. 22; and Cedar Creek, Oct. 19. He was discharged Nov. 28, 1864. Re-enlisting in Company C, 12th Battalion, under Maj. Sydney E. Clark, he was commissioned first lieutenant, and commanded the company stationed in Virginia and at Savannah. Ga. He participated in the grand review at Washington, D. C., and was mustered out at Harford Aug. 12, 1865, as first lieutenant, under Capt. John Mullen.

On his return home Lieut. John Wesley Phelps at once turned his attention to farming, settling upon his present farm in the Weatogue District, Simsbury, where he has ever since been engaged in the raising of stock, in tobacco growing, and in general farming. He married, April 18, 1876, Mary E. Buckley, a native of New Milford, Litchfield county, daughter of Dennis and Mary (Lynch) Buckley. To our subject and wife two children were born :

  1. Nathanie Barnard, who was educated in McLean Seminary, Simsbury, and at Drew Ladies' Seminary, Carmel, N. Y.; and
  2. Margaret Stevens, who finished her education at McLean Seminary and at Mrs. Cady's School, in New Haven.

John Wesley Phelps is in politics a Republican, and is the only member of his family who has always voted the ticket of that party. In 1877 he was elected to the State Legislature, and served as clerk of the military committee. He has been selectman for several terms, has been assessor, has served on the board of relief, in school work, and in other local official capacities.

In 1881 he was appointed deputy sheriff by Sheriff Alva W. Spaulding, and served continuously in that position for ten years. In 1895 he was reappointed by Sheriff Edwin J. Smith, and is now in his sixth year of service since his reappointment. He is a member of St. Mark's Lodge, No. 36, F. & A. M., and of Capt. Joseph R. Toy Post, No. 83, G. A. R., of which he is past commander. He is generous in spirit, genial and whole-souled in disposition, and one of the popular citizens of Harford County.


John Wesley Phelps' 6th g-grandfather was Joseph Phelps b. 1667 in Windsor, Colony of Connecticut.

  1. Joseph, b. in England, [since disproved -Ed.], died in Simsbury, Conn., in 1684
  2. Joseph (2), was b. Aug. 27, 1667 Joseph Phelps (2) was b. in Windsor, and died in Simsbury, Jan. 20, 1750. m (1) Mary Collier of Hartford, were b. three children:
    1. Joseph, Oct. 9, 1689, settled at Turkey Hills
    2. Hannah, Oct. 25, J693, m. to Samuel Humphrey
    3. Mary, Oct. 17, 1696, died Jan. 9, 1713.

    He m. (2) Sarah Case, daughter of John and Sarah (Spencer) Case, of Simsbury. She died May 2, 1704. Their issue:

    1. Sarah, Aug. 11, 1700, died June 14, 1714; and
    2. Damaris, March 5, 1703, m. John Mills, of Canton.

    To the third marriage with Mary Case, daughter of Richard and Elizabeth (Purchase) Case; this third wife died Sept. 10, 1757. Their issue:

    1. John, Feb. 14, 1707, died Jan. 5, 1713
    2. Elizabeth, April 7, 1709, m. Daniel Hoskins July 23, 1725
    3. Lieut. David, May 7, 1710 m. Abigail Pettibone, described below.
    4. Amos, who m. Sarah Pettibone.
  3. Lieut. David, May 7, 1710
  4. Maj.-Gen. Noah, Jan. 22, 1740
  5. Col. Noah A., May 3, 1762
  6. Hector Fayette, July 25, 1797
  7. John Wesley, April 22, 1836

David Phelps

Lieut. David Phelps, son of Joseph Phelps and Mary Case, a native of Simsbury, married April 25, 1731, Abigail Pettibone, who was b. in the same town April 22, 1706-07, and was a daughter of John (Jr.), and Mary (Bissell) Pettibone.

David Phelps was commissioned lieutenant of militia in 1756, served in the French and Indian wars, and died of small pox Dec. 10, 1760, his remains being buried at Simsbury. His widow married Deacon David Strong, of Bolton, and died Oct. 17, 1787, and in her honor the chapter of the D. A. R. at Simsbury was named.

The children b. to Lieut. David Phelps and his wife Abigail Pettibone were ten in number:

  1. David, b. May 7, 1732 died July 19, of the same year
  2. David (2), b. March 26, 1734, was an ancestor of the Dodge family of Simsbury
  3. Abigail, b. Nov. 5, 1735, m. (first) to a Mr. Griswold and (second) to Amasa Case
  4. Elisha, b. Oct. 17,1737, was a captain in the Revolutionary war, and died in Albany, N. Y., July 14, 1776
  5. Maj.-Gen. Noah Amherst was b. Jan. 22, 1740. was the great-grandfather of John Wesley Phelps. He m. June 10, 1761, Lydia Griswold, of Poquonock, b. April 25, 1743, and d. Sept. 17, 1821, having lost her husband March 4, 1809. The children b. to the General and wife were five in number:
    1. Col. Noah Amherst Phelps, b. May 3, 1762 was the grandfather of John Wesley Phelps. He graduated from Yale College in 1783, studied law, and practiced in Simsbury. He was a colonel of militia, was active in public affairs, and frequently a member of the State Legislature. At the time of his death, June 19, 1817, he was postmaster. He was intellectual, kind and generous, and a leader among men.

      On July 31, 1784, he m. Charlotte Wilcox, who was b. April 4, 1766, and died Dec. 15, 1831, the mother of the following named children:
      1. Charlotte Melissa, b. Oct. 11, 1786, m. Frederick Jewett, of Granby, and died Dec. 29, 1871.
      2. Noah Amherst, Jr., b. Oct. 16, 1788, m. (first) Delia Clark, of Bloomfield, and (second) Catherine St. John, of New Haven; he was educated at Yale, studied law, and practiced in Harford; was sheriff of the county; collector of customs at the port of Middletown; and Secretary of State 1842-44; he died in Simsbury Aug. 26, 1872.
      3. Jeffery Orson was b. Feb. I, 1791.
      4. Fanny Rosanna, b. March 8, 1795, m. Jonathan Pettibone, Jr., and died Aug. 22, 1877, in Willimantic, Conn.
      5. Hector Fayette, b. July 25, 1797, is described below.
      6. Emma Maria, b. Dec. 10, 1799, m. to William Mather, Jr., and died March 21, 1862.
      7. Guy Rowland, b. April 1, 1802, became a physician, later manufactured medicines, and was the founder of the Co-necticut Mutual Life Insurance Co., realizing a large competence; his death took place March 18, 1869, in Harford, his remains being interred in Simsbury; his only child is Miss Antoinette Randolph Phelps, of Harford.
      8. George Dwight Phelps, the youngest of this family, was b. April 6, 1804, and when a young man went to New York City begun business life as a clerk in a drug store at the corner of Wall and Water streets, later became proprietor, acquired a large estate through his own efforts, and died Aug. 31, 1872.
    2. Lydia G., b. Feb. 25, 1764
    3. Chandley Conway, b. Oct. 22, 1766
    4. George G., b. Aug. 18, 1773 (died in Ohio)
    5. Elisha, Nov. 16, 1779. He was one of the prominent men of the state, an attorney, and represented his district in Congress. He owned the first piano and the first Brussels carpet in Simsbury. He m., April 16, 1810, at Middletown, Conn., Lucy Smith. Their issue:
      1. John Smith Phelps, who became governor of Missouri and a member of Congress; and two daughters,
      2. Lucy J., who m. to Amos R. Eno, whose biography appears on another page, and
      3. Mary A., who m. John Allen.
  6. Rachel, b. Dec. 10, 1741, m. to Hon. Daniel Humphrey, a delegate to the convention that ratified the Federal Constitution
  7. Ruth b. Sept. 15, 1743
  8. Sarah, b. Oct. 15, 1745
  9. Susannah, b. Jan. 4, 1748
  10. Lois, b. March 27, 1750

Hector Fayette Phelps

Hector Fayette Phelps, the father of our John Wesley Phelps, was b. in Simsbury, and was educated there. He read law with his uncle, Elisha Phelps, was admitted to the Bar in 1833, and at once began the practice of his profession in Harford County. He resided at Simsbury, and, in addition to his law practice, farming and tobacco growing received a share of his attention. He was well-known throughout the county. He held allegiance to the Democratic party, and was active in politics, many local offices being from time to time ably administered by him. For several years he was justice of the peace in Simsbury, and he was deputy sheriff for many years. Fraternally he was a member of St. Mark's Lodge, No. 36, F. & A. M.

On Jan. 1, 1827, Mr. Phelps was married in Wintonburg, now Bloomfield, to Roxanna Selina Barnard, a native of Bloomfield, who was b. Jan. 19, 1806, daughter of James Harvey Barnard. Roxanna was a faithful member of the M. E. Church and a good Christian woman, a devoted wife and mother, died at her home in Simsbury Nov. 3, 1881. Hector died Feb. 10, 1874.

Hector F. and Roxanna S. Phelps had the following children:

  1. Emma Maria, b. Feb. 27, 1828, is the wife of Rollin L. Hawley, of Springfield, Mass. Frances Henrietta, b. May 30, 1830, became the wife of Hoyt Moses, and both died in Simsbury.
  2. Margaret Emogene, b. June 3, 1832, m. Abram Moses, of Meriden, and both are now deceased.
  3. Hector Fayette, b. June 23, 1834, m. Octavia Howland, of Springfield, Mass., and is now deceased.
  4. John Wesley, our subject, was b. April 22, 1836.
  5. Mary Paulina, b. April 13, 1838, is the wife of Selah A. Hall, of Meriden.
  6. George M., b. March 22, 1846, deputy revenue collector of Bloomfield, m. Abbie Case, daughter of Job Case, of Simsbury.

From Beers, J.H. & Co. Commemorative Biographical Record of Tolland and Windham Counties Connecticut Chicago; 1903.

^ 1 Phelps, John Wesley June 2008