Notable Phelps Family Members
Judge James Phelps, Judge and Congressman from Connecticut
Judge James Phelps 1 , b. Colebrook, 12 Jan., 1822, in. Lydia A. Ingham, of Essex, Conn., daughter of Mon. Samuel and Lydia (Wilson) Ingham, b. Essex, 28 Nov., 1819. Mr. Ingham was a member of the 24th and 25th Congresses with Dr. Lancelot Phelps, father of Judge Phelps, and held many other important offices under the State and National governments, and was an able and distinguished lawyer and citizen.
|Judge James Phelps|
Mr. Phelps entered Washington, now Trinity College, but on account of severe illness was soon obliged to relinquish his course. He was a member of the law department of Yale College and admitted an attorney in 1844, and located in Essex where he has ever since resided.
Besides holding the office of Judge of Probate and other local positions, he was a member of the House of Representatives, in the State Legislatures of 1853, 1854 and 1856, and of the State Senate in 1858 and 1859, In 1863 he was elected by the General Assembly a judge of the Superior Court for the regular term of eight years. He was reelected in 1871, and in 1873 was elected a judge of the Supreme Court of Errors. He resigned in 1875 on his election to the 44th Congress from the Second Congressional District, comprising the counties of New Haven and Middlesex. He was reelected to the 45th, 46th and 47th Congresses and declined further Congressional service. He was again elected a judge of the Superior Court in January, 1885, which position he held until disqualified by age in 89.
While in Congress he served on the Standing Committee, of Ways and Means, Foreign Affairs, Reform in the Civil Service, and others, and on several important special committees, including that to investigate alleged frauds in the State of Louisiana in the Presidential election Of 1876. He procured the establishment of the breakwater at the entrance of New Haven harbor, and liberal appropriations for the improvement of the channel of the Connecticut River below Hartford and at its mouth, and other needed improvements in his district. He is now retired from active professional business, and is President of the Saybrook Bank, and the Essex Savings Bank, and is Senior Warden of Saint John's Episcopal Parish and Church, to which he is a liberal contributor, and of which he has for more than thirty years been a devoted member.
1 Excerpted from The Phelps Family of America and Their English Ancestors, (Save $201 by ordering through us.) Two volumes. By Judge Oliver Seymour Phelps and Andrew T. Servin. (Eagle Publishing Company of Pittsfield, Mass., 1899).