James D. Phillips, for forty-three years in the employ of the Deiaware railroad, and probably one ofthe best-known and most popular men in the service, died yesterday morning about 7 o’ clock Of pneumonia. He was in his 67th year. His funeral will take place on Wednesday afternoon at 2.30 o'clock. services will be held at his late home, No. 611 King street and will be conducted by the Rev. R K. Stephenson, pastor of Scott M E Church. Interment will be made in Silverbrook cemetery.
Mr. Phillips was a conductor of the Delaware road, and was the oldest employee of the company in point of service. For sometime he ran trains to New Castle. In four years he would have been retired. His death is indirectly an outcome of the recent wreck at Delmar.
He had been feeling ill for several months and a few days before that wreck he had gone to Delmar to visit relatives for a short vacation. The night of the wreck he hurried to the, yards and worked about the scene with the other railroad men, giving what assistance he could, he stood around on the wet ground until he contracted a heavy cold, and on Monday last pneumonia developed.
Mr. Phillips was known to hundreds of people all through the state, and especially to those who travel frequently on the road. His jovial manners and pleasing personality won for him a host of friends who will no doubt mourn his death. He had been in the railroad service for nearly half a century, but he had made a record of which any one could well be proud.
He never had a man to be killed by the train on which he was working and he was never involved in any wrecks, except one when his train ran into the draw near Laurel. He was recognized by his employers as a competent and trustworthy railroad man.
Mr. Phillips is survived by his widow and two daughters, Mrs. Edward Barton of Hartford, Conn., and Mrs. John Harris of Harrisburg, Pa. He was a member of duPont Post, G. A. R. and the Order of Railway Conductors.
Above from the Morning News 08 March 1909
Mr Phillips was working as a ship carpenter in Baltimore when the civil war broke out. He enlisted in the Union Army 3rd Regiment Maryland Volunteers. He was born in Maryland in 1842.
About 1865 Mr. Phillips started work for the Delaware railroad as a brakeman. He was assigned to Laurel, Delaware initially but by 1868 he was living in Delmar, Maryland. In 1870 he was made a conductor.
While in Laurel James D Phillips married, about 1867, to Theodosia W. Johnson daughter of Peter and Elizabeth Melson (or Morris) Johnson. Her father was a Railroad agent. She had a brother named Caleb R P Johnson. They were from Little Creek hundreds. She was born in 1852.
James and Dosia had as children; Elizabeth, Lillie, Howard, Mary, Kate, Walter and an unknown named son. They were all born in Delmar.
On Sunday January 26 1873 his second child Lillie M. died at age two and was buried in Delmar.
In 1884 he was transferred to Wilmington. There he became very well known and, for a freight conductor, his name appeared in the Wilmington papers often. In 1889, He had made the comment to Senator Higgins that with all the ministers to foreign countries being appointed he would like to be minister to Gumboro as he could speak three languages; New Castle, Kent and Sussex. There after the newspapers would refer to him as the United States minister to Gumboro.
While in Wilmington his children grew into adulthood. Elizabeth (Lizzie – born 1869) became an accomplished elocutionist speaking, with her mother, in a number of church halls. In 1891 she married William File. The marriage did not work and in 1905 she obtained a divorce and married John Harris. Mr Harris was a jeweler in Trenton New Jersey and they lived in Trenton. In 1926 Lizzie died and is buried in Silverbrook cemetery Wilmington Delaware with her sister Mary, brother Howard and father.
James Howard Phillips born 1874, became an advance man for various circuses. In 1906 while he was in Boston he went insane. He was removed from the State insane Asylum in Westboro Mass. And put in the Delaware State Hospital in Farnshurst. He died at Farnshurst in 1907 and is buried at Silverbrook cemetery Wilmington Delaware with his father.
Mary D. Phillips (Mamie) born in 1876 would marry Edward Tappen Barton in 1894. He was born 1874 in New York, moved to Hartfield Connecticut at an early age and was an insurance agent. He was the son of Charles Thomas Barton and Anna Tappen Barton. Mary would die in 1924 and is buried at Silverbrook cemetery Wilmington Delaware with her father, brother and sister. She had one child; Victor Alvin Barton (1895- ). He would become an electrician and marry Myrtle Fern Coleman. They would move to California prior to world war two. He had a son named James Howard Barton (1916-2000). The son appears to be named after his mother’s brother. This is the only line of James D. Phillips that may still exist today. Edward T. Barton would remarry to Edith Olmstead and they would move to the San Francisco area. He would die in 1953 and is buried in Oakland.
Kate C Phillips born in 1879 would marry at 19 years old to James Hendrixson son of George Washington Hendrixson of Wilmington. She would have two children. The first she would name after her brother-in-law William File Hendrixson and the second is currently an unknown name. Both would be under the age of three and would die within hours of one another in 1898. The effect of their death caused Katie to die a couple of months later in 1899 at age 21. She is buried at Wilmington and Brandywine cemetery with her two sons. James Hendrixson would remarry in 1919 to Fannie Goslin. He would die in 1938.
Walter Carey Phillips born in 1880 would die in 1888 of typhoid fever.
An unnamed son who would die in 1882.
After the death of her husband, Theodosia W. Johnson Phillips, would go to live with her daughter and son-in-law in Trenton New Jersey. Currently it is not known of the date of her death nor where she is buried.
At the time James D Phillips died three sons and three daughters had died.