HON. JULIAN PHELPS
PHELPS, Hon. Julian, who represented the Cass and Shelby Senatorial district in the general assembly, and author of the anti-cigarette law enacted by the legislature, in 1896 and 1897, resides at Atlantic in his beautiful suburban home known as "The Oaks." He was born at South Hero, Grand Island county, Vt., April 4, 1838. His father, William Phelps, was a farmer and the owner of a large tract of valuable land near Milton, Vt. He was one of the prominent men of his town and county, and was especially active in all educational affairs. He died some years ago. The mother was born on Grand Island, in Lake Champlain, and is still living at Milton, Vt., at the age of 82. Her mother's name was Stark, a near relative of General Stark, of revolutionary fame.
Julian Phelps was fitted for college in an academy at South Hero, under the instruction of Rev. O. G. Wheeler, a man of great intellectual attainments and remarkable force of character. He exerted a wonderful influence over his pupils, moral and intellectual. In the fall of 1860 he entered the University of Vermont, and there pursued his studies until early in the spring of 1864, when he enlisted in the union army. The university, like most of the colleges, permitted those students who enlisted uring their senior year to graduate with their class. Mr. Phelps was wounded in the battle of Cold Harbor, and was sent to the hospital at Burlington, Vt., where, through skillful treatment, his wound healed rapidly, and he was able to graduate with his class in June, 1864, delivering his oration in uniform and supporting himself on the platform with a cane. He then returned to the front, and served with his regiment to the close of the war, after which he commenced the study of law in the office of Hon. Daniel Roberts, of Burlington, who was associated with Senator Eldmunds in much of his law business. He had enlisted in the Eleventh Vermont infantry at Washington, D. C., and was in the battles of Spottsylvania, Cold Harbor, Petersburg, and all others under Grant and Sheridan until Lee's surrender at Appomattox. He is a member of Sam Rice Post, G. A. R., at Atlantic.
In October, 1866, he entered the Albany Law school, and graduated in the summer of the following year. William McKinley, of Ohio, was in the senior class of that institution at the time Mr. Phelps matriculated. After graduation he came to Iowa, and located at Lewis, in Cass county, where he formed a partnership with Judge Henry Temple. Lewis was then a small town and the county seat, but on the completion of the Rock Island railroad the capital was removed to Atlantic, and the firm of Temple & Phelps followed shortly. The relation existed until the fall of 1887, when Frank O. Temple, son of the senior member, was admitted to partnership, and the style became Temple, Phelps & Temple, and so remained until the death of Judge Temple, a few months thereafter, since which the firm has continued as Phelps & Temple. They were employed with Hon. Thomas F. Withrow, for B. F. Allen and other plaintiffs, in the noted Atlantic town-site case, involving the title to nearly all of the town of Atlantic, which terminated in their favor at the end of a stubbornly fought legal battle.
He cast his first vote for Lincoln, and has voted the republican ticket since. He was elected to the state senate in November, 1893, from the Eighteenth senatorial district, and at the session of the Twenty-sixth General Assembly introduced and procured the passage of the bill known as the "Bill for an act to prohibit the manufacture and sale of cigarettes." He was among the foremost senators in influence and ability, and was prominent in the more important work of the senate, both in the committee room and on the floor. In 1897 Senator Phelps was appointed by the president to be United States consul at Crefield, Germany, and is now serving his country abroad.
He is a member of the Congregational church. He was married to Miss Mary A. Case in 1869, and she died the following year, leaving an infant son, who died soon after. Mr. Phelps later married a sister of his first wife, Percis M. Case. Two children, a son and a daughter, are now living. The daughter, Anna, is now the wife of F. O. Temple, and the son, Will P. Phelps, is in the law department of the Iowa State University.
From Biographies and Portraits of the Progressive Men of Iowa, Leaders in Business, Politics and the Professions, Together with an Original and Authentic History of the State, by Ex-Lieutenant-Governor B. F. Gue. Des Moines: Conway & Shaw Publishers, 1899, pp. 471-472.