1 of this 2-part series appeared here last month.
Our present article is about Colonel Ervin L. Phillips. Bill Watkins,
the Machias Historian discovered his obituary and shared it with us.
Ervin L. Phillips, U.S. Army retired, civic leader and descendant
of pioneer settlers died Saturday morning, January 16th, 1954 at his
home on 29 Maple Ave. after a brief illness.
He was born in Franklinville on May 16th, 1866, the son of Charles
W. and Ann
Riggs Phillips. His grandparents Peter
Carpenter Phillips were among the first Settlers in this area.
At the age of 4 his family moved to Olean. They returned when he was
9 and he entered Ten Broeck Academy. He graduated in 1887 and was
the senior class president that year.
He won a scholarship to Cornell and became interested in military
work. He received an appointment as an officer in the Army. He became
commissioned as a second lieutenant in the U.S. Cavalry and served
in the Puerto Rican campaign during the Spanish American War. This
was followed by assignments in the Philippines during and after the
In 1906 he returned to Cornell University where he was a Professor
of Military Science and Tactics for 3 years. He later served on the
Mexican border while the raids of Pancho Villa were occurring. He
later served under General John J. Pershing during World War I. Colonel
Phillips’ last assignment before retirement was as Inspector
General of the 9 Corps and included a tour of all posts in Alaska.
He retired in 1923 and returned to Franklinville.
He was interested in civic activities and this included leadership
in the Franklinville Men’s Club as well as being a member of
many special and advisory committees especially in the fields of public
health and public works. He served many years as an officer of the
Mount Prospect Cemetery Association.
He was a member of the American Legion and was particularly active
in local Memorial Day observances. His surveys of local property lines
aided materially in bringing more order to the definitions of properties
in deeds. He showed continuous interest in the committee work of the
Society of Professional Engineers.
He was married on June 16, 1897 to Jane
Harris Chapman at Green Bay, Wisconsin. She died March 11, 1938.
He was survived by 4 daughters: Miss
Helen Phillips, Mrs. Daphne Strong, Mrs.
Alleine Chrestensen and Mrs. Josephine Finch. His 2 sons were:
Louis Phillips. There were 7 grandsons and 7 granddaughters.
Colonel Phillips attended the First Presbyterian Church and services
were conducted by Rev. Ralph Sundquist, pastor of the First Presbyterian
Church. At the grave military honors were provided by Franklinville
Memorial Post 526 with a bugler and firing squad.