Frank R. Phillips 1876-1942

Directory /State Library and Museum
Frank R. Phillips 1876-1942

Phillips Family

Phillips Family

PHILLIPS, Frank Reith,
Business Leader.

The ancestry of Frank Reith Phillips, well known resident of Pittsburgh, of Ohio, and of Norristown, Pennsylvania, traces back to the early days of the Republic, when the sons and grandsons of pioneer settlers were transforming the wilderness into a region of fertile farms, and building the sturdy homesteads which delight the eyes of travelers today. The patronymic, Phillips, is of great antiquity and is originally of classical origin, being derived from the Greek words, Philoshippos, horse lover.

Phillips, Wales

Phillips, Wales

In Wales and other parts of Great Britain its use as a surname (meaning son of Philip) has been frequent since the time of the Norman Conquest. Some writers are positive that all of the English families of this name had their origin from Wales and subsequently spread over Great Britain. Many different spellings are encountered in early records, as Phillips, Philips, Phillipse, Philipss and others. The spelling of Phillips is at present the preferred form among the American families of the name, (C. W. Bardsley: “Dictionary of English and Welsh Surnames.” H. Harrison: “Surnames of the United Kingdom.” Phillips: “Phillips Genealogies.”) Phillips families and individiduals began to leave the Old World for America as early as 1630. They located at different points near the sea coast, but more especially in New England. Several of the men became prominent citizens soon after their arrival.

Rev George Phillips

Rev George Phillips

Reverend George Phillips, immigrant ancestor, was born at Raynham, County Norfolk, England, about 1593, and was the son of Christopher Phillips of that place. He graduated as Bachelor of Arts from Gonville and Caius College, Cambridge, in 1613, and received the degree of Master of Arts in 1617. “He gave early indications of deep piety, uncommon talents, and love of learning, and at the University distinguished himself by his remarkable progress in learning especially in theological studies, for which he manifested an early partiality.” He was settled for a time in the ministry in County Suffolk, but being a non-conformist determined to cast his lot with the Puritans in America. He sailed for New England, April 12, 1630, in the ship “Arbella,” with his wife and two children, in Governor Winthrop’s company, and arrived at Salem June 12. His wife soon died (evidently unable to endure the hardships of the voyage) and was buried by the side of Lady Arbella Johnson. He soon located in Watertown, and was settled as the first minister of the town.

Watertown, Mass

He had thirty acres of land granted him in 1630 and built a house, which was burned before the close of the year. Tradition says that his next house is still standing, “opposite the ancient burial ground, back from the road.” This old house has a solid oaken frame said to have been brought over by Sir Richard Saltonstall. It was remodeled, but the interior shows marks of great age. Rev. Mr. Phillips remained as pastor of the church until his death, July 2, 1644. He was admitted a freeman May 18, 1631, the earliest date of any such admission. He left a large estate for the time, five hundred and fifty pounds, two shillings, nine pence. His library was valued at seventy-one pounds, nine shillings, nine pence,

“He was the earliest advocate of the Congregational order and discipline. His views were for a time regarded as novel, suspicious and extreme, and he, with his ruling elder, Mr. Richard Brown, stood almost unaided and alone, until the arrival of Mr. John Cotton, in family maintaining what was and still is, the Congregationalism of New England. It is not now easy to estimate the extent and importance of the influence of Mr. Phillips in giving form and character to the civil and ecclesiastical institutions of New England.”

Watertown, MA

He married (first) a daughter of Richard Sargent. He married (second) Elizabeth, who was probably widow of Captain Robert Welden, She died in Watertown June 27, 1681, Children of first wife: 1. Samuel, born 1625; settled in Rowley. 2. Elizabeth, born in England; married Job Bishop. Children of second wife: 3. Zerubbabel, born April 6, 1632; married Ann White. 4. Jonathan, born November 16, 1633. 5. Theophilus, born May 28, 1636. 6. Annabel, born December, 1637; died April, 1639. 7-Ephraim, born June, 1640-41; died young. 8. Obadiah, died young. 9. Abigail, married October 8, 1666, James Barnard; died in Sudbury, 1672. Another prominent man of the surname in early times was Deacon Nicholas Phillips of Weymouth, Massachusetts, in 1640, One Oliver Phillips of Easton, Massachusetts, served as a Minute Man in April, 1775, following the Lexington Alarm. During or soon after the Revolution he removed with his wife, Bathsheba, to Marlborough, Windham County, Vermont. On November 12, 1776, their fourth child, Oliver Phillips, Jr., was born.



Records disclose the second Oliver as the head of a family in Marlborough in 1800, having with him another young man, a ten to sixteen year old boy, a lad under ten years, a young woman and a woman over forty-five years of age. In 1801 a third Oliver Phillips was born “in Vermont,” according to a family record. It cannot be stated positively that he was the son of Oliver Phillips, Jr., of Marlborough. (Bond: “History of Watertown, Mass.” Weymouth Vital Records. Phillips: “Phillips Genealogies.” “Massachusetts Soldiers and Sailors in the Revolutionary War,” p. 326. Chaffin: “History of the Town of Easton, Mass.” Newton: “History of the Town of Marlborough, Vermont.” “Federal Census of Heads of Families in the State of Vermont,” 1790-1800. Family data.) (The Phillips Line). (I) Oliver Phillips, third of the name, born in Vermont in 1801; removed to Amboy, Ohio. He had a son, Stallham Wing, of whom further. (II) Stallham Wing Phillips, son of Oliver Phillips, born November 7, 1836, in Amboy, Ohio, married Marietta Waite, born 1839 in Jamestown, New York. (Waite I.) They had a son, Frank Reith, of whom further. (Family records.)

Frank Reith Phillips

Frank Reith Phillips

(III) Frank Reith Phillips, son of Stallham Wing and Marietta (Waite) Phillips was born October 29, 1876, in Cleveland, Ohio. For many years Frank Reith Phillips was active in the operation of public utilities, having served at the close of his life as president of the Philadelphia Company of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. He had other connections in different parts of this state and in other regions of the United States, and his interests, entirely aside from business life, were many-sided and inclusive, embracing mechanical inventiveness, music and sports. He was a resident of Pittsburgh for thirty-three years and lived at the close of his career at “Phillipsdale Farm,” Norristown. Schools of Cleveland, his Ohio birthplace, provided Frank Reith Phillips’ early education, and he was graduated from Central High School there in 1894. He then entered Adelbert College, which later became a part of Western Reserve University, in that city, and studied law for three years. He also studied engineering at the Case School of Applied Science in Cleveland, and at the same time was apprentice engineer of hull design for the Cleveland Shipbuilding Company.

M.A. Hanna Company

M.A. Hanna Company

He began his business career in 1896 in association with the M. A. Hanna Company, and from an early period he was a protege of Mark A. Hanna, famed political leader, who was a close friend of his father, Stallham Wing Phillips, as well as of Major William McKinley, afterward President of the United States. From 1896 until 1903 Mr. Phillips was with the M. A. Hanna Company, the Cleveland City Railways Company and the Cleveland Shipbuilding Company, and in 1903 he became master mechanic for the Cincinnati, Newport & Covington Railway Company. In 1905 he went with the Michigan United Railways Company as chief engineer, then in 1906 became designing engineer for the Ohio Brass Company of Mansfield, Ohio. From 1908 to 1909 he was connected with the Cleveland City Railways in the position of master mechanic and general manager of all buildings, shops and equipment and was recognized as an expert on railway matters, appearing before state railway commissions and the United States courts to testify in traction matters. Moved to Pittsburgh in 1909 he became superintendent of equipment of the Pittsburgh Railway Company, so continuing until 1926. From 1926 to April, 1928, he was vice-president and general manager of the Duquesne Light and subsidiaries.

Well that started Equitable Gas and the Natural Gas Industry in Murrysville, PA.

In April, 1928, he became vice-president of the Equitable Gas Company and its subsidiaries. He was made senior vice-president in May, 1929, of the Philadelphia Company and president of its subsidiaries, and in April, 1931, was promoted to presidency of the Philadelphia Company. Mr. Phillips served in this capacity until January 20, 1942, when he resigned to become chairman of the board of the executive committee, which position he held at the time of his death. In December, 1940, the board of directors of the Philadelphia Company decided to build a new power plant to be known as the Frank R. Phillips Power Station, as a living tribute to its president, Frank R. Phillips, whose personal efforts over a long period had been largely responsible for the vast expanse in the providing of adequate electric power for Beaver and Allegheny counties.

The Philadelphia Company, Pittsburgh, PA

The Philadelphia Company, Pittsburgh, PA

The plant was erected and was awaiting Mr. Phillips’ coming to Pittsburgh for its formal dedication on his birthday, October 29, 1942, but his sudden death on October 23 made this impossible. The plant was dedicated in January, with only the officers of the Philadelphia Company and officers from the United States Army and Navy in attendance. Mr. Phillips’ technical achievements in the designing of improved types of trolley cars and the improvement of electric transmission systems brought him fame among engineers and public utility experts. He pioneered in the development of the low floor, center entrance street car; built and had on the streets the first double-decker street car, and designed and patented many devices, such as fareboxes, car heaters, stoves, etc. His long experience in the utility industry, his sound judgment as an engineer and an executive, and his ideals and breadth of vision made him an outstanding leader in the public utility field. Under his guidance these companies have achieved standards of service which have had wide public admiration. A man of untiring energy, he took an active part in numerous social, financial, civic and industrial organizations.

Third Pres, Pittsburgh, PA

He was a patriotic citizen, an enterprising business man and a sincere worker for community betterment. Precise and methodical by nature, he served every interest faithfully and well. While he had firm convictions, he had an open mind for the views of others on all questions of importance, seeking always right conclusions. He had a sympathetic nature whose modest reserve often times kept his deeds of kindness and helpfulness unknown. Loyalty was one of his outstanding virtues. He was loyal to his country, loyal to his Church, loyal to his family, and to his friends, and loyal to his convictions, and we record our admiration for his high character and attractive personality, for his sense of honor, his fidelity to duty and devotion to principle. A career of honor and achievement has come to a close.

Pittsburgh Railways Company

Pittsburgh Railways Company

Mr. Phillips was also president of the Pittsburgh Railways Company, the American Electric Railway Engineering Association, the Pittsburgh Motor Coach Company, the Allegheny County Steam Heating Company and the Equitable Sales Company, and was a director of the Farmers’ Deposit National Bank of Pittsburgh and of the Reliance Life Insurance Company.

West Penn Hospital

Mr. Phillips was a member of the board of West Penn Hospital, Pittsburgh, and served as president of the Pittsburgh Association for Improvement of the Poor, the eldest philanthropic institution in that city. During the First and Second World Wars he was a member of the Chemical Warfare Board. He belonged to the American Institute of Electrical Engineers, the Engineers’ Society of Western Pennsylvania and other professional groups, and was at one time president of the American Transit Association. In politics a Republican, he belonged to the Duquesne Club, the Oakmont Golf Club, the South Hill Country Club and the Field Country Club, all of Pittsburgh; the Manufacturers’ Club and the Art Club of Philadelphia; the St. Davids Golf Club, of St. Davids, and the Rolling Rock Club, Ligonier. He was a member and a trustee of the Third Presbyterian Church in Pittsburgh.

PHILLIPS Arms—Argent, a lion rampant sable, ducally gorged and chained or. Crest—A lion as in the Arms. Motto—Ducit amor patriae. (The love of my country leads me on.) (Crozier: "General Armory.")

PHILLIPS Arms—Argent, a lion rampant sable, ducally gorged and chained or. Crest—A lion as in the Arms. Motto—Ducit amor patriae. (The love of my country leads me on.) (Crozier: “General Armory.”)

[PHILLIPS Arms—Argent, a lion rampant sable, ducally gorged and chained or. Crest—A lion as in the Arms. Motto—Ducit amor patriae. (The love of my country leads me on.) (Crozier: “General Armory.”)]

He made his home in later years at “Phillipsdale Farm,” Norristown, where he enjoyed his spare time horse breeding on his no-acre property. The cultivation of flowers on the grounds about his home also ccupied a great amount of his attention. Music was another of Mr. Phillips’ interests, and he had a fine singing voice. Always fond of the out-of-doors, he enjoyed football and baseball in his school years, and later played a great deal of golf.

Frank R. Phillips married on December 4, 1905, Stella Maud Newman. (Newman IV.) Frank Reith and Stella Maud (Newman) Phillips became the parents of the following children:

Miami of Ohio

1. Virginia Newman, born November 29, 1906, at Dayton, Kentucky, attended Miami Universitly, Oxford, Ohio, then went abroad in her senior year and had a year at the Sorbonne, Paris, France, after which she returned to Miami University and was graduated as a Bachelor of Arts; she became the wife of Charles Collingwood Zimmerman, of Tulsa, Oklahoma, a graduate of Pittsburgh University, who afterward was assistant chief geologist of the Texas Oil Company, then established his own business, the Keystone Exploration Company in Houston, Texas. They became the parents of two children: i. Virginia (“Gipsy”) Phillipus Zimmerman, born April 7, 1930, at Dallas, Texas, a student at the time of writing at the Lamar High School, in Houston, Texas, ii. Jeanne Zimmerman, born at Baton Rouge, Louisiana, 1936, a student at the Kinkaid School in Houston, Texas.

2. Martha Estelle, born July 8, 1908, at Mansfield, Ohio, attended Miami University and the Sorbonne, Paris, France, and married (first) Charles Remington Ellicott, Jr., of Glen Ridge, New Jersey, and they became the parents of Cynthia Anne Ellicott, born January 9, 1935; she was married (second) on September 11 , 1943, to Adolph Dietsche of Oltem, Switzerland, now American representative of the Balli Shoe Company of Switzerland. Child: Martha Adelaide Dietsche, born August 7, 1944.

Winchester School, 1909

3. Bertha Jane, born February 13, 1911, attended the Winchester School, Pittsburgh, and was graduated from the Pennsylvania College for Women; she married L. Hamilton Phillips of Cleveland, Ohio, died April 7, 194—, a graduate of Ohio Wesleyan University who was assistant treasurer of the Philadelphia Company; they became the parents of two children: i. Jane Hamilton Phillips, born, April 1, 1934. ii. Frances Reith Phillips, born June 25, 1935.

4. Marietta Waite Phillips, born June 8, 1915, in Pittsburgh, died December 23, 1916. The death of Frank Reith Phillips, October 23, 1942, was an occasion of deep sorrow wherever he was known. (The Waite Line). The surname Waite, Wait, Wayte was derived from the office of “the wait,” a Watchman, guard. It was also used to indicate musicians or minstrels, especially performers in the night. Early records of the name are found in the Hundred Rolls of County Oxford and Essex, and in the Poll Tax of Yorkshire. (C. W. Bardsley: “Dictionary of English and Welsh Surnames.” H. Harrison: “Surnames of the United Kingdom.”)

Waite Family Crest

Men by the name of Waite came to New England in the 1630s and ’40s. Thomas, John and Richard are prominent names in the New England Waite lines. As the older Eastern settlements became crowded, young men of the Waite families pioneered north to the “Hampshire Grants,” or west to the fertile lands of New York State and the Western Reserve. In 1796 the first white settler built his log cabin in what is now Chautauqua County, New York, the westernmost county of the state. In 1805 the name of Waite became associated with its territory in a military capacity. Lieutenant Richard Waite was one of the gallant militia officers in Genesee County (which then included Chautauqua) given command of troops who stood ready, day and night, to defend their frontier and settlements against the Indians who were continually threatening to attack. The final organization of Chautauqua County in 1811 offered opportunities to a type of emigrant more intellectual and professional than the first hardy frontiersmen.

Morrison R. Waite, 1874-1888

In 1814 there came to Jamestown another Waite family, headed by Joseph, who soon became the leading lawyer of the locality. Of still greater prominence was his son, Davis H. Waite, who left his native Jamestown and a promising career there as newspaper proprietor and editor, to win eventually high honor in Colorado, where he was elected and served as Governor of that State. Approximately of the same generation as the future Governor, there was born in the village of Jamestown in 1839, Marietta Waite. According to family information, she was the cousin of still another famous Waite, Chief Justice Morrison Remick Waite, appointed as head of the Supreme Court of the United States in 1874. (Federal Census Records, 1790, Vermont and New York; New England Historic Genealogical Register, Vol. 32: 102-5. Edson: “History of Chautauqua County, New York” and other histories of same by Young, Downs, etc.

Holmes: “Directory of the Heads of New England Families 1620-1700.” Savage: “Genealogical Dictionary of the First Settlers of New England.” Hastings: “Minutes of the Council of Appointments, New York.,” pp. 776, 966, 1248. Brown: “Twentieth Century Biographical Dictionary of Notable Americans,” Vol. X. Child: “Directory of Chauauqua County, 1873-74.” Family records.)

Phillips Family

Phillips Family

(I) Marietta Waite, born 1839 in Jamestown, New York, married Stallham Wing Phillips (Phillips II.) (Family records.) (The Newman Line). The surname Newman is of Anglo-Saxon origin, meaning “new man,” or newly settled stranger. It signified that the owner had left his village to push his interests and get a livelihood elsewhere, and upon his entrance into some different community, had this surname added to his baptismal name to distinguish him from those already living there. Newmans came into Ireland with “the Conquest.” There is record of them there during the reign of Queen Elizabeth. The name is found among those of the Cromwellian “Adventurers for Lands in Ireland,” who in 1653 took up estates assigned to them by Acts of Parliament passed from 1642 to 1646. The end of the seventeenth century found the name well established. (C. W. Bardsley: “Dictionary of English and Welsh Surnames.” “English Surnames, Their Sources and Significations.” M. A. Lower: “Patronymica Britannica.” J. O’Hart: “Irish Pedigrees,” Vol. I, p. 810; Vol. II, p. 683.)

(I) Samuel Newman, according to printed sources of information, was born in southern Ireland, came to the United States at the age of twenty-five years and settled in Boston, where he died. (Family records.) Pa. 26—3.

Boston Type & Stereotype Foundry

(II) John Newman, son of Samuel Newman, was born in Upton, Massachusetts, in 1820 and grew up in Boston, where he received his education. He taught school in early life. Later he was engaged for many years in commercial and manufacturing enterprises in Boston, becoming interested in the Boston Type & Stereotype Foundry. At the time of the Civil War he enlisted in Company G, 20th Regiment, Massachusetts Infantry, and was made a first lieutenant and then captain of his company. He married Catherine Charde, daughter of Lawrence Charde. She was born in 1829, died in 1852, and was also of Irish ancestry. They had a son, John Peter, of whom further. (Ibid.)

Newton Academy

(III) John Peter Newman, son of John and Catherine (Charde) Newman, was born in September, 1851, In Newton, Worcester County, Massachusetts, and received his early education in Newton, where he graduated from Newton Academy, He graduated from the Cincinnati College of Law in 1878, and commenced the practice of law in Kentucky. He early settled in Bellevue, Kentucky, where he became prominent not only as a practitioner of his profession but also as a public leader.

John Peter Newman headstone

John Peter Newman marker

In 1887 Judge Newman was elected city attorney of Bellevue and he was elected again to this office in 1889. In Bellevue he served both as mayor and as president of the City Council. In 1893 he was elected a State Senator in Kentucky and served for five years. He was later tendered the nomination of the Union Labor Party for the post of attorney general of Kentucky. He was elected Commonwealth attorney in 1897. In politics Judge Newman was a staunch Democrat. He became his party’s leader in his district, and in the primary election of 1903 was candidate for his party’s nomination for the office of Circuit Court Judge of Campbell County, Kentucky. He succeeded, after a spirited contest, in defeating the incumbent, Judge John B. Hodge. In the course of the campaign many bitter arguments arose, but Judge Newman won by a large majority. Unfortunately, he died on the day before he was to have taken office, after taking the judge’s oath on his death bed.

Hauser Family Crest

To his other attainments, Judge Newman added considerable skill as a printer, at which trade he worked actively in boyhood and youth. He was considered a gifted orator, and on the speakers’ platform made a brilliant figure. He was also a prominent fraternalist, belonging to the Knights of Honor, Knights of Pythias, Free and Accepted Masons and the Benevolent and Protective Order of Elks, Judge Newman married Bertha Nannette Hauser (Hauser III) of Cincinnati, Ohio, daughter of Mathias and Adelaide (Bettinger) Hauser. Among other children, they had a daughter, Stella Maud, of whom further. (Ibid.)

(IV) Stella Maud Newman, daughter of Judge John Peter and Bertha Nannette (Hauser) Newman, was born July 13, 1885, in Dayton, Kentucky, and married on December 4, 1905, Frank Reith Phillips.

Hauser Family

Hauser Family

(Phillips III). (Ibid. Resolutions of the Campbell County Bar Association in the Journal of the Circuit Court of Campbell County, January 18, 1904.) (The Hauser Line). The surname Hauser is of ancient Teutonic origin, signifying “dweller at a house.” (Gates: “Surname Book and Racial History.”) (I) Mathias Hauser, born in Germany, was a graduate of Heidelberg University and master of seven languages. He removed to the United States and became one of the pioneer German settlers of Cincinnati, Ohio. He married Adelaide Bettinger, a native of Stuttgart, Germany. They had a daughter, Bertha Nannette, of whom further. (Family data.) (II) Bertha Nannette Hauser, daughter of Mathias and Adelaide (Bettinger) Hauser of Cincinnati, Ohio, married in 1877 John Peter Newman (Newman III). (Ibid.)

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1 Response to Frank R. Phillips 1876-1942

  1. Thank you for sharing this interesting bit of history and family legacy. Although I never met him, Frank R. Phillips was my great-grandfather by way of his daughter Martha ‘moxie” Estelle Phillips and my mother, Heidi (ne’ Martha Adelaide) Dietschi. I wanted to offer a few minor corrections from the portion of the article that relates to the Dietschi family.

    Please see below for corrections:
    Cynthia Ann Ellicot’s birthday was January 7th, 1935
    Martha Estelle married Adolf Dietschi (ending in “I” not “e”) who was from Olten (ending in “n” not “m”) who worked for the Bally (ending in “y” not “I”) Shoe Company.
    Their child Heidi (ne’ Martha Adelaide) Dietschi was born August 8th, 1944

    Again, thank you – what a treat to see our family history and legacy recorded on your blog. All the best,
    – Sasha Dietschi-Cooper

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