Hugh B. Phillips, one of the most substantial business men of Owensboro, was born in Meade County, Kentucky, March 8, 1833.
He began business life as a commission and dry, goods, grocer and produce merchant in Brandenburg in 1857 with Captain J. M. Phillips, remaining there until 1864, when he removed to Lebanon and engaged in general merchandising and commission business, in which his brother, James G. Phillips, joined him, forming the firm of Phillips & Bros.; was also a member of the firms of H. B. Phillips & Company, and J. G. Phillips & Company, merchants, in Columbia, Adair County ; also of the firm of Hoskin, Bryant & Company, in Campbellsville, Taylor County; was interested in merchandising in Rockcastle with his brother (1881); was interested in mining at Livingston, Rockcastle County, at the same time; is a member of the firm of Phillip & Matthews at Owensboro, Kentucky, which is engaged in exporting tobacco to European markets, and is now a member of the firm of Phillips Brothers & McAtee, the largest wholesale and retail merchandising establishment of that city.
Mr. Phillips is a man of extraordinary executive ability, as may be inferred from the fact that he has made a success of every undertaking. Few men have larger or more diversified interests, and yet he has conducted them all, with the aid of his competent associates, in a manner that has proved him one of the finest business men in the state. He has traveled extensively in the United States and in Europe, Cuba and Canada, and although denied even an ordinary education in his younger days, he has gained by reading and observation a fund of information and a knowledge of affairs which few men possess.
Mr. Phillips was married (first) in 1862 to Lizzie Seymour, daughter of Austin Seymour; and she was the mother of six children: Annie, wife of John McChord ; Rosa L., wife of W. H. Johnson; Julia, wife of John Polk; Minnie, married (first) Ray Edmunds, (second) Rev. Fred Hale; Hugh B., died October, 1890; Carrie, wife of O. W. Thomas of Lebanon, Kentucky; and Seymour.
Mr. Phillips was married (second) February 4, 1896, to Elizabeth H. Solomon of St. Louis, Missouri. Thomas Phillips (father) was born in Washington County, Kentucky, in 1793, and died in Meade City, in 1847. He spent most of his life in farming; married Julia Maxwell, who was born near Lebanon, and died in Meade County in 1840. They were members of the Baptist Church and were noted for their religious convictions and good citizenship. They had nine children: Appoline, who married John Hall; Elizabeth, married Jabez Durham; Mary, married William Hendricks; Sarah, married J. S. Cox; Thomas; Captain Joseph M., now of Chicago; James G.; William D. and Hugh B. Phillips, the principal subject of this sketch.
Thomas Phillips (grandfather), a native of Virginia, of Scotch-Irish parentage, came to Washington County, Kentucky, and cleared a farm upon which he spent the remainder of his days. He was one of the pioneers of the state; settled on Hardin’s Creek, Washington County, and the residence which he built over one hundred years ago is now m a good state of preservation, being first built of logs and since weatherboarded.
Source: Biographical Cyclopedia of the Commonwealth of Kentucky. John M. Gresham Company, Chicago, Philadelphia, 1896.