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Alphons Phillips (1837-1914) - well known citizen of Atkinson, Illinois

Energy, industry and perseverance have enabled Alphonse L. Phillips, one of the respected citizens of Atkinson to overcome the many obstacles with which his life was beset and to attain to a substantial position among his fellowmen. He was born in Holland , March 25, 1868 , a son of Leo and Sophia (Van Winkle) Phillips. The former was born in 1837 in Belgium and there followed the occupation of farming.
(He was born at St Laureins)

At the age of thirty-two he came to America and, settling in New York state, farmed there for about sixteen years, when he returned to his home on a visit of seven months. In 1884 he came to Atkinson, Illinois, and after living in the village for a year went to work for Mr. Boomer on a farm in Atkinson township. He remained there only a year, however, when he returned to the town which has since been his home. Of recent years he has lived with his son, for advancing age has made it impossible for him to do much work. On be­ coming a citizen of this republic he espoused the cause of the republican party and all his life has been a devout member of the Catholic church. His wife, who was born in Holland in 1835, died four years ago and was buried in the Catholic cemetery in Atkinson. By her marriage she became the mother of five children, four of whom are living: Alphonse L.; John, who lives in Canada; Mary, the wife of Leopold Bercroft, of Atkinson; and Louise, the wife of Peter Verkruise, who lives in Atkinson township.

During his parents' residence in New York Alphonse L. Phillips attended the country schools of that state for eight winters, and assisted his father on the farm during the summer months. He accompanied his father and mother on their visit to the old country and, coming with them to Atkinson, worked at farming and odd jobs in this locality until twenty-one years of age. He then tended bar for a year, for the next two and a half years conducted a saloon, after which he went to Wisconsin, where he took up a claim. After living upon the land for three years he sold his rights to the homestead, but continued his residence in the Badger state for three years longer. On July 11, 1903, he opened a restaurant and lunchroom on State street, Atkinson, where he has built up a good business.

Mr. Phillips was first married February 9, 1890, to Miss Jennie Bercroft, a native of Atkinson. Her mother died when she was six years old, but her father is living in Atkinson, retired after an arduous life as a farmer. She was one of five children: Peter, a resident of Atkinson; Sophia, the wife of Peter Billiet; Leopold, of Atkinson; and Jennie, who became Mrs. Phillips. To our subject and his wife were born four children : John, November 14, 1892 ; Leo, June 26, 1896; Charles, April 14, 1899; and Mary, June 14, 1900. On the 4th of April, 1905, Mr. Phillips was married again, his second union being with Miss Emma Vandewaestyne. She is a native of Atkinson, born in 1882 and is a daughter of Peter and Minnie (Sterphien) Vandewaestyne. The father was born in 1842 in Belgium, and came to this country about thirty years ago
(The Bercroft family *Bergracht* was also from St Laureins)
(The Vandewoestyne family was from Adegem)

. In Atkinson and vicinity he followed farming, which he had taken up in the old country. Atkin­son township was the scene of his labors for about twenty-five years and then he removed to Geneseo, farming there for about ten years. He died September 1, 1904, and was buried in Atkinson. He was a republican in politics. He was twice married, his first wife being Miss Matilda DeCrane, who bore him three children : Charles, of Atkinson, Illinois ; Mary, of Chicago; and Julia, the wife of August Cable, of Atkinson. The wife and mother died in 188o and was buried in Atkinson. Mr. Vandewaestyne subsequently married the mother of Mrs. Phillips. She was born in Belgium in 1845, and at the time of her marriage was the widow of Sterphien Vandewaestyne, who died in 1880. She had four children by her first husband : Gus, who lives in South Dakota; Daisy, of Atkinson; Edward, of Geneseo; and Ida, the wife of Theodore Desonville, of South Dakota. She had five children by her second husband: Emma, the wife of A. D. Phillips; Christian, the wife of Mell De Frieze, of Geneseo; Elizabeth, the wife of Frank Drew, of Atkinson; Stephina, at home in Atkinson; and Emlia, also at home. There has been but one child, Alfred, born of Mr. Phillips' second marriage, his birth occurring January 26, 1906.

Mr. Phillips is a member of the Catholic church and has brought his children up in that faith, sending those old enough to the Catholic school in Atkinson. Though he began life in very moderate circumstances and in his early life met with a great loss in the death of his wife, who left him with four small children to care for, he has plodded along manfully, and with the help of his devoted wife has secured a substantial position for himself. His business has proved more successful than he had hoped and he has gained the respect and esteem of the entire community. Mrs. Phillips belongs to the Mystic Lodge, while her husband is a member of the Domestic Workers, is a republican, and carries insurance in the Capital Life Association of Springfield

SOURCE/ History of Henry County, Illinois