Notable Phelps Family Members
"However it may be, the Phelps family, with its name definitely established as such since 1560, has many distinguished scions to its credit."
"In the burying-ground beside the old Tewkesbury Abbey Church, Gloucestershire, England, founded by the Mercian Princes, Dukes Odo and Dodo, two Noble Saxon brothers who flourished at the commencement of the 8th century, lie interred some of the Phelps ancestors; others lie in the cemetery of Dursley, in Gloucestershire; in Porlock, Somersetshire; in Staffordshire, and in almost all of the shires of old England.
"John Phelps, in 1649 was joint-clerk of the Court that tried and condemned to death King Charles I, having such zeal as to sign each record with his full name. To escape the terrible penalty imposed on the regicides for their act, John Phelps became an exile in Vevery, Canton de Vaud, Switzerland, where he died. In the ancient church of St. Martin, in Vevery, a black marble monument, inscribed to the memory of John Phelps, exiled in the cause of human freedom, was erected in 1882 by William Walter Phelps and another family descendant of the same English Phelps family of Tewkesbury.
In England the Phelps family early became possessors of property and landed estates. William sailed on the Mary & John from Plymouth, England and arrived in America in May, 1630. George is believed to have arrived on the Recovery of London in 1635. William and George were among the first settlers of Dorchester, Massachusetts, where they lived until 1635, when they moved with a group of breakaway church members to Windsor, Connecticut, and were among the founders of Windsor. That place has remained a family center to the present day.
Several years later William and George were followed by Henry, Nicholas and Edward Phelps who settled in Salem, Massachusetts. "Decendants of this old family can be justly proud of their heritage for their many contributions in the development of the young nation. Persons bearing this name can be found throughout the United States and are well represented in the arts and professions as well as in the world of business."
"In discussing the general traits and characteristics of Phelpses of past generations, writers have described them as quickwitted, energetic, a courageous race, possessing high intellectual power, including tact and kindliness which have made them beloved as well as respected by their fellow men. Their achievements have been high in fields of public service, education, literature and business." (Phelps & Servin)
Since the beginning of the American Government under the Constitution, eleven Phelpses have served in Congress.
Probably the best known coat-of-arms of the family is that of the line of Phelps of Dursley, Gloucestershire, England, having a crest a wolf's head azure, langued and erased gules, gorged with a collar or thereon a martlet sable. The motto, "Nil Nisi Honestum" - (Nothing unless honorable).
A number of Phelpses have made significant contributions in many arenas. Here are a few that have come to our attention. (Your contributions of articles are welcome and invited. Please contact the webmaster. )
- 1800-1849 A-M
- Alfred Aaron Phelps, Wild West Show Rider
- Austin Phelps, Congregational Minister, Educator
- Charles Edward Phelps, Congressman, Judge, Author
- Delos Porter Phelps, Lawyer, U.S. Assistant Treasurer
- Edward John Phelps, American Lawyer, Diplomat
- George M. Phelps, Master Telegraph Instrument Maker, Inventor
- Dr. Guy Rowland Phelps, Founder, Connecticut Mutual Life Insurance Company
- Judge James Phelps, Judge, Congressman
- Judge John Jay Phelps, Publisher, Judge, Merchant, Entrepreneur
- John Smith Phelps, Lawyer, Legislator
- 1800-1849 N-Z