JOHN C. PHILLIPS was born on November 13, 1870, on a farm near Vermont, Illinois. He graduated from Hedding College in 1893, studied law from the Sprague Correspondence School, was admitted to the Illinois Bar in 1896, and started a law practice in Vermont, Illinois. Phillips moved to Phoenix, Arizona, in 1898, where he established a private law practice. He was elected probate judge in 1902, serving until 1912, and under the new statehood laws became the first Maricopa County Superior Court judge. Phillips was a member of the Arizona House of Representatives from 1916 to 1922, and a member of the Arizona Senate from 1922 to 1924. On November 6, 1928, Phillips was elected Governor of Arizona, and on January 7, 1929, was sworn into office. During his term, a free county library system was created, the Colorado River Commission was established, and the State Bureau of Criminal Identification was planned. Governor Phillips advocated for conservation laws, which consequently led to the newly created Arizona Game and Fish Department. Phillips administration was blamed for Arizona’s volatile economic conditions, which were a result of the Great Depression. He ran unsuccessfully for reelection in 1930 and left office on January 5, 1931. Phillips retired from public life and returned to his law practice, forming a partnership with his son. While on a fishing trip, Phillips suffered a heart attack and died on June 25, 1943. He is buried in Phoenix, Arizona.
Sobel, Robert, and John Raimo, eds. Biographical Directory of the Governors of the United States, 1789-1978, Vol.1, Westport, Conn.; Meckler Books, 1978. 4 vols.
John C. Phillips Webpage Updated May 3, 2002
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