Source: North Manchester Journal, August 17, 1893
SKETCH OF JOHN PHILLIPS.
John Phillips, at whose house this [Prugh Family] reunion was held, was born February 13th, 1815, near Gratis, Preble co., Ohio. He was the oldest of eleven children, all of whom lived to be 21 years and upwards, and is now the only one living of his father's family.
He first came to Indiana in 1834 when 19 years old with his father looking for a future home. They started westward, on horseback, and after riding four days they landed on the bank of Eel River. After prospecting a few days they entered eighty acres of land just south of where Liberty Mills is located.
The first work that he did in this State was chopping in what is known as the hog lot near where the flouring mill used to stand. He afterwards traded that eighty acres to a man by the name of Erastus Bingham for the eighty acres that he now lives on.
In 1843 he married Sarah Prugh of Gratis, Ohio, and in 1844 they moved to this State, settling one-half mile north of where he now lives until he could improve his land and build a house. After he moved to this county he bought eighty acres joining the eighty that he had traded for. In 1849 they moved on the farm where they now live, and expect to spend the remainder of their days.
The land was heavily timbered but hard work and an iron constitution conquered the obstacles of nature and soon broad fields were ready for the plow. Mr. Phillips is now aged and broken in health but has left a record behind him for honesty, integrity and love for his fellow man that is seldom seen and which is worthy of the highest praise and emulation. In all the years that Mr. Phillips has lived at his present home, no one can truthfully say that he has wronged any man a penny's worth. Always the fiend of the poor, generous in support of the church, always counseling peace and good will among his neighbors, everyone has a good word for him. He has lived in this country forty-nine years, and has never been sued for debt, and he has never sued any person. He would rather lose an account than to make cost for some poor one to pay.
Rev. Hidy in his remarks at the reunion related an incident that is characteristic of Mr. Phillips. The story was told to Mr. Hidy some years by a gentleman living on the Salamonie river south of LaGro, where Mr. Hidy was then holding a meeting, and run something in this way: Sometime before the war a failure of the crop made corn scarce in the Salamonie country and the relator of the story, whose name was not given, was directed to Uncle John Phillips as a man who had plenty of corn to sell. Such he found to be the case and one of the first questions Mr. Phillips asked him was: "Have you the money to pay down for the corn?" The gentleman answered in the affirmative when Mr. Phillips said: "If you have the money go down to Liberty Mills where they have corn for sale and buy what you want. I have plenty of corn but there are many poor people in this vicinity who are hard up and cannot pay the cash and I wish to keep my corn to accommodate them for otherwise they would be unable to get it." Such generous impulses have been the rule with Uncle John all his life. May he live many years yet is the wish of all. He is the father of ten children five of whom have gone before their father.