Rev. ZeBarney Thorne Phillips, rector of St. Peter’s Episcopal church, St. Louis, was born in Springfield, Ohio, May 1, 1875. His father, ZeBarney Phillips, was born in Chautauqua county, New York, and at the time of the Civil war enlisted in the Union army, serving throughout the period of hostilities in the One Hundred and Twelfth New York Volunteer Infantry. He married Sallie Essex Sharp, a native of Cincinnati, Ohio, the wedding being celebrated in Springfield, Ohio, July 12, 1866. They became the parents of four children, all of whom survived the father, who passed away on the 24th of May, 1879, at the age of thirty-six years.
Dr. Phillips, the youngest of the family, pursued his early education in the public schools of Springfield, Ohio, completing the high school course by graduation when a youth of sixteen. He was afterward graduated from Wittenberg College at Springfield with valedictorian honors of his class when twenty years of age and in early manhood developed his musical ability, becoming a talented musician and serving for twelve years as church organist. At length he determined to enter the ministry and became a student in the General Theological Seminary of New York city, from which he was graduated in 1899.
On the 9th of July of that year Dr. Phillips was ordained a deacon of the Episcopal church and his first work was at St. Luke’s church in Cincinnati, where he spent six weeks during the summer, immediately after his ordination. On the first Sunday of October, 1899, he took charge of St. Mary’s church at Hillsboro, Ohio, and on the 1st of May, 1900, he was ordained to the priesthood and immediately called to the rectorship of St. Mary’s church, where he remained until June of the following year, in the meantime having been called to the rectorship of the Church of Our Saviour at Mount Auburn, Cincinnati, Ohio. On the first day of January, 1903, he assumed his duties as rector of Trinity church in Chicago and it was while filling that pastorate that he was married on the 4th of September, 1906, to Mrs. Sallie Hews Winston, a daughter of the late Edson Lawrence Hews, of New Orleans, Louisiana, and they have two children, Sallie Hews and Faith Phillips.
Dr. Phillips resigned the rectorship of Trinity church, Chicago, on the 1st of July, 1909, to go to Oxford, England, for special research work in Biblical literature and Oriental languages, living at the University of Oxford for two years. Upon his return to America he spent a year in New York city, lecturing and preaching, and in October, 1912, was called to the rectorship of St. Peter’s church, St. Louis, one of the leading Episcopal churches in the country, where he is at present located.
Dr. Phillips was active during the World war in the Red Cross, Y. M. C. A., Liberty loan and other patriotic work. He is a member of the Presiding Bishop and Council, the executive body of the Episcopal church throughout the world, his special work being in the department of Religious Education. In the diocese of Missouri he is a member of the standing committee and the missionary board and is one of the two examining chaplains.
Dr. Phillips belongs to the University Club of Chicago, the St. Louis Club and the Glen Echo Country Club. He is a Mason, having taken the degrees of both the York and Scottish Rites, being a member of Anthony Lodge, No. 455, A. F. & A. M.; Springfield Chapter, R. A. M.; Springfield Council, R. & S. M.; and Palestine Commandery. 33, K. T. He is also a member of Cincinnati Consistory, A. & A. S. R., a member the Sons of the American Revolution and the Society of Colonial Wars. Dr. Phillips regarded as one of the leading pulpit orators in the Episcopal church and is a lecturer of national prominence.