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To the list of the many names that are synonymous with the commercial development of Bartlesville may be added L. E. Phillips, who is vice president of the First National Bank and of the Phillips Petroleum Company, and who since 1904 has been one of the substantial and influential citizens of Bartlesville.
He was born in Taylor county, Iowa, August 18, 1876. He spent his childhood and early youth on a farm there, attending the common schools to the age of sixteen and also learning many valuable lessons in the school of experience. When seventeen years of age he took up the profession of teaching in the country schools of his county.
L. E. Phillips dates his residence in Oklahoma since 1904. He settled at Bartlesville and in the following year he and his brother, Frank, in association with H. J. Holm organized the Citizens Bank & Trust Company. They conducted their banking establishment successfully for a period of six years, or until 1911, when they consolidated their interests with the Bartlesville National Bank. This consolidation was maintained for nine years. In 1920 they bought out the First National Bank, which they consolidated with the Bartlesville National Bank and continued to conduct their banking enterprise under the name of the First National Bank, Mr. Phillips becoming vice president thereof. They started business with a capital stock of fifty thousand dollars, which has since been increased to three hundred thousand dollars, with a surplus capital of two hundred thousand dollars. The success of the business is attributable in no small measure to the progressive methods of Mr. Phillips, for he is a firm believer in the rewards of honest, serious, unremitting effort.
The bank is modern and up-to-date in the conduct of its affairs and renders service of a personal character. The First National Bank owns the fine modern building in which, it is housed and supplies office accommodation to a large number of business concerns of the city.
Since Mr. Phillips took up his residence here he has become an extensive oil producer and developer. He is thoroughly familiar with every department of the banking business and his sound judgment, persistency of purpose and undaunted courage have brought him most gratifying success.
In 1902 Mr. Phillips was united in marriage to Miss Leonora Carr, daughter of J. A. Carr. The Carr family and the Phillips family were pioneers of Iowa and were very stanch friends before Mr. Phillips was born. Mrs. J. A. Carr is living, at the advanced age of eighty-two years. To Mr. and Mrs. Phillips have been born three children: Phillip R., who is eighteen years of age; L. E., Jr., aged sixteen; and Martha Jane.
Mr. Phillips is a charter member of all of the Masonic bodies here. He has served as president of the Chamber of Commerce of Bartlesville and during his administration his first effort was to raise the necessary amount of money to build the first bridge in the county, the bridge costing about nine thousand dollars. He has been president of the Oklahoma Bankers Association and is now a member of the executive council of that organization. During the World war he took a most active part, particularly in the work of the Red Cross and was the originator of the much used slogan “all you need is a heart and a dollar.” He was state chairman of Red Cross and Liberty Loan campaigns and was a member of the State Council of Defense. He was the recipient of many letters from the Red Cross organization, thanking him for his wonderful work during the war in its behalf. He was appointed on the staff of Governor Williams with the rank of colonel.
Both he and his wife are especially fond of music, flowers and poetry. Their home is a model of modest refinement and comfort. He has always been a great student of human nature and has a broad and sympathetic feeling for his fellowmen.