William Monroe Phelps, a farmer of Union Grove, was born in Genesee County, New York, February 21, 1869, a son of Charles and Lugene (Monroe) Phelps. The father, who was born in the state of New York in 1839, passed away in February, 1902. The mother, whose birth occurred in Racine County, Wisconsin, in 1845, died April 9, 1905. They were married in this County and later Mr. Phelps returned with his family to New York. For a time he was employed in hotels and later took up the occupation of farming. In 1871 he again came to Wisconsin, settling on a farm in this County, a tract of eighty acres, which he continued to cultivate and improve throughout his remaining days. In the family were seven children: Mary, who became the wife of Christ Moore and afterward married a Mr. Cameron, her home being now in Kenosha, Wisconsin; William Monroe; Cora, the wife of George Van Wie, of Mount Pleasant Township; Roy, a teamster, of Racine; Ada, the wife of S. Becker, living in Elgin, Illinois; Cassie, the wife of A. Ketcheman, of Racine; and Fred, a machinist, of Racine. The parents were members of the Baptist church and Mr. Phelps gave his political allegiance to the Republican Party. The maternal grandfather of William M. Phelps was Orlando Monroe, a native or Vermont, who became one of the early settlers of Mount Pleasant Township, where he acquired several hundred acres of land in the vicinity of Racine.
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William M. Phelps obtained his education in the district schools and started out in life as a farmer. For seven years he engaged in the milk business in Racine, but during the greater part of his life has followed agricultural pursuits. He came to his present place in 1902, purchasing his farm of eighty acres, on which he is engaged in the cultivation of the cereals best adapted to the soil and climate, while he also does considerable dairying. He keeps twenty cows, which are Holsteins of good grade.
On the 24th of June, 1895, Mr. Phelps was married to Miss Eva Kelly, a native of Waterloo, Wisconsin, and a daughter of Noyes and Philuria (Davis) Kelly. The father was born in Seneca County, New York, and when but four years of age was brought to Caledonia Township, this County. His wife was born in Livingston County, New York, and they were married at Lake Geneva, Wisconsin, in 1868. They lived at Lake Geneva and in Racine and Mr. Kelly devoted his life to portrait and landscape painting. At the time of the Civil war, however, all other interests were put aside that he might respond to the country’s call for aid. He served with the Twenty-second Wisconsin Regiment for almost five years, was captured and spent sonic time in Libby prison, so that he became familiar with all of the hardships and privations of military life.
In the family of Mr. and Mrs. Phelps are four sons, Russell, Stanley, Leslie and Charlie, aged respectively nineteen, seventeen, fourteen and nine years. Mrs. Phelps is a member of the Episcopal Church. Mr. Phelps gives his political allegiance to the Republican Party and keeps well informed on the questions and issues of the day, but does not seek nor desire office, preferring to concentrate his energies upon his business affairs, which are carefully and systematically conducted and are bringing to him well deserved success.