Captain John Riley Phillips, born August 24, 1839, near Meadowville, son of James and Osa (Johnson) Phillips, grandson of Jacob Phillips, great grandson of Isaac, and great-great-grandson of Moses Phillips, an Englishman who settled on the South Branch, and subsequently in Randolph County. Isaac Phillips married Miss Kittle, of Randolph, and Jacob married Sarah Bennett. Osa Johnson was a daughter of John Johnson and granddaughter of Robert Johnson, a Scotchman. The subject of this sketch had one sister, Sarah Ann, and no brother. His parents were very poor, possessed but little education, married young and settled first in the eastern part of Barbour, then a wild region. Subsequently they moved to Clover Creek, which was still wilder, and again they moved, this time to Brushy Fork in Barbour, where they made a permanent home. John Riley Phillips was a man of unusually brilliant mind. Had he been educated he would probably have gained a national reputation as a thinker and lecturer. He was an orator of unusual ability, and a careful reader of such books as came within his reach. His education was limited to the schools of the neighborhood. Among his teachers was William Furguson who made a deep impression upon the young man's mind. A literary society in that neighborhood, attended by Captain Phillips, Captain A. C. Bowman and others, was an association for good, and in point of intellectual strength its equal could be found in few rural districts anywhere.