Richard G. Phillips operated a farm and lumber business just outside Hawley's borders and was elected as the Wayne County Treasurer in 1923. He and his wife Lela are remembered to this day.

HAWLEY - Richard G. Phillips operated a farm and lumber business just outside Hawley’s borders and was elected as the Wayne County Treasurer in 1923. He and his wife Lela are remembered to this day.

He and his wife lived along Route 6 just west of Hawley, in Palmyra Township. The house still stands, and the property is where Fatigues Army Navy store is found (84 Texas Palmyra Highway).

Dick Teeter, of Hawley, recalls Mr. and Mrs. Phillips from his childhood. He said that his mother, the late (former) Helen Killam, boarded with them when she was attending Hawley High School. She graduated around 1925.

She was from Paupack, and had attended two of the one-room schoolhouses that were closed when Lake Wallenpaupack was being created. To continue on to high school, she had to have a place to stay since there was no school bus at that time.

In later years, she continued her friendship with Richard and Lela Phillips. Dick recalls being there when he went with his mother to pay a visit.

Mr. Phillips was born December 30, 1882 in Newfoundland, Wayne County, the son of Richard and Anne (Barteleson) Phillips. The 1900 census lists him as age 17, and had nine siblings at home.

On January 30, 1907 he was married to Lela Clark at Paupack. No record has been found that they had any children. Her parents were Henry N. and Marilla A. Clark. Mr. Clark was long associated with the Wayne County Agricultural Society, which operates the Wayne County Fair.

Richard was described on his draft card for the (1st) World War as tall, medium build, with brown hair and eyes.

Forest Lake Club Supt.

By 1909 he was working for the Forest Lake Association, or Forest Lake Club. Located in Lackawaxen Township, the private association was incorporated in 1882.

In October 1909, Phillips, who was still living in Paupack, was selected as winter superintendent. Philips was 26. He and Lela apparently resided there at least when he was on duty. He was listed as their superintendent in the 1910 census as well.

He would have been well familiar with the sprawling, Swiss Gothic clubhouse, which was erected in 1899.
A.L. Bishop of Hawley was the manager. The same news brief naming Phillips as superintendent stated that the club experienced “one of the best years in history, both from a social and financial standpoint.”

The original club was 1,500 acres in size; acquisitions made after 1925 expanded the property to 4,700 acres. The private membership club is for outdoor enthusiasts.

Phillips also found work as a clerk at Fred Swingle’s market in Hawley, in the fall of 1909. The long-time market stood where Hawley Medical Center is today, at Hudson and Spruce streets.

Lela and her mother traveled out to Souix City, Indiana, in the summer of 1910. Lela’s uncle George Clark resided there. Henry Clark had died at Paupack January 16, 1909. Mrs. Clark went to live with her daughter Lela and Richard. (Mrs. Clark lived until October 3, 1923.)

Lumber company

In March of 1911 Richard G. Phillips had sold his farm at Paupack to the “Water Company” and moved to Al Killam’s farm.

In November of that year, Phillips purchased the property of Maria Brink on Route 6 west of Hawley, where he and his wife promptly moved. He worked as a lumberman and farmer.

He was busy acquiring timber. A news items from May 1912 reported that Mary L. Baschon of Hawley had sold 148-1/2 acres in Lackawaxen Township to Richard G. Phillips and Eri Trivelpiece, including “all the trees, timber and lumber.” The cost was $700.

He started a business, Phillips Lumber & Supply Company, shortened as “P-L.U.M.” An advertisement that he took out in 1927 read, “The organization that HELPS YOU!! For every building need we have the answer.”

Elected Treasurer

How he came to campaign for Wayne County Treasurer has not been found. In 1919 he ran the first time and lost. The second time around, however, he made much of the fact in his political advertising that he was the “High Defeated Candidate for Nomination.” The primary was set for Tuesday September 18, 1923.

The Wayne County Citizen carried a page one headline, “Phillips Carries Wayne County; Swoyer Also is a Winner.”

Alfred E. Swoyer won the primary for Prothonotary. Chester A. Garratt won the race for District Attorney. William O. Avery won for Sheriff; John Male and F. E Carlton for commissioner (joining commissioner C.A. Herrman on the board); Thomas Y. Boyd, Register & Recorder; Otto Douglass and Daniel M. Eno, Auditors (joining Ray J. Brown on the board); Dr. J.A. Baer, Coroner.

Others serving in county government at the time included Alonzo T. Searle, President Judge; Mrs. Florence VanKeuren, Deputy Prothonotary; Helen E. Bennett, Deputy Register & Recorder; T. L. Medland, Commissioners’ Clerk;; Arthur Head, Stenographer; Henry A. Tingley, Tipstaff; T. F. Gallagher, Solicitor; Alfred H. Howell, Supt. of Schools and C.R. Schweizer, Detective.

Running against Phillips on the Republican ticket were Joseph W. Hessling, undertaker and monument manufacturer; George G. Gaylord, a farmer; and Henry Schemley, a bookkeeper and paymaster.
Frank C. Kimble was the Democrat’s nominee for Treasurer.

“Hawley respected its citizen in politics Tuesday,” A.M. Skier, Hawley columnist in the Citizen reported, “when during the Primary out of a total of 280 votes casted, 240 were polled by Richard G. Phillips, local candidate for the office of County Treasurer, and whose support by his local constituents cinched his nomination for this office.”

The November General Election was held on Tuesday, November 6. The vote tally with 27 out of 46 districts reporting, was Phillips, 2796; Kimble, 2047. In Hawley, Phillips won, 452 to 70.

His office was in the Wayne County Courthouse. Mrs. Harriet B. Many, of Honesdale, served as Deputy Treasurer.

Later years

He served as treasurer for one, four year term. He continued his lumber business from his property near Hawley. The 1930 census listed him as a “material dealer” and employer in a lumberyard.

For reasons not learned, in December 1935, they sold their property in Palmyra Township, Wayne County, PA, and moved to Delhi in Delaware County, NY.

Lela was a member of the Meridale Presbyterian Church in Meridale, NY, and maintained her membership in the Eastern Star Chapter in Hawley. Richard apparently continued to farm and work as a lumberman, as was so listed in his obituary.

For a while he lived in nearby Meredith, NY as well as Milford and Oneonta.

Richard G. Phillips died at the age of 75 after an illness, on Saturday night, June 21, 1958. Lela lived to the age of 83, passing away at Delhi, NY after an illness, Sunday, August 27, 1967.

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Main sources:
Wayne County Historical Society
Wallenpaupack Historical Society
Ancestry.com/ Hawley Public Library
Vintage newspapers at Fultonhistory.com
History of Hawley, Pa. (1927) by Michael J. McAndrew
Lackawaxen Township Bicentennial Book