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Charles A. Phelps

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Charles Abner Phelps
40th President of the
Massachusetts Senate[1]
In office
1858[1] – 1858[1]
Preceded byCharles W. Upham
Succeeded byWilliam Claflin
Member of the
Massachusetts Senate[1]
Fourth Suffolk Senate District[2]
In office
1857[1] – 1858[1]
Preceded byDaniel Warren[3]
Succeeded byGeorge A. Shaw[4]
Speaker of the Massachusetts House of Representatives[5]
In office
1856[1] – 1856[1]
Succeeded byJulius Rockwell
Member of the
Massachusetts House of Representatives[1]
In office
1855[1] – 1856[1]
Personal details
BornOctober 19, 1820[2]
Boston, Massachusetts[1]
DiedApril 27, 1902(1902-04-27) (aged 81)
Boston, Massachusetts[1]
Political partyKnow Nothing,[1] Republican[1][2]
Spouse(s)Phoebe Harris[1][5]
ChildrenCharles Harris Phelps[5]
Alma materUnion College,[1] 1841;
Harvard Medical School, 1844[1]

Charles Abner Phelps (October 19, 1820 – April 27, 1902) was a U.S. physician, diplomat, and politician, who served as a member, and the Speaker, of the Massachusetts House of Representatives, and as a member and the President of the Massachusetts Senate.[1][2][5]

Early life and education

Phelps was born to Dr. Abner Phelps and Delia Hubbell (Clark) Phelps[5] on October 19, 1820[2] on Congress Street in Boston, Massachusetts.[5] Phelps attended the Mount Pleasant Classical School in Amherst, Massachusetts, where one of his classmates was Henry Ward Beecher[5] Phelps then went on to study at the Boston Latin School and then Phillips Academy in Andover, Massachusetts, he then studied with a private tutor in Cambridge, Massachusetts to prepare himself for Yale College.[5] Phelps attended Yale for a year then he transferred to Union College where he graduated in 1841.[5] Phelps then attended Harvard Medical School graduating in 1844, he did his post graduate work at the Jefferson Medical College in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.[5]

Family life

Phelps married Phoebe Harris of Albany, New York, she was the sister of U.S. Senator Ira Harris.[5] On September 14, 1845 their son Charles Harris Phelps was born.[5] Charles physically abused his wife and had her committed to an insane asylum following a confrontation about his extramarital affairs. Charles also attempted to deprive his wife of access to their children. Phoebe took her daughter and fled to a Quaker family but Charles tracked them down and brought them back, so Phoebe sought help from Susan B. Anthony. Anthony spirited the mother and daughter out of town, working to find a safe and confidential place for them. Anthony faced backlash from prominent reformers including Wendell Phillips and William Lloyd Garrison. Massachusetts law gave entire guardianship over children to fathers, and Phillips and Garrison argued that Anthony should obey the law and stay out of the domestic dispute. Anthony refused to reveal Phoebe and her daughter's location. However, Charles was relentless and his agents eventually recaptured the daughter. Phoebe never saw her daughter again. [6]


  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s Harvard Graduates' Magazine Association (December 1902), The Harvard Graduates' Magazine Vol XI No. 42, Boston, Massachusetts: The Harvard Graduates' Magazine Association, p. 305.
  2. ^ a b c d e Brown, Edgar M. (1859), Annual Register of the Executive and Legislative Department of the Government of Massachusetts, 1859, Boston, Massachusetts: Alfred Mudge & Son Printers, p. 4.
  3. ^ Poole, Alexis (1856), Poole's Annual Register of the Executive and Legislative Department of the Government of Massachusetts, 1856 Tenth series, Boston, Massachusetts: Dutton and Wentworth Son Printers, p. 4.
  4. ^ Brown, Edgar M. (1861), Annual Register of the Executive and Legislative Department of the Government of Massachusetts, 1861, Boston, Massachusetts: Wright & Potter Printers, p. 4.
  5. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m Chandler, Alfred Dupont (1909), Harvard College Class of 1868 Secretary's Report No. 8 186-1908, Boston, Massachusetts: E. O. Cockayne, p. 111.
  6. ^ Conking, Winifred (2017). Votes for Women: American Suffragists and the Battle for the Ballot. Chapel Hill: Algonquin. pp. 75–77. ISBN 9781616207342.
Massachusetts House of Representatives
Preceded by
Daniel C. Eddy
Speaker of the Massachusetts House of Representatives
1856 – 1857
Succeeded by
Julius Rockwell
Massachusetts Senate
Preceded by
Daniel Warren
Member of the Massachusetts Senate
4th Suffolk Senate District

1858 – 1860
Succeeded by
George A. Shaw
Preceded by
Charles W. Upham
40th President of the Massachusetts Senate
1859 – 1860
Succeeded by
William Claflin
Diplomatic posts
Preceded by
David McMurtie Gregg
United States Consul at Prague
1877 – 1885
Succeeded by
Charles Jonas

This page was last edited on 18 September 2019, at 01:04
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