The Civil War in North Carolina

Reminiscences and Memoirs of North Carolina and Eminent North Carolinians

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his death was sudden and unexpected. On the morning of the 14th of March, 1867, he set out to the chapel to officiate at morning prayers. The weather was tempestuous; he ventured forth and took his seat behind the reading desk. The first student who entered the chapel after the bell commenced ringing bowed and spoke to him. The salutation not being returned, as was his wont, the student advanced toward him and saw him falling from his seat, and soon he was extended on the floor in an apoplectic fit. Doctor Mallet was sent for, but in a few moments life was extinct. Such was the end of this excellent and useful man. He left three children: Rev. Charles Phillips, D. D., Professor in University; Hon. Samuel F, Phillips, Solicitor General of the United States; Mrs. Cornelia Phillips Spencer.

        Hon. Samuel Field Phillips, LL. D., son of Professor James Phillips, a sketch of whom we have just presented, was born at Harlem, N. Y., February 18, 1824. He was carefully educated, and graduated at the University in 1841, one of a distinguished class of which he took the first honors, and in which was Governor John W. Ellis, Judge Wm. J. Clarke, Professor Charles Phillips, John F. Hoke, Robert Strange, and others.

        He read law with Governor Swain and entered the profession with most flattering prospects.

        He was elected a member of the House of Commons from Orange in 1852, with John Berry, Senator Josiah Turner, B. A. Durham and J. F. Lyon--and this compliment was more appreciable, as the county had presented a formidable majority against the Whig party, to which he belonged. He was again elected in 1854, 1864, and 1865, at which latter session he was chosen Speaker of the House.*

        * He was a member of the Constitutional Convention of 1865; and the Reporter of the Reports of the Supreme Court from 1866 to 1871.

        But politics was not his appropriate sphere, and he retired from its exciting arena to the more germane pursuits of his profession. He removed to Raleigh and formed a law partnership with Hon. A. S. Merrimon. This able firm enjoyed a full share of practice. He was unexpectedly to himself and others, in 1870, nominated by the Republican Convention as Attorney General of the State. Hon. Wm. M. Shipp was elected; this was the subject of no regret to Mr. Phillips, for it left him opportunity to pursue uninterruptedly the practice of his profession. When Judge Settle resigned on the Supreme Court Bench, Mr. Phillips was tendered and declined this high position.

        In December, 1871, he was confirmed by the Senate as Solicitor General of the United States, which position he now holds, with credit to himself and confidence to the country.

        He married Fanny, the granddaughter of Governor David Stone, by whom he has an interesting family.

        Connected with the favorite and laborious portions of the life of Governor Swain, as President of the University, it is but proper to notice Elisha Mitchell, D. D., Professor of Chemistry, Mineralogy and Geology. He was a native of Connecticut, born in 1793. He graduated at Yale college in 1803, in the same class with George E. Badger and Thomas P. Devereux. In 1818, by the influence of Judge Gaston, he was appointed to a Professorship in the University with Professor Olmstead, also a graduate of Yale.

        For more than an ordinary lifetime, he served the institution with fidelity and zeal, and his pupils acknowledge to this day his learning and patience. He was not idle in vacations, but extended his surveys and researches in every direction. No stream or mountain, no coal field, or gold, or other mineral mine, escaped his acumen. He was the first to determine by barometic measurement
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