Charles Thomas Phillips, legislator, Confederate soldier, and farmer, son of Swain Devolson Phillips and Elizabeth (Robertson) Phillips, was born on November 27, 1847, in Lexington, Tennessee. He moved with his family to the small community of Coffeeville in Upshur County, Texas, in the 1850s.
The date at which Phillips enlisted in the Confederate military is unknown. By 1865 he was a private in Company H of Terry’s Regiment Texas Cavalry. He returned to Pittsburg, Texas, when the war ended.
On February 22, 1870, Phillips married Virginia Rogers, and they settled in the Veasley Village area of Pittsburg in present-day Camp County. They had one child, Charles Virginia, born on March 15, 1871. His wife died ten days later of complications from childbirth. Phillips married his wife’s sister, Mary Mollie Rogers, on December 18, 1873. They had five children: S. Elizabeth “Dovie” (Phillips) Roberts, Louise (Phillips) Hooten, Buck Taylor, Larkin Thomas, and Nathaniel William Phillips.
Phillips was an active member of the Farmers’ Alliance and the People’s Party. In 1892 he was elected Camp County treasurer with 757 votes. Additionally, he served as a delegate in the 1894 annual meeting of the Farmers’ State Alliance of Texas. In 1898 Phillips ran for the Texas House of Representatives as a Populist representing Camp and Upshur counties in the Twenty-sixth Legislature. In 1899 when he entered office, he valued his 327 acres of land at $1,000. He served one term from 1899 to 1901 and sat on two committees: the Counties and County Boundaries Committee and the Labor Committee. Phillips introduced two bills to the legislature, House Bill 707 and 823, but they both died in committee. They were two minor bills with purely local interest.
After his service in office, he returned to Pittsburg, Texas, and resumed his life as a farmer. The date at which he joined the Baptist denomination is unknown. By 1903, however, he had joined a Baptist church and attended the annual Texas Baptist Missionary Association meeting in Dallas as a messenger.
In 1908 after a two-week battle, his son Larkin died of typhoid fever. On August 3, 1918, Phillips died at the age of seventy and was buried next to his son in Lafayette Cemetery in Upshur County, Texas. His second wife died in 1923 and was buried beside him.