Whipple Van Buren Phillips

Whipple Van Buren Phillips
Born Whipple Van Buren Phillips
(1833-11-22)November 22, 1833
Moosup Valley, Foster, Rhode Island
Died March 28, 1904(1904-03-28) (aged 70)
Providence, Rhode Island
Cause of death "paralytic shock" (stroke)
Resting place Swan Point Cemetery [1]
Nationality American
Occupation businessman
Known for businessman, grandfather of H. P. Lovecraft

Whipple Van Buren Phillips (November 22, 1833 - March 28, 1904[2]) was an American businessman from Providence, Rhode Island who also had mining interests in Idaho. He was most notable as the grandfather of H. P. Lovecraft whom he raised with his daughters[3] and encouraged to have an appreciation of literature especially classical literature and English poetry.


At the age of 14, he was orphaned when his father Jeremiah was killed in an industrial accident.[4] He ran a store in Moosup Valley. He invented a fringe-trimming machine and made a good deal of money from it.

Phillips married Robie (or Roby) Alzada Place on Jan 27, 1856,[5] and left to seek his fortune. He operated a successful sawmill in the village of Greene, named by him for a hero of the American Revolution, Nathanael Greene. In 1874, he sold out and settled in Providence. He served in several public offices and joined every organization in Providence, including the Masons.

The two had five children,

  • Lillian Delora Phillips (1856-1932)
  • Sarah Susan Phillips (1857-1921)
  • Emeline Estella Phillips (1859-1865)
  • Edwin Everett Phillips (1864-1918)
  • Annie Emeline Phillips (1866-1941)

Whipple ran the successful Owyhee Land and Irrigation Company.[6] In 1900, however, a dam built by his company on the Snake River in Idaho failed, as did a replacement dam. He was forced to sell off personal property to avoid complete ruin.

On Sunday evening, March 27, 1904, while he was visiting the home of a crony, Alderman Gray, he was seized by a “paralytic shock”, likely a stroke. He died the following day, near midnight at his home at 454 Angell Street.[7]


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