LEWIS E. PHIPPS.
For twenty years Lewis E. Phipps, furniture dealer in Exeter and also proprietor of the Racket store in that flourishing
little city, has been in the mercantile business in this section of California and there are few men better known
in commercial circles hereabout than he, for he now is one of the real veterans in business and the fact that his
enterprises have been carried on from time to time in several of the towns and villages of this section of the
valley has widened his acquaintance throughout this whole section. He is a native of the state of Illinois and
a Texan by rearing but a Californian by choice and inclination and has never had occasion to regret the choice
which brought him to this state many years ago. He was the first man from Van Zandt county, Texas, to become located
in the valley and his good example has been followed by others from that section of the Lone Star state until now
there are hundreds of Van Zandt county people residing here, all grateful for the choice which brought them here.
Lewis E. Phipps was born in the city of Jerseyville, county seat of Jersey county, in western Illinois, April 7,
1866, a son of John M. and Catherine (Van Horn) Phipps, the latter of whom was a native of the state of Ohio. John
M. Phipps, a veteran of the Civil war, was a Virginian by birth. For some time after his marriage he made his home
in Illinois and then, in 1877, moved with his family to Wills Point in Van Zandt county, northeastern Texas, where
he established himself on a farm, the only northern man in that section of the state and for years the only republican
in Van Zandt county.
Lewis E. Phipps was eleven years of age when in 1877 his parents moved from Illinois into Texas and he thus grew
up on the farm in Van Zandt county in this latter state and attended the Wills Point schools, for a long time the
only Yankee boy in that school. However, the boys were willing to admit that the war was over and he had no trouble
on that score. He remained on the home farm until he had attained his majority and then prospected around quite
a bit, during this time, beginning in the late '80s, making several trips into California and other points in the
coast country, and it was then that he had his first acquaintance with the wonderful San Joaquin valley, the impression
then created in his mind being a lasting one and such as eventually brought him back here as a permanent resident.
It was in 1905 that Mr. Phipps closed out his interests in Texas and came to Tulare county to make his home. He
opened a store in Springville and has ever since been in the mercantile business, during the twenty years he thus
has been engaged here having carried on his mercantile enterprises at several points - Springville, Long Beach,
Taft and Three Rivers - before becoming established in Exeter. It was in 1910 that Mr. Phipps opened a furniture
store in Exeter. In 1913 he sold this store, but a few months later resumed possession and has since been carrying
on his business there, proprietor of a well stocked and well appointed furniture store and prepared to meet the
needs of the trade along that line in the choice trade area centering in Exeter. In 1922 Mr. Phipps bought the
Racket store in Exeter and thus has two mercantile establishments, this latter store being in charge of his wife
and one of the daughters of the family. Mr. Phipp's second son is associated with him in the management of the
furniture store and the family thus is an important factor in the general commercial life of the community. Mr.
Phipps is one of the active members of the Exeter Chamber of Commerce and has long been recognized as one of the
leaders in the promotion of such movements as have to do with the advancement of the material interests of that
thriving little city. He also is a member of the local Kiwanis Club, whose motto is "We Build", and is
likewise affiliated with the Independent Order of Odd Fellows.
In 1892, in Wills Point, Texas, L. E. Phipps was united in marriage to Miss Rosetta Phipps, who was born in Illinois,
daughter of Thomas J. Phipps. Mr. and Mrs. L. E. Phipps have five children: Thomas L., who is now a rancher in
Three Rivers; Gladys, the wife of Chester Weaver of Exeter; Russell, who is with his father in the furniture business;
Myrtle, who is an aid to her mother in the management of the Racket store; and Christie, who is in high school.
Thomas L. Phipps is a veteran of the World war with an overseas record. He participated in service with the Signal
Corps in France and was also at Coblentz with the Army of Occupation.
History of Tulare County, California
By: Kathleen Edwards Small
Kings County, California
By: J. Larry Smith
The S. J. Clarke Publishing Company
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