Appleton's Cyclopedia of American Biography, edited by James
Grant Wilson, John Fiske and Stanley L. Klos. Six volumes, New York: D. Appleton
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PHELPS, Almira Hart Lincoln, educator, born in Berlin, Connecticut, 15 July, 1793: died in Baltimore, Maryland, 15 July, 1884. She was the daughter of Samuel Hart, and was a lineal descendant of Thomas Hooker, the founder of Hartford, Connecticut She was educated by her sister, Mrs. Emma Willard (q. v.), taught in her father's house at nineteen years of age, and subsequently was in charge of the Sandy Hill, New York, female academy. She married in 1817 Samuel Lincoln, of Hartford, who died in 1823, and she soon afterward became associated with Mrs. Willard in the Female seminary in Troy, New York In 1831 she married Judge John Phelps, of Vermont. She took charge of a seminary in West Chester, Pennsylvania, in 1838, and afterward taught in Rahway, New Jersey In 1841, on the invitation of the bishop of Maryland, she became associated with her husband in the charge of the Patapsco institute, a diocesan female school, which soon attained a high reputation. After the death of Judge Phelps in 1847 she conducted it alone for the succeeding eight years. She then settled in Baltimore, and spent her latter years in retirement. She was the second woman that was elected a member of the American association for the advancement of science, and read before that body in 1866 a paper on the religious and scientific character and writings of Edward Hitchcock, and in 1878 one on the" Infidel Tendencies of Modern Science." Her educational works, which had a large sale, were devoted mainly to natural science. They include " Familiar Lectures on Botany " (Hartford, Connecticut, 1829); "Dictionary of Chemistry" (New York, 1830) ; "Botany for Beginners" (Hartford, 1831) ; "Geology for Beginners" (Brattleborough, Vermont, 1832) ; "Female Student, or Fireside Friend" (Boston, 1833 ; London, 1838) ; " Chemistry for Beginners" (New York, 1834) ; "Lectures on Natural Philosophy" (1835) ; "Lectures ou Chemistry" (1837) ; "Natural Philosophy for Beginners" (1837); and "Hours with My Pupils" (1869). She also wrote the tales "Caroline Westerly" (1833); " Ida Norman" (Baltimore, 1850); and "Christian Households" (1860); and edited "Our Country in its Relation to the Past, Present, and Future" (Baltimore, 1868), for the benefit of the Christian and sanitary commissions.--Mrs. Phelps's son, Charles Edward, jurist, born in Guilford, Vermont, 1 May, 1833, removed with his parents to Pennsylvania in 1837, and to Maryland in 1841. He was graduated at Princeton in 1852, and at Harvard law-school in 1854. After a tour abroad he settled in practice in Howard county and subsequently in Baltimore, Maryland He joined the National army in 1862 as lieutenant-colonel of the 7th Maryland regiment, soon afterward became colonel, was severely wounded at Spottsylvania, while temporarily commanding a division of the 5th army corps, and was captured. He served in the Wilderness campaign, and in 1864 received the brevet of brigadier-general of volunteers for "gallant conduct in the battle of Spottsylvania." He was elected to congress as a Unionist in 1864, reelected in 1866, and at the expiration of his term resumed the practice of law in Baltimore. In 1867 he declined the appointment of judge of the Maryland court of appeals. In 1877 he raised a volunteer regiment to serve during the riots of that summer. In 1882 he was elected associate judge of the superior court of Baltimore, for a term of fifteen years. Judge Phelps has been for many years a member of the American society for the advancement of science, was president of the board of school commissioners of Baltimore, is president of the Alumni association of Princeton, and professor of equity in the Baltimore law-school. In 1880, at the request of the Maryland Historical society, he delivered the address in commemoration of the 150th anniversary of the foundation of Baltimore. --Her stepson, John Wolcott, soldier, born in Gullford, Vermont, 13 November, 1813; died there, 2 February, 1885. Five of his paternal ancestors were lawyers of high standing. His father, John Phelps, was a lawyer, and a lineal descendant of William Phelps (q. v.), The son was graduated at the United States military academy in 1836 with the rank of 2d lieutenant. He served against the Creeks and Seminoles, and was engaged in the action at Locha Hutchee in 1838. He was put in charge of the emigration to the west of the Cherokee Indians in that year. At the beginning of the Mexican war he led a company, which was under his command for two years. During that time he was in the battles of Vera Cruz, Contreras, and Churubusco. For gallant conduct he was brevetted captain, but declined to accept the nominal promotion until 1850, when he received the full commission. In 1852 he obtained a leave of absence, and spent a year in Europe, and on his return wrote and published, anonymously, a volume entitled "Sibylline Leaves, or Thoughts upon visiting a Heathen Temple" (Brattleboro, Vermont, 1853). In 1859 Captain Phelps resigned his commission after serving for some time in the Utah expedition, and returned to Brattleboro, Vermont, where he had previously taken up his residence. He had completed nearly twenty-three years of continuous military service. Much of the intervening period between his leaving the army and the civil war was spent in writing articles against the aggression of the slave power. He volunteered his services to lead the 1st company of Vermont volunteers in 1861, which, together with one regiment from Massachusetts and one from New York under his command, took possession of the mouth of James river. Thence he was ordered to the southwest, where he occupied Ship island with a New England brigade. On 17 May, 1861, he was made brigadier-general in the volunteer service. Subsequently he took part in the reduction of New Orleans. At that time he conceived the idea of organizing slaves as soldiers, but he was in advance of the time, and the government commander bade him cease and set them at work instead. As he could not conscientiously do the latter, he returned to Vermont, after resigning his commission on 2l August, 1862. During his occupation of Ship island he issued a manifesto "to the loyal citizens of the southwest," in which he set forth his views on slavery. He declined a major-general's commission when the negroes were finally armed, and spent the rest of his life in Brattleboro, Vermont His acquirements as a scholar and linguist were considerable. He became vice-president of the Vermont historical society in 1863, and president of the Vermont state teachers' association in 1865. He was active until his death in the anti-masonic movement, and was the candidate for president of the American party in 1880. He contributed largely to current literature, published a volume entitled "Good Behavior," intended as a text-book for schools, which was adopted in western cities (Brattleboro, Vermont, 1880); and a "History of Madagascar" (New York, 1884); and the Tables of Florian" (1888); and translated from the French Lucien de la Hodde's "Cradle of Rebellions" (1864). See his Memoir by Cecil H. C. Howard (Brattleboro, Vermont, 1887).
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