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Oil Tycoon Thomas W. Phillips - New Castle PA

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Thomas W. Phillips (1835-1912), reared on a farm near Mount Jackson, was one of eight children born to Ephraim and Ann (Newton) Phillips. His family was poor and he received a strict religious upbringing. With three of his brothers he went into business in the early 1860’s as the Phillips Brothers – making a fortune in the oil business. He later started his own oil business that later became the successful T. W. Phillips Gas & Oil Company. (c1900)

Phillips, who became extremely wealthy, was a dedicated Christian religious leader, caring philanthropist, and hard-working politician. He was a personal friend of U. S. President James Garfield and served two terms in the U. S. House of Representatives. He and his brothers financed the establishment of many endeavors, including several universities and the landmark First Christian Church in downtown New Castle. (c1900)

Phillips was married two times and fathered six total children. Phillips owned several homes (including in Butler and Washington D.C.) and among them was this North Hill mansion located at the northwest intersection of Highland and Moody Avenues. One of his children was the well-known philanthropist Grace Phillips Johnson, who later built and resided in the home in the far left of this photo. T. W. Phillips, one of New Castle’s most prominent citizens, died in his New Castle home in July 1912 and was laid to rest in Oak Park Cemetery. (1915) Full Size

The magnificent North Hill mansion of T. W. Phillips, designed by architect W. G. Eckles, was built in about 1903. After Phillips died in 1912 his grandson Charles H. Johnson Jr. (and his grandson’s wife Marie Langford Johnson) took up residence in the home. The house soon sat vacant after they both passed away in 1955 and 1957 respectively. The Johnson heirs had the mansion dismantled piece by piece beginning in late 1961 and the everything was sold off. In early 1964 the two-acre property was sold to the Italian Assembly Christian Church, who later erected a new church at the location. (c1905)

The gravestone of T. W. Phillips at Oak Park Cemetery in New Castle. (Sep 2013)


  1. It would be wonderful to restore this mansion and open it to the public as a museum. This great man deserves to be remembered. His accomplishments and contributions to New Castle (not to mention what he did for the rest of our nation) are simply amazing.


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