Arthur Hamilton Phillips was born in New Brunswick in 1869, the son of Thomas Phillips, an immigrant from Ireland, and Charlotte Kingston, a native of New Brunswick. It is unclear precisely where in New Brunswick Arthur was born. His sister Eliza Jane, who was thirteen years older than him, was born at Coles Island on the Canaan River, a tributary of the St. John River. Arthur’s mother was born near the Canaan River as well. The Rhode Island State and Federal Naturalization Records for 1899, however, indicates that Arthur was born at the city of St. John, at the mouth of the St. John River. This was perhaps a mistake.
In the 1871 Canadian census, Thomas and Charlotte Phillips lived in Queens Co., Johnston Parish, New Brunswick, where the Canaan River is located. Thomas, a farmer from Ireland, was 52. He was Episcopalian while his wife Charlotte, aged 42, was Free Will Baptist. Their children were Eliza Jane, Melbourne, Anna Bella, Alfred, Thomas, William, Emma, and Arthur.
The family lost the father sometime in the next few years, so that in the 1881 Canadian census Charlotte was a widow, and the head of the family was Alfred, aged 18, a farmer, although the oldest child was Eliza Jane at 23. The family was listed as Baptist save Charlotte, Free Will Baptist.
When Arthur was 19 years old he arrived at East Providence, Rhode Island. His sister Anna Bella and brother Alfred had emigrated to Massachusetts and Rhode Island respectively in 1885, so we might assume that they convinced Arthur to follow suit three years later. Arthur joined his brother Alfred at East Providence in 1888. A few of Arthur’s siblings remained in New Brunswick for their lives, but his mother Charlotte joined Alfred and Arthur in Rhode Island, precisely when is not clear. She died in 1909 and was buried in the North Burial Ground in Providence.
After five years in the States, Arthur married Elizabeth Walker Camac on June 29, 1893. She was born in East Providence in 1873; her parents were Irish immigrants.
In the 1900 census, Arthur was 31 and Elizabeth was 27. They had had four children: Harold, born in 1894, Nettie, born in 1895, Earle, born in 1896, Lloyd, born in 1898. They would have other children as well: Olive, born in 1902, Mildred, born in 1904, Alston, born in 1905, and Arthur Jr., born in 1916. In 1900 Arthur was a laborer in a chemical works factory. He and Elizabeth owned their own home.
In the 1910 census, they had seven children. Arthur was now a foreman at the chemical works. Daughter Nettie worked at a mill. Son Harold worked as a laborer. These two did not have proper schooling, but the other children did. They lived on Campbell St.
In the 1920 census, their residence was listed as 25 Campbell St., E. Providence. Arthur now worked as a “fireman” at a cold roll steel mill. Son Earle was a grocery manager. Harold was a foreman in a warehouse. Lloyd was a grocery truck driver. Oliver and Mildred were threaders in a lace mill.
In the 1930 census, the family lived at 25 Manton St. They owned a radio. Arthur was listed as “literate,” though unschooled. Arthur by 1930 was no longer working. He lived at home with Elizabeth. Lloyd still lived at home, working as a truck driver for a steel company. Alston lived at home and worked as an order boy at a grocery warehouse. Arthur Jr. lived at home, attending school.
Elizabeth died on November 14, 1935. Arthur lived with Alston and Lloyd at the Manton Ave. home until he died in 1939.