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James I. Phelps. Among the older members of the bar of Western Oklahoma, whose services date back to the earlier territorial days, James I. Phelps deserves particular mention, having been one of the leading lawyers of the El Reno bar nearly twenty years. He has built up a good practice and has a high reputation for the successful results in many important cases which have passed through his hands. Mr. Phelps is also one of the most popular men of Canadian County, both among the members of his own profession and in the general body of citizenship.
James I. Phelps was born in Southeastern Texas at Newton, June 20, 1875, a son of Elza V. and Mary A. (Simmons) Phelps. His father was a native of Louisiana and his mother of Mississippi, but they were married in Texas, and have lived in the southeastern part of the state since their marriage. Their home is now at Bronson, in the Texas pine belt. The father is a farmer, and James I. Phelps grew up on a farm in Southwestern Texas. He attended the public schools, and finished his education in Ford College at Newton, where he was graduated. Following his collegiate work he entered the law department of the Texas State University and in 1899 was graduated LL. B. The day of his graduation was the 14th of June and on the following morning he bought a ticket and boarded the train for El Reno, Oklahoma. El Reno was then improving fast and growing rapidly into a metropolitan city, and as he brought ability and thorough training into his profession Mr. Phelps was not long in establishing himself securely in the ranks of the local bar. He has always enjoyed a good practice and at the same time has taken an active part in democratic politics.
Mr. Phelps was police judge of El Reno in 1900-01, resigning in the latter year to become probate judge of Canadian County. He held that office for six years, until the time Oklahoma became a state. Judge Phelps is now chairman of the Canadian County Democratic Central Committee. He is a member of the Christian Church. February 1, 1903, at El Reno Judge Phelps married Miss Lydia B. Malcolm, daughter of J. F. and Phoebe Malcolm.