Leon C. Phillips, Governor

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Leon Chase "Red" Phillips

Death: Died
Immediate Family:

Son of Rufus Putman Phillips and Bertha Viola Bressler

Managed by: Private User
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Immediate Family

About Leon C. Phillips, Governor


Leon Chase "Red" Phillips (December 9, 1890 - March 27, 1958) was the 11th Governor of Oklahoma.

Born in Missouri, he attended Epworth University in Oklahoma City and eventually earned a law degree from the University of Oklahoma. Phillips served in the Oklahoma House of Representatives as both the Speaker of the Oklahoma House of Representatives and the Democratic minority leader.

Phillips is buried in Weleetka, Oklahoma.

Early life and career

Phillips was born in Worth County, Missouri, and moved to Oklahoma at an early age. While a student at Epworth University in Oklahoma City, he studied for the ministry, but changed to law and received his LL.B. from the University of Oklahoma in 1916. He married Myrtle Ellenberger of Norman, Oklahoma, on June 19, 1916, and they had two children.

Phillips was admitted to the State Bar in that year and to practice before the United States Supreme Court later. After service in World War I, as a private in the US Army, he returned to Okemah, where he practiced law.

Political career

Elected three times, he was a member of the Oklahoma House of Representatives from 1933 to 1938; Speaker of the House in 1935; and Democratic minority leader in 1937. He was elected Governor of Oklahoma in 1938, and served from January 9, 1939, to January 11, 1943. During his governorship he was charged with accepting a bribe, was tried twice, but was eventually acquitted.

Phillips considered the New Deal to be federal interference in the state and was an obstructionist.

Later life

After he retired from the office of Governor, Phillips returned to his farm near Okemah, Oklahoma, and continued to practice law until his death.


Governor Phillips died, of a heart attack, while waiting for a client at the post office in Okmulgee on March 27, 1958. He is interred at Hillcrest Cemetery Weleetka, Okfuskee County, Oklahoma.

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Leon C. Phillips, Governor's Timeline

Age 68