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John Phillips
Original name: Manual Felipe Cardoso
Birth: Apr. 8, 1832
Azores Region, Portugal
Death: Nov. 18, 1883
Laramie County
Wyoming, USA

Folk Figure. Known as "Portugese" Phillips, he rode 236 miles for help following the Fetterman Massacre, in the dead of winter through hostile Indian territory, to bring rescue to surrounded troops at Fort Phil Kearny. Born Manual Felipe Cardoso, the fourth of nine children of Felipe and Maria Cardoso, in Terra, on the island of Pico, in the Azores Islands. In 1850, at the age of 18, he left the Azores on a whaling vessel bound for California, where he intended to pan for gold. For the next 15 years, he searched for gold in California, Oregon, Idaho and Montana. In the spring of 1866, he and a party of 42 miners were headed for the Big Horn mountains in Montana, when they stopped at Fort Phil Kearny on Sept. 14, to rest. When Captain William Fetterman and his command were annihilated by Chief Red Cloud's Indians on December 21, Phillips volunteered to ride to the nearest telegraph office at Horseshoe Station with COL Henry Carrington's plea for help, about 190 miles in subzero weather. While legend has it he rode alone, in reality, he was accompanied by Daniel Dixon, and the two men received $300 each for their service. In two days, the men rode to Fort Reno, where they were directed to carry additional messages to Fort Laramie. Arriving at Horseshoe Station on December 25, they wired their messages for help to the Army Dept. of the Platte in Omaha, Nebraska, and then proceeded to Fort Laramie, where they arrived in late evening during a full dress military ball. The gaunt appearance of Phillips at the ball immediately changed the festivities to one of a rescue party, which due to heavy snow, did not arrive until January 6, 1868. Fortunately for the Army, the Indians did not attack Fort Phil Kearny, and the rescue force, while welcome, was not needed. Afterwards, Phillips worked as a mail courier for the government, then he moved to Elk Mountain, Wyoming, where he supplied wood ties to the Union Pacific Railroad, which was then building their end of the Transcontinental Railroad (New York to San Francisco). On December 16, 1870, he married Hattie Buck in Cheyenne, Wyoming; the couple would have several children. In 1870, he also established a ranch on the Chugwater Creek, and six years later, built a hotel there for travelers on their way to the Black Hills gold rush. In 1878, he sold his ranch and moved to Cheyenne, where he lived until his death in 1883 from nephritis. His wife, Hattie, died in 1936 in a Los Angeles nursing home at the age of 94. (bio by: Kit and Morgan Benson) 
Family links: 
  Mamie L Phillips (____ - 1883)*
  Maude Ellen Phillips (1876 - 1876)*
  George Phillips (1879 - 1879)*
  Johnny Phillips (1879 - 1879)*
*Calculated relationship
Lakeview Cemetery
Laramie County
Wyoming, USA
Plot: Lot 30 Space F
Maintained by: Find A Grave
Originally Created by: Kit and Morgan Benson
Record added: Jan 04, 2006
Find A Grave Memorial# 12888467
John Phillips
Added by: Kit and Morgan Benson
John Phillips
Added by: Thomas Fisher
John Phillips
Added by: Kit and Morgan Benson
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 Added: Nov. 18, 2015
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