Phelps, Delos Porter was born on November 16, 1837 in Warren County, Illinois, United States. Son of Porter and Mary Ellen (Rees) Phelps.
A.M., Monmouth (Illinois) College, 1862, Doctor of Laws, 1906.
Admitted to bar, 1866. Practiced at Monmouth, 1866-1880. Democratic candidate for Congress, 1878.
Began building railroad 1879, between Peoria and Keithburg, Illinois (later the Illinois division of the Iowa Central Railway), and was vice president, general manager, and general counsel same. Organized the company that bridged the Mississippi River at Keithsburg, Illinois, about 1884. In 1886 purchased a two-fifth interest in the Weir Plow Company and was vice-president and general manager until 1894.
Chairman Democratic State Central Committee 4 years. Assistant treasurer of the United States at Chicago, 1894-1898. Resumed practice of law in Chicago, 1894.