It is interesting to note from the beginning the growth and development of a community: to note the lines along which progress has been made, and take cognizance of those whose industry and leadership in the work of advancement have rendered possible the present prosperity of the locality under consideration. Ren Phelps, the manager of the Cedar Rapids Oil Company at Audubon, and the proprietor of a popular garage in this city, is one of the strong, sturdy individuals who has contributed largely to the material welfare of the city of Audubon where he resides. He is an up-to-date business man, a public-spirited citizen and progressive in all that the term implies.|
Ren Phelps was born on August 23, 1879, at Atlantic, Iowa. He is the son of Alvin and Sarah (Usher) Phelps, natives of near Cedar Rapids, Iowa, where they lived upon a farm. The ancestors of Alvin and Sarah Phelps were old settlers in the vicinity of Cedar Rapids. Alvin was born in 1843 and died in 1907, and throughout his life was engaged in farming, and owned a great deal of real estate and was known as a capitalist in his later years. He came to Cass county, Iowa, in 1872 and became a well-to-do citizen. During the last seven years of his life, he was ill practically all of the time. His widow is still living in Atlantic. They had seven children.
Mildred, deceased; Loretta, the wife of Francis Kreamer, of Atlantic; Elizabeth, the wife of Charles Whitcomb, of Mason City, Iowa; John, deceased; Ernest and Alvin, both of whom live in Atlantic, and Ren, the subject of this sketch.
Ren Phelps was educated in the public schools of Atlantic and finished his education in the Atlantic high school. After leaving high school, he engaged in farming for one year and was then connected with various occupations. He was later in the oil business for two years and came to Audubon in October, 1913. However, he had first come to Audubon in 1903 and had worked in the Bilharz store three years. During part of this period he was also retailing oil. He also operated a moving picture show. Air. Phelps returned to Atlantic in 1910 and after living there for three years, returned permanently to Audubon and purchased the garage in March, 1914. He has been engaged in the retail oil business and in the operation of the garage since that time.
Mr. Phelps was married on April 1, 1901, to Daisy Johnson, the daughter of L. C. Johnson, an old resident of Audubon, who has operated a dray in this city for thirty years. To Mr. and Airs. Phelps, one child, Lefevre, aged eight years, has been born.
In politics, Ren Phelps is independent. He votes for measures and men rather than for parties and party emblems.
Transcribed from History of Audubon County, Iowa Its People, Industries and Institutions With Biographical Sketches of Representative Citizens and Genealogical Records of Many of the Old Families, by H. F. Andrews, editor, Indianapolis: B. F. Bowen & Company, 1915, pp. 425-426.