Michael Phillipps was born in England in 1840 and at the age of 18 left his homeland for Victoria, B.C. in the service of the Hudson's Bay Company. He arrived in East Kootenay in 1865 and was employed by the Hudson's Bay Co. until 1868 - first working at Tobacco Plains, then at Kootenay (Fort Steele/Fisherville) and finally at Perry Creek. In 1872 he moved to the well known Phillipps' ranch on Tobacco Plains where he married Rowena (daughter of Chief David), fathered 12 children, farmed extensively, and from where he explored much of the area. He was one of a party to blaze the Phillipps' trail that later became recognized as the Crow's Nest Pass and B. C. Southern Railway route. He was the first man to report coal in the Crow's Nest area and to report oil seepage in the Flathead country. Michael Phillipps acted as Indian Agent in East Kootenay from 1887 to 1895. He also participated in other ways in public life acting as Justice of the Peace, sitting on the local School Board, and keeping in contact with many of the provincial politicians. He died in 1916 and was buried at Tobacco Plains.