Kelo Phillips was born into slavery circa 1845 in Robertson County, Texas. Since his family was owned by the Stroud Family, he was probably born on the plantation that Ethen Stroud established in 1837 near present-day Calvert. In his book, A Negro History of Limestone County, Walter Cotton lists Sia and Tamer Phillips as Kelo’s parents.
Kelo was married to Anna Green. The 1870 census shows Kelo, Anna, and their one-year old son, George, living in the southern part of Limestone County with Kelo’s father and three of Kelo’s siblings. Kelo and Anna Phillips later had four other children: Mack (1871-1923), Samuel (1874-1934), Clay (1875-1957), and Mary (1879-1928).
The 1880 census shows that Kelo and his family were living in the Springfield area (Doyle Community). Two of his brothers, Box and Crockett, and their families were living nearby. In a deed dated October 28, 1882, Kelo purchased land in the same area. Some of his descendants still own this property today. His date of death cannot be determined at this time, but records indicate that it was after 1890.