Philip Austin

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Philip Austin
Male silhouette.png
Birth placeHartford, NE
FatherMr. Austin
MotherMrs. Austin

Philip Austin was the older brother of Mel Austin, the narrator of On the Road. He also had a sister, Shirley.

He lived with his parents on a farm near Hartford, a small town in Nebraska. He dropped out of school in ninth grade to work on the farm, and was drafted in 1941. He served in North Africa and Italy, and came home a PFC in 1945.

As the oldest son, he was intended to inherit the farm. His apprehension of his younger brother trying to claim a portion, plus his resentment of Mel's higher Army rank after a shorter period of service, lead to a rather unpleasant row between the brothers when Mel returned from service in the summer of 1946.

Rather than inheriting the farm in a few years, he bought it on a mortgage from his parents. Paying it off over the decades, combined with increasing difficulty of small-scale farming resulted in a lonely, hard existence for Phil.

He was found dead of a heart attack around 1970, after which Shirley and Mel inherited the family farm. They sold everything off and split the proceeds; neither was interested in farming.BR1-4