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J. C. McBride, Past and Present of Christian County, Illinois (Chicago: S. J. Clarke Pub., 1904)

pp. 378-379 Amos A. Rhodes

Amos A. Rhodes was for many years identified with agricultural interests in Christian county and was also a capable county official for a number of years. His record as a man and citizen was above reproach and though he has passed away his memory is yet enshrined in the hearts of many who knew him. He was born in Shelby county, Illinois, on the 23d of May 1841, and was of Scotch-Irish lineage.

Prior to the Revolutionary war the family was founded in America, for Hezekiah Rhodes, the great-grandfather of our subject, was a member of the Patriot army.

Jesse Rhodes, the grandfather, was born in North Carolina and followed the occupation of farming. Believing that he might have better business opportunities in the west he came to Illinois in 1830, settling in Shelby county. Here his force of character and fitness for leadership made him a man of considerable prominence and influence and he was honored with a number of public offices, being elected upon the Democratic ticket. He was appointed by the governor as one of the commissioners to select a site for the county seat of Macon county and they determined upon the site of the present city of Decatur.

His son, James M. Rhodes, the father of our subject, was born and reared in Wilson county, Tennessee, and after arriving at years of maturity was joined in wedlock to Miss Pernetty Wakefield, whose birth occurred in Shelby county, Illinois, October 13, 1824. At the time of her death, which occurred in April, 1894, she was the oldest native citizen of Shelby county. Her father Andrew Wakefield, was born in Georgia and became one of the pioneer settlers of Illinois, locating in Shelby county about 1820, in the district which afterward became known as the Wakefield settlement. There he entered land from the government, establishing one of the first permanent homes on the locality. Indians were still numerous in the neighborhood and primitive conditions existed on every hand, but with the true courageous spirit of the pioneer he bravely faced all the difficulties and obstacles and in course of time developed a good home for his family. His death occurred at the age of forty-eight years. Both his father and his mother, Charles and Anna Wakefield, were born on a ship on which their respective parents were crossing the Atlantic to America.

The parents of Amos A. Rhodes were married in Shelby county, Illinois, in 1840. The father was one of the pioneer teachers there and also became extensively engaged in farming. His death occurred in Shelby county when he was forty-three years of age. In the family were two sons, Amos A. and Jesse, and the latter was born in 1844 and died in the service of his country in 1864 from disease contracted in the army. He was a member of Company G, One Hundred and Forty-third Illinois Infantry, and was a valiant defender of the Union cause.

Amos A. Rhodes, whose name introduces this review, was reared in the county of his nativity and began his education in a little log schoolhouse, in which his father was the teacher. During the period of the Civil war he was a student in Quincy, Illinois, and would have graduated there in 1863 had not the government appropriated the building for hospital purposes. Mr. Rhodes then became a factor in business life by the establishment of a grocery store in Pana in 1864 under the firm name of Eichelberger & Rhodes. For five years he was connected with that enterprise and then turned his attention to the real estate business.

In the year 1873 he was called to public life, being elected county treasurer and ex-officio county collector of Christian county on the Democratic ticket. Twice he was re-elected so that he was the incumbent in the office for six years. When his term had expired in the year 1879 he retired to his farm two miles south of Pana, having resolved to live a private life, but his fitness for public office led to his selection for the position of township supervisor and he acted in that capacity for three terms. In the year 1884 he was again called to the county seat, being elected clerk of the circuit court, which position he acceptably filled for four years. Declining to again accept the nomination he then returned to his farm of one hundred and twenty acres lying just west of Pana.

On the 1st of January, 1865, Mr. Rhodes was united in marriage to Miss Dora Jageman, a daughter of Ignatz Jageman, of Madison county, Illinois. She was born in Hesse Darmstadt, Germany, and when a little maiden of six years was brought by her parents to America, the family settling in Trenton, New Jersey. The father was a prominent citizen of Furth, his native city, and there served as burgomaster, an office equivalent to that of mayor in this country.

Four children were born unto Mr. and Mrs. Rhodes: Edward J., who is now circuit clerk of Christian county and resides in Taylorville, (see: Edward J. Rhodes of Christian County, Illinois, 1904 ; Charles A., who is secretary of the Christian County Savings, Loan & Building Association of Taylorville; and two sons that died in infancy.

In 1892 Mr. Rhodes was called upon to mourn the loss of his wife, who passed away on the 6th of May of that year. She had received good educational privileges in both German and English, completing her studies in the schools of New Jersey. Her natural refinement and many graces of character endeared her to all with whom she came in contact.

Fraternally Mr. Rhodes was connected with Pana Lodge, No. 226,A.F.&A.M., and with Orient Chapter of the Order of the Eastern Star. He was a man of firm purpose and of unfaltering fidelity to what he believed to be right, and all who knew him entertained for him warm regard. He died in April, 1902, leaving behind him an untarnished name. In all of his business affairs he was straightforward and honorable and in office was prompt and reliable, so that he won the respect of young and old, rich and poor.

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