Anonymous, Book of Biographies: This volume contains biographical
sketches of leading citizens of Berks County, Pa. (Buffalo: Biographical
Pub. Co., 1898), p. 515-516.
Dr. Reuben b: RHOADS, one of the distinguished and skillful physicians of Boyertown, who has not only won a wide reputation throughout his immediate district, but throughout the county, was born on the old homestead in Boyertown, October 29, 1831, and is a son of John and Catherine (Boyer) Rhoads, grandson of Jonathan Roth and great-grandson of Mathias Roth. About the beginning of the present century [19th century] the family name was changed from Roth to Rhoads.
Mathias Roth was a native of the Palatinate, Germany, and emigrated to America in the early part of the eighteenth century. Soon after he became a resident of Colebrookdale township; he located on the Furnace property, where the village of Morysville is now situated, having purchased the land of Rutter and Potts, who were the owners long before the Revolutionary War broke out. Mathias Roth erected a grist mill upon the property, which he operated the greater part of his life. He was the father of three sons, Solomon, John, and Jonathan; Solomon farmed a part of his father's farm, and was the father of two children: David and Molly. David remained on the old homestead the most of his active life and was the progenitor of two sons - John and Solomon; Molly the only daughter of Solomon, married a Mr. Gresh, a well-to-do farmer of Greshville, Berks County, Pa. John, the second son of Mathias Roth, died in infancy.
Jonathan, the third son of Mathias Roth and grandfather of our subject, inherited the property upon which the grist mill stood, and carried on milling and farming to a large extent. He married Dorothy Elizabeth Linn, by whom he reared three sons: Jacob, John, and Henry. Jacob was the father of four sons: Jacob, Deiter, Samuel, and Daniel, all of whom were farmers and their descendants are all living in Montgomery County. Henry, the youngest son of Jonathan, was the father of three sons: Elam, Jacob and Samuel. Samuel died at the age of twenty years. Elam Rhoads was a millwright by trade, and followed that a number of years, then moved to Boyertown, where he engaged in farming. Upon his death he left the most of his large fortune, which he had accumulated by his own perseverance, to different charitable institutions, churches, and for the old cemetery. He also left a large portion toward the establishment of an orphan's home for the Lutheran Church of Boyertown. Jacob is residing upon his father's farm in Montgomery County.
John Rhoads, the second son of Jonathan Roth and father of our subject, was born on the old homestead June 28, 1788, and passed from this earth July 4, 1860. During his early manhood he engaged in farming, and later carried on mercantile business in connection with farming; he also operated a distillery for a number of years. In 1818 he was united in wedlock with Catherine Boyer, daughter of Henry Boyer, who was one of the founders of Boyertown. To Mr. and Mrs. Rhoads were born the following children, namely: Jonathan was proprietor of the Keystone Hotel at Boyertown, later he conducted the Great Western Hotel at Philadelphia, and later he moved to Reading, where he entered the world of rest; Henry B., deceased, was a school teacher in his early life, and married a Miss Gilbert, by whom he had two sons, Irwin and Richard - he was elected constable of his community and later served as justice of the peace and as member of assembly; Beneville B., who died at the age of twenty-five years; Loretta, the wife of William K. Grim of Boyertown, whose sketch also appears in this Book of Biographies; Sarah, deceased, was the wife of William Bird, late of Boyertown; Elizabeth, widow of the late Charles Weaver of Boyertown, who was one of the leading attorneys in Colebrookdale township, was killed in the iron works September 22, 1861, while experimenting with an explosive cannon ball; Mahella, the wife of Daniel McCormick of Pottstown; Reuben B., the subject of this personal history; Julius, deceased; Catherine, widow of the late Charles Bird of Boyertown; Emma, who was drowned in a spring at the age of two years; Dr. Thomas J. B., whose sketch also appears in this Book of Biographies; and Angeline, widow of Solomon Erb of Boyertown.
Reuben b: Rhoads was brought up on the old homestead and was educated at the Mt. Pleasant Seminary of Boyertown. He engaged in teaching school until 1855, when he commenced to study medicine under Dr. Henry W. Johnson, a well known physician of Boyertown, and later entered Jefferson Medical College of Philadelphia, and upon his graduation he located at Zeiglersville, Montgomery County, where he was engaged in the practice of his chosen profession until the breaking out of the Civil War. He then entered the army as assistant surgeon, and was first assigned to the small-pox department of the hospital of Camp Curtin at Harrisburg, and on November 22, 1862, he was transferred to Pittsburg, where he took charge of the hospital at Camp Howe until December 1, 1862, and was again transferred to Fort Keyes, Gloucester Point, at Yorktown, where Brig. Gen. Tyndale was in command, and was appointed by him brigade surgeon. In July, 1863, he returned home and engaged in his practice until 1882, when he was elected as prison warden of Berks County, which office he held for three years. Prior to 1882, he became interested in the cultivation of fruit trees, and for sixteen years he carried on an extensive nursery at Amityville, Berks County. In 1886 he moved to Boyertown and conducted a lumber and coal business for a term of six years, and became widely known as one of the thrifty and energetic business men of Boyertown.
Socially, he is a charter member and second commander of the General George Crook Post, No. 597. G.A.R., of Boyertown. Politically, he is an avowed Democrat. He was joined in marriage, May10, 1859, with Kate Gilbert, daughter of Adam R. Gilbert, a miller residing in Douglass township. Two sons and three daughters resulted from this happy union, as follows: Ben J., postmaster of Boyertown; Laura, the wife of Harvey Breidenbach, a conductor on the Rich avenue line of the Philadelphia city railway; John G., clerk in the county commissioners' office at Reading; Mary Ella, wife of George Guldin, a conductor on the Rich avenue line of the Philadelphia city railway; and Maggie Elizabeth, who died of scarlet fever January 29, 1882, aged twelve years, eleven months, and twenty-one days.
The Doctor has retired from active life and is living near the old homestead in the southwestern part of the borough. His portrait is shown on a preceding page.