From the book entitled: Sketches and portraits of the
Author: John James Lafferty
Publisher: s.n., 1901
REV. JOHN Q. RHODES.
Mr. Rhodes would have been captured by the conscripting sergeant of
Frederick the Great for that superb and stalwart Household Guard. He is
a model of manly strength and figure. A head resembling the classic,
round, Roman cranium sits firmly on stout and broad shoulders, and in
limb and height this successor of Jesse Lee (we may so say), in robust
anatomy as well as activity of body and quick parts, stands foremost in
physical superiority. Rhodes has the rare union of cheerfulness and,
during the sacred abandon of a Conference, even healthy hilarity with
sturdy, solid and successful forays on the devil in the field. The
relaxations into pleasantry are recreations to his mind. He is hailed
with good-humored salutations by his brethren in the sacramental host.
His bright and keen observations seem to infect with happiness whatever
company enjoys his presence. The stilted dignity that stiffens by
excess of starch the sleazy fibre of native poverty of intellect and
the pharisaism that puckers its mouth into a regulation piety and oozes
a vicious vinegar of private slander are the victims of Rhodes's sharp
satire. They dodge him and dread his piercing wit. He smothers them in
ridicule. These are but natural ebullitions of honest indignation at
cant and pretense. Upon men of brain, culture and devoutness Mr. Rhodes
bestows the homage of his admiration.
He is a man of affairs. The old and ugly places of worship grow into
sightly temples of God under his enterprising administration of the
temporalities of Zion. The dullest circuit seems to take on an ambition
for betterment in parsonage and in church homes. The sound of the
hammer is heard in his parish.
His own tireless zeal inspires the people. They accept his leadership.
The outcome is choice improvements.
His career in spreading scriptural holiness is apostolic. The converts
count into the hundreds on a pastoral charge where he calls sinners to
repentance. Pervasive revivals bring entire communities to God.
The wholesome condition of his bodily powers and of his intellect endow
his brain with power to secrete with ease nourishing thought for the
people. He could have ridden side by side with that Virginia pioneer to
New England, and Ids repartees would have been quick and cutting as the
rifle replies of Lee from his chair pulpit on Boston Commons. Mr.
Rhodes is virile in the movements of his mind. His sermons are not of
gristle. His mother wit gives him a grip on an audience. He aims at
victory. He wins. He lets no flying foe escape. His vigilant pastorate
captures the fugitive from the field.
He is a native of the noted county of Albemarle, and dates his birth
from December 28, 1846. His parents were Richard and Martha Rhodes.
In the fall of 1867 he was converted at " b: M." church, on the
Scottsville Circuit, during the pastorate of the Rev. G. C.
Vanderslice. About ten months after his conversion, his mind becoming
seriously stirred on the subject of preaching the Gospel, he
determined, under the moving of the Holy Spirit, to devote himself to
the work of the Christian ministry. With this end in view, he attend
the Stony Point Academy. In 18 68 he went to the academy in Harrison
burg, Rockingham county, Virginia. Here he remained until near June of
the following year, when he was licensed a local preacher at a
Quarterly Conference in the church in which he was converted. At the
Conference of 1869 he was admitted and appointed to the Berlin Circuit,
where he labored until the Conference of 1870, when he was assigned to
the Spotsylvania Circuit.
At the Conference of 1871, held in Portsmouth, Virginia, he was
ordained a deacon by Bishop Paine, and sent for that year to Bannister
Circuit. He had charge of South Bedford Circuit in 1873-'4. In
Granby-Street church, Norfolk, in 1874, he was ordained an elder by
Bishop Keener. In 1875-'6 he labored on the Indian Ridge Circuit, in
Currituck county, North Carolina. At the Conference of 1876 he was sent
to Northampton Circuit, North Carolina. He was assigned in 1879 to the
Cumberland Circuit. He served Southampton Circuit four years, with more
than three hundred converts; built four churches and a parsonage,
besides raising funds to repair other churches. In 1884 he served
Rappahannock, repeating the building, repairing and the soul-saving of
his last charge. In 1887 he was sent to Madison, the usual blessing of
Heaven following him. In 1890 he was sent to Louisa; in 1894, to
Westmoreland; 1895, Greene; 1897, supernumerary; 1898, Louisa, his
In 1871 Mr. Rhodes married Mrs. Fleming, daughter of Alfred Poole, a
prominent Methodist of Spotsylvania. She was a noble woman, a firm
Methodist, and suited for her station in life. She died in July, 1884.
In December, 1885, he married Miss Deering, of Rappahannock, who now
adorns his home.