From book entitled: Botetourt County Virginia Heritage
Author: S. Grose
Publisher: S. E. Grose
John William Rhodes, born Dic. 3,1850, died Aug. 30, 1927, and Fannie (Owen), born Mar. 7, 1857, died Mar. 4, 1899, were married Jan. 2,1879. John followed his fathers footsteps as a farmer in Botetourt County on the hillside farm at the foot of McAfee Knob in lower Catawba Valley.
John William and Fannie had nine children: Ira, born Nov. 16, 1879, died Mar. 22, 1927, in. Mattie Morgan; Joseph, born Apr. 17,1882, died Mar. 10,1937, m. Lorna Neighbors; Lillic, born Feb. 17,1884, died July 18, 1892; Walter, born Feb. 28,1886, died May 28,1888; Myrtha, born Aug. 29, 1888, died June 29, 1889; Hayden, born Jan. 23,1891, died Nov. 25,1946, in. Rushie Moses; Leslie, born March 18, 1893, died Nov. 5, 1952, m. Belle Crawford; Maggie, born Sept. 18, 1895, died Dec. 2, 1959, m. Oscar Dogan; Johnie, born Nov. 16, 1898, died Nov. 16, 1898.
After Fannie died, John William needed a mother for his children. He met Ruth Anne Whitlock (a descendant of the Cherokee), born Jan. 31, 1875, died Sept. 16, 1961. They married Oct. 11, 1899 and had nine children: Fannie, born Sept. 23, 1900, no death date, married Wesley Moses; Annie, born June 14, 1902, died Jan. 22, 1989, married Ralph Brizcndinc; Paul, born Oct. 6, 1903, died Aug. 2, 1989, married Elizabeth Green; Emma, born July 23,1905, died Oct. 13,1974, married Robert Lee; Layruc, born Aug. 1, 1907, married Cecil Moses; Rush, born Sept. 9, 1909, died Aug. 8, 1984, married Ruby Cooper; Iva, born June 26, 1911, no death date, married Ralph Lee; Timothy, born April 23, 1914, married Willa Mac Webb; Freda, born July 23,1916, no death date, married Clemmer Smith.
They continued to live on the farm in what originally was a five room log home until John
William built four additional rooms. He covered it all with weatherboarding and painted it white.
The family grew large crops of tomatoes and potatoes besides their normal crops and livestock. John William contracted with the cannery to raise and can tomatoes. The cannery furnished the seed and no. 3 Capholc cans (24 to a case) that were sealed with a "tipping iron." Timothy (my father) remembers 400 cases as the least, 900 cases as the most canned in a season. The cannery usually paid about 17 cents per case. If they had enough left to sell from the family garden they were hauled out of the mountain to the road (Rt. 779) and sold by the bushel, receiving around 11 cents a bushel.
The potatoes were dug, sorted, measured in 100 bushel lots and buried. These potatoes were purchased by Roanoke College (Salem, Va.) for 25 cents a bushel. Each time the College needed potatoes throughout the year a message was sent to deliver another 100 bushel.
During 1915-1919, John William withstood another war. Again the government collected food for the soldiers, leaving the families in almost starvation. Timothy has told many times, the corn and wheat was all taken leaving them with only rye for bread. Yet today he can't stand the sight of rye bread.
The family attended Painters Chapel in Botetourt County, on the lower end of Catawba Valley, until 1921 when Catawba Valley Baptist Church was built.
i he children attended a two room school called East View in lower Catawba Valley, located on Bud and Lillie Horn's property.
John William needed his sons for spring planting and fall harvesting. School days for them were few and far between; however, Timothy became excellent with numbers, having the answer in his head quicker than you could jot it down to figure. Some of the East View teachers were: Pauline Austin, Vera Coffman, Stella Duffy, Bessie Painter and Mamie Rader.
In those days neighbors helped neighbors. John William's barn was struck by lightening and burned. That called for a barn raising. The farmers went from farm to farm during harvesting for corn shucking, grain thrashing, apple butter stirrings, new ground clearings, etc..
The women did all they could plus prepare the meals for the workings. My, how things have changed.
Living through two wars, seeing families starving or losing fa-
there, sons, brothers and all the despair, John William became an even more concerned citizen of the community. Timothy, though very young, while older children were working crops,
was sent to homes to check on them. He reported back on the elderly, ill, and less fortunate. John William wanted to make sure they all had food and heat for the winter or to cook with. If they were in need he would make sure they got it, whether from his own farm or getting neighbors to help provide what was needed.
I have heard the descendants of people who knew him of how well respected John William was. Each year he was called upon to help oversee the community elections to insure they were conducted properly.
John William loved his mules. He used them to do his farming, hauling the crops to market and traveling. He saw to it they were given the best grain and hay. They were excellently cared tor. His feeling was the mules deserved the best since, without them, the family would have had a terrible time farming.
John William took Timothy, from age six, everywhere he went to help him get on and off the mule. Sometimes to sit behind him so he didn't fall off. He had become too weak to ride alone.
John William, kidneys failing, was in bed five daw. He was finally talked into seeing a doctor. About a mile from home he asked to be taken back home quickly so he could get there in time to tell "Ruthic" and his children goodbye. He got to say his goodbyes and lived only through the night.
Timothy's quote on 6-5-2000 (age 86): ttI had a good Mother and Father."
It would take months and hundreds of pages to do justice telling about my dad's families' lives while growing up. What I have managed to share with you is only a very light print in the sands of time gone by.
While writing this, I have been sitting at a window on the farm where I was born and raised looking at the opposite side McAfee Knob from where John William Rhodes and Ruth Anne (Whitlock) Rhodes raised their family, including my Dad, Benjamin Timothy Rhodes, who married Willa Mac Webb, my mom. I'm very proud to be called their daughter.
When I left home, married, and had three wonderful daughters, Cindy, Kay and April, I had no idea, with so many years behind me, that I would return to the farm to keep my Dad company.
Submitted by: Annie Mae Rhodes, Catawba, Va., Rke. Co.. Sources: Family Bibles, other family records and Benjamin Timothy's keen memory.