Book of biographies : the volume contains biographical sketches of leading citizens of Lawrence County, Pennsylvania. (Buffalo, N.Y.: Biographical Pub. Co., 1897), pp. 133-134.
Abraham Rhodes, a leading carpenter and builder of Mahoningtown, and a very highly esteemed citizen of that place, was born in York County, Pa., near Lisbon, Oct. 22, 1838, and is a son of Solomon and Rebecca (Bender) Rhodes, who were married in Lancaster City, Nov. 11, 1828. Rebecca Bender was born in Lancaster County, July 10, 1810, and was a daughter of David Bender, who moved from his native county of Lancaster to Lawrence County, where he purchased a farm near Mahoningtown and was engaged in agricultural pursuits until his death about 1855, at the age of seventy. He was followed by his wife a number of years later, she having attained the age of seventy-five years.
Solomon Rhodes was born in York County, Pa., Jan. 22, 1801, and in early life was a miller, but latterly owned and operated a farm, securing a livelihood by cultivating Mother Earth. He fought in the War of 1812, and in 1818 crossed the mountains and became a resident of Lawrence County, buying a farm in North Beaver township, where he lived until his death at the age of sixty-two years.
Abraham Rhodes, who was the fifth of eight children born to his parents, was ten years old, when his parents came to Lawrence County, where he attended school, and assisted his father in the care of the homestead. Shortly after attaining his majority, the war broke out between the North and the South, and the call to arms found Mr. Rhodes ready to lend his support to the Government. He enlisted in Battery B., under Capt. Cooper, and was with it when it made its famous record in the Battle of Gettysburg; he also participated in the bloody battle of Antietam, and was in the Battle of the Wilderness and in the Peninsular Campaign, taking part altogether in some twenty-two or twenty-three hard-fought struggles. Upon the expiration of his first term of enlistment with patriotic fervor still at fever heat, he enlisted again, and served another year in Co. G., 2nd Reg. Pa. Vol. Inf. On the close of the war and the return of the soldiers to employments of peace, our subject took up his residence with the old folks on the homestead, and lived there one year, and then learned the carpenters trade with his brother, with whom he was associated in building and contracting a number of years. Since 1885, he has been in business alone. In 1896, he erected a fine, two-story modern residence on Mahoning Avenue, where he and his wife are at home to their many friends. It is more likely that Mr. Rhodes has been interested in building more houses and places of business in Mahoningtown, Pa., than any other contractor.
His marriage to Samantha Elder, daughter of Robert and Jane (Young) Elder of North Beaver township, occurred in that township, Sept. 16, 1879. Our subjects family comprises three members, as follows: Alvin Elder, a clerk in the dispatchers office at Lawrence Junction; Lorena J., the wife of Frank Wallace; and John A., an assistant yard master for the E. & P. R. R. at New Castle Junction. Our subject and his wife are members of the Presbyterian Church, of which Mr. Rhodes is an elder and trustee. He is a Republican in his political views and has served as an officer in the borough. Mr. Rhodes portrait may be found on a preceding page.
Book of biographies : the volume contains biographical sketches of leading citizens of Lawrence County, Pennsylvania. (Buffalo, N.Y.: Biographical Pub. Co., 1897), pp. 236, 239.
Irwin Rhodes, an engineer on the Pennsylvania R. R., living at Mahoningtown, was born in that borough, April 21, 1859. He is a son of David and Helen M. (Shafer) Rhodes, and a grandson of Solomon and Rebecca (Bender) Rhodes. Rebecca Bender was born in Lancaster Co., Pa., July 10, 1810, and married her husband Nov. 11, 1828; she bore her husband eight children; she was a daughter of David Bender, who moved from Lancaster County to Lawrence County, where he bought a farm near Mahoningtown and was engaged in farming until his death at the age of seventy.
Solomon Rhodes was born in York Co., Pa., Jan. 22, 1801, and in early life was a miller, but later in life owned and operated a farm. He was a soldier of the War of 1812, and in 1818 crossed the mountains and became a resident of Lawrence County, buying a farm in North Beaver township, where he lived until his death at the age of sixty-two years.
David Rhodes lived in Lancaster County until thirteen years of age, when the family came to Beaver (now Lawrence) County. At the age of eighteen he learned the carpenters trade, and in subsequent years became one of the most extensive contractors and builders in the borough of Mahoningtown, being associated with his brothers in building at least one-half of the houses under construction during the period of their activity. At the time of the building of the New Castle & Beaver Valley R. R., he was appointed superintendent of construction, and built the depots along the line of the road. He is a staunch Republican, and much interested in local politics. He and his wife are members in good standing of the Methodist Church. They were joined in marriage June 9, 1858. She was a daughter of Peter and Sarah (Cameron) Shafer, the latter of Scotch-Irish descent and a daughter of Allan and Elizabeth Cameron. Peter Shafer, who was a son of Christopher and Elizabeth Shafer, lived to attain the age of eighty-two years, dying in 1884. All of David Rhodes four sons are interested in railroad work; they are: Irwin, the subject of this sketch; Peter S., a train dispatcher for the Pennsylvania R. R., living at Mahoningtown, whose life history appears on another page; Charles W., a baggage-master, living in Mahoningtown; and David D., who is a fireman with headquarters at home in Mahoningtown.
Irwin Rhodes attended the schools of Mahoningtown borough until he was fourteen years of age, when he began work in a quarry, where he remained four or five years. He then secured a position in Wallaces mill, where he was employed two years, and for the five succeeding years work in Raneys mill. After a short time with his father in carpentry work, he started out on his railroad career, beginning at the bottom of the ladder as a section-hand, and was then on a gravel-train for a year. He next became a brakeman, and after three years became a fireman, serving in that capacity for two years and three months, and being rewarded for faithful and continuous service by being appointed an engineer Dec. 6, 1888.
He was married, June 29, 1881, in Mahoningtown, to Emma Pitzer, a native of Illinois, and a daughter of Henry and Caroline (Sutton) Pitzer; Henry Pitzer was a son of John and Elizabeth (Ginter) Pitzer. Two children are the fruit of our subjects marriage: Clarence Frisbee, deceased; and David Ray. Mr. and Mrs. Rhodes are members of the M. E. Church of Mahoningtown. Mr. Rhodes is a Republican in politics, and is a member of the Volunteer Relief Corps of the Pennsylvania Co.s lines.
Book of biographies : the volume contains biographical sketches of leading citizens of Lawrence County, Pennsylvania. (Buffalo, N.Y.: Biographical Pub. Co., 1897), pp. 45-46.
Peter S. Rhodes is a train dispatcher of the Pennsylvania R. R., and lives at Mahoningtown, and his biography might be entitled The History of a Successful Young Man, for he has risen to his present position from the post of telegraph operator.
Mr. Rhodes is a son of David and Helen M. (Shaffer) Rhodes, his mother being a daughter of Peter and Sarah (Cameron) Shaffer, the latter of Scotch-Irish descent. His maternal grandfather, Peter Shaffer, was a native of Pennsylvania, and tilled the soil in that State until his death at the age of seventy-eight.
David Rhodes, the father of the young man whose history it is our purpose to chronicle, was also a native of the Keystone State, his home being east of the mountains in early childhood until his father, Solomon Rhodes, removed to Mahoningtown, and, following the footsteps of his forefathers, secured his living from the earth by farming. Rebecca Bender was the maiden name of David Rhodes mother.
During his period of activity, David was a carpenter and builder, as he possessed more talent for construction than could be of advantage on a farm. Up to the date of his withdrawal from active labor, more than half of the buildings in the borough had been planned and erected by him and his brothers. At the time of the building of the New Castle and Beaver Valley R. R., a first superintendent of construction was appointed, and the man chosen to fill that position was Mr. Rhodes, whose work was to build depots along the line of the railroad.
Mr. Rhodes has been a very busy man, but has found time to take an active interest in politics as a staunch Republican. He and his good wife are members of the M. E. Church, and beside his helpful work in the church, he did valuable service for the borough of Mahoningtown as one of the six members of its first council. He is the proud father of four sons, all of whom are emulating his example, and identifying themselves with railroad work. Irwin is an engineer on the Pennsylvania R. R., and lives in Mahoningtown. Peter S., about whom we will speak a little later on, is a train dispatcher for the same road. Charles W. is a baggage-master and lives in Mahoningtown. David D. is a fireman with headquarters at home in Mahoningtown.
Peter S. Rhodes has been referred to as a young man, and he is such in truth, for he was born June 10, 1864. His boyhood days were devoted, as is customary, to acquiring an education in the common schools, and at the age of seventeen years he graduated from the high school of New Castle, and soon after was ready to begin his career. He took up telegraphy in the railway station at home, and under the tutelage of S. G. Blanchard, he soon proved that he had the quick hand and the cool, steady brain of a good operator. When he had become proficient, he entered the employ of the P. & L. E. R. R. and was put in charge of the station at Davis Island Dam. Other places where he was sent for varying periods are Hazelton, Fallstown, and New Castle Junction. At the last place, he left the service of the railroad company and accepted a position with the Western Union Telegraph Co. at New Castle. In 1882, his was the good fortune to be offered a situation in the office of the train dispatcher at Youngstown, Ohio, where he seized every chance of improvement, and was rewarded for his efforts in the short space of six months by being appointed extra dispatcher. He has more than fulfilled the hopes of his friends by continuing in the same place for twelve years.
Mr. Rhodes chose for his wife a lady who was a native of New Castle, Pa., the daughter of Levi d: and Ella (Werner) Durban, Lillian D., and she is the mother of two boys Levi Durban and Donald Newell Rhodes. Mr. Rhodes and family are earnest workers in the Presbyterian Church, to which they belong. Politically, Mr. Rhodes sympathies are Republican, and in 1897 he was honored by an election to the presidency of the borough council. He is a member of the social orders: Mahoning Lodge, No. 243, F. & A. M. of New Castle; and Amazon Lodge, Knights of Pythias, of Mahoningtown. He has a pleasant and commodious home on Railroad Street, where his many friends are always welcome, and sure to be entertained in a royal manner.
Book of biographies : the volume contains biographical sketches of leading citizens of Lawrence County, Pennsylvania. (Buffalo, N.Y.: Biographical Pub. Co., 1897), pp. 589-591.
J. Wesley Rhodes, a prominent citizen and farmer of Hickory township, although now partially retired from active agricultural work, was born in Mifflin township, Allegheny County, Jan. 5, 1829, and is a son of Henry and Lydia (Brown) Rhodes, both of whom were born in Allegheny County.
The Rhodes family is of German descent, and the first of this branch of the family known to have settled in the United States was one Conrad Rhodes, the grandfather of J. Wesley, who came to America about 1788, and settled in the vicinity of Pittsburg on the Monongahela River. He was a pioneer among the permanent settlers of that part of the State; he purchased a large tract of undeveloped wilderness, which he cleared and successfully engaged in the culture, gathering together considerable wealth for those days, and being known as a generally prosperous man; the property has since revealed rich deposits of coal, which have been worked to good advantage by succeeding owners. He married, while still a resident of the Fatherland, a Miss Pence, who was also of German parentage, and of the family they reared, Henry, the father of our subject, was one of the youngest. They lived an upright, Christian life, in accordance with the spiritual teachings of the Presbyterian Church, of which they were devout members.
Henry Rhodes was educated in the district schools of Allegheny County, and when a young man started out for himself in lifes battle as the proprietor and manager of a tavern in Washington Co., Pa. Later on he purchased a farm, which he carried on for a number of years until about 1832, when he purchased the farm, a part of which is now owned and operated by his son, J. Wesley. The remainder of the active years of his life were spent in agricultural pursuits with so marked success that he was included among the foremost men of his township. His political allegiance was always cheerfully given to the Whig party. He married a daughter of Trustrem Brown, and to them were born the following children: John; Sarah; David; Conrad; Rachael; Henry H.; Samuel, deceased; Thomas; Catherine; J. Wesley; and one that died in infancy. Our subjects father lived until 1834, when he was removed from the midst of his sorrowing family by the cruel hand of Death at the age of forty-five years. Mrs. Rhodes, after her husbands death, having a large family of small children to support and educate, married Robert Sample, a Presbyterian clergyman, who was a pioneer of that faith in this part of Pennsylvania. Her death finally took place in 1879, when she had rounded out a well-spent life of eighty-four years.
J. Wesley Rhodes, after completing a district school education in the schools of Neshannock township, turned his attention to agricultural pursuits, and farming, in connection with mining coal, has been his chief occupation throughout the greater part of his life. He has lived ever since 1832 on the farm, which was purchased by his father, until 1887, when he moved to property near, but still owning the farm; on this farm there is a valuable quarry, leased to the Atlantic Iron & Steel Co., and extensively worked by them, the product being used as a flux in the manufacture of steel. Mr. Rhodes is now living in partial retirement, not paying so much personal attention to the agricultural operations on his farm as in years past when his health would have better permitted it, but rather living in peace and plenty, enjoying the fruits of many years of toil, and the friendship of his scores of intimate acquaintances, by whom he is held in the highest esteem and regard.
It was in 1857 that his marriage with Louisa Thomas, grandmother of Morgan Thomas of New Castle, Pa., was solemnized, and this union has been blessed with seven children; the five of whom are living are: Charles W., who married Agnes Aiken; Mary, who married Robert Thompson of Hickory township; Sarah E., who became the wife of William Brenneman of Scott township; Fred L.; and Walter W.
Mr. Rhodes is a Republican in his political affiliations, and has been honored with a place on the school board, but this was only at the solicitations of his friends who knew with what credit he could serve the township, for he is naturally a home man, and desires nothing better than to entertain his friends at his own fireside, and dislikes all forms of notoriety. The family are regular attendants of the United Presbyterian Church and different members of the household may be found in responsible positions in the various church societies.