The Back Rhodes of Our Genealogy

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RHODES FAMILY - Perhaps no family has figured more prominently in the settlement and growth of the upper Ohio valley, than the RHODES family. Among the most worthy and noted citizens of Bridgport, the decendants of this family take rank. In about 1800, Moses Rhodes moved from Virginia, to Canton, Ohio, now Bridgeport, with his aged father. Moses Rhodes was born near Morefield, Va., in 1784, and died in. Bridgeport in 1871. While living here he married Nancy Martin, the daughter of Col. Martin, who was one of the most prominent, as well as one of the wealthiest men of what was then Virginia, now West Virginia. He was a public man, and was a member of the Virginia senate at the time of his death. Nancy, his daughter, was left an orphan at the age of twelve years and was taken into the family of her guardian, Presley Martin, who was a half-brother of her father, Col. Martin. Presley Martin was also a noted politician and citizen of the vicinity In which he lived, his home being at New Martinsville, which town he laid out and which was named in his honor. Nancy Rhodes died in her seventy-third year. Moses Rhodes was among the first to open a tavern in the upper Ohio valley, having established one in what is now Bridgeport, at a very early date. He also owned a ferry, and a boat yard, and speculated in produce, which he bought for the New Orleans market and carried down the river on a flatboat. Several times he made this, then, perilous trip, walking back the entire distance to Bridgeport, carrying his silver-money on his back in a sack. The return route lay through the territory of the Chickasaw and Chocktaw Indian nations in the states of Mississippi and Tennessee. The sturdy pioneer on two different occasions sailed from New Orleans to New York, returning on foot to Bridgeport. Later, he erected the Rhodes block, and two warehouses in that town, and for years conducted a large grain and produce business, also running a lumber yard at the same time. In 1852 he retired from active business with an ample fortune, owning consider- able real estate in Bridgeport and vicinity, and thereafter lived a quiet and retired life until his death. In politics he was an old line whig, and always took a decided interest in public affairs. Although the Rhodes family were originally Quakers, he became an acceptable member of the Presbyterian church, in which faith he died. His estimable wife was a communicant of the Methodist Episcopal church. This happy marriage was blessed by seven children, three of whom are living. Martin died in 1828; Elizabeth P. and Caroline S., the wife of Christian Ogleby, died in 1875. Lucinda, is the widow of Luther l-farrah, a member. of one of the first families of Belmont county; Charles, who died In 1865, and Mary, now the wife of William Thomas, of Pultney township, Belmont county, and Elizabeth, who married William B. Kern of Middlebourne. W. Va., she died in 1861. It was of such stock that Ebenezer Rhodes, the principal of this biographical sketch, came. He was born in Bridgeport, June 26, 1818, and has since resided there. It has been his privilege to see the place grow from a mere hamlet to an important city, throbbing with industry, the seat of several large iron mills and other manufactories, several of which he has been active in establishing and maintaining. He received a good education in the common schools, and afterward in Franklin college at Athens, Ohio. Early in life he became connected with his father. In the commission business, and under his wise tutelage laid the foundation for a practical business education. Upon the retirement of Moses Rhodes, his father, he and his brother-in-law, Ogleby, succeeded to the business. Soon afterward they gave up the commission business and engaged in the wholesale grocery trade. Eight years later Mr. Ogleby retired from the firm, and Charles Rhodes became a partner. About four years later, Charles was obliged to dis- continue business on account of poor health, at which time W. S. Warfield was taken into partnership. Some time after, Mr. Rhodes bought Mr. Warfield's share and took his son Charles into the firm. In 1875 he turned the business over to his sons, C. M. and O. T. Rhodes. Several years later Mr. Rhodes obtained an interest in the Diamond flour mill, which he now owns exclusively. This mill is one of the most valuable properties in eastern Ohio. He owns considerable real estate in Bridgeport, and has been identified with the various improvements in that city and vicinity, being one of the originators of the First National bank, and for twenty years its president. He was also for several years president of the La Belle Glass works, also one of the builders and directors of the AEtna Iron works. The citizens of his native town honored him for twenty years by making him a member of their school board, two years of which he was its president. Mr. Rhodes was one of the directors of the Tuscarawas Valley railroad from the beginning to its completion. On August 3, 1843, he took Caroline Townsend, of New Brighton, to wife. She also descended from one of the oldest and most prominent Quaker families of western Pennsylyania. She was laid to rest September 17, 1888. To Mr. and Mrs. Rhodes, eight children have been born, seven of whom survive. He is an active member of the Methodist Episcopal church of Bridgeport, and no one excels him as a good and loyal citizen, and an earnest promoter of every good and moral movement for the improvement of his fellow-men.

From the book entitled:History of the Upper Ohio Valley" Vol. II, 1890
Pages 555-556