The Back Rhodes of Our Genealogy

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From: Title: The history and antiquities of Morley, in the west riding of the county of York (England)
Author: William Smith (F.S.A.S.)
Publisher: Longmans, Green, & co., 1876. Page 118-119

Manoah RHODES, J.P., was born at Morley on the 7th of March, 1810. His father, Joseph Rhodes, was in comfortable circumstances, as a farmer and manufacturer of "healds and slays," used in the woollen trade. At an early age the son was sent to the Endowed Grammar School at Batley, distant three miles from Morley, and the daily journey to and fro was often most wearisome, especially in winter time, when the roads were in execrable condition. Batley was, at that time, more of an agricultural than a manufacturing village, and gave no signs of the great change which half a century has effected, in transforming the place from a rural country village into a large manufacturing town, with a mayor and corporation, gigantic mills and manufactories, and palatial residences.

On the 9th day of November, 1822, young Rhodes took his leave of Morley, and walked over to Bradford, to enter upon an apprenticeship with Mr. John Allott, silversmith, Ivegate, with whom he remained for fourteen years, serving him faithfully. In 1836, Mr. Rhodes commenced business on his own account, and from a very humble beginning is now, after a prosperous career of forty years, head of the well-known firm of Manoah Rhodes and Sons, one of the largest gold and silversmiths' businesses in the North of England.

In 1852, Mr. Rhodes was initiated into the Order of Freemasonry, and has since that time filled nearly all the offices in the craft, below that of d: P. G. Master. Whilst Master of his own lodge, he was honoured by the G. M. Earl de Grey, accepting his hospitality.

When the subject of incorporating the borough of Bradford was mooted, Mr. Rhodes took a veiy active and prominent part in furthering the movement, and bringing about the incorporation, which was effected in 1847. Fifteen or sixteen years ago, he occupied a seat in the Town Council for a term of four years. lie has not since taken any very prominent part in local politics, and only re-entered the council chamber in 1871, as one of the members for the North Ward. In November, 1873, he was elected Mayor of the borough of Bradford, and in proposing him for the office," Aid. M. Dawsou spoke as follows:—" Mr. Rhodes was one of the few men who had not made an enemy, either political or religious. He believed it was just fifty-one years on Sunday—Lord Mayor's day—that Mr. Rhodes had entered the good old town of Bradford; and during the whole of that time, no one had found any express their sense of satisfaction with the manner in which he had discharged the duties of Mayor.

Some few months ago, Mr. Rhodes was placed on the list of borough magistrates, since which time he has regularly fulfilled the duties of the bench in a very able and efficient manner.

Mr. Rhodes has never taken any very prominent part in political matters. In early life he belonged to the old Whig party, but for some years his leanings have been towards the Conservative interest. In religion he has identified himself with the Wesleyan Methodists, and has contributed liberally to its various organisations, and at the same time, according to his ability, has materially assisted any good movement in the Church, or amongst other denominations, as well as the various charities in Bradford.

Mr. Rhodes was married in 1836 to Ann, daughter of Joseph AVatson, cloth maker, Morley, and niece of the late Isaac Crowther, Esq., of Croft House, Morley, by whom he has a family of six sons and two daughters. AVe have pleasure in being able to present our readers with a life-liko portrait of this "village worthy," the lessons of whose life are worth remembering, for, though it contains no adventures or events of an exciting nature, yet it serves to show how high and worthy a position may be attained by steady perseverance, plodding industry, and honourable dealings; and proves that " excellence is never granted to man but as. the reward of labour," for " if you have great talents, industry will improve them; if moderate abilities, it will supply their deficiencies."

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