The Back Rhodes of Our Genealogy

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From: Title: Architectural record, Volume 50, Author: American Institute of Architects, Publisher: McGraw-Hill, 1921.Page 508.

Samuel Rhoads (one of the most widely known and justly famed carpenter-builders of the eighteenth century)  Much has been written regarding the life and works of Samuel Rhoads because of his prominence in the early annals of Pennsylvania. His chief interest to the student of architectural history rests with the records of his capabilities as an amateur architetc. Besides his attainments in building, the wide interests of the man led him to enter upon mercantile pursuits and to become a leader in the public affairs of the colony. He was selected as a representative of the first National Assembly in I76I and was made the Mayor of Philadelphia in I774, which position prevented him from being chosen as a delegate to the Second Continental Congress of I775. Samuel Rhoads acquired the trade of carpenter and builder by serving an apprenticeship until he was twenty-five years of age, in accordance with the usual practice of the day in learning a useful occupation. He soon became a member of "The Carpenter's Company," in the ranks of which society he advanced to the position of "Master Builder" and for a time served as its treasurer. From I780 until his death he was the president or "master" of the company. Rhoads is referred to as a "mechanician" and at one time was associated with Benjamin Franklin in a project for making a certain kind of lime, which, it was thought, would render the houses of Philadelphia fireproof. In I75I, by an act of the Assembly of March I4th, I76I, he was chosen as the commissioner "for cleaning, scouring, and rendering the Schuylkill navigable." Upon the founding of the Pennsylvania Hospital, he was made the Director of Works for the undertaking. After the acquisition of a site, "a complete plan of the buildings was directed to be so prepared that a part might be erected, which could be occupied the ensuing season (I755). Samuel Rhoads, one of the managers, was very zealous in the work and, after consulting the physicians in regard to the situation of the cells and other conveniences, presented a design of the whole building in such form that one-third might first alone be erected with tolerable symmetry." The building of the hospital continued under the guiding direction of Rhoads, who remained as one of the managers of the hospital from the founding in I75I until I78I.

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