Taken from: Portrait and biographical record of Macoupin County,
Illinois : containing biographical sketches of prominent and representative
citizens of the county, together with biographies of all the governors of
the state, and of the presidents of the United States. (Chicago:
Biographical Pub. Co., 1891), p. 894-895.
David W. Rhoads. The man who furnishes good flour is supplying a need that is universal and is thus discharging one of the primal duties - that of aiding his fellow-men to promote physical well being. All must agree that there are none of the manufactures more important than that of converting grain into flour and that a good miller is entitled to the respect of his fellow-men. It is therefore plain to be seen that the gentleman above-named must fill a reputable place on the roll of residents of Palmyra, as he has been engaged in milling there for several years past and previously carried on a similar occupation elsewhere.
Mr. Rhoads was born in DeKalb County, Mo., November 19, 1857. His grandfather, David Rhoads, was for some years a resident in Kentucky and removed from that State to Illinois and was one of the first settlers in the vicinity of Medora, this county. After living there a few years he went to Missouri and bought a tract of land on which he made the customary improvements. After residing thereon some years he returned to this State in 1864 and settled upon a farm in Jersey County, four miles east of Kane. There he spent the remnant of his days.
His son, John V., father of our subject, was married in Jersey County and subsequently removed to DeKalb County, Mo., where he occupied a rented farm until 1864. He then returned to Jersey County, this State, and on a rented farm carried on agricultural work until the following year when he was called hence. His wife, Sarah M. Tatman, a native of McDonough County and daughter of Hiram Tatman, was left with three children. About 1868 she married John Costley, a resident of Greene County, and made that her home about two years. She and her husband then removed to Jersey County where Mr. Costley died, and she subsequently came to Palmyra, where she still makes her home. The children of her first marriage are David W., Mordecai and Branie, and of her second marriage, Mary M., John W., Jacob E., Emma J. and Lucy B.
The subject of this notice was in his eighth year when he came to Illinois with his parents. Even in boyhood he assisted on the farm and when he left his mother's roof he worked at similar labors. He was nine years old when he went to live with Callow A. Farrow, a farmer of Jersey County, with whom he remained a year, and he then spent two years with Charles Black of Shipman Township, this county. From that time until 1874 he was engaged by the day and month for various parties and he then began working in a flourmill in Greene County. He continued his work there three years, becoming thoroughly conversant with the trade, and he then went to Medora and found employment in a mill owned by J. J. Haycraft. In 1881 he left that establishment and became a miller in Alsey, Scott County, where he operated a mill four years. Returning to Medora, he rented a plant for a year, then in May, 1887, bought the Palmyra flourmill. A year later he sold a half interest to Frank Watson and the firm became d: W. Rhoads & Co. In 1890 Mr. Watson sold his interest to John H. Hanshaw, but the firm name remains the same as before.
In 1882 in the month of August Mr. Rhoads was married to Miss Ella V. Haycraft, daughter of James J. and Matilda Haycraft of Jersey County. She was born in the village of Fidelity, received the usual advantages which are open to those of the present generation, and was also the recipient of careful home training and guidance. She is a member in good standing of the Baptist Church. Mr. and Mrs. Rhoads have one son, Wilber W., a bright, active little lad, whose increasing knowledge is a continual delight to his parents. Mr. Rhoads belongs to Palmyra Lodge, No. 463, F. & A.M., and Palmyra Camp, No. 149, M.W.A. In exercising the right of suffrage he joins with the Democratic party, believing that the principles they advocate are the soundest and most applicable to the National needs.