George R. Rhodes, who is engaged in farming on section 6, Grand Detour township, and who for some years was one of the leading contractors and builders of Springfield, Illinois, was born July 27, 1833, in Frederick county, Maryland, and is the son of Peter and Elizabeth (Foaster) Rhodes, both of whom were also natives of Frederick county, Maryland, the former born in 1794. The paternal grandfather, Jacob Rhodes, was a blacksmith by trade, and followed that occupation during his entire life. He never came to this state, but died in Maryland many years ago.
In his youth Peter Rhodes learned the carpenter trade, an occupation he followed during his active life. In 1863, he came to Illinois, and located in Rochester, Sangamon connty, where his death occurred in 1878. His wife died some years ago. They were the parents of ten children-Amanda, William H., John T., George R., Martha E., Ann O., Alice E., Katherine, James W. and Fannie. All are yet living save Ann O. In politics Peter Rhodes was a Jackson Democrat, a firm believer in the principles of the party as proclaimed by Jefferson and Jackson. He was a member of the Episcopal church.
The subject of this sketch was reared to manhood in his native state, and in the common schools received his education. At the age of eighteen he left school and worked with his father at the carpenter trade until 1856, when he came to Illinois and located at Springfield, where he continued to work at his trade. The firm of Rhodes Brothers, contractors and builders, was formed, and for many years did a prosperous business, erecting many of the best public and private buildings in the city, among them the splendid building of the Young Men's Christian Association. He continued in contracting and building until 1889, when he moved to his present place of residence, and engaged in agricultural pursuits. The farm consists of one hundred and sixty acres, and is under excellent improvement.
Mr. Rhodes has been twice married, his first union being with Miss Mary C. Lakin, and their marriage was celebrated February 23, 1862. She died in 1869. His second marriage was with Mrs. Ella Miller, nee Bovey, their union being formed September 2, 1874. Mrs. Rhodes was born May 8, 1852, in Ogle county, Illinois. She is the daughter of Samuel and Barbara (Funck) Bovey, both of whom are natives of Washington county, Maryland, and who came to Ogle county in the spring of 1846, and located in Grand Detour township, where his death occurred in 1891. Miss Ella Bovey married Samuel S. Miller in 1860, and his death took place December 25, 1869. At the time of his death he was managing the farm of his father-in-law.
To Mr. and Mrs. Rhodes six children have been born. Clinton B., born June 26, 1875, is now in the government mail service, running between Pontiac and Chicago. Charles L., born January 20, 1879, is attending Steinman Business College, Dixon, Illinois. Robert S., born July 24, 1882, died April 9, 1885. George T., born June 15, 1885, is attending the district school of Grand Detour township. Harry D., born January 14, 1889, is also in school. Ethel May, was born February 7, 1897.
In politics Mr. Rhodes is a Democrat, and for nine years served as a member of the board of supervisors of Sangamon county from Springfield. He made an efficient member, being a practical man, one who looked after the best interests of the public, and who did not serve just to please politicians. He also served for nine years as fire marshal of Springfield, a difficult and responsible position which he rilled to the satisfaction of the people. Mrs. Rhodes is a member of the Christian church, with which she has been connected for a number of years, and in the teachings of which she has the utmost faith. She is now living in the home of her childhood where she has many friends. Although comparatively a newcomer, Mr. Rhodes is well known and universally esteemed.