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From the book entitled: Biographical and historical cyclopedia of Delaware County, Pennsylvania: comprising a historical sketch of the county
Authors: Winfield Scott Garner, Samuel T. Wiley
Publisher: Gresham Pub. Co., 1894

JOHN C. RHODES, senior member of the coal and lumber firm of Rhodes & Wilcox, at Chester Heights, this county, and of the mercantile firm of Rhodes Brothers, of the same place, is the second son of William and Lydia (Cummings) Rhodes,and a native of this city, where he was born October 20, 1861. His paternal grandfather, William Rhodes, was born and bred in England, but left that country after attaining manhood, and came to the United States. Later he removed to Rockdale, this count}', and continued to reside there until just previous to his death, when he came to Chester. Politically he was a democrat, and for a number of years was connected with the Independent Order of Odd Follows. He was a member of the Episcopal church, and married and had three sons and two daughters: John B., William, Samuel, Susanna and Kennie, who never married. William Rhodes (father) was born at Rockdale, this county, and obtained a good practical education in the public schools of that place. At an early age he learned the trade of bricklayer, and worked at that occupation for several years. Later he began contracting for brick work and carried on that business quite extensively for a number of years. During the early part of his life he resided at Rockdale, but removed to Wilmington, Delaware, about 1852, and after a residence of six years in that city came to Chester in 1858. For eight years he was engaged in the contracting and building business in this city, and then removed to Knowlton, this county, and embarked in the manufacture of cotton and woolen jeans, in what is known as the Crozer cotton mills of that place. He successfully conducted that business from 1866 to 1880, and at the expiration of that time became associated with his brother, in the latter's cotton mills, at Llewellyn, this county, where he remained as superintendent until his death. An ardent democrat in politics, he took an active part in local affairs, and in religious faith and church membership was an Episcopalian. He was a member of the Independent Order of Odd Fellows and of the Improved Order of Red Men. During the civil war he acted as recruiting agent in this county, and earnestly supported the government and the Union cause. He married Lydia Cummings, and by whom he had a family of four children : Hannah, who married Joseph Turner; Samuel B., who married Maggie Carson, a daughter of William Carson, a member of the Brookside Manufacturing Company, at Parkmount; John C., the subject of this sketch; and Harry W., secretary and treasurer of the Media Trust Company, who is unmarried and in business with his brother, John C., at Chester Heights.

John C. Rhodes was principally reared in the city of Chester, and obtained his academic education in the famous institution presided over by Professor Gilbert, from which he was graduated in 1878, at the age of seventeen. He soon afterward accepted a position as clerk in a general store at Llanwellyn, for which he received one dollar a week for six months, and then had his salary increased to ten dollars a month. For this small stipend he worked for more than three years, and was then promoted to be manager of the business.

Here he remained for a period of eight years, during which time he accumulated a little money, and then went to Colorado and entered the employ of the Milltown Cattle Company at Denver. After two years spent in the west Mr. Rhodes returned to Chester Heights, this county, and forming a partnership with William Carson, under the style of Rhodes & Carson, began his present prosperous coal and lumber business. This firm successfully conducted the enterprise for nearly five years, until November, 1892, when it was dissolved by mutual consent, and Mr. Rhodes took another partner in the person of Thomas C. \Vilcox, and has since continued the business under the firm name of Rhodes & \Vilcox. Both are men of undoubted ability and fine business capacity, and the firm is met with abundant success and now has a large and important business. In addition to this successful enterprise, Mr. Rhodes is also engaged in general merchandising at Chester Heights, in partnership with his brother, Harry W. Rhodes, under the style of Rhodes Brothers.

This imperfect sketch of the career of John C. Rhodes demonstrates that he is the possessor of excellent business tact and talents, and of that rarer virtue of steady persistency, which knowing how to adapt means to ends, tenaciously works on and patiently awaits the result which is sure to come in the fulness of time. Beginning at the bottom of the ladder, he has steadily pushed his way into prominence and success, and is still extending his business enterprises and widening the sphere of his commercial operations. He is a member of the Episcopal church, and is also connected with Benevolent Lodge, No. 140, Independent Order of Odd Fellows, and the Junior Order of American Mechanics.

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