Henry Little Rhodes, a retired conductor of the Illinois Central, entered the service of the I. C. in 1856, as conductor in the freight service. His first run was from Centralia to Wapella, which he held for two years. He was promoted to the passenger service in 1858, and continued there until 1860. From 1860 to 1866, he held the position of train master, with headquarters at Decatur, Illinois. Resuming his former run in the passenger service in 1866, he continued in that connection with the I. C. until June 1899, when he voluntarily resigned, and is now retired. A record of forty-four years of continued service with the I. C. shows that our subject is a man of sterling worth.
Mr. Rhodes was born on May 24, 1829, and is the son of Simeon and Jane Rhodes, who lived in Port Jervis, Orange county, New York, at the time of our subfect's birth. When only eight years of age, Henry L. Rhodes, was a driver on the tow-path of the Erie canal and continued in the service of that company, being made captain of a canal boat at the age of eighteen. Railroad at that time was fast superseding canals as a means of transportation, and our subject seeing that a good prospect was in store for a man of energy, sought service in that line, and rose step by step, until he became a conductor on the New York & Erie R. R. which position he held for seven years, or until 1856, when he became identified with the I. C.
Mr. Rhodes is one of the progressive citizens of Centralia. He is held in high esteem by his fellow-citizens, as is shown by his having been mayor, of that city for two terms. In politics he is a strong Republican and has acted as delegate to the county and state conventions. He was a delegate to the national convention, which nominated President McKinley.
In early life he married Miss Sarah E. Smith, of Port Jervis, New York, and three children have been born to them, viz: George H. Rhodes, one of the most enterprising business men of Centralia, Libbie Rhodes, wife of Benjamin F. Stattermyer, who died several years ago in St. Louis, and W. A. Rhodes, who died in St. Paul, Minn., in early life.
Mr. Rhodes Sr. is a thirty-third degree mason. His family are members of the Presbyterian church, in which they are prominent, and also liberal and substantial supporters.
From the book entitled: History of the Illinois Central Railroad Company and Representative Employes.
Published by: Railroad Historical Co., 1900