The Back Rhodes of Our Genealogy

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by Ellen McGowan ( ). If you have additional infomation please contact her.

 Little is known conclusively about William Rhodes. He married Sarah Mansfield, daughter of Moses and Mercy (Glover) Mansfield in New Haven on June 1, 1698 (New England Marriages Prior to 1700, Torrey 1985). On June 25, 1698, Joseph Tuttle, with his wife, Elizabeth, sold to “Mr. William Rhodes, of the town of Newport on Rhode Island in New England, now residing in the said town of New Haven, mariner” property for the sum of sixty pounds, described as, “…mansion house and homestead of arable land, orchards, garden yards, springs living, and being situate in said New Haven town containing in quantity two acres be the same more or less bounded north and east by land of Samuel Todd, south by land of John Pain, and west by the highway…” This purchase was recorded August 10, 1698, John Alling, Justice and witnessed by Samuel Mansfield, Samuel Todd Jr., and Mercy Scott (New Haven Land Records 1:764).   Massachusetts Archives, (Vol. 7:143) refers to William Rhodes, of New Haven, who, in 1699, was master of the ship Hopewell, “…a round-sterned vessel of about 10 tons… built at Lynn in the Province of Massachusetts Bay in New England, in the year 1691.” Ownership of this vessel is defined as, “John Rhodes of Rhode Island together with the aforesaid William Rhodes are at present owners thereof.”

  One other record (difficult to read) that seemingly relates to the Hopewell, is a receipt for lumber transported by William Rhodes on behalf of Jeremiah Osborne, New Haven, August 4, 1699 (Connecticut Court Papers, roll 21:302). A small ship, (ten tons; which refers to cargo space) the Hopewell would have needed only a small crew, and perhaps navigated well in the shallow New Haven harbor.
  We can be reasonably confident that William Rhodes’s father was William Rhodes Sr., also of Newport and that his brother was John Rhodes, of Newport, and partner in ownership of the “Hopewell.” On March 16, 1698, William Rhodes Jr., cordwainer of Newport, conveyed a power of attorney to his father, William Rhodes Sr. of Newport, to collect debts within the Massachusetts Colony (MA Archives 1:150). Assuming that this is William Rhodes, mariner, we might conclude that he was a cordwainer before becoming a sailor.
  Samuel Rhodes, son of William and Sarah (Mansfield) Rhodes, was born in Newport, September 28, 1701(Rhode Island Vital Records). So sometime prior to this date, William and Sarah had left New Haven and moved to Newport.
Early Newport land records (1699-1700 Vol. 1:187) show that William Rhodes
 purchased land from Walter Clarke on January 27, 1699/1700 (witness John Rhodes). On April 11, 1700 he transferred by memorandum a portion of this property (between Spring and Clarke Streets) to his son, John, “…I the within named William Rhodes for and in consideration of the sum of seventeen pounds to me in hand paid by my son, John Rhodes, within mentioned Newport, cordwainer…”(Newport Town Records Vol. 1:188). None of the land records in Newport specifies William Sr. or Jr., but this transaction almost certainly would have been the elder William Rhodes selling land to his son, John.
On December 20, 1701, John Rhodes, of Newport, cordwainer, with wife Susannah, sold his portion of this land to Sarah Mitchell. The land is described as coming “…from the orchard of the late Col. Peleg Sanford of Newport, deceased, southerly and extending northerly to main street, next to John Hedleys, being the sixth lott from ye said orchard….50 feet in breath, 60 feet in depth, bound east by land of Jonathan Clarke, north by land of Simon Parrott, west by Clarke Street of two rod wide, and south on a small lot in the possession of Walter Clarke.” Witnesses were Thomas Lillibridge and Thomas Fox (Newport Land Evidence 3:363-365).
A deed, dated April 28, 1708, shows Sarah Mitchell buying land from Walter Clarke, with William Rhodes as an abutter to the south (Vol. 16:21). This suggests that John Rhodes and William Rhodes Jr. and Sr. all had somewhat adjoining land between Clarke and Spring Streets.
Besides the ship “Hopewell,” William Rhodes is associated with another ship, “Rose,” which is recorded in shipping news of Boston Harbor between July 24, 1704 and September 23, 1706 with William Rhodes, Captain (An Historical Digest of the Provincial Press published by Weeks and Bacon for the Society for Americana). This ship is described as a “sloop” and sailed along the coast with destinations: Rhode Island; New Haven; Amboy; Coratuck; Martha’s Vineyard; and Connecticut. After 1706, there is no further record of his entering or leaving this harbor.
William Rhodes died sometime before October 10, 1716. On that date, “…Sarah Rhodes Widow and Relict of William Rhodes late of Newport in the Colony of Rhode Island and Providence Plantations Marriner Deceased…in consideration of the Sum of thirty shillings…paid by Kendal Nichols of Newport…all the Estate…which I the said Sarah Rhodes ever had now have or…may have…to the North Mayety or half part of a certain lott of overflowed land lying and being in a place commonly called the Cove in Newport aforesaid being the sixth lott in number…in witness…” Signed “Sarah Rhodes” Witnessed by John Hammett and the mark of Elizabeth Jackson (2:221-222).
A second sale of land (date missing) confirms his death, “… Sarah Rhodes Widow and Relict of William Rhodes late of Newport… deceased” for 30 shillings deeded land in Newport to Job Lawton (16:97).
By 1721 she had remarried to John Allen (1670-1747) of North Kingstown, the son of William and Elizabeth Allen. It appears that the property was first mortgaged, and when Samuel came of age, she gave him the property on Clarke Street, which he in turn sold to Simon Pease.
An indenture dated January 31, 1721-22 of Samuel Rhodes of Newport, Mariner, for 60 pounds deeded to William Dyre of Newport, shopkeeper, one tract with dwelling house thereon in Newport bounded, “East and West on street, North partly on land belonging to the heires of Sarah Mitchell, deceased and partly on land belonging to John Hammett and partly on land belonging to Joshua Easton and South on land belonging to the Honorable Samuel Cranston, Esq. Governor” Signed by “Samuel Rhodes” and witnessed by Charles Swedon and Weston Clarke Jr. Acknowledged on February 1721-22 (Vol. 2:3-4).
November 10, 1722 “…I Sarah Allen… of Kingston in the Collony of Rhode Island and Providence Plantations for and in consideration of the love and good will which I have and doe bear towards my son Samuel Rhodes of said colony marr[iner] have…granted…unto the said Samuel Rhodes….my dwelling house in the town of Newport…with two lotts and one sixth part of a lott of land which lotts are bounded Westerly upon Clark Street Northery upon land now in the possession of Joshua Easton and John Hammett[?] Easterly on Spring Street on the South by land in the possession of Judith Cranston…I the said Sarah Allen by and with the consent of my husband John Allen…have hereto set our hands…”signed by John Allen and Sarah Allen and witnessed by Edward Aylesworth and Jeremiah Gould. Recorded November 17, 1721 (Town Records no. 6 pt 2: 420-421).
Also on November 10, 1721 and recorded November 17, 1721, “…Samuel Rhodes of Newport…Mariner…in consideration of two hundred and sixty pounds…paid by Simon Pease of the same Newport, mariner…a certain dwelling house and lots…bounded…west on Clarke Street, North on land of Joshua Easton and the heirs of Sarah Mitchell deceased East on Spring Street and South on land of Philip Harwood and the Govr ladye… signed by Samuel Rhodes and wife Martha Rhodes, witnessed by Francis Willett and Mary Willett (Town Records no. 6 pt.2: 421-22). This “certain dwelling house,”still standing and presently owned by the Newport Restoration Foundation, is located at 32 Clarke Street, and is now known as the Simon Pease House.
 Rhodes in Newport,

Earliest church records from the “Members Book” of the Newport Baptist Church list John Rhodes as member #27 and William Rhodes as member #32 (courtesy of the Newport Historical Society). There are no baptismal dates listed for either of them. The next member listed, #33, has a baptismal date of November 3, 1648. A note written on the opposite page states that members10, and 13-32 withdrew in 1656 to form the Second Baptist Church. This seems to indicate that both John and William Rhodes were living in Newport by 1648 and that both were at least 21 years of age (in order to join the church). Their birth dates then, would have to have been 1627 or earlier. There is no other record found to give any clues to their identities.
There is mention in the “Fones Record” of John Rhodes, who, with John Button, William Cotton and Ambrose Leech, gave testimony before John Endicott, Governor of Massachusetts, September 22, 1662 concerning the purchase of part of the “Narragansett Country” (across the bay from Newport). Although there is no proof, this could be the same John Rhodes of the Baptist Church in Newport. The property is referenced later in a transaction dated September, 20, 1706, “John Rhodes to John Cole ? part of a tract of land_Genlly_uncl Atherton, Captain Edward Hutchison, Richard_, John Button and John Rho_ a mile square being about 100_acres to each share. The said ? part containing about 150A.” (North Kingston Vol. 1:89).
There are no birth or land records in Newport to indicate any children of either John or William Rhodes of 1656. The only records found of these names in (or near) Newport prior to the purchase of land from Walter Clarke (see above) are: John Rhodes, served on a jury, 1674; William Rhodes attended a town meeting on Block Island, 1678; John Rhodes, plaintiff in court, 1680; William Rhodes admitted freeman of the Colony of Rhode Island, 1684; William Rhodes served on a jury in Newport, 1695 (Rhode Island General Court of Trials 1671-1704, transcribed by Jane Fletcher Fiske).

 Rhodes of Oyster Bay

  Several histories of the Baptist Church in America make reference to William Rhodes, founder and first preacher of the Baptist Church of Oyster Bay, Long Island. From History of the Baptist Church of Oyster Bay, by Rev. Charles S. Wightman, 1873:
“It is known however that as early as the year 1700 a man named William Rhodes, from Chichester, England, who had left his native country to escape persecution, and had gone to Rhode Island, came to Oyster Bay and preached, with a view to the formation of a Baptist Church. He was not an ordained minister, but a licentiate. Among the early fruits of Mr. Rhodes’ labors was a man named Robert Feeks, who soon gave evidence of gifts for the ministry. He was accordingly licensed, and after several years, during which he acted as assistant to Mr. Rhodes, he was ordained by the elders from Rhode Island in 1724, the same year in which Mr. Rhodes died.”
From the History of Green County Long Island, Oyster Bay, by J. Van Vechten Vedder, 1985; “As early as 1700, William Rhodes who had emigrated from Chichester, England to escape persecution and who at the above date was a licentiate of the 2nd Baptist Church at Newport came to Oyster Bay and preached with the view of formation of a Baptist Church. He collected a small number of hearers and probably a church was constituted before 1724, for at that time the first Baptist meeting house in the place was completed. In the same year Mr. Rhodes died.”
We learn a bit more about this church from The History of Long Island, from its Earliest Settlement to the Present Time by Peter Ross, 1902: “The Baptists had been zealously at work even when the Society [Quakers] seemed supreme, and had gradually won converts to their views. About the year 1700 William Rhodes settled in Oyster Bay village from Rhode Island, and at once began to hold regular meetings, and so organized a congregation- a congregation that was made up mainly, if not wholly, of persons who had been numbered among the Quakers. It had been held that he was not an ordained minister, that he was without denominational authority, but in the early history of either the Quakers or the Baptists such matters were not deemed of prime importance in the face of results. !n 1724 a Baptist meeting house was erected, but the congregation lost its up-builder, for Mr. Rhodes in that year was called to his reward.”
Histories (of both Long Island and the Baptist Church) give a succession of ministers of this church after William Rhodes; Robert Feeks, Thomas Davis and Caleb Wright, grandson of William Rhodes. Dissention broke out after Rhodes’ death, with Feeks and Davis vying for leadership. According to some histories, Caleb Wright showed some hope of bringing the two factions together, but unfortunately died at the age of 22, and was buried on the day that had been planned for his ordination.
Nathaniel Prine, in A History of Long Island, 1845, describes the sad circumstances, “Shortly after, the Lord was pleased to raise up a youth of uncommon zeal and great promise- Caleb Wright, the grandson of Elder Rhodes. After preaching about 18 months, ‘not without sorrow, for unruly men gave him much trouble,’ arrangements were made for his ordination. But the day appointed for that solemn service proved the day of his burial; and Elder Isaac Still, of New Jersey, who had been invited for the former service, preached his funeral sermon. This painful event took place in November, 1752.”
One additional source identifies this William Rhodes (d.1724) with the Rhodes family of Newport. In his book, History and Genealogy of the Ancestors and Some Descendants of Stukely Westcott, Roscoe Whitman writes in his appendix to page 380, “…In deed, 1716, William Rhodes is called “cordwainer.” He evidently died same year, as another deed, 1716, mentions “Sarah, widow of William”…. William Rhodes, the cordwainer, who m. Sarah Mansfield, is believed to have been the son of William Rhodes who with his brother John, withdrew from the First Baptist Church in Newport to form the Second Baptist Church in 1656. They were both from Chichester, Eng. Nothing is learned from the birth and wife of this William, but his brother John was born July 30, 1640, and his wife was Dinah. John with his wife and their five children removed before 1700 to Oyster Bay L.I. where their oldest son, William, b: Feb. 19, 1672, formed a Baptist Society which he served for twenty-four years, completing a church edifice in 1724. In the same year, Elder Rhodes died. There is a deed in 1700 in which William Rhodes assigns property to his son John.” His conclusion that John Rhodes b.1640 is the same John Rhodes who withdrew from the Baptist Church in 1656 seems questionable, since this John would have only been sixteen years of age at the time.
The date of John Rhodes’s birth as July 30, 1640 is supported through personal correspondence in 2005 with John Hammond, Town Historian of Oyster Bay. He shared a copy of personal family records which show, “John Rhods born July 30, 1640; William Rhods born February 19, 1672; Thomas Rhods born August 21, 1676; Elizabeth Rhods born July 29, 1689; Dinah Rhods born August 16, 1694; Mary Rhods born November 23, 1686.”
Wright genealogies also show conflicting information regarding marriages involving ‘Rhodes’ marriages. The research done in 2005 by John Redfern of North Kingstown, RI shows an older William Rhodes (presumably William sr. of Newport) to be William Rhodes, the grandfather of Caleb Wright. To summarize his findings; the grandson mentioned above was Caleb Wright, (1730-1752) the son of William Wright (1680-1759) and Elizabeth (Rhodes) Wright (1689-1734). Rev. Charles Wightman (mentioned above) further refers to the Rhodes family and another daughter; “A record has been found of the marriage of Anthony Wright to Mary Rhodes, daughter of the first Baptist Clergyman of Oyster Bay on the 18th of September, 1702.” In his writing, Wightman cites as his source Rev. Marmaduke Earle, who was his predecessor in the ministry as well as his wife’s grandfather (information courtesy of John Hammond, 2005).
Further evidence to support this is found in Oyster Bay Town Records, where William Rhodes, with his wife, Esther, are witness to two agreements on boundary lines for Joseph Mayo, John Mayo and Anthony Wright, August 18, 1701, and October 25, 1701 (Oyster Bay Town Records Vol.3, pgs.128 and 133). Wright genealogies give Anthony’s birth date as 1671, and Mary Rhodes’ dates as 1686-1714.
Through the will of Caleb Wright (d. 1752), comes additional information that he had a sister, Mary (Molly) Cooper who is named in the will. Mary (1714-1778) kept a diary (published in 1981 by the Oyster Bay Historical Society) in which she refers to her uncle, Robert Crooker, who married Dinah Rhodes. On Monday July 27, 1772, she writes about his visit: “Uncel Crooker came here this night about candel lite. We sat up some time and talked about religion and many things…” This establishes that Dinah Rhodes (married to Robert Crooker) was a sister to Elizabeth Rhodes Wright. Another entry, March 24, 1773 states: “My dear uncle [Robert Crooker] departed this life sometime this afternoon.” Robert Crooker is buried next to his wife, Dinah Rhodes Crooker in the Oyster Bay Baptist Cemetery. Their burial records confirm his burial date of March 29, 1773 and hers as May 8, 1775 (recorded in 1961 by the Oyster Bay Village Historical Society).
Through this theory, the three daughters of William and Esther Rhodes become established: Mary Rhodes (1686-1714) m. Anthony Wright; Elizabeth Rhodes (1689-1734) m. William Wright; and Dinah Rhodes (1694-1775) m. Robert Crooker. In various Wright genealogies, both Anthony Wright and William Wright have sons named Caleb.
Based on the information from the family record shared by John Hammond, one might suppose that these three sisters, along with the two brothers, were the children of John Rhodes (b. 1640) but this theory does not allow for Caleb Wright to be the grandson of William Rhodes, the first Baptist preacher. Looking at the conflicting theories, one might conclude that either the list of births (provided by John Hammond) was not written as a family grouping of father and five children, or that authors relying on memory and hearsay information have erroneously called Caleb Wright the grandson of William Rhodes instead of his nephew.
Evidence that William Rhodes of Oyster Bay may be the father of William Rhodes, mariner of Newport, is only circumstantial. The lack of evidence of any other William Rhodes of this generation in Newport, as well as no record of further land transactions after William Rhodes [Sr.] sells property in Newport to his son, John, in 1700, while William Rhodes first appears in Oyster Bay in 1701, helps to support the argument that they are one in the same. And his ties to the Baptist Church of both Newport and Oyster Bay help this same argument, especially at so early a time in the history of the Baptists. According to H. C. Vedder, in A Short History of The Baptists, Chapter XIX “Baptists in the Colonies,” “…in all therefore, there were ten small churches, with probably not more than three hundred members, in the year 1700.”
Additionally, the relatively uncommon name, Dinah, is associated with both the family of William Rhodes of Oyster Bay and John Rhodes of Newport. William’s daughter, Dinah, is born 1694 while a child, also named Dinah Rhodes, is buried in the Newport Common Burial Grounds, with a burial record, “Dinah, daughter of John and Susanna d 15 July 1694, age about 2 years” (Common Ground Burial Records, Rhode Island Genealogical Register, Alden Beaman Vol. 11).
Finally, the architecture of the “Simon Pease House” (originally built by William Rhodes Sr.) may lend some clues as to the identity of its original owner. It is described here by Osmund Overby in “An Historical Report to the Newport Restoration Foundation” circa 1970: “Given the pattern of development along Clarke Street, it seems likely that Rhodes would have built about 1700, and this is consistent with the architectural character of the earliest part of the house. A house is mentioned in the next deed affecting this property, in 1722, when it is sold by Samuel Rhodes, apparently a descendent and heir….
“The house built by Rhodes probably consisted of just the present nearly square living room with the large fireplace at one end, the small entrance hall, the stairwell, and the large room (study) above. Earlier such houses were built with stone fireplaces and were known as “stone-enders”, because one end consisted of the stone chimney. Such houses were fairly common in Newport before 1700 and are thought to be derived from an existing style in Sussex, England. There now exists in Sussex, near the Kent border, a much larger house than this one, but its oldest portion, built about 1640, is almost exactly similar, even the dimensions being within a few inches the same.” (courtesy Newport Historical Society). This would support the argument that the original builder may have been from Chichester, Sussex, England.

 Rhodes of Great Houghton, Yorkshire

  There is a headstone in the Common Burial Ground, Newport, which reads, “John Rhodes, Esq. d.31 Mar 1746 age 75y 8 m, Grandson of Sir Godfrey Rhodes, Howden, Yorkshire.” The identity of this John Rhodes has been the subject of queries to the NEHGS Register as well as the Newport Historical Society for decades. Using the headstone information gives this John Rhodes a birth date of July or August, 1670. The inscription (presumably written by John Rhodes’s survivors) is incorrect in that Sir Godfrey Rhodes was never of Howden, Yorkshire, but in fact lived at Great Houghton, Yorkshire. This seems an understandable mistake, particularly if knowledge of this were passed down by word-of-mouth.
  There is a will, written in 1741 and proved in April 1746, which corresponds to this death. In his will, John Rhodes leaves his property equally to his sons, John and William Vienes Rhodes, and provides for his wife, Mary. His estate suggests wealth and lists numerous possessions including many books, gold and silver, as well as shoes and shoe-making tools (information provided through correspondence with Bert Lippencott, reference Librarian for Newport Historical Society, 2007).
  Besides the earlier John Rhodes mentioned above, a younger John Rhodes is mentioned numerous times in historical records. One early reference to John Rhodes, cordwainer, is the above mentioned deed from William Rhodes to his son, John, in 1700. Again named in the selling of the property in 1701, he is once more called a cordwainer, and named with a wife, Susannah (see above). These must be the parents of the child, Dinah, who died in 1694.
  In addition to this name appearing in Newport town meetings and juries throughout the early 1700’s, we find John mentioned in The Diary of John Comer from the collections of the Rhode Island Historical Society. In his account of the purchase of land for a church, Comer writes on January 23, 1706/7 “That James Clarke and John Rhodes above named were chosen by said purchasers to build a meeting house on said lands, who have accomplished the same, defraying the charge thereof with money gathered amongst the purchasers of the land whereon it now stands.” Also, according to Comer, both William and John Rhodes are listed among the purchasers.
  In 1721, William Claggett, also a member of the Second Baptist Church of Newport, published a lengthy account of internal conflict within the church which resulted in his, and others, leaving the church. His book is called, A Looking Glass for Elder Clarke and Elder Wightman and the Church Under Their Care. It was printed by “J. Rhodes, J. Rogers and W. Claggett and sold by J. Rhodes, Shopkeeper in Newport.” This book recounts an incident between John Rhodes, shopkeeper, and customer, Mary Austin, who felt she was deliberately cheated by John Rhodes. According to this account, he insisted that any over-charge was purely accidental on his part; however it would seem that this accusation, as well as John Rhodes’s disrespect for the elders of the church over the matter caused his “suspension from the church community.” These books clearly establish John Rhodes as both a shopkeeper and a Baptist.
  Another diary of the time was kept by John Rhodes himself. While the original diary does not seem to be still in existence, it has been quoted in at least two sources. The first reference refers to making shoes “…. August 20, 1730 Jeney made 2 pr of pattones of ye best sort and had don about 9 of ye clock. 1731, Jun ye 29 Jeny mad 2 pr of womens shoes on ye 8 and had done before night…” (Newport Historical Magazine, vol. I 1880-81 p. 234). A second reference to the diary is found in South County Studies: Of Some Eighteenth Century Persons, Places and Conditions in that Portion of Rhode Island Called Narragansett by Esther Carpenter (1924). Carpenter uses entries that mostly relate to medicine and home remedies, and one that also refers to Jeny, “July 1, 1725 My Jeny was sez’d with a fever and had a soar throat. I sent her to bed and gave her a dose of cold water, and she went to sleep…” (p.263). Both sources agree that the diary was begun by John Rhodes, shopkeeper (earliest entry in 1720) and continued by an unknown author in a different handwriting. The diary was eventually sold by John J. Rhodes, of Exeter, to Benjamin Waite Case, physican of Newport, in 1793 (Newport Historical Magazine vol. I).
  One final reference to John Rhodes comes from Cities in the Wilderness, the First Century of Urban Life in America 1625-1742 by Carl Bridenbaugh (1964). This quote comes from page 190: “Although Newport in 1708 was rumored to have a greater plenty of European goods than any place in New England, it probably possessed fewer shops than any other town, most of its retailing being still in the hands of merchants. Members of the gentry patronized John Rhodes’ shoe shop, Elizabeth Huling’s millinery shop and the emporium of Joseph Gardner near Carr’s Wharf.” So clearly the shop sold shoes.
  Charles W. Farnam, of Providence RI did rather extensive research into the Rhodes family of Newport during the 1960’s and 70’s. In an article published by The American Genealogist, “Rhodes Family of Newport, R.I.,” he cites the deed of 1700 from William Rhodes to his son John Rhodes, cordwainer. He further refers to the power of attorney given by William Rhodes Jr. of Newport to his father William Rhodes Sr., also of Newport, to draw the following conclusion: “If William Sr. was the father of John Rhodes (grandson of Sir Godfrey Rhodes) as the above evidence indicates, then William Jr. and John were brothers.” If we accept that Susannah was a first wife, and Mary the second wife of John Rhodes, all references found concerning him support Farnam’s conclusion.
  The will of Sir Godfrey R(h)odes of Great Houghton, Yorkshire was recently (2008) obtained through the Sheffield Archives of Sheffield, Yorkshire. The will was dated June 1, 1633 and proved at York, January 10, 1633/34. In the will, Sir Godfrey mentions four children: Elizabeth, Ann, Sir Edward his heir, and Godfrey. He leaves no property to his two daughters indicating that he has already provided for them. These daughters are Elizabeth Wentworth, wife of Thomas Wentworth, Earl of Strafford, and Ann Neville, wife of Sir John Neville of Mattersey, Kent.
The will provides Godfrey a sum of four hundred pounds, plus a yearly rent income of fifty pounds from property in Great Houghton, which Sir Edward is to administer. All the rest of his property (unspecified) is willed to Sir Edward. From this will, we may conclude that John Rhodes Esq. (and therefore his brother and father) must be descended from either Sir Edward (1601-1666) or Godfrey Rhodes (c.1605-1653), the only sons of Sir Godfrey Rhodes.
At this writing (February 2008) a copy of the will of Sir Edward has been located and sent for at the Borthwick Institute, University of York. To date, a copy of the will of Godfrey Rhodes has not been found.
The marriage of Sir Edward Rhodes to Mary Whichcote is well documented. Among other children, they had a son named William, born 1639. Through the death of his older brothers, this William ultimately became Sir Edward’s heir and so inherited Great Houghton, where he died in 1694, having never sailed to Rhode Island. So this cannot be William Sr. of Newport.
Edward’s brother, Godfrey, received a doctorate degree in divinity from Sidney Sussex, Cambridge, and served concurrently as treasurer of St. Patrick’s Cathedral, Dublin, and as Dean of Londonderry, Ireland. To date, no record of a marriage or birth of children has been located. No records survive this early from either Dublin or Londonderry, and since he lived in Dublin for most of his adult life, it is unlikely that records of any births can be located. There is a marriage recorded for a Godfrey Rhodes to Agnes Cartmel, in Wakefield, Yorkshire 1630. Godfrey attended school in Wakefield (not far from Great Houghton) prior to attending Cambridge, but there is no evidence that this marriage is Godfrey Rhodes, son of Sir Godfrey.
 Rhodes of Chichester, Sussex

There is no evidence that any of the Rhodes of Great Houghton were ever of Chichester, Sussex. One minor connection worth mentioning is that the family of Sir Godfrey’s first wife and mother to all the children, Ann Lewknor, was from Sussex. Her father, Sir Edward Lewknor, was born in Kingston-Bowsey, Sussex and left his son-in-law, Sir Godfrey, property there in his will proved 1601. If the property were kept in the family, this may have been a reason for family members to relocate to Sussex.
A review of the International Genealogical Index through family search.org shows a number of families of Rhodes in and around Chichester in the 1600’s. Of particular interest is a marriage between William Rhodes and Esther Reeves on August 31, 1669 in Amberley, Sussex (ten miles east of Chichester). A year later, on Aug 19, 1670 it appears this same couple (William and Esther Rhodes) were the parents of a son, John, baptized in Walberton, a parish less than six miles from Amberley. Both of these records have been re-examined (on microfilm) and verified by the West Sussex Genealogical Society (2005). Considering that parents were expected to have a child baptized within one month of birth, this christening could be significant, if John Rhodes were born in England.
To date, there have been no other birth/christening records found that relate specifically to this couple in Sussex. But this marriage date, as well as a birth date of 1670 for their first child, John, would be consistent with the birth of John Rhodes Esq. of Newport. To date, no other recorded birth or christening found in either England or Rhode Island would fit the information given on the headstone in Newport.

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