The Back Rhodes of Our Genealogy

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From the book entitled: Genealogical and Personal Memoirs Relating to the Families of the State of Massachusetts
By: William Richard Cutter
Publisher: Lewis Historical Publishing Company,; 1910. Page 193-194

(The Rhodes Line).

Rhodes is an island in the Mediterranean, also a town in Guienne, France. The Rhodes are a very ancient and respectable family of Norman extraction, and the first one we come to in history is William de Rhodes who accompanied Richard I to Palestine in one of the crusades. There was a Rhodes a pilot with Sebastian Cabot in his initial trip to America, and from him the little state of Rhode Island was named, small territorially but immense in its influence over commerce and manufacturing. The eminent historian, James F. Rhodes, is of this line.

(I) We begin our table with Zachariah Rhodes, who was born in England in 1603. He was first of Rehoboth, Rhode Island, but later removed to Providence. July 3, 1644, he "with twenty nine others agreed to bind themselves together under a government of mine persons chosen from the inhabitants of Seacunk.'' August 21, 1648, he was one of a committee sent to Massachusetts to ascertain the damage done to Pomham of Warwicke and to demand redress for him. He was of those from Pawtuxet who asked to be dismissed from the government of Massachusetts, June i, 1658. He was a commissioner for several years and in 1663 was appointed to treat with the Indians regarding a consideration for their lands. He was on the committee who run the boundary line between Rhode Island and Plymouth Colony, also a deputy and town councellor. He was imprisoned a short time in jail in Boston for openly remarking, "the court has naught to do in matters of religion."

(II) John, son of Zachariah Rhodes, was born in Providence in 1668, died at Warwicke, August 14, 1716. He was a soldier in King Philip's war, receiving his share of the Indian captives. He was a man of some parts and possessed of legal knowledge; he was several years attorney general of Rhode Island and was clerk of the assembly. He married Waite, daughter of Resolved and Mercy (Williams) Waterman, February 12, 1685. She died subsequent to 1712. The above Mercy (Williams) Waterman was a daughter of the celebrated Roger Williams.

(III) William, son of John and Waite (Waterman) Rhodes, was born in Warwicke, July 14, 1695. He was chosen a deputy. His will was made July 13, 1772. He married, December 28, 1722, Mary Sheldon, of Providence. Children: William, Joseph, Waitestill, Nehemiah and Eunice.

(IV) Captain William (2), son of William (i) and Mary (Sheldon) Rhodes, was born in Providence, died in Burrillville, Rhode Island, June 30, 1823. He was a cooper and worked at his trade in the West Indies. He made frequent trips there and being a wideawake fellow, anxious to learn, and of an inquisitive disposition, he thus acquired some knowledge of navigation. In 1775 two vessels were fitted out, one of which was commanded' by Captain John Grimes with William Rhodes as lieutenant. The nautical information he had gleaned on his West Indies trips now stood him and his government in good stead. In August, 1776, he was granted letters of marque by the Rhode Island government. He was in command of the sloop "Montgomery," ten guns, ten swivels, and manned by sixty seamen engaged in privateering. This vessel overhauled English ships on their way from the West Indies, laden with sugar and molasses, and with the prizes thus secured he made what was then a comfortable fortune. He sold his prizes for continental money which became through the depreciation worthless. His wife advised him to invest in Providence real estate. This was a case where foresight of a woman was worth heeding, and William observed that his wife was wiser than he. At the end of hostilities he bought land at Rhodesville since called Harrisville, now Burrillville, settling down to the less exciting arts of peace. He builded himself a home in which he lived quietly after his stormy career. He was a good horseback rider and made trips to South Carolina in that manner where he had investments. He was a man of remarkable agility and even in his later years could cover thirty feet in three leaps. He married Elizabeth, daughter of Richard and Elizabeth (Arnold) Fenner. She died October 2, 1824, in her eighty-first year. Children: Elizabeth, Richard (mentioned below), Fenner, and William, who died August 15, 1799, at Newbern, North Carolina.

(V) Captain Richard, eldest son of Captain William (2) and Elizabeth (Fenner) Rhodes, was born in Providence, December 15, 1776, died at North Scituate in 1845. He was a revolutionary soldier in Captain Dexter's

company, Colonel Green's regiment. He was a sea captain. His farm was situated half-way between Scituate and North Scituate and is known as the Butler farm, now occupied by Arthur Steer. Richard, both his wives, and the younger children are buried there and their tombstones are in a fair state of preservation. He married Abigail (surname unknown), who died in 1797. His second wife was Tabitha, daughter of John Harris. By his first wife was born Richard and Sarah, both of whom died young. Tabitha (Harris) Rhodes was the mother of Fenner (died early), Thomas H., George A. (twins), Eliza, Celia Antis, Mary, Patience, Tabitha, Maria N., Waite H., Richard and Emeline (died in infancy). Celia Antis married Alpheus Hawkins and became the mother of Richard Fenner Hawkins, herein mentioned.

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