Biographical Sketches of Leading Citizens
Lawrence County Pennsylvania 1897


[p. 236] an engineer on the Pennsylvania R. R., living at Mahoningtown, was born in that borough, April 21, 1859. He is a son of David and Helen M. (Shafer) Rhodes, and a grandson of Solomon and Rebecca (Bender) Rhodes. Rebecca Bender was born in Lancaster Co., Pa., July 10, 1810, and married her husband Nov. 11, 1828; she bore her husband eight children; she was a daughter of David Bender, who moved from Lancaster County to Lawrence County, where he bought a farm near Mahoningtown and was engaged in farming until his death at the age of seventy. Solomon Rhodes was born in York Co., Pa., Jan. 22, 1801, and in early life was a miller, but later in life owned and operated a farm. He was a soldier of the War of 1812, and in 1818 crossed the mountains and became a resident of Lawrence County, buying a farm in North Beaver township, where he lived until his death at the age of sixty-two years.

David Rhodes lived in Lancaster County until thirteen years of age, when the family came to Beaver (now Lawrence) County. At the age of eighteen he learned the carpenter's trade, and in subsequent years became one of the most extensive contractors and builders in the borough of Mahoningtown, being associated with his brothers in building at least one-half of the houses under construction during the period of their activity. At the time of the building of the New Castle & Beaver Valley R. R., he was appointed superintendent of construction, and built the depots along the line of the road. He is a stanch Republican, and much interested in local politics. He and his wife are members in good standing of the Methodist Church. They were joined in marriage June 9, 1858. She was a daughter of Peter and Sarah (Cameron) Shafer, the latter of Scotch-Irish descent and a daughter of Allan and Elizabeth Cameron. Peter Shafer, who was a son of Christopher and Elizabeth Shafer, lived to attain the age of eighty-two years, dying in 1884. All of David Rhodes' four sons are interested in railroad work; they are: Irwin, the subject of this sketch Peter S., a train dispatcher for the Pennsylvania R. R., living at Mahoningtown, whose life history appears on another page; Charles W., a baggage-master, living in Mahoningtown; and David D., who is a fireman with headquarters at home in Mahoningtown.

Irwin Rhodes attended the schools of Mahoningtown borough until he was fourteen years of age, when he began work in a quarry, where he remained four or five years. He then secured a position in Wallace's mill, where he was employed two years, and for the five succeeding years worked in Raney's mill. After a short time with his father in carpentry work, he started out on his railroad career, beginning at the bottom of the ladder as a section-hand, and was then on a gravel-train for a year. He next became a brakeman, and after three years became a fireman, serving in that capacity for two years and three months, and being rewarded for faithful and continuous service by being appointed an engineer Dec. 6, 1888.

He was married, June 29, 1881, in Mahoningtown, to Emma Pitzer, a native of Illinois, and a daughter of Henry and Caroline (Sutton) Pitzer; Henry Pitzer was a son of John and Elizabeth (Ginter) Pitzer. Two children are the fruit of our subject's marriage: Clarence Frisbee, deceased; and David Ray. Mr. and Mrs. Rhodes are members of the M. E. Church of Mahoningtown. Mr. Rhodes is a Republican in politics, and is a member of the Volunteer Relief Corps of the Pennsylvania Co.'s lines.

Biographical Sketches of Leading Citizens Lawrence County Pennsylvania
Biographical Publishing Company, Buffalo, N.Y., 1897

Previous Biography | Table of Contents | Next Biography
Explanation/Caution | Lawrence Co. Maps | Lawrence Co. Histories
Updated: 14 May 2001