Biographical Sketches of Leading Citizens
Lawrence County Pennsylvania 1897


[p. 589] a prominent citizen and farmer of Hickory township, although now partially retired from active agricultural work, was born in Mifflin township, Allegheny County, Jan. 5, 1829, and is a son of Henry and Lydia (Brown) Rhodes, both of whom were born in Allegheny County.

The Rhodes family is of German descent, and the first of this branch of the family known to have settled in the United States was one Conrad Rhodes, the grandfather of J. Wesley, who came to America about 1788, and settled in the vicinity of Pittsburg on the Monongahela River. He was a pioneer among the permanent settlers of that part of the State; he purchased a large tract of undeveloped wilderness, which he cleared and successfully engaged in its culture, gathering together considerable wealth for those days, and being known as a generally prosperous man; the property has since revealed rich deposits of coal, which have been worked to good advantage by succeeding owners. He married, while still a resident of the Fatherland, a Miss Pence, who was also of German parentage, and of the family they reared, Henry, the father of our subject, was one of the youngest. They lived an upright, Christian life, in accordance with the spiritual teachings of the Presbyterian Church, of which they were devout members.

Henry Rhodes was educated in the district schools of Allegheny County, and when a young man started out for himself in life's battle as the proprietor and manager of a tavern in Washington Co., Pa. Later on he purchased a farm, which he carried on for a number of years until about 1832, when he purchased the farm, a part of which is now owned and operated by his son, J. Wesley. The remainder of the active years of his life were spent in agricultural pursuits with so marked success that he was included among the foremost men of his township. His political allegiance was always cheerfully given to the Whig party. He married a daughter of Trustrem Brown, and to them were born the following children: John; Sarah; David; Conrad; Rachael; Henry H.; Samuel, deceased; Thomas; Catherine; J. Wesley; and one that died in infancy. Our subject's father lived until 1834, when he was removed from the midst of his sorrowing family by the cruel hand of Death at the age of forty-five years. Mrs. Rhodes, after her husband's death, having a large family of small children to support and educate, married Robert Sample, a Presbyterian clergyman, who was a pioneer of that faith in this part of Pennsylvania. Her death finally took place in 1879, when she had rounded out a well-spent life of eighty-four years.

J. Wesley Rhodes, after completing a district school education in the schools of Neshannock township, turned his attention to agricultural pursuits, and farming, in connection with mining coal, has been his chief occupation throughout the greater part of his life. He has lived ever since 1832 on the farm, which was purchased by his father, until 1887, when he moved to property near, but still owning the farm; on this farm there is a valuable quarry, leased to the Atlantic Iron & Steel Co., and extensively worked by them, the product being used as a flux in the manufacture of steel. Mr. Rhodes is now living in partial retirement, not paying so much personal attention to the agricultural operations on his farm as in years past when his health would have better permitted it, but rather living in peace and plenty, enjoying the fruits of many years of toil, and the friendship of his scores of intimate acquaintances, by whom he is held in the highest esteem and regard.

It was in 1857 that his marriage with Louisa Thomas, grandmother of Morgan Thomas of New Castle, Pa., was solemnized, and this union has been blessed with seven children; the five of whom are living are: Charles W., who martied Agnes Aiken; Mary, who married Robert Thompson of Hickory township; Sarah E., who became the wife of William Brenneman of Scott township; Fred L.; and Walter W. Mr. Rhodes is a Republican in his political affiliations, and has been honored with a place on the school board, but this was only at the solicitations of his friends who knew with what credit he could serve the township, for he is naturally a home man, and desires nothing better than to entertain his friends at his own fireside, and dislikes all forms of notoriety. The family are regular attendants of the United Presbyterian Church and different members of the household may be found in responsible positions in the various church societies.

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

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