Biographical Sketches of Leading Citizens
Lawrence County Pennsylvania 1897


[p. 45] is a train dispatcher of the Pennsylvania R. R., and lives at Mahoningtown, and his biography might be entitled "The History of a Successful Young Man," for he has risen to his present position from the post of telegraph operator.

Mr. Rhodes is a son of David and Helen M. (Shaffer) Rhodes, his mother being a daughter of Peter and Sarah (Cameron) Shaffer, the latter of Scotch-Irish descent. His maternal grandfather, Peter Shaffer, was a native of Pennsylvania, and tilled the soil in that State until his death at the age of seventy-eight.

David Rhodes, the father of the young man whose history it is our purpose to chronicle, was also a native of the Keystone State, his home being east of the mountains in early childhood until his father, Solomon Rhodes, removed to Mahoningtown, and, following the footsteps of his forefathers, secured his living from the earth by farming. Rebecca Bender was the maiden name of David Rhodes' mother. During his period of activity, David was a carpenter and builder, as he possessed more talent for construction than could be of advantage on a farm. Up to the date of his withdrawal from active labor, more than half of the buildings in the borough had been planned and erected by him and his brothers. At the time of the building of the New Castle and Beaver Valley R. R., a first superintendent of construction was appointed, and the man chosen to fill that position was Mr. Rhodes, whose work was to build depots along the line of the railroad. Mr. Rhodes has been a very busy man, but has found time to take an active interest in politics as a stanch Republican. He and his good wife are members of the M. E. Church, and beside his helpful work in the church, he did valuable service for the borough of Mahoningtown as one of the six members of its first council. He is the proud father of four sons, all of whom are emulating his example, and identifying themselves with railroad work. Irwin is an engineer on the Pennsylvania R. R., and lives in Mahoningtown. Peter S., about whom we will speak a little further on, is a train dispatcher for the same road. Charles W. is a baggage-master and lives in Mahoningtown. David D. is a fireman with headquarters at home in Mahoningtown.

Peter S. Rhodes has been referred to as a young man, and he is such in truth, for he was born June 10, 1864. His boyhood days were devoted, as is customary, to acquiring an education in the common schools, and at the age of seventeen years he graduated from the high school of New Castle, and soon after was ready to begin his career. He took up telegraphy in the railway station at home, and under the tutelage of S. G. Blanchard, he soon proved that he had the quick hand and the cool, steady brain of a good operator. When he had become proficient, he entered the employ of the P. & L. E. R. R., and was put in charge of the station at Davis Island Dam. Other places where he was sent for varying periods are Hazelton, Fallstown, and New Castle junction. At the last place, he left the service of the railroad company and accepted a position with the Western Union Telegraph Co. at New Castle. In 1882, his was the good fortune to be offered a situation in the office of the train dispatcher at Youngstown, Ohio, where he seized every chance of improvement, and was rewarded for his efforts in the short space of six months by being appointed extra dispatcher. He has more than fulfilled the hopes of his friends by continuing in the same place for twelve years.

Mr. Rhodes chose for his wife a lady who was a native of New Castle, Pa., the daughter of Levi D. and Ella (Werner) Durban, Lillian D., and she is the mother of two boys—Levi Durban and Donald Newell Rhodes. Mr. Rhodes and family are earnest workers in the Presbyterian Church, to which they belong. Politically, Mr. Rhodes' sympathies are Republican, and in 1897 he was honored by an election to the presidency of the borough council. He is a member of the social orders: Mahoning Lodge, No. 243, F. & A. M. of New Castle; and Amazon Lodge, Knights of Pythias, of Mahoningtown. He has a pleasant and commodious home on Railroad Street, where his many friends are always welcome, and sure to be entertained in a royal manner.

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

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