given by Ellen Rosa, Western Rhoads Family Historian, on April 21, 2002 at the
Rhoads Family Cemetery Dedication Lemoore, California
I've come today to honor the pioneers that were buried here, and
to honor you living, caring people who have gathered here.
I wish to thank the members of the Lower Kings River Historical
Society who have made my dream come true of making this little cemetery
into the proper shrine in memory of the pioneers buried here.
These pioneers are our California historic treasures.
I wish to express my sincere appreciation to the members of the
Buckner family who have preserved and cared for the Dan Rhoads' adobe
for all these years. Ti
took me some time to get it straight in my head that Buckner family
taking care of this museum are not Rhoadses.
There was once a Rhoads married to a Buckner, but these Buckners
are related to the Buckner side of that family.
God bless them for keeping the adobe for posterity so we can
visit it now.
You are probably wondering why a stranger has come into your
midst trying to tell you about your people.
They are my people too. I
am descended from Daniel's younger sister Catherine Foster Rhoads, and
the cousin who came with me today (Jessie) is descended from Sarah
Rhoads, also a younger sister of Daniel.
Our mothers Kittie and Jessie Sheldon visited and kept contact
with Dr. Earl Rhoads and his sister Ethel Rhoads Farmer, and all of
their cousins descending from Daniel Rhoads.
William Baldwin Rhoads was a twin brother of Sarah Rhoads,
Grandmother of Jessie Grimshaw Saner.
Jessie's father was one of Sarah Rhoads's sons, Frederick M.
Grimshaw. Carrie Lowry
Dickerson and her daughter Lucille Dickenson Cox, and her daughter,
Frances Cox Wing have been a great source of information about Christina
Forster Patterson's descendants who have lived and died in Kings Co.
I have corresponded with Charles Granville Follett, Frances Lane
Willianson, Alice Clawson, Sarah Phillips Rassier, Helen Phillips Barns,
George W. White, Ruth Villi, Naomi Floyd and several other directly
giving me family history. Dan
and Amanda's letters to Jessie Esrey in Missouri and pages of
information from the Esrey book have helped me weave the story of the
Daniel Rhoads was born in Illinois, Dec. 7, 1821; Amanda was also
born in Illinois four years later, Feb 22, 1825.
The Rhoads, Esreys, and some of the Forsters went from Kentucky
to Illinois/Iowa in 1820. Several
Forster sisters married Parkers and
to what became Illinois and Iowa-- the others followed.
Thomas Rhoads and Elizabeth Forster married in Kentucky in 1813
and had several children that died before they had Polly and Forster
were born. John P. Rhoads
and his twin Nancy were also born in Kentucky, in October of 1818.
Thomas and his brother Jacob moved to Illinois, across the river
from the Parkers while that area was still a big territory.
Daniel and Amanda grew up in Illinois near each other, and
married when Dan was 22 and Amanda was 18 years old, Oct. 5, 1843.
A baby named Alexander was born to them in 1845.
Evidently this baby did not live more than 2 years.
I find no record of him when his brother " Jessie Esrey
Rhoads was born in California Nov. 4, 1847.
Little " Jessie" died April 28, 1848.
In Amanda's letter to her father June 24, 1849 she states, "
We call our new baby Alexander. "
????? Do we have 2 Alexanders in our cemeteries in Slough House
besides Little Jessie? ?????
Another letter states that Amanda was 4 months pregnant in 1846?
We shall go back to Illinois and 1845.
I have been told that Daniel was one of the first and most
interested of the Rhoads family in going to California.
At least a year and half went into planning and preparing for the
trip to California. Daniel,
Amanda, Baby Alexander Rhoads and James, Justin and Jonathan Esrey,
Amanda's brothers, came as one family unit with one wagon.
I don't know how many horses, oxen, etch.
They started out with 51 inter-related family member left
Missouri together April 26, 1846. 14
were brothers and sisters, sons and daughters of Thomas and Elizabeth
All the families who made up the Rhoads and Donner Party wagon
trains gathered at the same place on the west side of the Missouri
River, before they started out on the trail to Oregon and California.
All the children played together and everyone got acquainted.
George Donner asked Thomas Rhoads if Thomas would be, "Wagon
Master" for his group. Thomas
Rhoads told him, " No, I have 51 people in my own family group to
try to keep together, I can not handle anymore."
The people in the Rhoads family group thought everyone camped
there were Donners, so after that on the trail, whenever they saw anyone
who was camped there, they called them Donners.
This fact has caused us historians a lot of confusion!!!!!!
Many of the Rhoads family members said that we were part of the
Donner Party but we were not. We
were 2 weeks ahead of them all the way.
Thomas's sons helped rescue the Donner Party members, John and
Daniel going on the rescue trips. The
rest helped prepare the food and hides used for snowshoes, etc. from
Jan. to the end of March 1847. Daniel
injured his hand on the trip to California.
The wound became infected and Daniel was in no condition to go on
the rescue mission, but he went to on the 1st mission and
was, "as weak as the Donners" when he reached the stranded
people. He gave this
information to Bancroft later. John
went on 3 rescue missions, got pneumonia, and was wakened the rest of
his life. He died very
The Rhoads family party split west of Fort Bridger.
Thos. Sr., Elizabeth, Lucinda, Caleb, & 2 of Forster Rhoads
little daughters, and Polly Rhoads & her husband Turner Elder and
their 4 children and Jonathan & Christina Forster Patterson and
their 9 children joined the Grover family party and went south down
Webber Canyon in Utah, rested 10 days on the south end of the Great Salt
Lake. They then went west
across the desert to the Ruby Mt. Then
Northwest to Wells, Nev., then West on the Humbolt River on the Ca.
Trail the rest of the Rhoads family Party traveled the Oregon- Ca. Trail
into Fort Hall, then turned South on the Mary's River, etc.
I have searched and researched these two parts of the Rhoads
family trip west trying to find out which way Catherine came.
I did not know for sure until a year ago when Bernie Rhoades
found Catherine's initials on a rock on the Northern route.
This sounds like this is going to be a long winded speech- sorry
about that! To tell Dan's
story I have to tell part of the story of the rest of the family.
John and Dan came out of the mountains Oct. 1, 1846.
John and Daniel worked for ranchers on the North side of the
American River between Johnson Ranch and Sutter's Fort, from Nov. 1846
to Aug. 1847. The Esrey
boys stayed with Amanda and Daniel.
John's brothers-in-laws, Robert and Mathew Fannin, cousin Joe
House and brother, Thos. Rhoads, Jr. joined the "army" to
fight against Mexico. Father
Thomas, Elizabeth and the rest of the family group traveled south to
Sutter's Fort. Sutter sent
the " Rest of the Family" to Dry Creek where Galt is now
Mother Rhoads and Mrs. Powell discovered gold in Dry Creek when
they did their laundry. The
gold discovery played an important part of the lives of all the Rhoadses.
The gold was discovered when the "highwater" receded
and women saw the creek bottom. Thomas
took a sample to Sutter, told him to mine all he wanted, bring a share
to him and keep quiet. This
the Rhoads family did. Gold
was discovered at Marshall's Mill and publicized in early 1848.
Then everything went crazy in California.
Catherine and Sarah married two owners of the Sheldon Grant in
March of 1847. Thomas'
son-in-law, Jared Dixon Sheldon, husband of Catherine, gave Thomas a
piece of land on his grant. Thomas
and his single sons looked around for another source of gold and found a
ranch source southeast of the present town of Folsom.
I don't think they mined at Mormon Island at all.
Daniel may have- Daniel tithed some gold to San Brannan,
Brannan collected tithes for the Mormon Church from everyone who
mined at Mormon Island. The
Rhoads men mined at "Rhoads Diggings".
That is where all their gold came from.
Daniel started mining as soon as he could after finishing his
work for Sinclair. He
filled the false bottom of his wagon with gold dust.
This gold he took to Gilroy and bought land and cattle and stated
his empire in California.
During his stay in Sacramento Co. 1847-1850.
Amanda bore and buried 2 baby boys.
Daniel, Amanda, the Esrey boys and the 2 House boys moved to
Gilroy and were living there when their baby girl Sarah, was born March
Thomas Rhoads, the two younger children, Lucinda and Caleb &
granddaughters, daughters of Forster Rhoads went back to Missouri in
Brothers George and Henry Rhoads worked for Catherine's husband,
Jared D. Sheldon, and Sarah's husband, William Daylor, until both of
these men died in 1850 and 1851.
John's wife, Matilda Fanning Rhoads, died Feb. 15, 1852.
It was Matilda's wish that her little ones be taken to Amanda to
raise. John took Mathew,
aged 7 years, Andrew Jackson, and James K. Polk Rhoads, aged 4 years.
And baby William, 3 mos. Old and 12 yr. Old Mary Elizabeth to Gilroy to
Daniel and Amanda. Mary
Elizabeth was supposed to help Mandy take care of the babies.
John married again in 1852, and went to Gilroy and brought home
little William. The others
stayed with Dan and Amanda.
June 12, 1853 baby Mary was born.
Dan's brother, Thos. Jr. Rhoads went back to Missouri as soon as
he was released from his army service.
He was on his way back to Ca. in 1853, with his wife, Mary
Mathews Rhoads, their baby, Josephine, his sister-in-law, Sarah Mathews
and a wagon train, when he drowned in the Humboldt River about 100 miles
east of the "The Sink". Sarah,
Mary, and Josephine came on to Ca. with the wagon train and went to
Gilroy and lived with Dan and Amanda the rest of the year.
Amanda was like mother hen- she spread out her arms like a mother
hen spreads her wings over all who were in need of help.
Dan's family was her family and she loved everybody and everybody
loved her. There were 1st
cousins. Elizabeth and
Hannah Forster were sisters. Mary
Elizabeth Rhoads, John's daughter, married when she was 14, and moved
back to the Cosumnes River area.
Within a couple of years, Sarah Mathews married Dan's brother,
George, and moved out. Mary
Mathews Rhoads married Dorson Willson and moved into " Old
Gilroy" with her daughter Josephine.
Henry Rhoads married Jane Goode a neighbor to John Roads, across
the Cosumnes River. They
moved to the Lemoore, Hanford area.
George and Sarah also moved to Kings Co. John William Rhoads was
born to Dan and Amanda in 1856. Daniel
followed in 1858.
A severe drought in
California caused Dan to look for another place to live.
I don't know the year George and Henry moved to Kings. Co.
It could have been them who influenced Dan to look toward Kings
Co. for a place to Live. George
and Sarah's 1st baby-Jasper- was born in 1857.
Henry and Jane's baby Ellen was about the same time.
Dan and Amanda's baby Elvira was born in San Jose in 1863.
This tells me that Amanda and the children stayed din San Jose
while Dan and the other men searched for another place to settle.
Granville Follett told me that Dan did not move into the adobe
until 1866. The plaque says
Elvire was born in San Jose in 1863.
Young Daniel drowned in the Kings River in 1864.
The family that moved into the adobe was: children of Dan Amanda:
Sarah, Mary, John Elvira and perhaps Daniel; John's children; Mathew,
Andrew Jackson, and James K. Polk Rhoads.
The adult Rhoads brothers: William, Isaac, Foster: and the three
Esrey brothers, James, Justin and Jonathan.
The House cousins Joe and Ezekiel remained in Gilroy.
The Rhoads School was made either before they moved in or soon
My story of the family has brought Daniel and Amanda to the year
1866. I will turn their
story over to descendants of Dan and Amanda with a few minutes after
I've told you what I have learned about the rest of the people buried
William Baldwin Rhoads, brother of Daniel, twin of Sarah Rhoads
live here, worked here and died here of pneumonia Jan. 4, 1898.
His twin, Sarah caught the pneumonia from him and died here of
pneumonia Jan. 11, 1898. Catherine
and Sarah came to Lemoore to see their sick brother.
Catherine took Sarah's body back by train to Stockton where her
son Fredrick met the train. She
is buried in the Grimshaw plot in the Slough House Pioneer Cemetery.
Justin Esrey, brother of Amanda lived here, worked here and died
here June 5, 1900. Justin
Esrey and William Rhoads did not marry.
Schooler Winsett: wife of
Robert Winsett: mother of Sarah Ann, Nicholas, Thomas E. and Dennis
"Denny" Winsett. Grandmother
of Chas. Grandville Follett. Born in Tennessee Sept. 10, 1813.
died in Lemoore Nov. 5, 1899.
Winsett: ? Thomas Winsett, son of Robert and Nancy died Nov. 5, 1901,
Nicholas and his wife Mary Shackleford Winsett are here.
Sara Rhoads Phillips: oldest daughter of Dan and Amanda.
Sara grew up here at the adobe.
She married John Fisher Phillips.
They lived and worked here and raised 7 children.
Four are buried here. They
are; Jessie Daniel, James Thomas, Rose Bell, and Edward.
James Thomas Phillips wife, Mary L. Tobin and their baby Gideon
Tobin Phillips, along with Mary's children by a former marriage, Sarah
and Gideon Tobin.
Thomas Benjamin Rhoads: son of George and Sarah Rhoads died when
less than 2 years of age.
My blessings on all gathered here- alive and those who have
already passed over.
Elizabeth Rhoads is not here, she is in the Lemoore Cem. Buried beside
her best friend Jan Goode Rhoads- Henry Rhoads wife.
Granville Follett found her grave there with tombstone.