HENRY B. RHODES
The horologe of time has marked over fifty-one years since the date when Mr. Rhodes arrived in California, and thirty-two years were added to the cycle of the century while he maintained his connection with the interests of the Golden state. He was called to the home beyond in 1881, but is well remembered by many of the residents of Calaveras County as a man of sterling worth and high principle, reliable in business and honorable in all the walks of private life.
He was born in Virginia in February, 1812, and many of the better elements of his English and German ancestry were manifest in his career. The family which he represented was early founded in the Old Dominion. In the schools of his native town of Winchester he acquired his education, and having arrived at mature years, he wedded Miss Margaret Wise, a native of the Old Dominion and a daughter of one of the heroes of the Revolution. After their marriage they removed to Missouri and in 1849 Mr. Rhodes crossed the plains to California with oxen. In his neighborhood a company was formed, their train being composed of thirty wagons. While making the long journey across the almost interminable stretches of hot sand and over the mountains that impeded their progress toward the Pacific coast they met with no misfortunes, nor were they molested by the Indians. They arrived in Hangtown in September and Mr. Rhodes spent his first year in California in placer mining, principally at Wood’s Creek in Tuolumne County. Later he opened a store at Peoria Bar on the Stanislaus River, conducting the same until 1852, when he sold out and went to meet his wife and little son, W. H. H. Rhodes, their first born. The mother with her child was then en route for California, coming by way of the Isthmus of Panama. The reunion was a happy one and they located at Twenty-eight Mile House, where they conducted a hotel for some time. Subsequently they came to the ranch upon which Mr. Rhodes spent his remaining days and which is now owned and operated by his sons. The land was not then surveyed, but he secured six hundred acres and engaged in raising stock, hay and grain, and his financial resources increasing, he added to his farm until he became the owner of six thousand acres of land, one of the best ranches in this section of the state. He also owned realty in other places, being one of the most extensive landholders in central California. On his home farm he erected a very commodious frame residence and other needed buildings for the shelter of grain and stock; in fact, all modern improvements and accessories are there found. He has had as high as eight thousand sacks of wheat upon his place at one time, two hundred head of cattle, and from five to seven thousand head of sheep. His business, thus assuming mammoth proportions, was so capably conducted that he secured for his labors a very handsome financial return.
Mr. Rhodes was reared in the faith of the Methodist Church, and the highest principles always actuated his life. He was a valued member of the Masonic fraternity, in politics was a Democrat and was a liberal and public-spirited citizen, giving freely of his means to promote the best interests of the county in which he lived. His home was celebrated for its generous hospitality, the latchstring always hung out and the guests were ever sure of a hearty welcome.
By the marriage of Mr. and Mrs. Rhodes three sons and one daughter have been born, but only two of the number are living, namely: W. H. H. and C. W. Rhodes. The father departed this life in 1881 at the age of sixty-six years, and the mother was called to her final rest on the 29th of August, 1898, at the age of eighty-three years. Their surviving sons now own and operate the ranch. The elder, W. H. H. Rhodes, who has kindly furnished us the history of the family, was born in Missouri on the 11th of January, 1840, and was twelve years of age when he accompanied his mother to California. He was educated in the Methodist College at Vacaville, and since that time has given his attention exclusively to farming, being recognized as one of the most capable, prominent and successful agriculturists and stock raisers in this portion of the Pacific coast. He was married in 1876 to Miss Mary Baker, a native of Indiana and a daughter of Green Baker, who came to California at an early day. Their marriage was blessed with a son and daughter: Leonidas B. and Margaret. The mother died in 1891. She was a woman of natural refinement and character and of sterling worth, and in the community where she resided was greatly beloved so that her loss was deeply felt not only by her family but by many friends.
C. W. Rhodes was born on his father’s ranch in 1854, and is now his brother’s assistant and partner in carrying on farming and the stock raising industry. They annually produce large crops as the result of the practical business methods which they follow and the natural productiveness of the soil. They annually harvest and sell large amounts of hay and grain and keep on hand many hundred head of sheep and cattle. Their business policy commends them to the confidence and regard of all, for they are reliable in all transactions and have a strict regard for the ethics of commercial life. W. H. H. Rhodes is a prominent Mason, and having taken the symbolic degrees, became identified with the chapter and commandery of Stockton. For the past fifteen years he has been the secretary of the Keystone Lodge, No. 151, F. & A. M. of Milton. Both the brothers are identified with the Democratic Party and exercise their right of franchise in support of its men and measures.
Transcribed by Gerald Iaquinta.
© 2010 Gerald Iaquinta.