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Chicago: S.J. Clarke Publishing Company

Page 625


A member of one of the best known families in Macoupin county, William W. Rhoads, of Brighton, has possessed excellent opportunities of becoming acquainted with business methods and has been highly successful in the conduct of financial affairs. He was born near Plainview, May 13, 1872, and is now entering upon the prime of life with prospects of advancement which point to large activities in years to come.

His parents are Isaiah and Mary A. (Meehan) Rhoads, the former of whom was born at Rhoads Point, now Medora, and the latter in Iowa. Josiah Rhoads, the great-grandfather of our subject and his brothers Rev. Jacob, John, Jesse, father of Colonel W. C. Rhoads, of Civil war fame, and Rev. Samuel Rhoads, were natives of Kentucky and the founders of the family in Macoupin county. They entered government land in Macoupin and Jersey counties, locating their homes across the line in Jersey county, and were the first settlers in that portion of the state now known as Jersey and Macoupin counties. The place of their location was afterward names Rhoads Point in their honor. The family has for many years been noted for its religious faith and has contributed eleven ministers to the Baptist church. Edmund and John V. Rhoads, uncles of our subject, were very liberal in their contributions to worthy causes and contributed thousands of dollars to religious and charitable work. John V. Rhoads was especially noted for his liberality and at one time had as his guests the entire Apple Creek Baptist Association, which consisted of several hundred persons.

Isaiah Rhoads, the father of our subject, was born in 1844 on the old Chisholm farm, just across the line separating Macoupin from Jersey county. This place was a part of the original Rhoads homestead. The family acquired many hundred acres of land just north of Rhoads Point and there established the family home, when Isaiah was in his early boyhood. The latter engaged in farming and about 1900 removed to Granite City in order to carry forward under more favorable conditions the education of his children. He and his wife are now living at that place. They are both members of the Baptist church and have been prominent factors in the erection of the new church built at Granite City.

Amidst the environment of country life William W. Rhoads spent his youthful days. His attendance at school was limited to about two years as the family was not in flourishing financial circumstances and his services were needed upon the home farm as soon as he was tall enough to handle a hoe or guide a plow. Through an innate perseverance he has overcome the early obstacles to intellectual advancement and by reading and study has become one of the best informed men in the community. He received only a few lessons in grammar and physiology at school but he became a teacher and in the course of an experience of three years as a schoolmaster proved himself to be quite proficient in those two branches. He worked as a farm laborer at fourteen dollars per month, paying seventy-five cents per month for laundry. When it was necessary for him to practice rigid economy he did not hesitate to do so, and upon arriving at the age of twenty-nine years he entered the timber business, with which he has ever since been connected, being now one of the large operators in this line. In order to give an idea of the magnitude upon which he carries forward his work it may be stated that he has furnished mining timbers for seventy-five mines and recently sold one million square feet of lumber. He is the owner of extensive timber land in five counties of the state and also conducts sawmills. Since 1903 he has maintained his business headquarters at Brighton.

On February 14, 1910, Mr. Rhoads was married to Miss Alice T. Moores, a daughter of Frank and Mertie (Kelsey) Moores, the latter being the eldest daughter of John Kelsey, the pioneer settler of the Kelsey family in Brighton township. Mrs. Rhoads was christened in the Episcopal church but attends the Methodist Episcopal church. Politically Mr. Rhoads is a stanch supporter of the democratic party and ever since he reached voting age has been very active in the advancement of its interests. He was elected clerk of Polk township at the age of twenty-one and has frequently been reelected to the office. Since 1904 he has been a member of the county board of supervisors, with the exception of one term when he was defeated. This is the only defeat he has ever experienced in a political campaign, but at one time was given a tie vote when a candidate for clerk of Polk township. He has served as a delegate or alternate to the county conventions of the party ever since he reached his majority and has been sent to the state convention as a delegate many times, having also occupied a chair as alternate at the national convention.

Although Mr. Rhoads is not a member of any religious denomination he is a teacher in a Sabbath school and has been connected with Sabbath school and church work for the past fifteen years. He is a sincere believer in fraternal organizations and is a member of Hibbard Lodge, No. 249, A.F. & A.M.; Brighton Lodge No. 366, I.O.O.F.; and of the Encampment, being also connected with Plainview Camp, No. 1365, M.W.A. he has passed through all the chairs in the latter organization and has also filled all the chairs in the subordinate lodge of Odd Fellows, being at the present time acting past grand and secretary of the lodge. He has through life exhibited the qualities of perseverance, integrity and adherence to principles of truth and justice which have been leading characteristics of the honored family of which he is a representative. He has made friends wherever his name is known and, in judging by what he has accomplished, there are large possibilities before him in years to come. he is gifted with sound business judgment and as his methods are eminently sane and practical he has apparently built upon a safe and secure foundation. His friends, who are many, have the utmost confidence in his continued advancement.

1911 Index
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