EMERSON RHODES, a respected and worthy citizen of Cushman and one of the prominent business men
of that village, being engaged in merchandise and the transfer of grain, was born in what is now
Moultrie County, Ill., June 29, 1837. He is a son of John and Rachel (Centony) [sic; should be “Senteny”]
Rhodes, the former being a native of North Carolina, born in 1808, and the latter being born in Kentucky,
in 1811. It was in 1829 when this couple were married in Indiana, and three years later they came to
Shelby County, Ill., in February, 1832, and became pioneers here. Both died in Moultrie County after
the division of counties was effected, the mother dying in 1879 and the father in 1887. This departed
couple were the parents of nine sons and one daughter, and five of these still survive. The children are,
namely: Margaret, now Mrs. Souther, resides in Texas; Levi died in 1862 from the effect of measles while
in the army, leaving a widow; William was twice married and lives at Anna, Ill.; our subject; one who
died in early infancy; Francis Marion died in 1862 while quite young; Loren and John who also died in
early childhood; Hilery is married and lives on a farm in this county and Alfred, who is married and
living in Bethany, Ill.
The gentleman of whom we write was united in the bonds of marriage upon New Year's Day, 1857, with Miss
Matilda Roney, who was born in this county in 1835. Her parents, Joseph and Elizabeth (Henderson) Roney,
were very early settlers of Illinois and both of them natives of Kentucky. Soon after marriage Mr.
Rhodes went South taking a tour for his health, and decided to make his home in Texas for seven years.
It was in 1866 when he returned to his native county and three years later he retuned to Texas, where
he remained until 1883. While a resident of the Lone Star State he was a stock- dealer most of the time,
and during a portion of his residence there he was on the Buffalo Range. In the fall of 1873 he built a
mill, Caddo Johnson, Texas, investing several thousand dollars in this enterprise, which resulted in
very serious embarrassment two years later by reason of its destruction by fire. He was a frontiersman
for many years and had frequent encounters with hostile Indians. Upon December 28, 1879, he had the
misfortune to lose his companion by death.
In the fall of 1883, Mr. Rhodes returned to his native county and married Maria Selby, who was born in
this county in 1842, and whose parents were pioneers in the early days and still reside here. Her
paternal grandfather, Joshua Selby, came to this county in 1830, and her parents, Nicholas and Sarah
(Goodman) Selby, were natives of Indiana. Immediately after his second marriage Mr. Rhodes returned to
Texas and brought his family to Moultrie County, where he has since resided.
The nine children by the first marriage are all living, namely: Theodore, Serilda J., Barton, Margaret,
John, William, Minnie, Charles and James. Five of them are residents of this county and four live in
Johnson, Tex. To the second marriage one child was born, October 12, 1885, Gracie Gertrude by name.
After his return to Illinois Mr. Rhodes was a farmer and operated a sawmill for about three years.
He then engaged in buying grain and afterward combined that business with merchandising. He carries
a full stock of general merchandise, groceries, provisions, farm machinery, hardware, etc. Mrs.
Rhodes has been the Postmistress at Cushman for about a year, and her husband was honored with the
Deputyship. This lady is a worthy and consistent member of the Christian Church. Mr. Rhodes is a
Democrat in politics and takes an active interest in political affairs, serving as School Director.
Portrait and Biographical Record of Shelby and Moultrie Counties, 1891 - p. 310/311
Transcription copyright 2003/2007, Moultrie County ILGenWeb/USGenWeb