No compendium such as the province of this work defines in its essential
limitations will serve to present in detail the interesting life career of
the subject of this sketch who is well known in Marion county, where he has
long maintained his home, being now a retired railroad man and a leading
member of the Free and Accepted Masons, No. 101 a man who is entitled to the
respect of his fellow men owing to the well ordered life he has led.
Harry L. Rhodes was born at Port Jarvis, Orange county, New York, May 24, 1829, the son of Simeon and Jane (McDaniels) Rhodes, the latter of Scotch-Irish ancestry, the former a native of New York and of German ancestry. Two children were born to them, Henry L., our subject, being the oldest of the two. When eight years old our subject went on the tow path where he remained for ten years. When eighteen years old he was captain of a boat on the Erie canal. After he entered the service of the Erie Railroad which was taking the place of the boat, and was afterward conductor for seven years on the New York & Erie Railroad. In April, 1856, he came to Centralia and was conductor on the Illinois Central Railroad for a period of thirty-four years, then retiring to private life. He gave these roads the very best of service and was regarded by them as among their best and most trusted employes. By his economy and industry and his judicious investments, he acquired a handsome competence and is now considered one of the wellto-do men of Centralia, where he has a good home, nicely and comfortably furnished. His success has been worthy his honorable business career.
Henry L. Rhodes married in Port Jarvis, New York, in 1853, to Sarah E. Smith, and the following children have been born to this union: George H.; Libbie is the wife of B. F. Statlemeyer, of St. Louis; William A. died in St. Paul, Minnesota, when twenty-three years old.
Our subject came to Illinois in 1856 and began railroading as a passenger conductor on the Illinois Central, where he remained for a period of forty-three years. He was also train master for six years.
Having ever taken considerable interest in the development of Marion county in all lines, especially politically, he was elected Mayor of Centralia which office he very ably and acceptably filled for two terms. He exercises the franchise of men and measures of the Republican party, and he feels a deep interest in all political affairs and is well informed on all the leading issues of the day. He has been a frequent delegate to the county, congressional and state conventions, and in 1896 was a delegate to the Republican National Convention.
Mr. and Mrs. Rhodes attend the Presbyterian church at Centralia, which they liberally support. Mr. Rhodes is a Master Mason, having filled all the stations in the local Blue Lodge. He was made mark master, past master, most excellent master and Royal Arch Mason of No. 93; then council of No. 28, having filled the highest offices, of these illustrious masters for five years. He went to the Commandery and served six terms as eminent commandery of the Scottish Rite, thirty-third degree, and as a life member served as sovereign grand and inspection general in the thirty-third and last degree. Mr. Rhodes is one of Centralia's best known men.
Extracted 27 May 2019 by Norma Hass from 1909 Biographical and Reminiscent History of Richland, Clay and Marion Counties, Illinois, pages 556-557.