Lee County Biography

Simon Rhodes
South Dixon Township


No member of the farming community of this county is more worthy of representation on these pages than Mr. Rhodes, who has shown the value of his citizenship, as an intelligent and practical farmer; by helping in the great work of carrying on the agricultural industries for which this State is noted; and as a patriotic and useful soldier during time late war who nobly did his part in saving our country from disunion and dishonor.

Our subject was born in Somerset County, Pa., January 12, 1839. His father, David Rhodes, was also a native of that county, coming of the old German stock that were early settlers of that portion of Pennsylvania, and there his father and mother lived and died on their farm. They were pious people and members of the Lutheran Church. David Rhodes became a farmer himself, and operated a small farm in his native county until he died, and was gathered to his fathers in 1889, at the venerable age of four-score years. He too was a Lutheran, and his polities were of the Democratic order. He married Miss Netta Snopsnyder who came of similar parentage, and died in their old home in 1886 when full of years.

Simon Rhodes passed his boyhood amid the scenes of his birth, and as he was early set to work, he could not obtain the education for which he craved which has afforded him life-long regret. He has in a measure made up for it, however, as he has an intelligent, receptive mind, and he is very well informed on current topics. Being thrown on his own resources when he was young, he soon acquired self-reliance, steady habits and a manliness beyond his years that well fitted him to cope with the hardships to be encountered in a hand to hand struggle for independence in any walk in life. Manhood was just opening before him when he first made his appearance in this county in 1861. He did not tarry here many months at that time, but returned to his native county to join his old associates who were forming the One Hundred and Thirty-third Pennsylvania Infantry, and were going forth to help fight their country's battles. His name was enrolled in June, 1862, as a member of Company E, of that regiment, which was commanded by Capt. Bear and Col. Schock, and was assigned to the Army of the Potomac. Our subject and his comrades did their share of the fighting in the hotly contested battles of Antietam, Fredericksburg, and in numerous other engagements. Our subject had enlisted for nine months, but he served faithfully for a year, and his military record for soldierly bearing and fidelity to duty was equal to that of any veteran of them all.

Mr. Rhodes was honorably discharged from the army and returned to Pennsylvania, whence he again came to Lee County in 1865. and he has ever since lived and labored here. He purchased his farm on section 31, South Dixon Township, in 1868, amid applying himself to its improvement early and late, he has brought it into a fine condition, nearly the whole of its one hundred and twenty acres being under good cultivation; it is well provided with suitable buildings, and is completely stocked with cattle, horses and swine of high grades. He has won for himself an honorable place among our best citizens by keeping his credit sound, his reputation unspotted, and by fairness and honesty in all his dealings. He and his wife attend the Evangelical Church, contributing liberally of their means toward its support. In politics he is a stanch advocate of the Republican party.

Our subject was married at the bride's home in this township to Miss Mary Moore, who was born in Cumberland County, Pa., and was but a child when she came to Illinois with her mother and step-father, Frederick Bollman, who settled in South Dixon Township, where she was reared and educated. Six children have been born to our subject and his wife, of whom one - George, died young. The others are Emma, wife of Thomas Parker, a farmer in this township; William, a resident of Whiteside County, who married Mattie Parker, who is now dead; Hattie, who makes her home with her parents, and is a bright and successful teacher, having been educated for her profession at Dixon College; Fred and Frank, both of whom are at home with their parents.

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