Bio: Rhodus, John William (1833 - 1901)
Contact: Stan

----Source: Quiner Scrapbooks: Correspondence of the Wisconsin Volunteers, 1861 -1865, Vol. 9, Clark Co., Wis. History Buff Researchers, History of Labette County, Kansas, and representative citizens, by the Hon. Nelson Case, Pg. 160 & Pg. 165, Rough and Gone Town of Ladore, Kansas by Christy Mog, William G. Cutler's History of the State of Kansas, Historian Heiss quoted on Civil War Veterans, Rhodus family Records, Post Card Compliments of Bea Porter.

Surnames: Burgess, Fletcher, Partridge, Rhodis, Rhodus, White

John William Rhodus

Neillsville, Clark Co., Wisconsin



John W. Rhodus was born March 30, 1833 in Bybee, Madison, Kentucky. 13 May 1857, He married Nancy E (Elizabeth) Burgess and he supported their family by doing common laborer. November 7, 1861, John joined the Union Army in Neillsville, Wisconsin, at the age of twenty-seven.  His wife and three children, James, John & Mary were left to pray for his safe return.  He served as Infantry Veterinarian, Corporal and Sergeant in Co. "I", 14th Wisconsin Infantry.  Quiner's Scrapbook of the Civil War made this comment about the reliability of Corporal Rhodus of the 14th Wis. Infantry;  "Corporals Ives, Rhodus and Rider are always on hand, and are models in their way." John was mustered out October 9, 1865. 

The 22 Jul 1870 Federal Census recorded J. W. Rhodus as a "Merchant" with a personal estate of $3,000.  "The population of the county in 1860, was 88; in 1870, 10,206; in 1874,11,324; in 1875, 11,076; in 1878, 11,055; in 1880, 15,124; in 1882, 15,155. The decrease after 1874 was caused by the visits of the grasshoppers. They were a terrible scourge during 1874 and 1875, but in the latter year they disappeared and have not since returned. The population of the county in the spring of 1882 is reasonably believed to have been fully 16,000. When the returns of the census were first brought in by the assessors, the total population appeared to be less than 15,000. But in various districts the returns were soon discovered to be incomplete, and the assessors were compelled to add names omitted until the population was shown to be over 15,000, when the matter was dropped. Some of the assessors were determined to keep the population below 15,000, if possible, as by so doing a saving of several thousand dollars in the salaries of the county officers would be effected; but the officers were fully as anxious to have the population returned as 15,000 or over, in order that the addition to their salaries, which then according to law could be mad, should be made. Hence they brought influences to bear upon the assessors until this result was accomplished, but stopped short of securing a full and complete return."  William G. Cutler's History of the State of Kansas


In her book, "Rough and Gone Town of Ladore, Kansas", Christy Mog wrote:


An account from L. A. Bowes who was a track foreman for the Katy described Ladore as “the toughest place I ever struck. Whiskey was sold in nearly every house in the town.”


Also on May 10th, 1870, a group of around three hundred people were involved in the lynching of five men. According to the accounts of the event, seven desperadoes came to town and were robbing and taking over. The men were armed and firing their guns and most likely drinking since whiskey and booze could be found all over Ladore which added to its rough character and reputation. At around seven p.m. that night, the seven men ended up at a boarding house kept by J. N. Roach or the founder of Ladore. Roach was repeatedly beat over the head with revolvers until the desperadoes thought he was dead. They then kidnapped his two daughters and hired hand. That night the leader of the gang shot one of his comrades dead while presumably hiding out. The next morning a search party was sent out to recover the girls and catch the men. Two of the men were found passed out drunk at a saloon, another was found with one of Roach’s girls in the woods, three others including the leader were found going up the road to the Osage Mission. They were locked up at the barber shop then led down to the Roach house to have the girls properly identify their assailants. Five of the men were hung from a limb on a hackberry tree. One of the men was not hung because he was not identified by the girls as being an attacker. The five men that hung from the hackberry tree were taken down and laid in a single grave under the tree. One of the desperadoes to be buried had his pants and boots stolen. The two men who were caught at the saloon that morning had also attempted an attack on Jim Abell’s wife the night before. The Abells’ owned the Inn in town and when the two desperadoes came looking for more alcohol, they trapped Abell’s wife in the attic with her two daughters. She fended them off with an axe until they got tired of trying and got liquored up instead. “The ‘Wild Bills,’ ‘Texas Jacks,’ 8 Accounts of this event are found in multiple sources: V. V. Masterson, The Katy Railroad and the Last Frontier, W. W. Graves, Vol. 2 of History of Neosho County, A. T. Andreas and William Cutler, History of the State of Kansas and L. A. Bowes, “One Limb and Hemp for Five,” The St. Paul Journal, September 11, 1902. 7 ‘Buckskin Joes,’ and ‘Alkali Ikes,’ left for more congenial climes, and the town settled down to a quiet peaceful village.”9 Figure #2 The five men hung from the hackberry tree were William Ryan, Patrick Starr, Patsey Riley, Richard Pitkin and Alexander Mathews. The man shot was Robert Wright and the one not hung was Peter Kelly.


February 22, 1871, on the petition of Simon Saddler and others, the probate judge made an order incorporating the town of Parsons, and appointed Abraham Cary, E. K. Currant, J. G. Parkhurst, John I. Sipple and John W. Rhodus as trustees. The town was organized as a city of the third class, and on April 17, 1871, the first city election was held at which the following officers were elected: Mayor, Willard Davis; police judge, H. L. Partridge; councilmen, Abraham Cary, William Dana, Charles Watson, S. B. Plato, and John W. Rhodus. The first meeting of the mayor and council was held April 28, 1871. The city having attained a population of over 2,00 inhabitants, the evidence of which was furnished by a census taken by order of the city council , the Governor issued his proclamation, dated February 25, 1873, declaring Parson a city of second class.


                                                             Parsons, Labette Co., Kansas, 1870

                                                              (The States Hotel stands to the far right in the photo on the left)

During the history of Parsons, KS there have been several quite extensive fires, but none that were at all destructive; in fact, most of them, in the business part of the city, while they may have damaged individuals, were a public benefit so far as the city was concerned, for it secured the place of the buildings destroyed, others of a very much better quality. One of the first, if not the first fire in town to do any large amount of damage, was the burning of John Rhodus' boarding house.


The 1880 Census listed John's occupation as surveyor.


The 1885 State Census shows his father was born in South Carolina and his mother entered this world in Germany, but this varies on other records.


Civil War Veterinarians


Because of poor veterinarian care, close to 1.5 million or 20 percent of the nation's horses died during the war.  Both the Union and Confederacy built "magnificent remount depots" that could hold up to 30,000 horses with appropriate infirmaries, haying facilities and wide open corrals.  "There were no veterinarians to work there," Mr. Heiss said. "It was like building the National Institutes of Health and not having any doctors to staff it."  He says there were people who had practical knowledge of horses, just not doctors trained in their care. Calvary units had veterinary sergeants at the beginning of the war, the position was eliminated without explanation in July 1862.  In part, the lack of veterinary surgeons was an economic one. Sergeant majors received $75 a month in pay. Farriers got $15 a month.  "So if a commanding officer could get one veterinarian or five farriers, he was well ahead to take the farriers," Mr. Heiss said. "He could get more people who could provide some medical care and do other things as well."


Boarding Houses and Hotels in Parsons, KS


At the time of the location of the town, Henry F. Baker was living in a log house where the round-house now stands; and the town was scarcely located until John Austin moved his dwelling house down from Ladore and placed it on the northeast corner of Central and Crawford avenues. Both of them at once commenced keeping boarders. Mrs. Catherine Hurton soon after erected a respectable-looking building, which she opened up as a boarding house. W. P. Squires was on the ground about the same time; Finus Smith had a two-story 24 by 40 feet building at Ladore, which he tore down and brought to Parsons, and erected it on the northwest corner of Central and Johnson avenues. The proprietors of all of these houses, as well as several parties who only had tents, were furnishing board in November, 1870. It was not long until the Parsons House was opened up by Knapp, Noyes and Chamber- lain. On March 8, 1871, E. B. Stevens and U. L. C. Beard commenced the erection of the Belmont House; the same month the Lockwood was commenced, and finished so as to be opened on the 8th of May. It was not until June 1, 1872, that J. C. Karr commenced the construction of the St. James, on the northwest corner of Central and Forest avenues. This was a three-story brick — one of the finest buildings in the city. Of the numerous other houses which followed these I will not attempt to speak, only to mention that about 1880 the Abbott House became the principal hotel in the city, and thus remained until the Matthewson House was erected, in 1886.


1870 History Line of Parsons, KS

May 23- Union Pacific Southern Branch Changed its Name to the Missouri, Kansas & Texas Railroad
October 24- Robert Stevens Received State Charter for Parsons Town Company
November 20- The Parsons Town Company was Formed in the MKT Land Office at Neosho Falls, Kansas
December 9- Name of the Mendota Post Office is Changed to Parsons

1871 History Line of Parsons, KS

February 3- The 160 Mile MKT Line From Sedalia to Parsons was Completed Without Celebration
February 5- First MKT Train From Sedalia Arrives in Parsons Carrying Robert Stevens and Some Assistants, No Celebration
March 8- Parsons Birthday
March 17- First Child Born in Parsons, Levi Parsons Dana is Born to William and Nancy Dana
June 17- Volume 1, No. 1 of the Parsons Sun is Published, Milton Reynolds and L. J. Perry, Editors
October 28- The MK & T Begins Construction of a 25 Stall Roundhouse and Machine Shop


Some family records show John William Rhodus died 5 August 1898 in Bybee, Madison, Kentucky, just before the turn of the century, but our researchers found he died Sept. 4, 1901 in the Wichita, Kansas Hospital and was then buried in City Cemetery, Sulphur Springs, Hopkins, Texas.


News Clips--


We do not know if this is the same John Rhodus since some family historians have recorded his death in 1898, , but without providing any evidence of that.


Fairplay Flume, August 16, 1888

The predictions of J. W. Rhodus, a prospector engaged in opening some placer ground on Beaver creek, have come true during the last four campaigns, and hence the people about Fairplay have come to look upon his political reckoning with considerable respect and interest. As to the present campaign Mr. Rhodus predicts that Harrison and Morton will be elected and that the republicans will carry New York , Connecticut and California. In politics Mr . Rhodus is an independent . He did not vote at the last presidential election , but predicted that Cleveland would carry New York and be elected , which then looked highly improbable. By what agency he casts the political horoscope is not known .

Park County Bulletin, August 9, 1901


The Reservoir, on the Rhodus placer, which supplies water to both the Rhodus and Safe Deposit, yesterday afternoon, had a depth of nearly six feet of water. This means a good head for more than twenty four hours. The recent steady down pour has brought up the shortage in Beaver creek, so that now, there is a better water head than there was early in July. Present forecasts indicate that the placer season will last several weeks longer than seemed possible the first of the month. The Alma placers have all the water they can handle .

Silver Cliff Rustler, August 11, 1887

Mr . Rhodus writes to Geo . Burke that he has formed a strong company in St . Louis and will be here shortly for the purpose of making the preliminary arrangements for the operating of some valuable properties those gentlemen already own In this county . It is really encouraging to see the great interest St . Louis capitalIs taking in our camps.

Fairplay Flume, April 12, 1888

J . W . Rhodus returned from Salida last Friday .

Fairplay Flume, August 16, 1888

It is said that Nelson & Mcllvain are making good headway on their Beaver gulch placer. They think they are taking out five dollars a day each since striking bedrock, which was very shallow and easily reached. The Rhodus placer in the same neighborhood is developing steadily and by this time next year the owner anticipates being in shape to make a clean-up. A reservoir booming, the rather scant water supply is nearly constructed and a large dwelling house is in an advanced stage of completion. Mr. Rhodus is now doing assessment work for Mr . Cohen and others upon placer claims lower down in the same gulch.

Fairplay Flume, May 18, 1893

J . W . Rhodus has completed the annual work on his Comet lode , in Fairniount mining district, and is gratified with the appearance of the claim. He is now preparing for a season of work on the Gold Bottom placer, in Beaver Creek district.

Fairplay Flume, Nov. 8, 1894

J. W. Rhodus came down from his Beaver Creek placer property lo help elect a good government ticket.

Fairplay Flume, December 6, 1894

J . W . Rhodus came down Monday from his Gold Bottom placer , in Beaver Creek district , having put everything in good shape for nest year s work. He thinks of making a prospecting trip to Cripple Greek , and will perhaps visit Denver also before returning here.

Fairplay Flume, November 19, 1897

J . W . Rhodus was in from Twelve Mile recently where he is doing development work on his mining claims.

Fairplay Flume, March 31, 1899

J . W . Rhodus is making preparations to take advantage of the vast quantity of snow and get in a good seasons work on his Beaver Creek placer.

Park County Bulletin, Sept. 22, 1899

J . W . Rhodus has completed 18 U 9 assessment work upon the Gold Bottom placer in Beaver Creek mining district at the expense of the owners Messrs . J . W . Rhodus . James , Trent and Thomas A. Chaney.

Park County Bulletin, October 19, 1900

Mr. J . W . Rhodus was up from Fairplay Wednesday.  Mr . Rhodus can see the Republican landslide starting from all the mountain slopes .

Park County Bulletin, January 19, 1900

Wilber Chancy sold to J . W . Rhodus a one-half interest in the Gold Nugget placer, Beaver Creek mining district .

Thos . A . Chancy sold to J . W Rhodus a one-third interest in the Gold Bottom Placer , Beaver Creek mining district.

M. Morgan sold to R. M. Hanlin for $100, a one-half interest in the Gold Leaf placer, in Beaver Creek mining district. R. M. Hanlin in turn transferred this property to J. W. Rhodus for $250.

Park County Bulletin, June 22, 1900

J . W . Rhodus, Jr., has received his United States Agricultural patent on lots two and three, section 19, township 11, range 75, west of sixth principal meridian , and containing 151 acres.

Fairplay Flume, September 13, 1900

Supt. A . S . Hunt, of the Rhodus placer on Beaver Creek owned by him and Leadville parties has shut the placer down for the season. Mr . Hunt in well pleased with this year's ciean-up.

Park County Bulletin, Sept. 27, 1901

The Rhodus pit No . 2 will be finished for the season, this week. In view of the fact that the reservoir which supplies the water to the pipes here was not finished until well into August, this is quite a satisfactory showing. The tail flume, now in commission is twelve feet lower than the one formerly in use on this ground. Like steps also being taken at the Rhodus for beginning work next season as early as possible are in progress at the Safe Deposit.

Fairplay Flume, June 13, 1902

H . L . J . Warren , general manager of the Rhodus Placers on Beaver Creek arrived in Alma Tuesday for inspection of the mines.

Salida Record,

Volume XX, Number 2, May 23, 1902

Mining Revival at Alma.

A cannonade of blasts is heard on all sides of Alma, says the correspondent of the Denver Republican. Miners who have been away lo oilier parts come straggling back and remark that "Alma has not looked so lively for years."

The Alma, Safe Deposit, Rhodus and Cincinnati placers are working full force and the Snowstorm Hydraulic Company is employing sixty to seventy-five men on new ditch and Hume work, in an effort to get water on the Snowstorm and Beaver Park placers.

Much depends upon the success of the new work for the increase of placer mining in the Alma and Fairplay districts for next year and the future. If the season’s'work is as successful as it promises, the many streams of the upper Platte will be lined with giants another year. Companies with ample capital are engaging in the Held, and the great number of claims that have been located and patented the past year bespeaks confidence. Among the development and improvements may be mentioned miles of new ditch, thousands of feet of Humes and substantial company buildings at several of the works.

Lode mining in Alma district promises equal activity, A new mill is to be erected to treat Kentucky Belle ore, up near the head of Buckskin gulch. At Robinson, where the new pyritic smelter is being completed, It is announced that men will in here soon to begin work on Alma’s plant. The London keeps up steady shipments to smelters and lias plenty of high-grade in reserve. The Eddy mill, at the head of the Platte, resumed operations this week, running on ore from the Kansas mine, a producer in its near vicinity. The Golden Era, a promising property on Loveland mountain, has been started up by its Leadville and Salt Lake City owners. Work is to be resumed on the old Russia mine, on Mount Lincoln, an old-time producer that has been idle for years, and a new cable tram built to bring down the ore. New York parties have begun work on the old Rollins-Phillips, the Adrian force is being increased in the Hock Hocking tunnel is in 3,000 feet and near the new bodies for which it has been, driven. The Oliver Twist is doing extensive development and the great Sullivan Diamond Drill Corporation, whose prospecting has brought golden riches to many parts of the world, is busily boring to great depth in search of new contacts and mineral measures.


Park County Bulletin, September 25, 1902

Samples of ore worth $ 140 ,000 a ton—smelter returns of ( MX ) ounces gold per ton, have been had for Alma mines . It stands to reason that Leadville men should tunnel through the dividing range for high grade. The Alma, Snowstorm, Beaver Park, Cicncinnati, Kansas & Colorado, Nelson, Rhodus, Safe Doposit, Eclipse and Bulger Basin placers are in line for gold washing next year and that is a pretty good showing in itself.


Fairplay Flume, Sept. 12, 1902

Mrs. A. D. Hunt, little daughter and sister, who have been at the Rhodus placer on Beaver Creek for over a month, returned to their Leadville House this week.



Pension Card from Park Co., Colorado




Parents of John William Rhodus

Father: Burill Henry /Rhodus/ 1815 (Bybee, Madison, Kentucky) - 8 Dec 1880 (Bybee, Madison, Kentucky)

son of William Jesse Rhodus 1774 (Winijah, Craven, South Carolina) - 1833 (Bybee, Madison, Kentucky) & Mary Powell 1776 (Camden, Lancaster, South Carolina) - 1850 (Grubville, Franklin, Missouri, United )

Mother: Phoebe /White/ 1816 (Clark, Kentucky) - 8 January 1896 (Bybee, Madison, Kentucky);

daughter of Mary Powell 1776 (Camden, Lancaster, South Carolina) - 1850 (Grubville, Franklin, Missouri, United ) & John White 1777 (Orange, Orange, Virginia) - 1833 (Bybee, Madison, Kentucky-Burial in Frederick, Frederick County, Maryland) & Agness Martin 1779 (Virginia) - ? (Madison, Kentucky)


Groom: Burrell Rhodus, 1815 - 1880
Marriage 03 Sep 1833, Madison, Kentucky, United States

Bride: Pheobe White, (1812 - 1896)

Children of Pheobe White and Burrell Rhodus


John Rhodus, 30 Mar 1833? - 1898?
James K Rhodes, 1838 - 1898
Sally Ann Rhodus, 1839 - 3 Mar 1901​​; m. Moores
Mary Ann "Mollie" Rhodus, 1842 - 27 Nov. 1926; m. Francis Marion King
Thomas Rhodus, 1846 - Deceased
Josiah Rhodus, 1848 - Deceased
Elizabeth Rhodus, 1849 - Deceased
Robert H. Rhodus, 1853 - 1932
George W. Rhodus, 1855 - Deceased
Henry M Rhodus, 1857 - Deceased


Children of Nancy Elizabeth Burgess and John William Rhodus

James Lewis Rhodus, 1858 - 1932 (son)
John W Rhodus / Rhodis, 1860 - 1936; m. Mandy
Mary Newton Rhodus, 1863 - 1913
Cynthia Ann Rhodus, 1866 - 1888
Lizzie Mae Rhodus, 1871 - 1876
Ida Belle Rhodus, 1875 - 1926
Maggie Rhodus, 1877 - 1967



1850 United States Census, Kentucky Clay Clay county

1860 United States Census, Elliston, Madison, Kentucky, USA 1


John Rhodis Male 26 White 1834 Ky 49, laborer--personal estate of $140
Nancy Rhodis Female 19 White 1841 49
James Rhodis Male 2 White 1858 49
John W Rhodis Male White 49

1870 United States Census, Ladore, Neosho, Kansas, USA 1

Real Estate: $100, Personal Estate: $100


1880 Federal Census, Kingman, Kingman, Kansas ED 305 , Residence #5

Rhodus, J. W., Male 47 Single White Surveyor Self

Born: 1833 Kentucky, Father: Tennessee, Mother: North Carolina



Residence 1885, Park, Colorado, USA 1

Rhodus, J. W., Servant, works on ranch, born in Kentucky, father b. So. Carolina, mother b. Germany


United States Civil War Soldiers Index

Name John W. Rhodus
Event Type Military Service
Military Beginning Rank Private
Military Final Rank Fifth Sergeant
Military Side Union
State or Military Term Wisconsin
Military Unit 14th Regiment, Wisconsin Infantry
Military Company I


Kentucky Marriage Records


BioM: Burgess, Nancy E. (1857)


Groom: John Rhodus (1834 - 1898)
Marriage Date: 13 May 1857
Event Place Madison, Kentucky, United States
Gender Male
Bride: Nancy E (Elizabeth) Burgess (1836 - 1918)
Spouse's Titles and Terms Miss
Spouse's Gender Female

Kentucky Deaths and Burials

Elizabeth Rhodus
Death Date 19 May 1918
Event Place Garrard, Kentucky, United States
Age 78 (1840)

Elizabeth Rhodus
Death Date 1918
Event Place Paint Lick, Garrard, Kentucky, United States
Gender Female
Father's Name John Rhodus
Mother's Name Cynthia Watts


Obit: Rhodus, John W. (1936)

John W. Rhodus, Male
Death Date 1936 in Madison, Kentucky
Marital Status Married
Spouse's Name Mandy Rlodus
Father's Name John Sr. Rhodus
Mother's Name Elizabeth Burgess


Texas Cemetery Records


Obit: Rhodus, John William (1833 - 1901)


John W Rhodus, Burial Date 1901
Cemetery: Sulphur Springs, Hopkins, Texas

Birth Date: 30 Mar 1833


Kansas Death Record


John W Rhodus, Burial Date 1901

Death Date 04 Sep 1901-suffered Enteritis / Exhaustion

Occupation: Miner
Wichita Hospital with death after about 10 hrs.
Last Address: Fairplay, Colorado, 15 yrs. of residence

*Information from 1901 Sedgwick County, KS Death Records, Certificate 319



Witchita, Kansas Hospital--Post Card Compliments of Bea Porter



Obit: Chaney, Mary Rhodus (1842 - 1920) *Sister of John W. Rhodus?

Mary Chaney
Death Date: 22 Jan 1920
Cemetery: Sulphur Springs, Hopkins, Texas
Gender Female
Marital Status Widowed
Birthplace , Kentucky
Father's Name J W Rhodus


1900 Federal Census, Justice Precinct 3 Ennis city Ward 1-2, Ellis, Texas, United States


Mary J Cheney, Female
Age 51, Married
Race White
Relationship to Head of Household Wife
Number of Living Children 1
Years Married 30
Birth Date Aug 1849
Birthplace Kentucky
Marriage Year (Estimated) 1870
Father's Birthplace Tennessee
Mother's Birthplace Kentucky
Mother of how many children 4

Thomas A Chaney Head M 59 Kentucky
Mary W Chaney Wife F 59 Kentucky



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