Rhoads Cemetery Dedication 2002
The Rhoads Cemetery Dedication Will Be April 21, 2002
The newly restored Rhoads Cemetery northwest of Lemoore, on Glendale Ave., just west of Highway 41, will be dedicated Sunday, April 21, in special ceremonies. The cemetery is well known to many by the sight of its distant mausoleum. Until now the view frequently has been marred by weeds, farm equipment and even livestock. The dedication, open to the public, will be at 2 p.m. Joe Neves, president of the Lower Kings River Historical Society, says the half-hour program will feature speakers including Ellen Rosa of Sloughhouse, western Rhoads family historian emeritus, and Naida West of Rancho Murietta, author of River of Red Gold, a book that portrays the Rhoads family trek across the plains to California in 1846. Also participating will be Rev. Sandy Brown of the Presbyterian Church of Lemoore representing the Lemoore Ministerial Association, a Lemoore High School ROTC color guard, and a musical offering featuring Jay Salyer, vocal, and Stacey Snodgrass, fiddle. Refreshments will follow the ceremony. The cemetery restoration has been a two-year project of the society. The project architect was Chas Rhoads of Hanford, a member of the Rhoads family. Coordinating the construction was Dave Bush of Lemoore. Improvements include a concrete foundation topped by a cement brick wall, an entrance to the cemetery proper, and a granite plaque, which briefly describes the historical importance of the site. Besides Neves, the committee includes Susan Bissig Jane Dart, Salli Day, Steve Emanuels, Alan Escola, Steve Froberg, Walt Kendall, Tony Oliviera, Rich Rhoads and Jack Stone. The LKRHS mwmbership total about 100.
History of the Rhoads Cemetery and of Daniel and Amanda Rhoads By Steve Emanuels
The Rhoads Cemetery at the northwest corner of Highway 41 and Glendale Avenue, northwest of Lemoore, was established in 1882 with the death and burial of 35-year-old Sarah Rhoads Fisher. She was the daughter of Daniel and Amanda Rhoads and was the wife of John Fisher Phillips. Six children were suddenly motherless. Four years later her 52-year-old husband died, and he became the next to be buried at the
Cemetery. Over the next 10 years at least six more were buried here: Infant son Winsett in 1886, F.A. Apperson in 1893, Sarah Tobin in 1894, Ida Garrison in 1895, Iola B. Frink in 1986, and! Amanda M. Rhoads Dillard in 1895. In December 1895, family patriarch Daniel Rhoads died and was interred in the mausoleum. With his wife, Amanda, he was the owner of the land on which the cemetery was located. Ten more burials were conducted in as many years which followed: William B. Rhoads in 1898 (Daniel's brother), Sarah A Tobin in 1898, Mary Elizabeth Rhoads Pierce in 1899 (Daniels sister), Nancy Schooler Winsett in 1899, Justin "Cap" Esrey in 1900 (Amanda's brother), Madrill Hervosio in 1902, M.B. Wooster in 1903, Nicholas Winsett in 1904, and Gideon Tobin in 1905. It was in 1906 that Amanda Esrey, Daniel's wife, also was laid to rest in the mausoleum. More recent burials were that of Mary Shackleford Winsett in 1930, Rose Bell Phillips in (1946, and Jessie Daniel Winsett. Only the above have been documented; they're probably other burials in the Rhoads cemetery, which are unmarked. Daniel and Amanda Rhoads Daniel and Amanda Rhoads were among the Thomas Rhoads party which crossed the plains to California in 1846 and encountered by Donner Party along the way. Invited to take: the new Hasting Cutoff with George Donner, they declined. They arrived at Johnson's Ranch, the usual terminus for such wagon trains, on October 3. But the Donner Party was nowhere to be seen. It had been snowed in on the eastern Sierra. Early in the following year Daniel and his brother John joined the first rescue team and discovered the luckless ones, at least those alive, at what would later be known as Donner Lake. Daniel later wrote that when they finally encountered the party the first women asked, "Are you men from California or do you come from heaven?" Daniel worked briefly for John Sutter and then for the nearby Grimes and Sinclair ranch. And even later for Briggs and Burris at Galt. After gold was found on the American River in 1848, Daniel and others gathered up much of the precious stuff through the fall of 1847 at what was called Morman Island. (Daniel's father, Thomas, was Mormon and later returned to Utah and the church heirchy.) Daniel and Amanda returned east in 1850 but came back in 1851 and entered the stock raising business near Old Gilroy. The 50's proved dry, and during mid-decade he drove his stock over Pacheco Pass and acquired "swamp and overflow" lands near the Kings River. One historian has them settling first at Kingston, on the south side of the Kings near today's Laton. By 1956 he probably had started construction on a four-room adobe house closer to where the town of Lemoore would be laid out some 20 years later. Amanda's brothers, Justin and Jonathan were already in the area, and they undoubtedly influenced the Rhoads' decision to move here. Correspondence indicates that Amanda and the children remained at the ranch near Old Gilroy where a school, known as Rhoads School, had been founded in 1852. Daniel, by 1860, had convinced Amanda to join him with the children at the new adobe. There, too, a school was established nearby and it later became the Lake School still remembered by people like Lemoore's Si Esrey. Bears were common hereabouts then. One evening Daniel decided to sleep out in a cornfield all night in order to kill a marauding bear. The bear came all right, but right to adobe where it stood in his hind feet and puts its paws on the wall. Daniel, who was 6 feet 4 inches tall and weighed 240 lbs. heard the bear and started for the cabin but kept yelling for his wife to open the cabin door for him. "Mandy open the door," he called to his wife, who barely came up to his shoulder. "She heard him hollowing and they laughed until they cried," recalled Earl Rhoads, a grandson. The Rhoads prospered although their lives were frequently saddened with the death of children and the loss of various family members whose children they subsequently raised. Daniel and Amanda turned to from stock raising to farming in 1865. He became the founding president of the Bank of Hanford and vice president of the Bank of Lemoore. In January 1865, about four months before the end of the Civil War, Daniel enlisted in the California 8th Infantry Regiment. He was mustered out at Fort Point, San Francisco in October of the same year. Daniel and Amanda moved to San Francisco "for his health", and Daniel died there in 1896. Amanda died in 1906. Six weeks later their only surviving son, John, died while in the Sierra. The Daniel Rhoads who currently lives in Lemoore, on a small portion of the original: property is a great-great grandson of Daniel and Amanda. Books Are Donated To Benefit Society. The Lower Kings River Historical Society was presented with multiple copies of a book by George White, 92, of Gilroy following White's death last month. "He made it clear that he wanted these books to go to your Lemoore history group to help support the Rhoads Cemetery restoration" according to his widow, Evelyn White. The spiral-bound book is entitled Antecedents and Descendants of Margaret Ann Rhoads Smith (1860-1949). Its subtitle is, A Genealogical, Historical, And Reminiscent Account Of Some Rhoads, Newman, Parker, Wright, Hamilton, and Ramsay And Related Families In their Pioneer Days. Much of the book is devoted to the background of Daniel Rhoads and other family members as far back as the days of the immigration of Henry and Jacob Rhoads (Roesch) from Germany in 1747. Family historians and genealogists find the book indispensable. White, who compiled the volume, was related to the Rhoads family through his great grandmother, Mary Rhoads, wife of Dorson Willson. Mary Rhoads was the daughter of Daniel's brother, Thomas, who was drowned "in the sinks of the Humboldt River". She lived for a time in Gilroy with Daniel and Amanda Rhoads before marrying Willson. White was a co-founder of Gilroy Foods. He was a past president of the Gilroy Historical Society and a long time member of the Oregon-California Trails Association. Copies of the book are available for $20 from Kings River Press at 924-1766 or from any member of the Lower Kings River Historical Society. e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org