E. J. RHODES. Among the reputable men of Harrison, Arkansas, who in their conduct of business matters, and the duties belonging to the various relations of life, have acquired a worthy name, is E. J. Rhodes, who, although but in the prime of life, is old in experience. The record of his life is one of interest, for it shows what can be accomplished when one possesses the determination to forge ahead, and has the wisdom to make the most of the opportunities which present themselves. He was born in Jefferson County, Iowa, March 17, 1845, the second of eight children.
Ira G. and Ann E. (Botts) Rhodes, who were born in Trumbull County, Ohio, and Kentucky, respectively. He is of German descent and traces his ancestry back through his grandfather, Joseph Rhodes, to his great-grandfather, John Rhodes, who was a native of Connecticut. In 1815 the Rhodes family took up their residence in Ohio, but later were among the very first settlers of Jefferson County, Iowa, at which time that now flourishing common wealth was a Territory. Ira G. Rhodes settled on what was known as Congressional land, which he still owns. He has been a lifelong Republican, has been treasurer of Jefferson County and is very prominent in the affairs of his section. Although now eighty years of age, he is still interested in the welfare of the county in which his home has been so long, and in his old age enjoys the comforts and luxuries which his early industry has brought him. The maternal grandfather of E. J.,Joseph Botts moved to Hancock County, Illinois, from Kentucky, at which time Mrs. Rhodes was but sixteen years of age, and there he died, having been a Virginian by birth. Mrs. Rhodes is a hale and hearty old lady, and although advanced in years she and her husband visited the World’s Fair in 1893. Their children were named as follows: Lucilia, wife of R. H. L. Barricklow, of Stuttgart, Arkansas; Eugene J.; Luther G., who has for twenty years been a fruit grower of California; Mary S., wife of A. S. Bailey, of Shenandoah, Iowa; William E., who is a merchant of Sweetwater, Ala.; Myrtle G., wife G. G. Sampson, principal of the schools of Agency City, Iowa; Florence A., wife of Nathan A. Heacock, of Burlington, Iowa and Homer E.,who is a hardware merchant of Stuttgart,Arkansas. A fact worthy of mention in connection with that worthy old pioneer, Ira G. Rhodes, and to which he, in a great measure attributes his long life and good health, is that he never took a drink of intoxicating liquor nor a chew of tobacco in his life, and in this respect his sons have followed in the worthy footsteps of their sire.
The district schools of his native State afforded Eugene J. Rhodes a good, practical education, and during his sixteenth year he attended the high schools of Brighton and Washington, Iowa, and at the age of twenty-one graduated from the well-known Eastman Business College. He then entered the Iowa State University, from which he graduated in 1869, and in July of that year located in Johnson County, Arkansas After a time he removed to Fayetteville and at the end of two years was appointed register of the United States Land Office, and removing the office from Clarksville to Harrison, began business in 1871. After filling this office very acceptably for three years he went to California, where he was engaged in teaching for four years, and also labored as a book-keeper for some time. In 1878 he returned to Boone County, Arkansas, and was married here to Miss Mattie Keener, a daughter of Judge Keener. Mrs. Rhodes was born in Pennsylvania September 23, 1859, was reared in Missouri and Arkansas, and after her marriage for some time resided in Harrison. Later they moved to the pinery, where they are at present residing. Here Mr . Rhodes has a tract of land comprising 3,100 acres and many acres of mining land and is engaged in farming, stockraising and operating his mines, besides discharging the duties of United States Mineral Surveyor for the State of Arkansas. He has held the offices of justice of the peace, notary Public, is a stanch Republican and is an active member of the County Central Committee. He is a director in the Boone County Bank, and being the owner of 2,000 acres of pine land, is largely interested in the manufacture and sale of pine and oak lumber, and is president of the Arkansas Zinc and Lead Company, which was incorporated in 1890 to operate in the mining regions of Arkansas, and which is a very substantial concern, having control of 1,200 acres of rich mining land in Marion County, alone. Mr. Rhodes is the half-owner of the well-known Diamond Cave, of Newton County, Arkansas, and it can with truth be said of him that he has done as much as any man in Arkansas to push forward the zinc and lead industry. He is one of the successful business men of the county, has a beautiful and comfortable home, and on his place is one of the largest and finest orchards in the county. He is well and popularly known in Boone County, and he and his family move in the best circles of society. He has four sons and two daughters as follows: Ethel; Eugene J., William, Clarence, Lena and Clyde, to whom he is giving every possible educational advantage and for whom he employs a private tutor.