Henry Rhoads

I have been able to look closely at our Y-DNA match from FTDNA and feel comfortable with continuing in my assertion that John Rhoads and Mary Wiegle came from Westmoreland County, Pennsylvania and are of German-Lutheran lineage.  I propose that John Rhoads is the son of Henry Rhoads and Catherine Arthurs of Smithton, Westmoreland County, Pennsylvania.

Bear with me as I try to articulate my findings.

See John Rhoads’ post to review my initial connections to Westmoreland County, Pennsylvania, and my blog post, Genealogy and DNA. Our Y-DNA match (FamilyTreeDNA.com) could trace her Rhoades (yes spelled Rhoades today) lineage to Jacob Rhoades (1776-1858) who died in Delaware County, Ohio.  I have conducted an independent research of her donor’s lineage and came to the same patriarch, Jacob Rhoades.  His trail ends with two un-sourced publications; a 1914 publication, Blackford and Grant Counties: a chronicle of their past and present with family lineage and personal memoirs and a 1928 publication, The descendants of George Holmes in America.  These two books mention him in the biographical sketches of his descendants; the first on one of his grandson’s (who was living at the time of the publication) and the second on his daughter-in-law, Elizabeth Holmes.  Both publications place his origins as Bucks County, Pennsylvania.  It is assumed that the sources were from family stories.  This is just independent confirmation that the other Y-DNA donor’s lineage is acceptable (I didn’t doubt it, but I had to do my due diligence). This research combined with the DNA match provides us with good evidence that we are connected to a family of Rhoades’ who came from Bucks County, Pennsylvania and was of German lineage. 

The Greensburg Lutheran Church in Westmoreland County was founded by pioneers of German descent and has a baptismal record for John Roth, son of Henry and Catherina.  This John’s baptism date is in line with our Fort Wayne John Rhoads (July 1812).  Records are scarce for Henry, but there is only one Rhoads family in Westmoreland County, all in Smithton initially before spreading out.  Barring the re-use of the same core first names (Henry, Daniel, Joseph, Jacob, Samuel, Elizabeth, Mary, C/Katherine, etc), they are fairly easy to connect and keep straight if you pay close attention to the details.

Henry Rhoads was born about 1781 (estimate from 1850 census) in Pennsylvania and he died 19 March/April 1859 (burial records/headstone and probate records) in South Huntington Township, Westmoreland County, Pennsylvania.  He left a will behind which named all of his living children: Daniel, John, Joseph, Paul, Samuel, Mary Ann, Susan, Rebecca (now Wible), Henry, and Delilah (now Coder).  He names his wife, Catherine, and grandchildren by a daughter, Betsey (assumed deceased based on context); Daniel, Rebecca, and Noah Hellerbrant/Helterbrant.  I only wish he had identified WHERE his children were living!

Henry’s sister married a man named Joseph Smith.  It was Joseph who brought the family to Westmoreland County in 1800, founding the town of Smithton.  Joseph Smith’s father had purchased the land that became Smithton and sent Joseph to settle it.  Joseph’s father-in-law (Henry Rhoads aka John Henry Roth) packed up his family and came with them.  Joseph Smith came from Bucks County.  I feel safe to state that John Henry Roth and his children were all born in Bucks County, but I am only just beginning to collect their birth records from the Tohickon German Reformed Church in Bucks County, Pennsylvania.

I have conducted cursory research for Henry and believe I can trace him to a grandfather, Jacob Roth, of Bucks County, Pennsylvania.  

How are the two Y-DNA donor lines connected?

Because there are so many Jacob’s in the Bucks County descendants, it is difficult to pinpoint which one he may have been.  The Westmoreland County Henry had a brother named Jacob who I know nothing about and doesn’t appear to have stayed in Bucks or Westmoreland County.  The other Y-DNA donor’s ancestor, Jacob Rhoades, moved to Ohio shortly after marrying a Mary or Magdelena Smith around 1800 (a relative of Joseph Smith?) and according to his headstone he died on 1 October 1858 at the age of 81 years, 9 months and 10 days, making a calculated birth of 22 December 1776. Based on the disappearance from Pennsylvania, a calculated year of birth, and a Smith association, I would GUESS that these two Jacobs might be the same men, placing our Henry and their Jacob as brothers.  But this is just my hypothesis.

Our Y-DNA donortheir Y-dna donor
1.     Jacob Roth (1717-1791)
m. Charlotte ____

2.     John Henry Roth (1754-1828)
m. Catherine ____

3.     Henry (Heinrich) Rhodes/Roth (1781-1859) m. Catherine Arthurs
4.     John Rhoads (1812-1859)
m. Mary Weigle/Wibble/Wiggle
5.     Daniel John Rhoads (1840-1931)
m. Rosetta Johnson
6.     Y-DNA donor’s grandfather 
7.     Y-DNA donor’s father
8.     Y-DNA donor
1.   Probably Jacob Roth (1717-1791)
m. Charlotte ____

2.   Probably John Henry Roth (1754-1828) m. Catherine ____
3.   Jacob Rhoades (1776-1858)
m. Madeline Smith
4.   Henry M. Rhoades (1807-1885)
m. Elizabeth Holmes
5.   Y-DNA donor’s grandfather 

6.   Y-DNA donor’s father 
7.   Y-DNA donor
#2 above had a daughter who married Joseph Smith from Bucks County.  They were the ones who brought John Henry and his descendants to Westmoreland County in 1800.#3 above married Mary Magdeline Smith in Bucks County right before moving to Ohio.  They married about 1800.
The earliest known progenitor of the Westmoreland County Rhoads’ is Jacob Roth of Bucks County.  He had a son, Jacob, and various grandsons named Jacob.  Other family repetitive names include Daniel, John, Joseph, Peter, Samuel, Henry, K/Catherine, Elizabeth, Mary, and Rebecca (just to name a few).This Jacob had children and grandchildren named Henry, Kate (Katherine), Eliza (Elizabeth), Joseph, John and of course – Jacob.  More than one biography say he is from Buck’s county.

Roth vs Rhoades

The Germans would have pronounced the name Roth something like Rodt or Roodt sounding like Rhoads to non-German speakers.  There were many English Rhoads families in Pennsylvania and they would have pronounced it using the softer sounds of our modern spelling “Rhoades” when recording it in census and tax records.  The Lutheran-German ministers wrote their church records in German, which is why a family who went by the phonetic name Rhoads, Roads, Rhodes, etc. in public records continued to be recorded in local churches as Roth or Rodt.  Other name morphing was Smith-Schmidt, Henry-Heinrich, John-Johannes, Peter-Petrus.  I mentioned earlier that the exact spelling of names was not as important to our ancestors as it is to us, so as our ancestor’s children moved west, they continued to spell the name “Rhoads” and other variations.  It was Daniel’s sons who nailed down our spelling to the current “Rhoades”, however other branches have also morphed to the same spelling independently, while others never adopted the “e”.

Genealogical Summary

Henry Rhoads was born abt. 1781 in Bucks County, Pennsylvania to John Henry (Heinrich) Roth (Rhoads) and Catherine ____.  He married Catherine Arthurs probably in Westmoreland County, Pennsylvania. 

Henry died 19 March or April 1859 in South Huntington Township, Westmoreland County, Pennsylvania and is buried in the Hoffman Lutheran Cemetery.

Henry and Catherine had the following children:

  1. Daniel Rhoads born abt 1810 in Westmoreland County, Pennsylvania. The last census he is found in is 1880 living with brother, Samuel, and sisters, Mary Ann and Susan. He appears to have remained unmarried.
  2. John Rhoads born 29 July 1812 in Westmoreland County, Pennsylvania and died 4 September 1859 in Aboite Township, Allen County, Indiana. He married Mary Weigle in Pennsylvania.
  3. Mary Ann Rhoads was named in Henry’s will. Zion (Alverton) Lutheran Church records her birth as 14 May 1814 and baptism on 17 July 1814. She never married and died on 14 September 1898 and is buried in Hoffman Cemetery as “Rhoades”.
  4. Joseph Rhoads born 12 March 1816 in Westmoreland County, Pennsylvania and died 24 December 1902 in Clear Creek, Huntington County, Indiana.
  5. Isreal Rhoads born 1 July 1820 in Westmoreland County, Pennsylvania and died 2 March 1841 in Westmoreland County, Pennsylvania. Buried in Hoffman Cemetery as “Rhoades”
  6. Paul Rhoads born 10 August 1822 in Westmoreland County, Pennsylvania and died 20 October 1892 in Lima, LaGrange County, Indiana. Buried in Indiana as “Rhodes”
  7. Samuel Rhoads born 1 October 1824 in Westmoreland County, Pennsylvania. The last census he is found in is 1880 living with brother, Daniel, and sisters, Mary Ann and Susan. He appears to have remained unmarried.
  8. Elizabeth (Betsy) Rhoads born 15 December 1827 and baptized 4 April 1828 in Westmoreland County, Pennsylvania (Hoffman/Hope Lutheran Church) and died 5 June 1851 in Westmoreland County, Pennsylvania. She married Jacob Helterbran(t).
  9. Susan Rhoads, Lutheran church records her birth as 15 December 1829 and baptism as 25 April 1830. She never married and died 17 December 1912 in Rostraver Township, Westmoreland County, Pennsylvania. Burial in Hoffman Cemetery as “Rhodes”.
  10. Catherine Rhoads born 16 November 1831 in Westmoreland County, Pennsylvania and died 26 May 1832 in Westmoreland County, Pennsylvania. Buried in Hoffman cemetery as “Rhoads”
  11. Henry Rhoads born about 1834 in Westmoreland County, Pennsylvania and died in July 1880 in Westmoreland County, Pennsylvania.
  12. Delilah Rhoads born 8 April 1839 in Pennsylvania and died July 1926 in South Huntingdon, Westmoreland County, Pennsylvania. She married 1) Unk Coder and 2) Jacob R. Helterbrant.
  13. Rebecca Rhoads was named in Henry’s will, no records found, but she would have been living in 1859 under the name Rebecca Wible.