I decided it was time to write about my grandfathers, Ernest Kenneth Rhodes, family and see what I could find. I had researched his family many years ago and had to dig in again to see what I could come up with. My grandfather was born in West Virginia and still has family living there.
Today I learned some sad facts about Richard Hilman Rhodes, my great great grandfather and his family. I am not sure why I keep finding sad stories. Maybe this is common for the time frame and lots of families had difficult lives. Whatever the reason I hope that I can share Richard and his families story and how they persevered during what had to be a difficult time.
Richard was born October 1870 in Jackson County, West Virginia to Charles B. Rhodes(1848-1900) and Nancy Minerva Cobb (1851-1910). Charles and Nancy would have 12 children together.
On 27 March 1890 Richard marries Monnie Virginia Casto. Monnie’s parents are Nicholas L. Casto (1843-1918) and America M. Butcher (1842-1911) Richard was 19 years old and Monnie was 16 years old. According to their marriage license they married at the home of her father and I believe he was the Reverend who married them.
Richard and Monnie show up with their children on the 1900 US Census.
- Columbus Lawrence was born 22 February 1891 in Jackson County, West Virginia. He is not listed on the 1900 Census with the rest of his family. I have not located his death record or cemetery as of today.
- William Lenord born 23 April 1892 in Jackson County, West Virginia. I have not found any further information on William.
- Rosa Virginia born 3 November 1895 in Staats Mill, Jackson, West Virginia. Rosa marries R.C. Stalnaker on 25 July 1913 in Jackson County, West Virginia. She died 9 September 1975.
- Verden Luther born 26 April 1899 in Jackson County, West Virginia. Verden is my great-grandfather. He married, first Ercel Anderson in 1918 and she died in 1922. Then he married Ivy Francis Braham, my great-grandmother on 10 May 1926 in Jackson County, West Virginia. Verden died on 23 July 1972 in Given, Jackson, West Virginia.
By the 1910 census three more children were added to the Rhodes family. I am going to focus the rest of this post on the last children born to Richard and Monnie.
- Elise M. born about 1901 in West Virginia. She married Luster Westfall on 31 January 1918 in Jackson County, West Virginia. He was 20 years old and she was 16 years old when they married. Elise died on 13 March 1999 in Kanawha, West Virginia.
- Monnie Dale was born on 11 July 1905 in Jackson County, West Virginia. She married Raymond Lee Waggoner on 26 September 1922 in Roane County, West Virginia. Raymond was 24 years old and Monnie was 16 years old when they married. On the 1940 census they had eight children. She died in November 1995 at the age of 90 years old.
- Kenna Ernest was born 5 September 1908 in Jackson County, West Virginia. He married Myrtle Gay Rhodes on 21 December 1929. He died 22 May 1975.
- Delmar Delbert , not listed on the 1910 census, born 8 September 1911 in Jackson County, West Virginia. He married Emma Mae and died 29 September 1991.
This is where this family lives changes. Richard committed suicide on 8 February 1912 in Jackson County, West Virginia. The 1920 census gives me some hints of how hard life was for them after Richard died.
By 1920 all of the older children were married or living on their own. Monnie and her four youngest children were a different story. Monnie was living with the Roy Jones family as a servant doing house work. Her daughter Elise was 16 years old and living as a servant in the Fred H. Green household. Her daughter Monnie Dale was 14 years old and living with her uncle, Russel C. Stalnaler and his wife Rosa and their two children. Delmar was 11 years old and Kenna was 8 years old, and were living just two houses away from their mother, Monnie, as boarders with the John L. Hopkins family. It does state that they were both attending school. I am currently working to see if any of the families that Elise, Delmar and Kenna were living with are family. I have heard that may have been a possibly.
While I do not know why Richard committed suicide, I do know the effect it had on his family. I know that all of his children grew up and had families of their own. By everything I have found on them they lived happy and some very long lives. I can not imagine the pain of Monnie having her children separated from her and some at a very young age.
According to the 1940 census Monnie was 66 years old and living with her son Delmar and his family. I can not imagine the relief she must have felt to be living with her son. Monnie died 14 March 1949 in Jackson County, West Virginia. She lived for 37 years after her husband passed away. I would love to know what happened to this family in the first few years after Richard passed away. Did they live with other family for a time? Did they get split up right away? These are questions I may never get answers too.