Lt. Col. Henry Rhodes, Jr.

From Onslow County Heritage — North Carolina, Henry Rhodes, Sr., an early Onslow County settler came presumably from Bertie County.  According to records in the Onslow County Courthouse some of the property he owned was a grant from the Kind of England: “George The Second To All whom we know that I have given and granted unto Henry Rhodes a tract of land containing five hundred acres lying, or being in Onslow County, beginning at a Spanish Oak on the west side of New River upon Stones Creek standing by the main creek, September 14, 1737.”

Henry Rhodes, Sr., was named as a commissioner of roads in Onslow County as early 1736.  In January 1742, Rhodes appeared before the Onslow County Court and proved rights for importing five white persons and two black persons belonging to his family.  His wife was named Mary, and they had two sons, Thomas Rhodes, Henry Rhodes, Jr., and a daughter, who later marries Daniel Mashbone.

In January 1744, Henry Rhodes, Sr., applied for a license to sell spiritous liquors in his home. In April 1747, Henry Rhodes, Sr., gives to his son Thomas Rhodes “237 acres of the tract whereon said Henry Rhodes now lives on Stones Creek.” He was later chosen commissioner of roads in South West District July 1749, at the death of Samuel Moore.  The Will of Henry Rhodes, Sr., was proved in Onslow County Court October 1751 by his two sons, Thomas Rhodes and Henry Rhodes, Jr. (born between 1731 or 1734).

Henry Rhodes, Sr. gave his manor plantation whereon he lived to his son Henry, Jr. and left instructions that the plantation joining his manor plantation be sold and equally shared between son Thomas, son Henry, and granddaugther Elizabeth Mashbone.

Not much is know about his son, Thomas Rhodes.  He was appointed Constable in South West District January 1749.  He also had a son, James Rhodes, and daughters, Mary, Merebe, and Elizabeth Rhodes. Thomas Rhodes will was proved in Onslow County Court July 1779.  Records indicate he died before January 29, 1780.

Henry Rhodes, Jr., was an active and enterprising man. In October 1755, Henry Rhodes Jr., received a license to run an Ordinary (Inn) and was appointed one of two commissioners of roads in  South West District.  He was appointed a justice of the peace in 1758 and was elected Sheriff of Onslow County in 1759; he remained in that office until 1773.

His first wife was Mary Woodhouse, born in Virginia in 1731 and daughter of Horatio Woodhouse, whose family, upon coming to America from England, had originally settled in Virginia. Horatio moved with his wife and children to Onslow County about 1746-47 and settled on the west side of the New River. Mary Woodhouse and Henry Rhodes, Jr., married in 1751.  Mary died on June 5, 1769, “in the 38th year of her age.”

Henry Rhodes, Jr., was one of the managers of the New River Lottery in 1761, which was instigated to obtain funds for the removal of shell rock in New River Inlet.  On July 25, 1768, Henry Rhodes, Jr. purchased 120 acres on North West of New River on Gravelly Run. Henry Rhodes, Jr., married a second time to  Elizabeth Ward, widow of Enoch Ward, on August 5, 1770.

In 1775, Henry Rhodes, Jr. was elected to the House of Commons of North Carolina.  This proved to be the last session of the House of Commons before the creation of the Provincial Congress.  He later served as a delegate in the Second Provincial Congress, which met in Newbern in April 1775, as well as the Third Provincial Congress at Hillsborough, which convened on August 20, 1775.  In the third congress, Henry Rhodes was made a Lieutenant Colonel of the Onslow County Militia on September 9, 1775.

In addition to serving on several important committees, he was commissioned to buy all the ammunition in Onslow County.  Rhodes continued to serve as a delegate in the Fourth Provincial congress in April of 1776 at Halifax. He was also listed on the  Roster of Patriots at the Battle of Moore’s Creek Bridge under Colonel Caswell.

During the period of the American Revolution when the Provincial Congress was not in session, six committees of safety carried on the military affairs of each of the six designated districts.  Lieutenant Colonel Rhodes was a member of the Provincial Council of the Wilmington District of which Onslow County was a part.

At the important Fifth Provincial Congress held at Halifax in November 1776, a constitution for the state of North Carolina was adopted.  Henry Rhodes, Jr. was one of the five delegates from Onslow County to help create this constitution.  The constitution adopted by this body became effective immediately.  It provided one senator and one representative from each county.  In 1777, Henry Rhodes, Jr., represented Onslow County in the North Carolina House of Commons.


Tryon Palace

When Senator Cray, Onslow County’s first state senator, died in 1778, Henry Rhodes, Jr., was elected to take his place, thereby having the honor of being Onslow County’s second state senator. He was also named Money Inspector for Onslow County.  As a Senator, Rhodes was outstanding for his activities favoring the passing of a bill to confiscate the property of those persons, such as the Tories, working against the state government.

On the first of December 1778, he was made Superintendent of the Printing Press for printing North Carolina’s paper money.  He was also mentioned for appointment to the council of the new state of North Carolina, but instead was made Treasurer of the Wilmington District.

Henry Rhodes Jr., died in Onslow County on December 24, 1780.   Although Rhodes died in December 1780, his term would not have expired until 1782.  He did not live to see the enemy defeated, for which the final battle of the  Revolutionary War, which took place at Yorktown, Virginia, on October 19, 1781, came just 10 months after his death.

It is thought that Lieutenant Colonel Henry Rhodes is buried in the family cemetery on a part of the property now occupied by Camp Lejuene, at Gravelley’s Run, possibly between Stone Creek and Muddy Creek in the Stone Bay area. However, at the time that Camp Lejuene was established, his grave was not located and most likely moved as so many others were.

Henry Rhodes, Jr. had the following known children 

with first wife, Mary Woodhouse:

(1) Sarah Rhodes, born March/May 22, 1755, married February 1773 to Soloman Ward

(2) Elisabeth Rhodes, born February 24, 1756, married to ____ Fonvielle

(3) Woodhouse Rhodes, born January 19, 1759, (the only son to live to maturity) married Elizabeth Hatch

(4) Aliss Rhodes, born February 16, 1762

(5) Mary Rhodes, born August 20, 1766

with second wife, Elizabeth Ward:

(6) Henry Rhodes, born November 22, 1773, died September 13, 1791, when he was thrown from his horse and died while attending boarding school in Wilmington.  His body was returned to Onslow County for burial.

(7) Henrietta Rhodes, born April 4, 1777, married James Foy, Jr.  They were both buried in the Foy Graveyard, located about three-tenths of a mile north of Porters Neck Road about eleven hundred feet southeast of Highway 17.  Their graves have since been relocated to Poplar Grove Plantation.

The record of inventory of the estate of Colonel Henry Rhodes was taken on December 24, 1780:

“(To Wit) Thirty Eight Negroes & Two Hundred & Eighty Eight Dollars Continental, five thousand seven hundred & seventeen dollars North Carolina Currency, three yoke of oxen, four mares & two horses and one two-year old, six sows & pigs, two mahogany tables & six chairs, two chests four cases five bed and bed steds, four rugs & six sheets and one blanket, five holsters, three pillows & pillow cases, eight large silver spoons, five tea spoons, two desks, one large gilded looking-glass, two small looking-glasses, ten chairs, two watches, two tea tables, half dozen knives & forks, one brass candlestick, one iron ditto, two hackles, two pewter quarts & one pint, two funnels, two pair smoothing irons, one box iron & two heaters, two pairs of Chards, three linen wheels, two woolen wheels, one dozen Queens China plates, three glass tumblers, one large wine glass, five cups & saucers China, two earthen pots, one pewter pot, one large bowl, one cruet, two pepper boxes, one Sniffer Standard, one nutmeg grater, one oyster dish, one sugar dish, one butter boat, two pairs of tongs & one shovel, one spice mortar & pestle, once coffee pot, two large Bibles & one Dictionary, one Testament & Watt’s Hymns & Sunday Books too tedious to mention, two coopers and two axes, one cross, one dowling bit stock, one round shave, two drawing knives, two flock plows & two X bars plows, two pair fire dogs, one pair compasses, five cutting axes, eight weeding hoes, three shipping hatchets, three turpentine dippers, one heading joints & stave, one breed ax, one cross cut saw & two hand saws, one small sword & Silver Hilted, mill stone rock tools, seven picks, four axes, six wedges & two broken picks, two rail wedges, one still & pots & one cracked pot & one kettle, one pan, one brass skillet, one hat and hat bag, two tubs and two pails & two rigging sheep shears & lantern, two wide chisels & two narrow chisels, one mill pick, one ax, one grubbing hoe, three large sugars, two small sugars, two pounds & a half of steel, one gauge, two hat brushes, two pot racks, four chunk bottles, one barrel of brandy, three jugs, one large butter pot, one small butter pot, one bung box, one small bung box, one pair of spoon molds, one canister, two looms, two ox yokes, one old cart, one flax brake, one copper old ditto, one cooper saucepan, one tea kettle, five new pewter plates, half dozen old plates, one old deep plate, three large dishes, two small dishes, three basins, 42 head of cattle, one pair of small.

On Gravelly Run Plantation, three narrow axes, two sugars, two chisels, two flock plows & one bar plow, three weeding hoes, fourteen head of sheep, one yoke of oxen & sixteen heads of cattle.

Stone Bay Plantation, twenty head of sheep, four hides of Tann’d leather, three raw hides, some mill stones, money rec’d by notes nine hundred & thirty six pounds.

The above is all that is come to hand to this 9th of April 1781.

Woodhouse Rhodes, Executor; Thos. Johnston, Executor”

(From the Robert Lee Foy Collection, Collection No. 32, East Carolina Manuscript Collection).

In addition to this inventory, the Will of Colonel Henry Rhodes from 1780 lists the names of his slaves and reads as follows:

In the name of God Amen __ I Henry Rhodes of the County of Onslow and the State of North Carolina Planter being Sick and Weak of Body but of perfect and Sound mind and memory thanks be to God therefore calling to mind the Mortality of my Body and Knowing it is appointed for all men once to Dye Do make and ordain this my Last Will and Testament in manner and form Following

First of all I Resign my Body to the Earth to be Decently Buryed at the Discretion of my Executors hereafter Named believing in the Resurrection of Christ Jesus the Mediator and Intercessor and as for what worldly goods I am Blessed with in this Life I Dispose of the Same as Follows viz.

Imprymus, I first will and order that all my Just Debts and Funeral Expenses be fully paid and Satisfied.

Item I Lend unto my beloved wife Eilsabeth Rhodes one Negro man called Isaac and one Negro wench Tamer one mare called Phill a womans Saddle and Bridle one Feather Bed and Furniture one Desk one Iron Pot half a Dozen Pewter plates Two pewter Dishes Two pewter Basons half a Dozen Chears (chairs) one Small Table and ll the Room in my House wherein I know Live During her Natural Life or Widowhood She Committing no waste but if she should marry again She is to have the use of one Negro only Named Tamer and the Bed and Furniture until her Death.  Likewise she Shall be allowed Twenty Pounds to be paid out of the profits of my Estate yearly for her support but if my Executors hereafter Names Should find she ought to have a Larger Sum allowed for her support they may allow i at their Discretion out of the profits of my Estate I also leave my wife for her use one Table Silver Spoon Six Sliver Tea Spoons and the sue of Four Cows and Calves.  During her life or widowhood as afore Said She Committing no waste the above named Negroes Isaac and Tamer is not be be Carryed off the plantation where I know Live also I Lend her such a part of the plantation where I know Live as my Executors Shall find Necessary.

Item I give and bequeath unto my beloved son Woodhouse Rhodes all the Land with the Improvements theron it being at Lewis Williams Lying on Gravelly Run with all the Cattle one Sorrel Horse with a Blaze one Two year old Horse. Likewise all the hogs seep and household furniture, tools of every sort that is at the afore Said Plantation one Large Mahogany Table three mahogany Chears (chairs), likewise three Negroes to wit, Bob Warrick and Amme Two Table Spoons and Six Tea Spoons all of Sliver, the Table Chears (chairs) and Spoons is at the house where I now Live also a Silver Hilted Sword and Silver watch half my wearing apparel also a Church Bible and half my other Books Likewise I give and bequeath unto my son Woodhouse Rhodes in manner and form Following one Still with all its apurtenances he paying to my son Henry Fifty pounds per Anum in the Liew of thereof otherwise for Henry to have the use therof Every other month as Long as Said Still Shall be of use that matter to be Left to the Discretion of my Executors.

Item I give and bequeath unto my beloved Son Henry Rhodes the plantation whereon I now Live with all the Land on the North and South Sides of the mill Dam and Creek with the mill with all its apurtenances also one Negro Named Ephraim and one Negro Named David also one White mare called Bonne with her future increase one Saddle and Bridle Two yoke of Oxen Two Table Spoons Six Tea Spoons all of Silver one Silver watch all the plantation where I now Live with one half  of my wearing apparel one Feather bed and Furniture also a Bible and one half of all my other Books with one Fourth part of all my other home Stock of Cattle and Sheep.

Item I give and bequeath unto my beloved Daughter Sarah Ward all the Land I bought of Thomas Johnstone with the plantation thereon it being one hundred acres of Land also fifty acres I Bought of James Gray and wife with the plantation thereon likewise three negroes (To wit) Dick Rachel and Leah which Land and Negroes is to be in part of her proportionable part of thirty Negroes hereafter to be named also I give and bequeath unto my Daughter Sarah one half of Four Hundred acres of Land lying and being on the North Side of Mill Creek it being half of a Tract of Land granted to me by pattent (sic).

Item I give and bequeath unto my Beloved Daughter Elizabeth Fonville one Negro man called Peter and one negro girl called Ester which Negroes she has now in possession they being in part of her proportionable part of thirty Negroes Hereafter to be Named.

Item I give and bequeath unto Each of my other Beloved Daughters Aliss Mary and Henrietta one Feather Bed and Furniture Six pewter plates one pewter Dish Two Table Spoons and Six Tea Spoons all Sliver Likewise one third part of all my home Stock of Cattle and Sheep that is not other ways Disposed of in this will one Ew one three year old Heffer and one Steer Excepted a proportionable  part of thirty Negroes hereafter to be named.

Item I give and bequeath unto my beloved Children Woodhouse Rhodes Sarah Ward Elizabeth Fonvielle Aliss Rhodes Mary Rhodes Henry Rhodes and Henrietta Rhodes Thirty Negroes (To wit) Jim Tom Tony Aster Brister Ben Peter Trent Dick Sarah Hannah Suke Rachel Ester Jim the younger Aniss Ben the younger Lettis Apple Daniel Silvea Marean Lucy Ginne Leah Nancy Frank Tom the younger and Treacee to be Equally Divided between them.  I further give and bequeath unto my Daugher Aliss one Bay  mare called Pleasure with a Side Saddle and Bridle I likewise give to my Daughter Mary one Bay Mare called Fancy with a Side Saddle and Bridle.  I likewise will and order that my Executors Buy a mare out of the profits of my Estate Equal in Value to one of the Last mentioned Mares for my Daughter Henrietta with a Side Saddle and Bridle.

Item I give and bequeath unto Beloved Niece Marybee Rhodes one three year old Heffer and one Likely Ew to her and her heirs and assign for Ever.

Item my will and Desire further is that if any part of the Legacys mentioned in this will Should not be found it is to be purchased out of the profits of my Estate also that all the residue of any Lands not mentioned in this will be Equally Divided atwixt my Two Sons Woodhouse and Henry.

Item it is my Intent and Meaning that what I have Left in this my will to my Wife Elisabeth is in Liew of and in full a Marriage Contract made before Marriage but if She Should not be Content and Claim her Contract then all that is Left to her to be Equally Divided amongst my Children by Lot or other wise and if any Dispute Should arise amongst my Children or between them and my Executors I request that three Justices in the Commission of the peace for this County may assist in the Division and that they be paid for their Trouble by my Executors Vix. Robert Snead Seth Ward and John Spicer.

Item my further will and Desire is that the Remaining part of my Estate that is not other ways Disposed of in this will be Equally Divided betwixt my four youngest children (To Wit) Aliss Mary Henry and Henrietta and my further will is that my son Woodhouse give my Daughter Henrietta Two years Schooling and that my Executors See that my son Henry and my Daughters Aliss and Mary have Reasonable Education to be paid for out of the profits of their Estates and my further Desire is that Tom and his wife Sarah and Aster be a part of the proportionable part of the Negroes and Remain on the plantation as Long as my Executors Shall think it Best and my further will is that my Old Horse Called Spark Shall Remain on the plantation for the use of my family.

And I do hereby Constitute and appoint my beloved son Woodhouse Rhodes and my good Friends Thomas Johnstone and George Mitchell Esquires my Whole and Sole Executors of this my Last will and Testament Hereby Revoking and Disannulling all Former Wills Testaments and bequeaths heretofore by me made or Named Ratifying and Declaring this and no other to be my Last Will and Testament In Witness Whereof I have here unto Set my hand and affixed my Seal this 14th Day of December in the firth year of American Independence and in the year of our Lord one Thousand Seven Hundred and Eighty.

Signed Sealed published pronounced and Declared by the Said Henry Rhodes as his Last Will and Testament in the presence of us the Subscribing Evidences Hosea Barrow, Zephaniah Ward, William Pollock.”

After the death of Henry Rhodes, Jr., Elizabeth Ward Rhodes married John Nichols, Sr., of New Hanover County, NC.