David Maggard arrived in 1848, settling on Clear Creek. But little is known of him except he had no close neighbors and died soon of exposure. The first permanent settlers were James Greene Allen and wife Clarinda Walker Wood Allen with six month old Mary Emily. They arrived by covered wagon from Casey County, Kentucky. (Little Mary Emily would marry James Webster, live to be 89 years old and is buried in Eden Cemetery.) James Allen built the first water powered saw mill in the area, on Clear Creek, southwest of the present town of Rhodes.
Eden Township was a mix of settlers, most well educated and from the northeast, tired of the rocky soil, but others came from Virginia, Kentucky, Maryland, Delaware and England. Many were from families of veterans of the American Revolution and 4th of July celebrations demonstrated their love of country.
Survival was the foremost issue, but at the same time schools, churches, and fraternal orders were established. Many religions were present, with the Methodists dominant; later a large group of Latter Day Saints would settle in the area. The Masonic Order could count most residents among their members.
By 1853, Conway Rhodes, born in Ohio but recently of Illinois, secured large amount of land and on August 29, 1856, platted the town of Rhodes, which was then called Edenville, a name it held until 1928, and even then some residents refused to accept the change.
As most residents were Methodists, it wasn't long before a temperance movement was started, by the following: F.T. Woolston, John and Susan Jaroleman, Charles and Jane Price, Hannah Scotten, and although successful for a time eventually the movement died out. However, the idea remained and in the 1880'S a political appointee celebrated to excess and fell flat on Main Street. It seems he fell only because the earth shook beneath his feet. A detailed story appeared in the Marshall County Statesman concerning the earthquake in Rhodes. Then as now, politics resulted in a new appointee.
Rhodes is the only town remaining in the township. There were other small settlements such as Round Grove, which centered around rural churches, but, they soon disappeared. Once a thriving community containing all the business of much larger towns, Rhodes suffered the exodus of young people, and is now a bedroom community for larger communities that can offer jobs.
Jan, Feb, Mar, 1997 issue of
Central Iowa Genealogical Society Newsletter
by Jo Ann Naumann
Last updated on March 16, 1997
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