German Settlers (Rhoads Family)

Rhoads Homestead

Five Springs
The Rhoads-Lorah Homestead
Yellow House, PA

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Indian Settlement & Swedish Settlement

German Settlers (Rhoads Family)

Body Family to David & Elizabeth Goldfarb

German Settlers (Rhoads Family)

Johann Jacob Rodt (Generation I, 1685-1745) was born in 1685 in Bonfeld, Wurtemberg. He was married to Maria Barbara Weber (1677-?) on November 8, 1707 in Gelmersbach, Wurtemberg. He immigrated in 1717 to Philadelphia, PA. The name is variously spelled Rodt, Roth, Rodes, Rhodes, Rhoad, Rhoads or Rhoades.

He arrived with his wife and three sons, Johann Konrad (1708-1767), Johann Jacob (1711-1798), and Matthais (1717-1795) born at sea. A daughter Helena Maria (1715-1716) had died before he came to America and another daughter Barbara (1719-1805) was born in Amity Township. Bierman, Guy L., Descendants of Johann Jacob Rodt, (May 4, 2003)

Johann Jacob Rodt came with his family to Oley Valley, Amity Township, in 1717, together with the family of Johann Theodorick Greiner. These two families pooled their money to buy 300 acres of land from English settler Henry Gibson. Rodt owned 100 acres of the land and Greiner the other 200.[The 100 acre parcel granted to John Jacob Roth is recorded Oct. 19, 1774, in Vol.2B p.32-34 by deed dated Dec. 10, 1717]. This land is south and east of the Rhoads-Body-Goldfarb property. The land was on both sides of the Manatawny Creek, which was eventually used to divide the land between Rodt and Greiner. The southern portion of Johann Jacob's land straddles what is now State Route 662 (Old Swede Road).

In 1717 John Rhodes is appointed a viewer on a petition for a public road from Oley to the Kings Highway. The road was laid out 40 feet wide and confirmed in 1719. [Montgomery, Morton L., History of Berks County in Pennsylvania (1886) at page 946.] It is the road from Pleasantville through Yellow House to Douglasville (now Covered Bridge Road and Old Swede Road). The Petition for the formation of Amity Township of 1744, reaffirming that of 1719 is signed by Hans Jacob Rot. [Reaffirmation of Amity Township Formation Petition (1744); Philadelphia, PA.] John Jacob Roth is listed in 1734 as owning 150 acres in Amity Township, Philadelphia County. ["Landholders of Philadelphia County, 1734" Publications Of The Genealogical Society Of Pennsylvania, Dec. 1898, Miscellany No. 2.] He is listed on the 1734 Philadelphia County Taxables (now Berks Co, PA) as Johan Jacob Roth. Johann Jacob Rodt was naturalized [presumably as an Englishman] in 1739. Johann Jacob bought an adjoining 50 acres from Edward Farmer in 1742. [This property traces to an original Patent deed purchased by Peter Cock on March 15, 1705. Patent Book A, Vol. 3 at page 200 for 300 acres. Cock or Coch was probably part of a group of Delaware Valley Swedes who obtained a grant of 10,000 acres from William Penn in 1701]. The entire original parcel with these 50 acres is listed as owned Jonas Jones in 1750. [ Pendleton, Philip, E., Oley Valley Heritage. The Colonial Years: 1770-1775, (1994) at Appendix 9.]

Johann Jacob Rodt's will is listed in Philadelphia County (which included part of what is now Berks) as filed March 4, 1745 and proven December 21, 1745. Philadelphia County Wills Book H 105 (1745-1747). He leaves his wife "the one fourth part of all that shall be raised on my plantation clear of all cost with liberty of the stove room and fire. Wood to be brought to the door and what she cannot use herself of the income of the plantation my Executor hereafter named shall be at the cost of carrying it to market for her." To his son Jacob he gives "all the messuage tenement and lands I am possessed of in Amity less paying the legatees as above bequeathed and allowing his mother those liberties by me granted here during her natural life…."

A number of accounts describe among the first settlers in Amity "three brothers named Rhoads" prospecting for land through Oley Valley near what is now Yellow House and settling in Amity Township. The accounts have them settling on the hill ranges of Amity or "on the All Sort Range." [Bertolet, Peter G., Fragments of the Past: Historical Sketches of Oley Valley and Vicinity (1860); Montgomery, Morton L., The Historical and Biographical Annals of Berks County Pennsylvania (Chicago, 1909) at pg. 1288.] These three brothers were probably the second generation Johann Konrad, Johann Jacob and Matthias. "Allsorts" is a name for conglomerate rock formations sometimes called "pudding stone" and found in various parts of the region. [Speros, Susan. "The Other Hottenstein House," Historical Review of Berks County, Vol 75, No. 4 (Fall, 2010) at p. 159.]

By 1750, Johann Jacob Roth had sold the original strip of land and had obtained another strip approximately one mile further north also on both sides of Old Swede Road (Rt. 662). Johann Jacob Rhoads (Generation II, 1711-1798) by 1750 no longer owns the Manatawny Creek Property south of the Greiner property but by 1775 owns a parcel also on the Creek on the Amity-Oley Township line where there appears to have been a paper mill and also is owner of 183 acres on both sides of Old Swede Road. The Rhoads-Lorah-Body-Goldfarb property is part of this land.

Johann Jacob Rhoads (Generation II, 1711-1798) was born and baptized on October 8th, 1711, in Bonfeld, Wurtemberg. He died in Oct 1798 in Amity Township. Tradition has it that one of the illegible sandstones on the east side of St. Paul's Church in Amityville is his. He was married to Mary Magdalena Unk about 1735. He had ten children. He was taxed on this 183 acre Old Swede Road property at least as early as 1767. From the scant tax records it appears he was taxed for the occupation of "paper maker." He may have rented the paper mill property north of his family's original property on Manatawny Creek before he purchased it, because his only land at the time was the 183 acres straddling Old Swede Road.

The first deed to the Old Swede Road property found is dated 1785, when Johann Jacob Rhoads (Generation II, 1711-1798), widower, deeds it to his eighth child, Daniel Rhoads. [D.B. #10, pg. 61 (April15, 1785), 183 acres, 300 pounds.] The Manatwany Creek property with the mill eventually fell to his son Johann Jacob (Generation III, 1744-1823). However, the Old Swede Road property where according to the deed he was living at the time is transferred in 1785 to his son Daniel (Generation III, 1752-1825). The property in that deed is described as 183 acres, more or less, "Together with all and singular the buildings houses gardens outhouses trees woods underwoods ways watercourses waters easements profits advantages and hereditaments whatsoever unto the said tenement and tract of land belonging … to have and to hold the messuage tenement and tract or parcel thereof … Under the yearly quitrents from hence forward growing due unto the chief lord of the fee…."

The widower/grantor Johann Jacob Rhoads may have lived in the small brick tenant house on the property; the grantee Daniel and his wife and children may have lived in the old farmstead on the east side of Old Swede Road and Johann Jacob Roth (Generation III, 1744 - 1823) -- along with his wife and five children -- who ran the nearby paper mill may have rented a house on the property. The 1790 census lists households for John Rhoads as well as Jacob Roads and Daniel Roads in Amity. Each recorded two males over the age of 16. [1790 Pennsylvania Census: Berks County, Amity Township.]

Daniel (Generation III, 1752-1825) was born on May 19, 1752, and died on March 12, 1825, both in Amity Township. He was buried in St. Paul's Cemetery, Amityville. Daniel was a farmer. He married Magdalena Kerst about 1780 and they had 13 children. Daniel's headstone notes he was a member of the Pennsylvania Militia. He served in the Revolution War first under Capt. Joseph Sands and later as a private 7th class under Capt. Jacob Rhoads.

Daniel wrote his will on May 29, 1823 (one month after his brother Johann Jacob died on April 22, 1823) and it was filed 18 April 1825. He leaves the property on both sides of Old Swede Road, to his "seven Sons viz: Jacob Rhoads, John Rhoads, Samuel Rhoads, Daniel Rhoads, Solomon Rhoads, Adam Rhoads and Abraham Rhoads…." His eldest son Henry had apparently predeceased. The five youngest brothers (Samuel, Daniel, Solomon, Adam and Abraham) deed their interest in the 183 acres to their older unmarried brothers Jacob (1784-1848) and John (1787-1861) in 1826. [D.B. A-Vol.47, pg. 471 (6/2/1826).]

The two brothers live there for the rest of their lives. At some point, John moved across the road to the primitive settler's dwelling and in 1830, built the gray limestone house and matching barn. The bank barn bears the inscription "J. Rhoads -- Sept. 14 A.D. 1830." Jacob dies on April 15, 1848, having devised by will his undivided one half interest in the property to his brother John. The 1854 Township Maps for Berks County shows only a structure on the west side of the road (where the Rhoads-Body-Goldfarb house is now) labeled "J. Rhodes," but such maps often did not show all structures. The census of 1860 has John Rhoads in Amity Twp., age 72 and a bachelor, and living with is his widowed sister Mary Lorah.

John (Generation IV, 1787-1861) in 1859, shortly before he dies, sells and deeds the 150 acres of the property on the east side of Old Swede Road to his nephew Jonas referring to it as "All that Certain Messuage or Tenement & Tract of Land…." [ D.B. #71/715 (11/17/1859) 150 ac. 108 p. $10,500.]

Barn Date

John writes his will that same year (August 13, 1859), leaving property on the west side of the road to his widowed sister Mary Lorah (Generation IV, 1803-1881). It is probated in 1861. [Will Book #11, pg. 53.] It recites the bounds of 54 acres & 50 perches and he reserves watering rights to his brother Abraham who owns the adjoining land (to the north). He describes the property devised to Mary as "all that certain messuage or part of my plantation with the new buildings on and whereon I now reside, with the appurtenances thereunto belonging…." He also deeds to Mary before he dies two smaller tracts containing together 23 acres and 43 perches. However, the 1862 Berks County Township Maps still show the structrures on both sides of the road owned by "Jno Rhoades." It shows the houses across the driveway to the north owned by Abm Rhoads. These are on the old Geldbach-Jaeger (Hunter) property.

Probably by 1826 when the two brothers Jacob and John took the property on both sides of the road for their residences, it already consisted of the family house on the east side of the road and the primitive settlers house (now the ancillary or tenant house) on the west side. The third generation Daniel (the owner and farmer) may have lived in one and his brother Johann Jacob (the renter and miller) in the other. There were however clearly two estates by 1859 when John divided it and sold one to his nephew Jonas and left one to his sister Mary Lorah. In 1859 in referring to the part of his plantation with the "new" buildings John may have been referring to the Georgian house and large bank barn which family history and an inscription painted on the barn dates to 1830.

The 1876 map shows Mrs. M. Lorah in the Rhoads-Lorah-Body-Goldfarb farmhouse and Jonas Rhoads in the house across the road. It also shows the two houses to the north one across the driveway as owned by Mrs. M.L. Roads and one at the end of a loop in the driveway as owned by D.L. Roads. The map also shows three springs and a fountain near the Lorah house. The property now has three springs in the fields and one near the base of the springhouse which may have been called a fountain.

Mary Lorah lives there until she dies in 1881. She leaves her daughter Ellen Luisa Ludwig a life estate in the property with the remainder to her children and heirs. Ellen Luisa dies widowed in 1925 and intestate. She is survived by three children (Mary V. Halloway, Emma L. Rhoads and Anna L. Bridenbach) and the issue of two predeceased children. These children and grandchildren sell the property at public sale. [Will Book Vol. 14, pg. 328 (probated May 9, 1881). The will appears to be dated April 24, 1857, before she inherited the property. ]

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This document maintained by David Goldfarb.