Rhoads-Evans-Garrett Family Papers
Scope and Contents
The Rhoads-Evans-Garrett Family papers collection contains letters, financial material, deeds, photographs and more related to William Evans Rhoads, his children, spouses, siblings, cousins, and previous generations. William Evans Rhoads was born in 1870 in Wilmington, Delaware to a prosperous Quaker family that owned J.E. Rhoads and Sons, a belt making and tanning company. William and several of his brothers, sons and family members took on executive positions in the company over the generations. William married his cousin Ruth Evans Rhoads in 1899 and they established their family home and farm “Hereshome” in Moorestown, New Jersey. The farm at Hereshome didn’t sustain the family financially, William and Ruth liked the idea of raising a family on a farm and using it as an opportunity to raise responsible children. The collection contains a series of material on the establishment of Hereshome, including plans for the garden, a visitor log and a notebook kept by Agnes Killarney, a Hereshome servant.
William and Ruth had six children, Grace Evans Rhoads Jr., Philip Garrett Rhoads, Elizabeth Rhoads, Thomas Garrett Rhoads, Richard Harlan Rhoads and Katherine Biddle Rhoads. The collection contains many letters written between William and his children and amongst the children over the course of their school days up into adulthood. William’s wife Ruth contracted tuberculosis in 1915 and died after a short but serious illness, leaving William with six children to raise on his own, the youngest being only three years old. William remarried two years later in 1917 to Ruth’s sister, Grace Evans Rhoads Sr., who took on her late sister’s role as wife and mother to William’s children. The collection contains a great deal of William Evans Rhoads’ financial records including tax information, estate planning, and receipts from a wide range of local companies.
William Evans Rhoads’ eldest son Philip Garrett Rhoads is the most well represented out of his children in the collection, with letters from all of his siblings from his childhood through adulthood, weekly letters from his father through his school years at Westtown school into his adulthood, and school materials from high school through his college education at M.I.T. (Massachusetts Institute of Technology). Many of the Rhoads children attended Back-Log camp during the summer, and wrote letters home, including Philip. There are also years worth of correspondence exchanged between Philip and his wife Eugenia and their children, Judy and Bill Rhoads. Philip Garrett was a favorite of the siblings and received many letters from his brothers and sisters throughout his lifetime.
The collection also contains material from previous generations of the Rhoads family, most notably that of William Evans Rhoads’ grandfather Thomas Cresson Garrett. Thomas Cresson Garrett owned T.C. Garrett and Co., a jewelry business in Philadelphia. The collection contains many receipts, letters, and financial records from the daily operations of the business. There are also photos of and letters from prior generations of the Rhoads family including Rebecca Carter’s relatives (William Evans Rhoads’ mother-in-law). Extended family members are also represented in the collection including Frances Tatum Rhoads’ (WER’s sister-in-law) household journal, William Bacon Evans’ (WER’s brother-in-law) papers, and notebooks on work with Indigenous peoples by J. Edgar Rhoads (William Evan Rhoads’ nephew).
- Rhoads, William Evans, 1870-1945 (Person)
The collection is open for research use
Standard Federal Copyright Law Applies (U.S. Title 17)
Biographical / Historical
William Evans Rhoads (1870-1945) was born to a Quaker family, his father was Jonathan Evans Rhoads (1830-1914) and his mother, Rebecca Cresson Garrett Rhoads (1830-1905) in Wilmington, Delaware. He attended Westtown School from 1883 to 1887 and then became a partner in his family’s belt making and tanning business, J.E. Rhoads and Son. He married his cousin Ruth Evans (1877-1915) in 1899 and they had six children together: Grace Evans Rhoads Jr. (1900-1991), Philip Garrett Rhoads (1902-1993), Elizabeth Rhoads (1903-1984), Thomas Garrett Rhoads (1907-1928), Richard Harlan Rhoads (1909-2005), and Katherine Biddle Rhoads (1912-1965). He established the family home “Hereshome” in Moorestown, New Jersey, which had a small farm. His wife Ruth died in 1915 from tuberculosis and he remarried to his late wife’s sister, Grace Evans Sr. (1874-1959) in 1917 . He was a major contributor to the Westtown Arboretum and made charitable contributions to organizations that aligned with his Quaker beliefs such as the Philadelphia Peace Association of Friends and the Institute for Colored Youth (now Cheney University). He died in 1945.
Ruth Evans Rhoads (1877-1915) (William Evans Rhoads’ first wife) was born to William Evans (1835-1919) and Rebecca Carter Evans (1835-?) in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. She attended Westtown School from 1891-1896 and went on to teach drawing there from 1898-1899. She married her cousin William Evans Rhoads (1870-1945) in 1899. They had six children together, as listed above. Ruth lived with her husband and children at their family home and farm “Hereshome” in Moorestown, New Jersey. She died at the age of 38, from a short, but serious case of tuberculosis.
Grace Evans Rhoads Sr. (1874-1959) (William Evans Rhoads’ second wife) was born to William Evans (1835-1919) and Rebecca Carter (1835-?). She attended Westtown School from 1888-1893 and taught drawing at the same school in 1899. After her sister Ruth Evans Rhoads died in 1915, she married her late sister’s husband William Evans Rhoads in 1917 and took on the role of mother for his children and had the nickname “Mother Gray”. She continued her life as a homemaker at “Hereshome” in Moorestown, New Jersey and died in 1959.
Grace Evans Rhoads Jr. (1900-1991) was born to William Evans Rhoads (1870-1945) and Ruth Evans (1877-1915) in Moorestown, New Jersey. She was the oldest of their six children. She graduated from Westtown School in 1918 and Bryn Mawr College in 1922 as an English literature major. She became interested in peace and international relations and obtained a PhD in Philosophy from the University of Geneva, Switzerland. She was involved with many social justice organizations over her lifetime, such as the American Friends Service Committee and the Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom. Her work in social justice led to much travel around the United States and abroad. She eventually moved to Paraguay and became involved with the Hutterian Brethren. She died in 1991 in Norfolk, Connecticut.
Philip Garrett Rhoads (1902-1993) was born to William Evans Rhoads (1870-1945) and Ruth Evans Rhoads (1877-1915) in Moorestown, New Jersey. He was the second of their six children. He attended Westtown School, graduating in 1918, and Haverford College, graduating in 1924. He went on to study at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and received a Bachelor’s of Science in 1927. In 1933 he became a partner and executive at his family’s belt making and tanning business J.E. Rhoads and Sons. He married Josephine Eugenia (Genie) Eckford (1901-1995), teacher, artist, and homemaker in 1933 and they had two children together, Judith (Judy) Jameson Rhoads (1936-?) and William (Bill) Evans Rhoads (1938-?). After Philip’s retirement from J.E. Rhoads and Sons he became the business manager and secretary of the Wilmington public school system. He was a member of the Prisoner’s Aid Society, and the Kruse School for wayward girls. Philip died in 1993.
Elizabeth (Bet) Rhoads (1903-1984) was born to William Evans Rhoads (1870-1945) and Ruth Evans Rhoads (1877-1915) in Moorestown, New Jersey. She was the third of their six children. Elizabeth attended Westtown School, Mount Holyoke College, and Yale School of Nursing. She was employed for many years as a secretary at the Moorestown Friends School and served as overseer and secretary at the Moorestown Friends Meeting. She died in 1984 in Moorestown, New Jersey.
Thomas Garrett Rhoads (1907-1928) was born to William Evans Rhoads (1870-1945) and Ruth Evans Rhoads (1877-1915) in Moorestown, New Jersey. He was the fourth of their six children. Thomas attended Westtown School and Haverford College. He died young at the age of 21, while in recovery at the Pennsylvania Hospital after a mastoid removal operation.
Richard (Dick) Harlan Rhoads (1909-2005) was born to William Evans Rhoads (1870-1945) and Ruth Evans Rhoads (1877-1915) in Moorestown, New Jersey. He was the fifth of their six children. Richard attended Westtown School, graduating in 1928. He went on to study at the University of Pennsylvania and graduated in 1933 with a Bachelor’s degree in merchandising. He partnered with his family’s belt making business J.E. Rhoads and Sons, eventually becoming president and chairman of the company. He married Mary Gaunt (1910-?), a teacher and homemaker in 1937 and they had three children together, David Gaunt Rhoads (1938-?), Ruth Evans Rhoads (1940-?), and Winifred Rhoads (1944-?). Richard died in 2005.
Katherine (Kit) Biddle Rhoads (1912-1995) was born to William Evans Rhoads (1870-1945) and Ruth Evans Rhoads (1877-1915) in Moorestown, New Jersey. She attended Westtown school, graduating in 1930 and went on to attend Earlham College. She married Horace Sawin (1910-1965), a professor, in 1933. They had five children together:Frederick Sawin (1934-?), Joan Sawin (1936-?), Elizabeth Sawin (1939-?), Philip Sawin (1942-?), and Thomas Sawin (1944-?). Katherine died in 1995.
Jonathan Evans Rhoads (1830-1915) (William Evan Rhoads’ father) was born in 1830 to Joseph Rhoads III (1787-1861) and Hannah Evans Rhoads (1793-1865) in Marple, Pennsylvania. He attended Westtown School from 1844 to 1845 and was recorded as a Quaker minister in 1878. He married Rebecca Cresson Garrett (1830-1905) in 1856 at the Sixth Street Meetinghouse in Philadelphia Pennsylvania. They had eight children together. He was responsible for moving the family belt making and tanning company, J.E. Rhoads and sons, to Wilmington Delaware. He died in 1915.
Rebecca Cresson Garrett (William Evan Rhoads’ mother) (1830-1905) was born to Thomas Cresson Garrett (1805-1888) and Frances Biddle (1803-1873) in Philadelphia Pennsylvania. She married Jonathan Evans Rhoads (1830-1915) in 1856 at the Sixth Street Meetinghouse in Philadelphia Pennsylvania. They had eight children together,. Rebecca was a homemaker and active in Quaker meetings. She died in 1905.
Thomas Cresson Garrett (1805-1888) (William Evans Rhoads’ grandfather) was born to Philip Garrett (1780-1851) and Rebecca Cresson (1775-1839). Thomas’ father Philip had apprenticed for a watchmaker and worked in the jewelry industry, which Thomas also went into, eventually starting his own jewelry business T.C. Garrett and Co. Thomas Cresson Garrett married Frances Biddle (1803-1873) in 1801. There is insufficient information on how many children they had besides their daughter Rebecca Cresson Garrett (1830-1905). Thomas died in 1888.
George Ashbridge Rhoads (William Evans Rhoads’ brother) (1860-1937) was born to Jonathan Evans Rhoads (1830-1915) and Rebecca Cresson Garrett Rhoads (1830-1905) in Marple, Pennsylvania. He partnered with his family’s belt making and tanning company J.E. Rhoads and Sons where he developed Tannate and served as an executive to the company. He married Frances Canby Tatum (1861-1931) in 1890 and they had seven children together: Thomas Garrett Rhoads (1891-1891), Elizabeth (Elsie) Tatum Rhoads (1892-1928), Rebecca Garrett Rhoads (1895-1939), Eleanor Rhoads (1897-1973), Lucy Richardson Rhoads (1901-1956), Marion Rhoads (1903-?), and John Tatum Rhoads (1907-?). George’s wife Frances was a writer, community volunteer and homemaker, but died young at the age of 41 in 1931. George remarried in 1933 to Alice Carter Evans (1872-1955). George was a member of the Indian Committee in the Philadelphia Yearly meeting and an active Quaker. He died in 1937.
Alice Carter Evans (William Evans Rhoads’ sister-in-law) (1872-1955) was born to William Evans (1835-1919) and Rebecca Carter (1835-?) in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. She had four siblings, Charles Evans, William Bacon Evans (1875-1964), Grace Evans Sr. (1874-1959) and Ruth Evans (1877-1915). Alice attended Westtown School and married John Biddle Rhoads (1865-1911) in 1894. They had four children, Mary Harlan Rhoads (1898-1983), Charles Edward Rhoads (1903-1989), George Ashbridge Rhoads (1907-1977), and Hannah Carter Rhoads (1911-?). Alice’s husband John died in 1911 at the age of 46 and Alice remarried to her late husband’s brother, George Ashbridge Rhoads (1860-1937). Both of Alice’s husbands (John Biddle Rhoads and George Ashbridge Rhoads) were brothers of William Evans Rhoads and Alice was sister to both of William Evans Rhoads’ wives (Ruth Evans Rhoads and Grace Evans Rhoads Sr.). Alice served on many Friend meeting committees and was active in the Peace Movement. She died in 1955.
William Bacon Evans (1875-1964) (William Evans Rhoads’ brother-in-law) was born to William Evans (1835-1919) and Rebecca Carter (1835-?) in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. He graduated from Columbia University in 1913 with Bachelor's degrees in Science and Education and in 1929 from Rollins College. He served as a Quaker minister, teacher and writer throughout his life. He taught French at the Westtown school between 1908 and 1917. William worked in research for fifteen years on “The Dictionary of Quaker Biography” at Haverford College and also authored twelve books on subjects ranging from ornithology to poetry. He served as a staff member for the Daniel and Emily Oliver Orphanage in Ras el Metn, Syria, for eleven years and went on to live at the Friends Center on Arch St. in Philadelphia. William died in 1964.
J.E. Rhoads and Sons (1702-2009) was the longest continually run business in the United States, operating for 307 years. The company was founded in 1702 by Joseph Rhoads I (1680-1732) in Marple, Pennsylvania as a commercial tannery. Over time it came to specialize in leather belts used in mechanical applications. After the American Civil War the company relocated to Wilmington, Delaware while keeping its headquarters in Philadelphia. In 1993 a majority of the company’s shares were sold outside of the Rhoads family and in 2009 the company went out of business.
25.2 Linear Feet (60 boxes, 8 volumes)
The William Evans Rhoads family papers collection contains letters, financial material, deeds, photographs, genealogical charts and more, related to William Evans Rhoads, his children, and his ancestors extending back to the early 1800s. William Evans Rhoads was a Quaker businessman living in Moorestown, New Jersey at the turn of the 20th century.
The collection is organized into series by family member name and then into subseries by genre of material such as letters, financial, papers, etcetera. The remaining series are broken down by genre of material including genealogy, artwork, photographs and more.
Gift of Katherine Obbard and family, 2019
Processed by Janeen Lamontagne and Ella Culton, completed February 2023.
- Backlog Camp
- J.E. Rhoads and Sons
- New Jersey -- Genealogy
- New Jersey -- History -- Sources
- Quaker businesspeople
- Quaker deeds
- Quaker philanthropists
- Quaker women -- Correspondence
- Quaker women -- New Jersey
- Quaker youth
- Quakers -- Family relationships
- Quakers -- New Jersey
- Society of Friends -- New Jersey -- Burlington County
- daguerreotypes (photographs)
- family papers
- Rhoads, William Evans, 1870-1945 (Person)
- Rhoads, Ruth Evans, 1877-1915 (Person)
- Rhoads, Grace Evans, Jr. , 1900-1991 (Person)
- Rhoads, Philip Garrett, 1902-1993 (Person)
- Rhoads, Elizabeth, 1903-1984 (Person)
- Rhoads, Thomas Garrett, 1907-1928 (Person)
- Rhoads, Richard Harlan, 1909-2005 (Person)
- Sawin, Katharine Biddle Rhoads, 1912-1995 (Person)
- Rhoads, Grace Evans, Sr. , 1874-1959 (Person)
- Rhoads, Jonathan E. (Jonathan Evans), 1830-1914 (Person)
- Rhoads, Rebecca Cresson Garrett, 1830-1905 (Person)
- Evans, William Bacon, 1875-1964 (Person)
- Rhoads, Alice Carter Evans, 1872-1955 (Person)
- Rhoads, J. Eugenia Eckford, 1901-1995 (Person)
- Garrett, Thomas Cresson, 1805-1888 (Person)
- Rhoads, George Ashbridge, 1860-1937 (Person)
- Rhoads-Evans-Garrett Family Papers
- Ella Culton and Janeen Lamontagne
- February, 2023
- Description rules
- Describing Archives: A Content Standard
- Language of description
- Script of description
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