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Rhodes Family Papers

Identifier: A-0092

Scope and Contents

The collection consists of correspondence, reports on the ministry, announcements of preaching, sermon notes, receipts, miscellaneous reports, lists, programs, and a memorandum book and diary of Arnold Rhodes. The memorandum book and diary relate Rhodes' often discouraging experiences as an itinerant minister traveling throughout Southeast Texas. The collection contains the minutes of the 21st annual meeting of the New Bethel Association. Also included are newspaper clippings about Arnold and Jeff Rhodes and two religious poems. A paper entitled "Debate on Prohibition" by John H. Rhodes of undetermined relation is also included. The bulk of the collection consists of typescripts. In some cases the typescript is accompanied by the original document.


  • 1876-1941


Language of Materials

The collection is in English.

Conditions Governing Access

Open for research.

Biographical or Historical Information

Arnold Rhodes (1830?-1887) came from Georgia to East Texas with his father who settled at Carthage in Panola County, Texas. Arnold Rhodes came to Tyler County in 1856. From 1859-1862, Arnold Rhodes served as pastor for New Bethel Baptist Church. A. Rhodes formed the first Baptist church congregation in the city of Beaumont. On Nov. 3, 1860, he organized the New Bethel Baptist Church Association which consisted of churches he founded in Polk, Tyler, Liberty, Hardin and Jefferson Counties. He married Ruth Virginia McAlister and in 1861, they had a son, Jeff Worth Rhodes. In 1862, he resigned as pastor of New Bethel Baptist Church to serve as Chaplain in the Confederate services. After the Civil War, he returned and resumed his ministry until his death in 1887. He was a pioneer Baptist preacher and rode horseback to preach in communities from the northern border of Polk County, far to the beaches of the Gulf of Mexico at Sabine Pass.

Jeff Worth Rhodes (1861-1941), the son of Arnold Rhodes, was born on August 7, 1861 in Woodville and was a resident of the town all his life. Jeff Rhodes was ordained in 1884 in the Camp Grounds Church, six miles west of Woodville. After being ordained, Jeff Rhodes continued his business of running a tie yard and later a woodyard about one mile south of Doucette. He sold his ties and then, later, his wood to the railroad. Later he gave up his business and devoted his time to his ministerial work with a little farming and gardening thrown in. The Bethel Church came to an end sometime during or shortly after the Civil War leaving no Baptist Church in Woodville until 1887, when Jeff Rhodes organized the First Baptist Church of Woodville of which he was pastor for 31 years.

Jeff Rhodes also pastored several churches part-time. Among these were Fairview Church for 18 years, Huntington Church for 20 years, and Kountze Church for 30 years. For 15 years, he preached at several small churches near Rusk (Lone Oak, Sardis, and Camp Grounds) in the weekend of each fifth Sunday of the months of the years. Jeff Rhodes held countless revival meetings all over Southeast Texas. While pastoring the Camp Grounds Baptist Church near Alto and the Sardis Baptist Church near Rusk, Jeff Rhodes died on January 13, 1941 and was buried in Magnolia Cemetery, Woodville.

("Rhodes Family Papers." Control File, East Texas Research Center. Ralph W. Steen Library. Stephen F. Austin State University).


0.50 Cubic Feet


This collection is described in 12 folders and housed with other collections in a clamshell box.

Guide to the Rhodes Family Papers
Emily Kerr
Language of description
Script of description
Code for undetermined script

Repository Details

Part of the East Texas Research Center Repository