History of the Rhodes Mill

Rhodes Mill: History - Old Sketches - Old Photos - Later Photos - Family Tree

The history of our family was carefully researched and documented by the late Joseph Elmer Rhodes Jr., and his essays are collected here. This web site is maintained by Brandon Craig Rhodes. If you might have further information about Newton Marion Rhodes and his history in Butler County, Alabama, you can contact me by email.

Essays by Joseph Elmer Rhodes, Jr.


The three maps below were all sketched by Joseph Elmer Rhodes to accompany his essays about our family history.



This map shows where Shell, Alabama — the town in which the early Rhodes and their mill prospered — lies with respect to some larger Alabama communities around it. The state capitol, Montgomery, lies about fifty miles north of Greenville along Interstate 65, while Georgiana and Greenville themselves are separated by about fifteen miles. The mill was located where Persimmon Creek crosses the road beside Shell. When its dam was still intact, the mill pond extended north of the road into the empty lands upstream which were, over many decades, stripped of their virgin timber.

You may also want to refer to a topological map of this area which includes Georgiana to the northwest (upper left) and Shell near its center.



This map shows the arragement of Shell itself when its was inhabited. To the northeast lies the Wesley Chapel, which was built with lumber from the Rhodes Mill. The mill community itself covered the crown of the hill, and our family's houses were located along the dirt roads that lead south from Shell. One of these passes the Riley Cemetery at the center of the map, where many of the Rhodes - including Newton Marion - are buried, and where their tombstones can still be found.

You can also examine a topological map of this area. Note the rail siding named “Rhodes” in the southwest corner.



Finally, Elmer Rhodes prepared this detailed diagram of how the mill and its buildings nestled around the hill which briefly splits Persimmon Creek into two branches. Next to the mill are two buildings whose labels may be difficult to read; they are the “Boiler Room” for the steam power used in the mill's last years, and the “Edgers” which prepared boards.