Daniel Rhoads, 1st Relief Party

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Daniel Rhoads (Rhodes)

Also Known As: "Rhodes"
Birthplace: Paris, Edgar, IL, USA
Death: Died in San Francisco, San Francisco, CA, USA
Place of Burial: Rhoads Cemetery Kings County California
Immediate Family:

Son of Thomas Foster Rhoades and Elizabeth Rhoads
Husband of Amanda Rhoads
Father of Mary Keiffer
Brother of Caleb Baldwin Rhoades; Catherine Foster Sheldon; Lucinda Amelia Clawson; George Washington Rhoads; John P. Rhoads, 1st & 4th Relief and 17 others
Half brother of Thomas Rhoades; Annie J. Hadden; Olive J Rhoades; Josephine Williams; John Joseph Rhoades and 1 other

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About Daniel Rhoads, 1st Relief Party


Age: 25 First Relief

b.7 Dec 1821 m. 8 Oct 1843 to Amanda Esery d. 4 Dec 1895

        Overland emigrant of 1846 and son of Thomas Foster and Elizabeth Forster Rhoads. Daniel and his brother John were living in the vicinity of Johnson's Ranch when the Forlorn Hope arrived with news of the Donner Party's dire situation. They joined the First Relief; see Daniel's 1873 account, which he dictated for historian H. H. Bancroft.
      Daniel was a rancher in central California; he abandoned his Mormon roots and became a member of the Methodist Church. His adobe home in Kings County is California State Historic Landmark 206. See the Rhoades Genealogy Page for more information about the family.


When the RHOADS family, consisting of Thos. RHOADS, wife & 11 children, left Ray county, Missouri, and consequently the journey in wagon trains, drawn by oxen was a dangerous one and it was necessary to join in with other immigrants to secure safety from probable attacks of hostile Indians. The party crossed the Missouri river at St. Joseph on April 7, 1846, and arrived at JOHNSON's ranch in the Sacramento valley Oct. 4th of the same year. It is needless to say that many scenes and varied were the experiences of the journey in that early day. California's history is replete with tragic and startling events, one of the most mournful of which was the scenes of horror and despair which transpired in the snowy Sierras, at Donner Lake, in the winter of 1846-7, when men, women and children starved to death, while others of stronger vitality survived them and devoured their flesh to sustain life until a party could be summoned to their rescue.

Uncle Dan RHOADS was one of the rescuers who first reached and witnessed the awful scenes of suffering. He spent 11 years in the northern part of the State and came across the mountains from San Jose in 1857 with his band of stock and located on Kings river, about 2 miles north of Lemoore, where he has lived ever since until he took up his residence in San Francisco about 1 year ago. Uncle Dan grew from a poor boy to be a very wealthy man, and has aided many in their struggles for maintenance. His policy all through life has been that of honesty, and it is believed that if he ever wronged any one it was unintentional -- an error of the mind and not of the heart. Conscious of the inevitable, he made preparations about 2 years since by building a substantial vault for the reception of his body when he should be laid away to his final rest. He also distributed his property among his children, giving each their portion of the estate.

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Daniel Rhoads, 1st Relief Party's Timeline

December 7, 1821
Paris, Edgar, IL, USA
Age 21
June 12, 1853
Age 31
Old Gilroy, CA, USA
December 4, 1895
Age 73
San Francisco, San Francisco, CA, USA
Rhoads Cemetery Kings County California