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Rhodes Letters   1846 - 1890

William Rhodes [WR1] 1791-1869

is the author of most of these letters, writing from England to his son in Canada. He has been a widower for almost 20 years at this point.

Col. William Rhodes [WR2] 1821-1892  was living in Canada with his wife and ever-increasing family (9 children born from 1848 to 1867. As recipient none of the letters are written by him, but he must have saved them.

Godfrey Rhodes 1850-1932 [WR2]'s second son, (he is also the author of "Godfrey's Diary") collected and read the letters in 1915, and wrote notes on them to his brother, another William Rhodes [WR3], my great-grandfather.

There's a family tree on page 4 for your reference!










(note attached)

WR. This letter is rather interesting showing that early in life father [WR1] was interested in Uncle James (Rhodes). Grandfather must have been under 50 years of age when he wrote the letter in 1846 and father only about 23. I daresay Frank and his sisters would like to see the letter. It may then be torn up. Godfrey W Rhodes 1915. 

Lucerne July 23, 1846. 

My dear William [WR2]

I think it necessary to answer that part of your letter to Annie, in which you a second time propose yourself as a mediation between your brother James and me; and though it seems harsh after the recent events in our family to decline the offer, yet I must do it. I know it would only contribute to imbitter my remaining years, was your brother to be obtruded into my family, and as with the assistance of your Uncle and Grandfather, I have been enabled to

find him a respectable home, if he had thought proper to accept it,

I do not see that I am called upon to receive a person into my house, whose habits of life, are so uncongenial to my own. The same liberty which I claim for myself, I willingly concede to you,




and I have only one objection to your asking him to spend such time as you think proper with you in England. He is the last in the entail of your great grandfather's will, and at the death of your uncle, and myself, will come in for the receipt of about three thousand [pounds] a year, the principle of which will be under his own control. I have studiously kept this information from him, having no doubt that he would raise money upon such expectation. Should you by bringing him over to England, put him in the way of acquiring this knowledge, no doubt you would receive his thanks, but whether you would receive the thanks of his family /should he ever have one/ or your own, I very much doubt. You will of course act as you think best. Your brothers, Godfrey and Frances, may I also think that this explanation is due to them, though heretofour they have been content to submit to my wishes. To prevent the unpleasantness of a third explanation, you will oblige me by forwarding this letter to each of them.  In my transactions with my children, I hope I am actuated by honest motives, but when they are enabled to maintain themselves, I do not see that they can claim any right to disturb my quiet mode of living. Your brother James I neither can, or will, receive as an inmate of my house, though I am willing to do him any kindness out of it. I am sorry that our views do not coincide, for no doubt we are both actuated by what we think good motives. Your Grandfather and Uncle, who are aware of all these circumstances, happily approve of my conduct. As Annie is writing you a long letter by this days post, You will excuse my writing more, and believe me ever to from your affectionate father and sincere friend WRhodes

William Rhodes [WR1]


is the author of most of these letters, writing from England (or in this case Switzerland). 

Ann Smith    -1827 his wife died 19 years ago

Annie 1820-1913 is his daughter who often stays with him.

William Rhodes [WR2] 1821-1892, the second son, came to Canada in the 1840's, and married Anne Dunn 1823-1911. They would not be married until a year after this letter.

James Rhodes 1819-1901 is William's older brother, and is entitled to inherit a substantial sum and income on the death of his father and uncle. This information has been kept from him, because they do not approve of his lifestyle, and feel that he will borrow against his future estate and then spend it all.   Income of £3000 a year would be £200-300,000 annual income today.


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Great Grandfather is James Armitage (1730-1803) who during the 18th century, built a substantial fortune as a wool merchant in Leeds. He bought Farnley Hall west of Leeds near the end of his life, and the Armitages had major business interests including Iron and Steel works in the 1800's in Leeds.

Brothers of William Rhodes [WR2] Godfrey 1823-1905 and Francis 1825-1920 are both in their early 20's and live in England.


Grandfather is WR1's wife's father Christopher Smith 1767-1846. He actually died 2 weeks before this letter was written on July 10, 1846 at Bramhop (where the Rhodes family lived for many years).


Uncle is WR1's older brother (known as JAR) 1785-1871, more about hime later!


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(written by William Rhodes WR1)

Brighton May 28 1852

My dear Godfrey

I put off writing to you in hopes that I should now be able to give you some account of Rifle which you desired me to order for you. The order was given by your brother William who I thought I understood such matters better than I did, the Man took a copy of your letter, so that at all events he has your instructions, and knows through my Bankers that I am ready and willing to pay; but when your brother called on him when leaving England, the Man told him that he feared he should have much difficulty with the Patentee, who would promise anything, and taken so many orders that it was impossible for him to execute the whole of them in any reasonable time. Now as I who am the paymaster have heard nothing, I begin to fear that your case will be put off to suit the convenience of the Patentee, more particularly as you are not near enough to prep him on your own account; but even good may arise out of the delay, as I understand continual improvements are making in the construction of these arms, and as your Regiment does not seem likely just at present to take the field, a month or two may make no difference to you, and you may perchance get a better Rifle. However this is all the consolation I can give you under your disappointment. 

And now for home news; public news you will find in the newspapers. Never send me anything that does not immediately concern you or your Regiment. I have had three of poor Caroline's children staying with me for the last fortnight, They have come to take dancing lessons, which I suppose ours to be had to greater perfection here than at Guernsey. John is the youngest boy, a fine lad,/the other boy James is at school/ came with his sisters who remind me very much of my own daughters, Indeed



they are so like them, that it is quite clear one generation treads in the

footsteps of those preceeding it. They are nice genteel girls very like

your sisters, and had they been left in my charge, I would have taken a house at Boulogne, and gone over so that they might have learned the french language, for unhappily like all children not being forced, they will not converse in the language. It has been a great pleasure to me to see them and they return to their Father early in June. Their mother-in-law is I believe to be confined in August; she had a mishap I understand last year.


I see the "Canada" the ship in which your brother returned in is safe at Boston, though I have not heard from Willie. Francis writes me that he is very busy removing his things from Markington, and hopes in a day or two to be safe at Kirskile. I shall go down into that country in July, and wander about perhaps into Scotland, in return home in October; during those months therefore my address will be at Kirskile, and Wm Myers will forward letters to me. In all other respects we get on as much as usual, your sister is in Paris with her husband and I believe they propose passing the summer in Switzerland, but this does not seem quite certain, at any rate I know nothing of their return to England. Francis remains at Kirskile until Cayley Hall is at liberty, And then he takes possession; and your Uncle and Aunt Rhodes are well as usual, though your Aunt complains of old age and its accompaniments.

As to your Aunt Caroline, I understand that she takes matters quietly just at present, though report says that the Doctor's money matters are in a very bad way, and that he is going to give up his house, going to furnish rooms at Leeds, Aunt Caroline living in a house she has got in the country near Pontefract.

Now about your purchase of the Majority, if such a thing were to occur: all my military friends tell me that you ought to return your money as ready in the hands of Mssrs Brown, Bankers, London. The A tion,gent gives them notice to lodge the regulation, and thus the business is done; I have given Browns orders to do so in my name. When you see any chance, warned me and I will take care the money shall be ready. The weather has been very cold and dry, for two months and more, with the wind NE now it is accompanied with rain, but it still remains cold; we have had no summer weather yet. I have no more to write to you about but wishing you every happiness I remain your affectionate Father  WRhodes

All the world is either in London or in Paris, Capt Georges and two or three other men alone remain in Brighton.


The "Canada" would have looked something like this ship

Kirskile was later called Creskeld, and was given to Francis later on. More below!

Wm Myers is a servant who worked for the Rhodes family for many years, there's a letter written by him, below!

The sister is Ann Elizabeth 1820-1913, married to Patrick Durham.

Uncle and Aunt Rhodes are [WR1]'s brother James Rhodes (JAR) and his wife Mary, they are in their 60's.

Aunt Caroline 1795-1864  is [WR1]'s sister, her husband is a physician.

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The rifle may have been this one, named after the French inventor of the rifling system, which spins the bullet increasing accuracy and distance. It was a major leap forward in the design of the British service arm.

The Crimean War took place between 1853 and 1856 in which the Russian Empire lost to an alliance of the Ottoman EmpireFranceBritain. Not sure if Godfrey was involved.

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Godfrey Rhodes 1823-1905 is William [WR2]'s brother, who would be 19 at this time. He is not to be confused with Godfrey who wrote the notes and the diary, who was only born in 1850 so too young for a rifle!

"poor" Caroline is his daughter 1818-1846, she died 6 years before the letter was written. Her husband was John

St Vincent 3rd Baron de Saumarez of Guernsey and there are 3 children..

By mother-in-law he probably means step-mother, their father remarried in 1850.

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Purchase of the "Majority"

The purchase of officer commissions in the British Army was the practice of paying money to be made an officer in the British Army. One could pay money, and automatically be made an officer. Utilizing this practice, one did not have to wait to be promoted because of merit or seniority. This practice was common throughout most of the history of the British Army. Formally, the commission purchase price was a cash bond for good behaviour, forfeited to the Army's cashiers (accountants) in the event of cowardice, desertion or gross misbehaviour.

The practice started in 1683 during the reign of Charles II and continued until abolished on 1 November 1871, as part of the Cardwell Reforms. (wikipedia)

Brighton England in the 1800's

(written by William Rhodes WR1 to Anne Dunn Rhodes, WR2's wife)

Brighton July 6th, 1852


My dear daughter

    I have a letter this morning from your husband to tell me that he is going to Cuba to get rid of a cough which he found, and brought back from the far west. Now all this seems so strange to me that I do not understand him. Had I known he had any such intentions, I should have begged him to have come to England, as there are some little family matters which rather require his attention. My Brother, and my dear son Francis, are not contented that my son James should be kept in ignorance of his future prospects. (I?) decline to move in the matter, but am quite ready to give up all authority to those who will. Your husband is far more interested than any other other person, because if James was to die, a property of about 60,000 pounds would go to him as heir to my Brother and myself, and in case of his death to your eldest son. But when James comes into possession, he may do just what he likes with it. This raises the question whether it is advisable during my life, that James should know his expectations, and as I by no means see my way clear before me I am unwilling to move, more particularly when your husband is in my opinion the person far the most interested. The circumstance has caused a little unpleasantness between me and my Brother, who is not used to have his will disputed. I feel however I am acting for the best, but had you husband been in England his opinion and wishes would have had very great weight with me. After all I have no doubt that this, like many other little family difficulties, will be got over by patience and a little mutual forbearance. James himself knows nothing of what is going on, and so far as I am informed, is going on better than usual. I did not encourage your husband to come to England and more particularly to live at Kirskile not because I should not have



been glad to see you, but because I wished such an act to have been his own, and because at my death (as matters stand at present) Kirskill will have to be sold for the benefit of my younger children, and then, and no person can tell how soon that event may happen, he would again have to seek a new home. 

    William perhaps in a few years may change his plans and views of life, his own pleasures will naturally give way to the interests of his family, if they are to live in Canada perhaps he can not do better than he is now doing, but if they are to live in England they are best having an English education, and acquiring in early life the customs of the country where they are to dwell. At present however these things are of little moment, if you and he are happy, and contented, enjoy yourself by all means whilst you are young, for with age cares and pains arise which we little dream of when in the sunshine of our existence. His ways are not my ways, but we may remain good friends nevertheless, and you may depend on it no person has more your real benefit at heart than I have. 

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This letter is, like the first letter 6 years ago in 1846, about WR1's oldest son James, pictured at right. As the oldest son he is set to inherit a sizeable fortune, but he does not know. His father has kept this inheritance a secret from James, because his father feels he will squander the fortune.

The fortune comes from James Armitage (1730-1803), who built a substantial fortune as a wool merchant in Leeds. He is the grandfather of William Rhodes WR1, on his mother's side. Elizabeth Armitage 1763-1825 and Peter Rhodes (1759-1837)  were WR1's parents.

Kirskile is mentioned again, it was a large house owned by the Rhodes family.

    Annie is yet in Wales, but I expect her to pay me a visit at the latter end of this month, and if my house and plans suit her husband ideas, I hope she will remain with me some months. I have got on very well so far, fortunately I can read for hours together with great pleasure, my memory is so bad that perhaps I do not profit much, but yet  it is a great source of comfort to me. I seldom turn out before two o’clock, and am at home again usually by five, when not going out to dinner which I might do if I liked almost every other day, I read until 7 o’clock, from eight to ten is the worst part of the day, as about nine, I long for a little conversation, and sometimes look at the clock more than once until it strikes ten. Had I been told forty years ago that I should have been content, and happy with this kind of monotonous life, I would not have believed it, but yet it is so; and the country, particularly at this season of the year, would not suit my plans in the least.

    As your husband is away from you I have taken this occasion to write to you, as I know from experience when left alone it is a comfort to know that others care for one. And now my dear young lady, I have written you a long letter all about myself, trusting you will follow my example as depend on it I shall ever have a great interest for you, and should misfortune ever reach you and you required it, in me you will ever find a kind friend and affectionate Father

Yours faithfully


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57 BK square Brighton February 12, 1857

My dear Willie

The “imperial government” as you are pleased to call it as promised to take  9? in the ?? off, which last year they took from my income, for which I feel much obliged; and as this is the only part of their conduct which interest me, I send you the news though no doubt you will have heard it long ago. So far and no further do I interest myself about the imperial government; and so much for getting old and wanting zeal. 

And now about our noble family, James goes on much as usual, having got all he could out of me he has been extracting something out of the Reverend JAR: and Francis without any application, has had a present of Kirskile made to him, my brother giving me 15,000 pounds for that property, which as I only get 3 3/4% for will leave my income much the same; though Francis has done well as it is worth more than 15,000 if sold in lots, in fact it cost 18,000 pounds. Neither he or I knew anything about the matter until the proposition was made by my brother. He is gone down to take possession so that matter is over. Then as to Godfrey I continue in disgrace, and as nothing will convince Godfrey but that if I had liked I could have got the estate for him, I fear our reconciliation is far off, when God knows I was never more surprised you in my life when the proposition was made to me. 

As to myself I am living much as I used to do. I have Annie, her husband, and three children in the house, and as she knows my ways all goes on in the very quiet satisfactory manner, and the children are no trouble to me.  I fancy they will remain here until the middle of April when they will return into Wales. In May and I always go down into the north, as I like the spring in the country, and my




brother usually spends a fortnight or three weeks at Harrowgate , and I take a lodging near him and thus we our company for each other, and I pass the day with them, either walking out or drinking tea as the case may be. 

The last week has been beautiful; bright and warm and dry, with a little frost at night, with the wind NW but very little of it, and the old man is well and enjoys the hot sun. Aunt Caroline (his sister, photo) is as large as life, much larger than the generality of women, and complains much with very little cause. Aunt Mary has been far from well but is now in her usual health, and the Rev JAR was never better in his life. In the times you will see the sad account of Lord Harwood, any turn for the worse puts his life in immediate danger, as his skull is worse than fractured it is shattered. God help him poor man.


I am very sorry for Godfrey, He has been ill used on every side; the girl turned him off after making a fool of him, and the Commander-in-Chief won't give him a promotion. But then he would take no persons advice and in some measure has brought the misery on his own head; Not that it is better to bear on that account.


Annie joins me in best love to your wife, and believe me ever your affectionate father WRhodes.

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(5 years later, written by William Rhodes WR1. He is once again in Brighton, and this time we have an address, 57 Brunswick Square!

Annie is WR1's 37 year old daughter, her husband is Patrick Durham, an Army Captain.

WR1's older brother is Reverend James Rhodes, known as JAR, and his wife is Mary Turner, both shown at right. From about 1845-65 they lived at Wood End in Roundhay, shown as it is today. 

The next two pages is an (abridged) biography of JAR James Armitage Rhodes, not part of the letters, written by Neville Hurworth who lives in Leeds and has researched this area.

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The Reverend James Armitage Rhodes 'Clerk Without Cure of Souls'
A Remarkable Man 

© By Neville Hurworth 


The Reverend James Armitage Rhodes (hereon abbreviated to JAR for convenience) was a well-liked and respected member of the influential families of Roundhay and north Leeds. He was also a man of substance in local affairs and throughout the West Riding during the middle years of the nineteenth century. For about twenty years he and his wife lived in Roundhay at Wood End, now Sabourn Court, a BUPA residential home for the elderly, off Oakwood Lane. 

JAR was born on 9 February 1785, the son of Peter Rhodes of the Bank, Leeds, a partner in the firm of Peter and James Rhodes, leather dressers and fellmongers of Nether Mills near Marsh Lane. Peter married Elizabeth Armitage, daughter of James Armitage, a very wealthy merchant of Hunslet. When James (Armitage) died in 1803, he left £10,000 to each of four granddaughters and seven grandsons, including JAR. James Armitage also held the manor of Farnley (which he had bought in 1799 from the Danby family in whose possession it had been for six centuries) and part of the manor of Hunslet. The Armitage ironmasters of Farnley Hall were descended from him. 

Peter Rhodes decided his eldest son, JAR, would be raised as a gentleman's son so in 1802 he was sent to Queens' College Cambridge where he graduated BA in 1806, and MA in 1809. In 1812 he was ordained at Holy Trinity Church in Leeds on Boar Lane. However, the Reverend James Armitage Rhodes AM, as he was now known, never sought a benefice where he could take spiritual charge of his parishioners, so he was known as a 'clerk with no cure of souls' and his participation in the church services was limited. 

In 1794 the Mayor of Leeds, Alexander Turner, responding to the threat of invasion from France, supported the creation of militia units to defend the town. Peter and James Rhodes, JAR's father and uncle, joined the Troop of Volunteer Cavalry, James as a Captain. In November 1797, the Troop was presented with their standard by JAR's mother, Mrs Peter Rhodes, on Chapeltown Moor (an area

of about 100 acres which roughly followed the line of Stainbeck Lane, Chapel Allerton, and to the south of it, to Potternewton Lane) 3 In 1810 Alexander Turner served again as Mayor of Leeds; that same year JAR married his only daughter Mary Turner at St Peter's, Leeds Parish Church. 

There is no doubt JAR was a deeply religious man. He was sometimes moved to tears as he read the lessons in church, much to the amusement of some of the children in the congregation. One of these was Emily Nicholson, the eldest daughter of William Nicholson Nicholson who later married JAR's nephew William James Armitage. Emily called these occasions 'weeping Sundays'. Right up to a few weeks before he died in his 87th year JAR was still actively participating in the services at his local church. 

Mary was quite a catch. Her father, Alexander Turner was a wealthy Leeds merchant with land and property and banking interests. On her mother's side, Mary was descended from the King and the Cockcroft families, who had been landed gentry in the Calderdale area for centuries. The Cockcrofts had connections by marriage with another long-established family of property and influence, the Stanhopes, and in due course by some genealogical good fortune, Mary profited by legacies from all these three families on her mother's side. In particular, she owned much land in the Hebden Bridge area. Alexander Turner moved from Leeds to Mytholm Hall not long before he died and this soon became Mary Rhodes' property. 

Mary was a strong-willed woman, accustomed to having her own way. She gave land for Hebden Bridge Parish Church to be built at Mytholm. It is said the vicar had to seek her approval for the hymns and if she disliked some part of his sermon she showed her disapproval by tapping her cane loudly on the floor during the service! 

In the early 1800s, JAR's father, Peter Rhodes, rented Horsforth Hall from Walter Stanhope of Cannon Hall and not long after JAR's marriage, JAR and Mary went to live there. Peter returned to Leeds to a house in Park Place where he died in 1836. 

Letters have survived which show another example of Mary Rhodes' wilful reputation. The gardener at Horsforth Hall suddenly announced to JAR that he wished to leave his employment. Not wanting to lose him if at all possible, JAR pressed the man for an explanation but could only get out of him that 'there were

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things in the family he could not be comfortable with'. Not satisfied with this, JAR continued to ask around and was eventually told 'Mrs Rhodes' behaviour was one principal objection'. JAR's reply was significant. 'I am sorry', he said rather sadly, but 'that, I cannot alter'.

A friend of the Bronte's, the Reverend Mr Sowden was also a special friend of JAR and his wife Mary. It seems that her reputation was not localised, as research currently underway by Mr Hunter of 

Bacup, a Bronte expert, suggests that Mrs Mary Rhodes could have been the real life model for the wild child Cathy in Wuthering Heights.

JAR and his brother William Rhodes, served the community as local magistrates, for several years dispensing justice in the public house, now called 'The Seventh Earl', close to Horsforth Park gates but Horsforth Hall in the Park was largely demolished in the 1950s. 

Like many men of his social standing, JAR became a Deputy Lieutenant for the West Riding and served on the bench. In due course he became a very able Chairman of the Quarter Sessions, a position he occupied for many years. In this role he was senior to dozens of his local peers and other influential men including members of the Lascelles family of Harewood House. 

There are many accounts in the newspapers of court proceedings which reveal JAR's sense of fairness and humanity. Of considerable local interest is the account of his handling of the inquiry into what happened when William Nicholson Nicholson shot and killed his gamekeeper after mistaking him for a burglar

He was really impressive though in his address to the Grand Jury in 1833 as Chairman of the Quarter Sessions where he was dismayed to find ninety prisoners arraigned in front of him facing possible deportation, a greater number than at any of the preceding sessions. The Government was pressing for even larger numbers to be deported and more severe punishments to be introduced but JAR was appalled at this trend and totally against it. In his years on the bench he had seen drunkenness as a major cause of crime. This needed to be restrained, he said, and he went on to argue the case for religious instruction and more general education especially for young offenders.8.

In 1840, JAR wrote to William Williams Brown about his intention to leave Horsforth. He had heard that 'Beechwood', Mr Goodman's house in Roundhay (off Elmete Lane, which can still be seen from Wetherby Road), was to be sold but he later declared the asking price of £20,000 was too much for him and he decided he would rather have 'a little quiet place'.

A few years later JAR and Mary Rhodes moved to Wood End in Roundhay which they shared with William Cadman and leased from him. The Rhodes stayed at Wood End from about 1845 for some twenty years. They had no children. 

For years JAR had a large financial stake in the Aire and Calder Navigation much of which had been given to him by his father. From the 1820s, JAR took an increasing part in managing the affairs of the Company and by 1830 he was firmly established as the most influential director. In 1847 he became Chairman of the Company, a position he held until his death in 1871. Over the years he worked tirelessly, always present at the meetings, and he kept himself informed of every aspect of the company's affairs. He was continually commuting to London to Parliament to oppose further expansion of the railways, especially when he felt the interests of the Aire and Calder Navigation were being compromised.

Throughout all this time, the Rhodes kept Mytholm Hall and each month they would spend a week there. It is interesting that JAR used his influence to prevent the railway station at Hebden Bridge from being built within a mile of Mytholm Hall. In spite of his opposition to the railways, JAR and his wife travelled between Leeds and Mytholm by train. 

In the mid 1860s, JAR moved from Roundhay to Carleton, near Pontefract, to a house, Westhaugh, which he inherited from his sister, Caroline Lydia Hobson. Not long afterwards Mary Rhodes died. JAR lived on there for a few more years until he died in 1871. 

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Brighton March 25 1857

My dear Willie

Your letter of the 4th of this month commences with “I am sorry to hear from your letter, that old Gosh is not satisfied about the Kirskill gift"; and having taken of this hypothesis you continue to argue upon it through your letter. I never wrote anything of the kind, and if you will refer to my letter you will see, that I there stated that I feared the gift which I had nothing to do with, would confirm Godfrey in his opinions, that he (James?) was not married because I would neither myself find him money, or influence my brother to do so: he calculating more than he had a right to do upon the length of my purse, and my influence with my brother. Now I hope you will see there is a great distinction between the two, for on the latter subject I cannot be mistaken; on the former I know nothing, not having heard from him for the last six months. At the distance you are from us you must pay a little more attention to what we write, or you will continue to have very erroneous opinions of what is really taking place amongst us, and these errors may lead too very serious misunderstandings. Godfrey may say, and with justice, my father has no right to say that "I am not satisfied about the Kirskill gift". When your sons are as old as mine, you will find you will have some difficulty in keeping clear from their various interests, without running your head into a needless difficulty. Pray therefore in future, read, learn, and inwardly digest my letters, before you come to anything like an unfavorable conclusion in family matters. This gift however does not seem to have produced all the satisfaction intended, and it would be hard indeed if Godfrey should have any real complaint against me, merely because you had misunderstood what I had written to you.

Annie has had a long letter from your wife, and if in her answer she writes anything of a doubtful meaning pray give her the benefit of the

(written by William Rhodes WR1)

Old Gosh is probably Godfrey Rhodes, brother of William (WR2) and Francis, who has been given the house called Kirskile. More on this subject coming!

And he continues to discuss James and why he didn't live up to expectations! 

And then he chastises William [WR2] for his comments in letters that we unfortunately do not have.  William (WR2) at this point has 5 sons under the age of 10!

doubt, and always put a favorable construction on what you hear from us. I am glad you continue well and in prosperity, for the war has thrown many a young man on military service, who is now but little contended (contented?) with his former quiet and economical home.

God bless you dear Willie, and may you and yours be happy, for you will find five sons a very great charge.

Your affectionate father WRhodes

Godfrey, who wrote the "notes" in 1915,





Number three

66 Youngs Lodgings Harrogate July 6 1857

My dear Willie 

I have your letter of the 10th of June, but fear I shall give you but a very unsatisfactory answer about the education of your Sons. I did not succeed in my own, though my Father gave me every chance; nor did I with my boys, though God knows I took a great deal of pains and trouble. If I had known what line of life they would be pleased to follow, then I might have had some chance, but not one of them followed up that line which I had hoped they would succeed in. You yourself are an example. Your education ought to have turned to jurisprudence, but I never could suppose that this would be your ultimate pursuit, and yet without this study, you never can hope to rise high in your present occupation. But no doubt you have made yourself in some degree master of this subject, and having done so, are a far better judge than I can be in the Education of your Sons. My prejudice is against German schools; the high-bred men in that country don't go to them, nor do they send out what we in England call gentlemen. But this prejudice/ if it is one/ may not apply to your case, because the society in Canada may not be so particular on this head as we are supposed to be in England. Again my dear Willie, what do I know of Canada? When I lived there Scotland produced the great men; and these came from obscure places and when by industry they became rich, they left the country. From such mediocrity no man rose much above his fellow, except perhaps some lawyer who remained there, knowing well he would not succeed in this. Times however are changed and you say you have no difficulty in bringing up and providing for your Sons; happy are you, For in England it is far otherwise and has been so as far as my memory can reach, and even Annie is beginning to look out ahead, over eldest boy is yet in petticoats, and the other cannot speak. Alas that we

(written by William Rhodes WR1)

He is clearly not interested in leading the life of an aristocrat with many servants, and is critical of those that do. Col. Saumarez is his deceased daughter's husband, who remarried in 1850 and has 3 children.

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could but know what line of life our children would it take then we should have some chance; but not knowing this, perhaps the most safe plan is to give them the best education our purse can buy in the country in which they are to live, and this is all the advice I dare presume to give you.

As I wrote to you last week I have no news to send you. I am in much better health; and my quiet lodgings and the little maid who attends upon me, do not cost in every thing 5 pounds a week. This is different to what is now going on in Brunswick Square. There Colonel Saumarez is attended upon by his servants, and mine; men servants and maid servants;/"he asses and she asses"/ and the house is full from top to bottom. The general news the Times will give you far better than I can do, and therefore with this you must be content.

Believe me ever to remain your affectionate Father


Genesis 12:16 And he dealt well with Abram for her sake: and he had sheep, and oxen, and he-asses, and men-servants, and maid-servants, and she-asses, and camels.

longer, his time of life and long habits of misery, will unfit him for "sinning as it were with a cart rope". Annie and her family are quite well, and come to me for three months on Christmas day. She understands my ways and keeps her bairns from playing me, and her husband is very obliging, and he and I get on very well; he will be obliged to go back to Wales a part of the time, on account of the militia. 

Then Godfrey and I met in London; And walked and talked and went over the J:U:S:??Club together, and parted the best of friends: he is going forward to Chatham?, I to Brighton. So all is as it ought to be in that quarter. Francis and Madame are going to pay me a visit on Monday the 23rd; but not the bairns; they are to stay at home with Madame Mere. It will be but a short visit with a few people, but they understand their plans best.


And now about Kirskile. I believe there never was a present more unfortunate then this has been: it neither contents the givers or the receivers; but I was/ happily/ never consulted, but all was agreed upon between them, before it was named to me. However we must hope for the best; and as it is a free gift, when my generation is dead and gone, Francis can sell it if he likes to the rich people at Leeds as a place for their villas; for riches will again be made when the good people of the West riding are recovered from their present over trading.


Your Uncle and Aunt Rhodes are well, and so is Aunt Caroline: the aunts are looking very fat, but my brother is getting into less? room. And now God bless you and yours; and if you want more help if I have it/ and I see no cause for thinking I shall not/we will share with each other as long as you are in want. Remember me to Madame, and believe me your affectionate  Father. WRhodes.

God help you once more.

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57 Brunswick Square Brighton

November 16, 1857

My dear Willie

I trust ere this reaches you you will have had a very satisfactory letter from my bankers in London, and as the kitten never brings anything to the old cat, I hope this present of 500 pounds which I now make you will be as acceptable to you, as it is pleasant to me to have it in my power to send to you, and that it will keep the wolf out of your house this winter, and then if you want further help I am your man remember? You see I have got a thousand a year by those minerals at Cottingly, but I don't intend to look upon this as any part of my income, but to invest it as it comes in, and that these orders I have given to Mr. Brown, who acted upon it in August last for the first payment.


And now for the History of the Old Man and his deeds, and why he did not write to you a week ago when first he heard of your misfortunes. I have had a lump at the back of my head for years: 10 years ago I wished to have it out, but as it gave me no pain and there would be some risk, it was thought better to let it alone. This summer it was enlarging and becoming troublesome, but then the weather was so hot that it was thought better to wait until autumn, And so this "Sword" has been hanging over my head for months. When I passed through London on 6th of November, on my road from Harrogate, I called up Caesar Hawkins one of the first surgeons in London, and he told me/ as I was in good health/ I had better have the lump out immediately, so I set out for Brighton, called on my road home on my surgeon, And he with two others were to do the job at 9 o'clock the next day. They gave me a hint that, no doubt at my time of life my house was set in order/ which was not pleasant/ and when on my reaching it, amongst other letters was one

from Francis enclosing one from you, showing your difficulties. I wrote



a letter to my bankers to relieve you for the present; resolving if all went on well you should hear from me, but not being in very good spirits, thought it best then not to trouble myself further. Now then for the result. 9 o'clock/ the 7th/ came, the job was done, and your poor old father "put to bed" as the women have it. Eight days are passed, and after being as "well as could be expected", I am dining as usual in quiet, and doing well. Two of the ligatures are come away, and we hope any day the third will follow, And then I may be pronounced cured. I was always shortsighted, and therefore have trouble in writing on account of bending my neck over the paper, but you will excuse me I am sure if all is not quite correctly written.


As to the news from east, and west, you will learn this by the papers, but little did I think when I heard of the unhappy bank at Hull, that this would cause a rapping at my door, much less yours. Tiresome so it is: but you must remember that though I cannot help you so as to enable you to help others, I can assist you to hold up your head with a larger sum, should you find it necessary. Though these speculating people in their anxiety to get rich by distress upon their neighbors, those who are not in debt will pull through their difficulties; And those who have caused it all will in a few years be just as great gamblers as ever they were, or if they die, then their sons will tread in their footsteps; and this the world calls following the honorable occupation of commerce. Four times in my life I have seen this game carried out as it is at present calling but riches "covers a multitude of sins", and poverty kills a multitude of rogues.

And now for the deeds of your family. Of James I know nothing; except that he is always in want of money; but small sums content him, as he has no idea of his future prospects, and if I should live a few years

(written by William Rhodes WR1)

Back in Brighton in November, and it seems [WR2] has some financial difficulties, and WR1 is happy to help. This is the Financial Crisis of 1857, interesting similarities to current affairs!

Lump removed from the old man's neck (he is 66)

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57 Brunswick Square Brighton

December 2, 1857


My dear Willie

Your letter of 14th of Nov. has reached me, and I write to congratulate you upon the birth of a daughter, may she be as great a comfort to you as mine has been to me. As to your boys they will obey you so long as they are young and perhaps their Mother may have some control over them afterwards, but this remember is all that you are to expect; without in Canada you manage matters much better than we do in England; however I have great reason to be thankful when I make comparison with what has fallen to the lot of other people. The Nicholsons of Roundhay for instance. This family has not only an eldest son who is a reprobate, but all his brothers are nearly as bad, and they are not only wicked but clever fellows, and are bringing down poor old Mr Nicholson/Of Roundhay/ with sorrow to the grave. So far I have succeeded in keeping James ignorant of his future prospects, and therefore he only gets in debt by hundreds, but thousands would not content him if he could see his future prospects. I must therefore thank God that things are no worse, And hope that if my life is spared, he will be too old to fool away all his money when he comes to it. How he is going on, on what kind of life he is leading, I know no more than you do, as he never writes to me but when he is in distress and debt. I fancy he is not married; but then he has deceived me so often on every subject that he may upon this also, For I now do not believe him even when he speaks the truth. So much for "Poor Jim" as in pity you once called him.


And now for the bright side of the question I am in good health in my head no longer gives me any trouble, so that weight is taken off my




mind. Then Francis and Madame and two of his children are on a visit with me, and all has been most agreeable, and I hope all will be well when they get to Kirskile; but no doubt he has what I think and large views on the subject of alterations, that is in comparison of what he would call my confined ones: but then he is a Gentleman every inch of him; and as he is much taller than I am, he must necessarily be a great Gentleman, which may account for his expanded views in comparison with mine.

Then Godfrey is at Chatham: had he gone out with his regiment he would have twice been blown back again, but he has been saved that trouble as the headquarters of the 94th are I believe at this moment a second time landed in England. The unhappy man man that he is/Francis tells me/ is just as much in love with Miss Rickman as ever he was, and if she would have him would marry her tomorrow. I wonder what women don't burst out laughing in our faces when ever they meet us, seeing what fools they make of us. The mother keeps great friends with Godfrey, so that if the daughter cannot do better she may pick him out of the bottom of the Net at last, and he actually writes to me that he "has thank God a good and steady friend in Mrs. Rickman'!!

Annie is coming to me for three months at Christmas, and her husband will be obliged to leave her here for six weeks, as the government is obliged to take up the militia once more hoping the man will volunteer into that line.

And last as to money: it seems that this time the distress will be confined to trade, and those who live by it, and deal Bills of various kinds, and yet their distresses have indirectly caused a rapping at my door. About changing my security in the Canada railroad I know nothing. I thought that matter was settled for the next 20 years, and that

(written by William Rhodes WR1)

The daughter just born is Mary Elizabeth (Minnie) Rhodes 1857-1942, my great-grandmother! She married a Morewood, that's where the Morewood name joined the Rhodes family. Now there are 6 children under 10!

The Nicholsons are a prominent family of Roundhay, and their oldest son was later sent to Canada in the care or William Rhodes at Quebec, where he mysteriously died shortly after arrival.

More about James who is still in the dark about the inheritance.

the Canadian Government was my security: if I'm wrong in this I have made a very great mistake, and you must in the next letter you write give your explanations adapted to the meanest capacity. I have not heard from Yorkshire for the last ten days, but then all was going on well in that quarter: excepting that Wm Myers wrote to me that the labour would be difficult to obtain, and it was high time this change should take place; for every where the men were becoming masters and through the accommodation of the joint stock banks, every man was set up as the head of a House which he ought to have been sweeping out. I fear we shall all get through our troubles until next spring or summer, but remember if you require help you shall have it from me with a right good will, so long as I have it to give, and then we will go share and share alike. "Man wants but little here below nor wants that little long": at any rate that is my case. With kind remembrances to your wife, Believe me ever your affectionate Father WRhodes

Francis's plans for renovation at Kirskile

Godfrey's regiment and his frustration with his love life. He later married Sarah Sheepshanks, they had no children.

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(note attached to letter) 

October 24 1915


I send this letter also as it was written in 1857. It will show Min how she came by her name "Mary" and how nearly she was to being called "Turner".

The old uncle you will see later was constantly sending Father money.

GWR  [Godfrey Rhodes]



21 December 1857

My Dear Willie,

Although your letter is dated 30 Nov–it only reached us this morning–and as the Subject it contains, in a domestic Point of View, maybe deemed material–I am ordered not to lay my head down to sleep until I have given an answer to your Enquiry, viz what was my wife's name previous to her marriage–if I had been left to myself I should have immediately answered "Mary Turner"–

but my wife, looking to the object of this Enquiry, wishes me to state that she has no desire that your Daughter should bear the name of Turner –Mary is most assuredly an excellent name–whether borne by her or not–but Turner she thinks would be much better suppressed–all her relatives being long ago dead.

You had better and therefore, In compliance with her wish, not bring this name forward at all.

Whether you should write Mary with that of your wife or with other of your female relatives is a matter you must decide–we thank you for the intended compliment, but feel quite indifferent now that the offer has been made whether you carry it out or not– as we are not at all observant of such matters.

All we hope for is that your Daughter may grow up a comfort to you andyour wife– and a blessing to those who are around her.

I think you carry my advice about not accepting the office of MP, offered you, too far.

It is true I gave some suggestions on the subject–and so far as they have weight, they will ? ? ? when you adopt them.

But it is impossible for me, at this distance–and with my entire ignorance of the office, or of its probable consequences, to decide, in any correct way, as to its eligibility all circumstances considered. 

Because those circumstances cannot be known– And if they were, could not, by me, Be duly considered.

I must absolve myself from all responsibility on this subject–first because my advice was never asked– and next, Because I never had the proper means of giving any advice upon which Reliance could safely be placed–

You ought to know what your motives have been– and whether, considering your large family, and your domestic duties, you are acting prudently in separating yourself from them, for any ? you could receive or confer. It would give me any great Pain if any Expression in any of my letters- of ? of which I have any copies, should interfere with your Sucess or Usefulness.

All I have written, of which I have an imperfect Recollection, has been dictated, at the moment, by an anxiety for your welfare–and especially for that ? of happiness which is found at your domestic hearth: for there if anywhere in this world, true joy is to be found.

My wife unites with me in love to you and your wife and in every good wish

I wrote to you a few days ago announcing that 300 pounds had been paid to your credit-In which also my wife wrote

I am ?                 J A Rhodes

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