Alexander Rhodes (1790-1840)

Alexander Rhodes (1790-1840) purportedly of Henderson County, Tennessee is thought to have moved to Fayette County, Illinois after 1830 based on an 1830 Henderson County, Tennessee Federal Census listing that some have attributed to him. It’s speculated that he may have died around 1850 based on his absence from the 1850 Fayette County, Illinois Federal Census. However, other Rhodes who would have been living at this time are also absent from this census, as well as neighbors known to be on lands surrounding the Rhodes’ residences (Hodgson). Therefore, his death date could theoretically land somewhere between 1840-1860. The birth and death dates attributed to him here are an approximation in an effort to encompass various theories. (see Death Date and Burial Location section)

There are no known extant official records for

  • Parentage
  • Birthdate or place
  • Spouse, Marriage date
  • Death date
  • Burial location


Two theories proposed by those descended from Alexander Rhodes (abt 1790)

  • William Rhodes (abt 1745) m. Mary Poteet
  • John Rhodes (1743) m. Sarah Standiford


Alexander’s birthdate is estimated to be about 1785-1790 based upon the birthdate of his eldest acknowledged child, Anderson Rhodes (1808-1880) and a claim of 1887 found in Anna Dodson Rhodes’ Family Group Sheets.

Birth Place

There are two theories. The longest running is that Alexander Rhodes was born in what became Shelby County, Tennessee. This may have come from family lore suggested by the descendants of Alexander Rhodes who lived in Fayette County, Illinois. Family group sheets from the region (Anna Dodson Rhodes collection) specifically mention Shelby County, Tennessee. All the acknowledged sons of Alexander Rhodes claim their birth locations as Tennessee via the federal census.

The Tennessee region he is purported to be born in was not differentiated into Shelby, Madison, and Henderson counties until after 1818. Before, they were Chickasaw lands.

NEW Several census records from the 1850s going forward associated with Israel Rhodes (1794-1872) list North Carolina as Israel’s place of birth. DNA evidence suggesting that Israel was a brother of Alexander Rhodes puts the Tennessee birth location into question. Lisa Chan, coordinator of the atDNA study, suggests that Alexander Rhodes (1790-1840)‘s birth location was more likely North Carolina. Since there are no extant records, she feels this is the most credible evidence to date of Alexander’s possible birth location.

Spouse, Marriage

Date of marriage is unknown, and spouse is thought to be Elizabeth Poteet (1790-?). The only mention of this union is in the memoir of Jonathan Franklin Davis (1844-1932), wherein his wife claims she is the granddaughter of “Alexander Rhoades” and “Elizabeth Petette”. JF’s wife, Elizabeth Rhodes (1847-1926), is the daughter of Elliot Wilburn Rhodes (1822-1893). (JF Davis Memoir, in the collection Judi Halford.)

Lucinda Harris Theory

The Sons of Alexander Rhodes m. Elizabeth Petette/Poteet

Six acknowledged sons, one proposed (Hodgson, Alexander Jr. Theory). There are no acknowledged daughters.

  • Alexander Rhodes, Jr. (1806-?) m. Lucinda Harris- proposed and speculative
  • Anderson Rhodes (1808-1880) m. Susannah Harris
  • John Bennet Rhodes (1808-1880) m. Jane
  • Thomas Rhodes (1813-1897) m. Penina Tancil
  • McComas Rhodes (1814-1878) m. Sarah Jane Cole/Sally Ann Harris
  • James Ewing Rhodes (1817-1897) m. Mary Ann Polly Hicks
  • Elliot Wilburn Rhodes (1822-1893) m. Martha Jane Hicks

Siblings and Cousins NEW in 2016

A possible brother may have been Israel Rhodes (1794-1872), born in North Carolina and residing in Henderson County, Tennesse until death. His descendants share significant amounts of DNA with descendants of the sons of Alexander Rhodes, and the segment lengths appear to suggest a sibling relationship. [See DNA]

An additional brother, half brother, or 1st cousin may have been McComas Rhodes (1799-1867) born in North Carolina, who resided in Henderson County, Tennessee and then later in life migrated to Graves County, Kentucky.

There is emerging DNA evidence that there may have been yet another close relative within Alexander Rhodes’ generation who was in Henderson County, TN as well. This individual had issue a son named Alexander Holland Rhodes (1820) and whose descendants can be found in Texas descending from his son William Thomas Rhodes (1847). Further research should focus on trying to differentiate if this was an additional unrecognized son of Israel Rhodes (1794-96) or McComas Rhodes (1799) [source]. Interestingly, an iteration of  Alexander Holland Rhodes also pops up in Fayette County, Illinois with a grandchild of Alexander Rhodes (1790-1840) named Issac Hollander Alexander Rhodes (1848-1924), issued from John Bennet Rhodes (1808-1880) m. Jane. So far, search among the atDNA participants has not brought out strong matches to the surname Holland, although the analysis is ongoing.

Death Date and Burial Location

Unknown. Lore is that Alexander Rhodes could be buried on family property which may have been north of Little Hickory Cemetery [source]. Alexander is thought to have died around or after 1840 (Hodgson). Theories that he died after 1840 are supported by land records that have been attributed to an Alex Rodes from around 1840. (185o Census Issue, perhaps more from Linda Hanabarger of FCGHS in the future)

NEW August 2016 Linda Hanabarger, President of the Fayette County Genealogical Society, discovered an Alexander Rhodes and Elliot Rhodes had land surveyed October 8th, 1844. She passed a .pdf of a supporting document to Judi Halford for sharing with the cousinship. I hope to be able to acquire the full source information for posterity. This evidence supports the probability that Alexander Rhodes survived at least to 1844, and gets us closer to an approximate death date. (1844 Land Survey)



T9-N R1-W, 3rd PM Meridian, section 33; Alexander Rodes 1839 (Boyd).
Coordinates: 39°10’59.59″N, 89°12’6.51″W


The majority of the Rhodes cousins involved in the Rhodes atDNA Study are descended from Alexander Rhodes (1790-1840). A few others represent Rhodes lines from outside of Fayette County, Illinois. The segment lengths shared between the peripheral Rhodes cousins and those descended from Alexander Rhodes suggest these individuals are descended from brothers or first cousins of Alexander Rhodes [Peripheral Cousins].

Represented in the study are persons descended from all six acknowledged sons, with testers descended from McComas Rhodes (1814-1878) m. Sarah Jane Cole (1828-1900) leading in representation.

Testers claiming descent from Alexander Rhodes in the Rhodes atDNA Study show expect shared segment lengths corresponding with the generational distance from the common ancestral couple in addition to ample ICW (in common with) matches known to descend from Alexander Rhodes (1790). This suggests an unbroken lineage from Alexander Rhodes (1790-1840) m. Elizabeth Poteet for all Illinois participants.

If you would like to contribute something to this page, please email Lisa Chan.

Other Profiles

WikiTree: Alexander Rhodes


Hodgson, Garda M. Descendants of Isaac Harris: Some Descendants of Alexander Rhodes. May 2006. Accessed 2016.

Boyd, Gregory A. Family Maps of Fayette County, Illinois. Arphax Publishing Co. 2007. page 86. ISBN 1-4203-0771-1

Illinois, Public Land Purchase Records, 1813-1909; 28 May 1839 for Alexander Rodes. Ancestry database, accessed 2016.

U.S. General Land Office Records, 1796-9017; issued 10 Oct 1840 for Alexander Rodes. Ancestry database, accessed 2016.

1830 Federal Census for Fayette County, Illinois; Alexander Roads

1840 Federal Census for Fayette County, Illinois; Alex Rhodes

1844 Land Survey in the collection of Linda Hanabarger/Judi Halford. PDF, accessed 2016.