Remembering a Family Otherwise Lost to Time – Noel Rhodes & Rosetta Clark

The thirteenth of June 1858 was a day for celebration. Noel Rhodes, of Rockingham County, North Carolina, aged about 27 years, married sixteen year old Rosetta Clark, daughter of John R. Clark and Elmira Hudnall.

Marrying at the young age of 16 was not particularly unusual in the South during that time period, but perhaps Rosetta saw it both as a romantic occasion along with a chance for a new life, perhaps away from her step-family.

She had lost her father nine years earlier, in 1849, and her mother had married a second time to Claiborne Hundley, as his second wife.

I also wonder if Noel, wrongly entered in the 1850 census as “Noah,” might also have lost his parents at a young age. He was living with the family of James Barnes, who was 40, and wife, Nancy Hundley, aged 23.

Life was good at first for Noel and Rosetta, as she became pregnant almost right away and gave birth to their daughter, Susan, in 1859. The young family appeared in the 1860 census of Rockingham County, although the ink is so faded it is almost illegible:

Noel, Rosetta & Susan Rhodes, 1860 Census
Source: Ancestry

The Civil War was pretty much the beginning of the end for this family. Noel and Rosetta had a second child, a son Charles, born in late 1860 or early 1861. Then the war broke out.

Like most other young men, Noel enlisted, ready to serve the Confederacy. He was a private in Company I, 13th Infantry North Carolina. His service was short, as he was killed in battle on 27 June 1862 at Gaines’ Mill in Mechanicsville, Virginia.

This was the Battle of Beaver Dam Creek, or the Battle of Mechanicsville. By either name, it was a horrific battle, as 15,500 soldiers died – 6,800 Union and 8,700 Confederate troops.

At the age of twenty, Rosetta Rhodes became a widow with two young children. By 1870, she had migrated with her mother, children, and relatives in the Richard Anderson Covington family. She may well have had mixed feelings about moving to Missouri with the Covingtons, even though they were family.

Richard and his brother, Charles, were both reported as deserters. While being held in Washington, D.C, they signed oaths of allegiance to the Union; when they returned home to North Carolina and word got around, it was suggested that it might be better if they moved on. They decided to head to Missouri where Hudnall relatives were already living.

Rosetta had lost her husband in battle and now she was living with turncoats to the Confederate cause. The 1870 census shows this motley little family living in Callaway County.

Richard A. Covington was head of a household consisting of himself, his widowed mother Elizabeth (Hudnall) Covington, brother Charles W. and  Elmira (Hudnall) Clark, who was Elizabeth’s sister.

With them were “Rossie” Rhodes and “Chas.” Rhodes, who was nine. As Noel’s and Rosetta’s daughter, Susan, would only have been eleven years old, it seems safe to say she had died sometime between the 1860 and 1870 censuses.

By 1880, Richard Covington had married and was still living in Callaway County. His brother, Charles, had also married and was living nearby in Montgomery County. His mother, his Aunt Elmira and cousin Rosetta are no where to be found. No marriage record has been found for Rosetta anywhere in Missouri at any time, either.

Three newspaper notices announced the death of Charles Rhodes on 23 or 24 March 1880, the Montgomery City Standard and the Fulton Telegraph and Callaway Weekly Gazette.

The 1880 mortality schedule for Missouri was lost. I would loved to have known where he was living at the time. Charles was buried in the Covington Cemetery in Montgomery County. He has a small hand carved marker made from a stone.

I suspect that there were similar stones at one time for Elizabeth, Elmira and Rosetta, but like the Rhodes family, they have been lost to time.


5 thoughts on “Remembering a Family Otherwise Lost to Time – Noel Rhodes & Rosetta Clark”

  1. Actually, Rosetta remarried and outlived her children with Noel Rhodes.

    In the 1876 Missouri Territory Census, a Rosetta Owen lives with her (presumed) husband, John Owen, in Callaway MO. She was born between 1831-1855, as was he. I presume some of the other Owens on the form are John’s children from a previous marriage, Eleanor perhaps a sibling, and Hulda may be his mother. The individuals on the form and their ages are listed as:

    John Owen, male, age 21-45
    Rosetta Owen, female, age 21-45
    Eleanor Owen, female, age 21-45
    Narcissus Owen, female, age 10-18
    James Owen, male, under age 10
    Robert G. Owen, male, under age 10
    Rebecca Owen, female, under age 10
    Charles Rhodes, male, age 10-18
    Hulda Owen, female, over the age of 45

    In 1880, Rosetta Owen still lives in Callaway with her children, Robert and Rose, and her mother, Elmira Henly, age 64, born in VA. Elmira died April 6, 1894, in Montgomery MO (Montgomery City Standard). Rosetta would remain in Callaway the rest of her life, and is enumerated in each census through 1920. The 1900 census states she has had 4 children, 2 of whom are living. She died in 1928, and was buried in the Riverview Cemetery in Callaway.

    Her children who survived her were Robert Guy Owen (17 February 1874-14 May 1955), who married Ada Josephine Boucher but had no children. They lived in Callaway at least until 1920, but had relocated by 1930 to Daviess. He died in Livingston, MO.

    Lorene Rose (listed as Rebecca in the territory census) Owen (1876-1953) married John R. Kidwell, lived her entire life in Callaway and was buried in Riverview Cemetery as her mother was. Her mother is listed as living with the family in both the 1910 and 1920 census. In the 1900 census, she is listed as having had no children, but it’s possible she didn’t count the daughter who born and died Jan. 27, 1899 (I am presuming stillbirths, it seems that stillbirths were often not counted in the 1900 census). She had a son Owen who died under 6 months of age in 1906. Daughter Mary F. Kidwell was born in 1901 and married Ray Pearce. Daughter Rosalie (Nov. 27, 1907-Jan. 1, 1995) married a McClanahan and was also buried in Riverview.

    Unfortunately, none of this led to me finding any further information on Noel Rhodes. I suspect he may be a son of Abner and Thena Rhodes (presuming he was born/raised in Rockingham NC). On the 1840 census, Abner has 4 sons under 10, and there are no other Rhodes families in Rockingham at that year with a son about the right age who hasn’t been identified (Abner had all the boys, it seems). Also, in his “History of the 13th Regiment of Company I,” Capt. R. S. Williams states he watched Noel Rhodes fall, and the next person mentioned is Ingram Rhodes, who was injured, and there are records identifying him as a son of Abner. Unfortunately, nothing for Noel.

    But isn’t that the way it goes? I found this blog with a google search, and decided to share what I’d found on his wife’s side… since the Rhodes/Barnes lines will apparently continue to elude and confound me.

  2. Not a problem, she’s not a direct line for me, either, but I came across her while researching the Rhodes/Barnes lines. I’ve been trying to trace (at least roughly) the majority of family lines in order to see if any other pertinent info came up. Noel Rhodes is still elusive, but your article came up in a general search, and I believe in sharing what you find. It’s sad that he and his children died young, but it looks like his wife had, after losing two husbands after only being married a few years each, a long life and two more children (Her son remained in Callaway until the decade she passed, while she lived with her daughter at least the last 10 years of her life and had a granddaughter named after her).

    I thought you might like knowing there was a happier ending to a heartbreaking tale.

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