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John Thomas Beaber's Family Portrait

John Thomas Beaber's Family Portrait
(Herman Beaber's Dad - Portrait taken January, 1940)

Back Row from left
Bernice Beaber, John T. Beaber, Ardis Beaber/Rhoades

Front Row from left
Fred Beaber, Mary Rhoades/Beaber, Herman K. Beaber

The Beaber Family History

As Recollected By Herman K. Beaber
Son of John T. Beaber and Mary Beaber

Beaber Family Ancestry

Beaber Family Portrait

Beaber Family Virtual Cemetery

Rhoades Family Trees

I shall start with my Grandfather Fredrick Rhoades who was born in Michigan or Northern Indiana in the late 1820's. (another source June 28, 1824 in Pennsylvania.) About 1848 he wanted to go to California due to the "Gold Rush" to find work. For some reason he did not join a covered wagon caravan to go West, but went to the East Coast (New York, I suppose) and took passage on a sailing vessel to the Caribbean. At that time you paid a few dollars and worked on the vessel for the balance.

He left the ship at the Isthmus of Panama and walked across, approximately thirty miles. I remember him telling us of buying a whole bunch of bananas for ten cents. The steamy hot jungle was full of snakes and mosquitoes. On the Pacific side he found a sailing vessel going to San Francisco. Grandpa Rhoades did not work the gold fields, but worked as a carpenter. He liked California so well that he decided to go back East to get his girlfriend, (Lucy(Lucinda) Ross) and return to California. Lucy Ross (my Grandmother) was a direct descendant of Betsy Ross, who helped to make the first American Flag. (*Added Note: This is really not possible because John and Betsy Ross did not have children together. John Ross was killed in his early twenties after only three years of marriage to Betsy. However, there may be a tie through marriage.)

I have no other background on my Grandmother. She married my Grandfather, all right (March 25, 1857 in Fort Wayne, Allen Co. Indiana)... but before they could return to California, the babies started coming, eleven in all - a son - 4 girls - a son - 4 girls and a son. There names: John, a girl (?), a girl (?), Clara, Viola, Will, Jenny, Mary (my mother Born: April 19, 1876), Etta, Jessie and Norman. The names of the first two girls I have forgotten, but I believe the first died early and the second died in childbirth, Grandma Rhoades also took a boy to raise. His name was Harry Payton. So she had twelve children in all.

So Grandpa and Grandma Rhoades finally went to California somewhere in the 1890's.

Grandpa and Grandma Rhoades

For some reason, they went to Lincoln Nebraska to visit relatives, and took the train West. Four or five of the younger ones were with their parents, and that is where my Dad (John Thomas Beaber) came into the picture. Dad came from Dutch stock. Their name was spelled Bieber. They left their homeland in Holland (Europe) with the Amish people to get away from military oppression. It must have been in the early 1800's. My wife Blanche and I saw their names on the census lists in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania, but they were not Amish. Later they moved to Ohio and Indiana. Dad (John Thomas Beaber) was born on June 6, 1871 in Lafayette County, Indiana. His mother died when he was two and his father was killed in a sawmill accident when Dad was twelve. His father had remarried. He had two sisters, Mary and Jenny, and a half sister, Golda. The stepmother did not keep the family together, and Dad went to live with one of the married daughters of the Rhoades family (I have forgotten which one.) and they moved to Lincoln, Nebraska. Dad drove a team and wagon as a teenager, hauling coal in the winter time and ice in the summer. When he saw those pretty Rhoades girls, his eyes got big; and after they had left for California, he saved his money and followed them. Grandma Rhoades had a relative who had purchased a cattle and hay ranch beyond Bridgeville (some 30 miles east of Hydesville in Humbolt County, California (30 miles north of San Francisco). Grandpa Rhoades took his family to Bridgeville, and when Dad got there he found a job on a nearby ranch.

Dad and Mother were married in Scotia, California about 1897. (See Photo Below)

John & Mary Beaber

My brother Fred was born on June 18th 1899, myself (Herman) born on May 25th 1907, Bernice on Oct. 23, 1909 and Ardis on Oct. 26, 1917. Dad worked in a sawmill at first, and later they bought the grocery store in Hydesville. The little apartment behind the store was very small - one bedroom. Fred and I slept in the attic room and Bernice on the screened porch.

Beaber General Store

Hydesville had been a very religious little town with three church buildings. But the Primitive Baptist Church was empty and the Methodist Church building had been turned into a barley mill. In 1914, the minister of the Community Christian Church left on an extended furlough. Two ministers (workers) came at that time and were given permission to use the building. Dad had been raised Methodist and Mother a Baptist, but neither had attended service for some time, as I heard them say they were tired of being hounded for money all the time.

My Mother and Grandma Rhoades started going to the meeting (church service), and Mother got Dad to go. Bernice was five at the time and had a bad case of whooping cough, so either Dad or Mother had to stay home with her. So they took turns.

After six weeks, Mother said to Dad that she didn't know where those two men (preachers) (Percy Abbott and Joe Kerr) had come from or where they were going, but they were preaching the truth, and she wanted it. So she made it known. Dad had to think about it for a while and made it known two years later (at a Special Meeting). Grandma also made her choice.

We continued living behind the store until Ardis came in 1917. When Grandpa died (June 28, 1916), Dad wanted a place where Grandma could live with us; so he bought the big house in Hydesville (an old hotel built about 1880) with eleven huge rooms, and an apartment on the rear (maids quarters, I guess). It was on about 3 acres of orchard (cherry trees) and garden. The price was $3,000.00 (It was 40 years old then). It was on the main street about a ten minute walk from the store to the west. In the 1920s there was a two-day church convention held at this location. My mother is standing on the front porch and my bedroom was where the two windows are on the upper right.(see below)

big house

Grandma Rhodes died of congestive heart failure, not long after we moved into the big house (April 06, 1920). She was 77 years old.

Fred went to the Bay area in California for college and work and met Esther Mae Bennett whom he married in 1924. They had three children: Jack, Marilyn, and Patricia.

I took an extra year of High School, and worked with Dad in the store. Later, I went to Arcata Teachers College, north of Eureka and then to the University of California at Berkley for a semester. While I was at the University of California at Berkley I lived with Fred and Esther. Bernice worked for years as a secretary at the Fortuna Union High School. I went into the ministry (Work) in 1929 and Bernice did also in about 1943. Ardis went to the Bay area to work and married Walter Rhoades. They had two girls: Suzanne and Barbara.

Dad and Mother moved out of the big house to a smaller one and later Dad came to live with Walt and Ardis. My Mother died there, and later Dad came to live with me in Houston, Texas. While I was in Houston, working in a Children's Home, I met Blanch Berry in April, 1955, who lived in Dallas, Texas with her sister Maurine. We courted and were married in December of 1955, and we moved to Dallas, where I worked for Avis Truck Rental Company (from which I retired in 1970). Dad lived with us there until he passed away in November of 1956. Ardis died in a car wreck earlier that same year (She was only 39 years old.).

Blanche and I took our daughter, Esther, for adoption in 1962 at the age of 11 years; and our son, John, in October of 1964, at age 8.

Esther married Michael Schoenfeld and had a son Michael E. Schoenfeld, Jr. Later she married Charles Austin and has three step-children: Kristen, Joshua and Traci. Another child was born : (Chad Austin *added note).

John and his wife Patti have two children Kristi and (Kaci *added note).

My sister, Bernice lived and worked in both Houston and Dallas. She passed away in Garland, Texas on February 29th 1988, at the age of 78.

There may be a few minor errors in this account, but it is the best I can remember.

Herman K. Beaber
October, 1988


The Beaber General Store

The following are a few notes on the picture of my Dad's store in Hydesville California (population 250}.

The car in the above picture is a relatively new Studebaker 4cyl. 1914 model. The little boy standing in front of it is me. I was about seven years old then. The car we had before that for a short time, was an old E.M.F. touring car. There were no sedans in those days. It was not a very dependable piece of machinery, for although the initials of the car stood for Everett Metzer Flanders. My Dad said E.M.F. stood for "Every Morning Fix".

My brother, Fred who was named after John Fredrick Rhoades (see above article) wanted to go to the new High School 6 miles away , but there were no school busses in those days. Dad traded in this car (in the picture) for a new passenger Studebaker and Fred drove it to Fortuna with five or six other students, each paying a little to help defray the expense.

You can see a hand-operated gas pump behind the car. Several rounds on the handle pumped out one gallon of gasoline. The double doors on the left side of the building led to a warehouse, which contained fifty pound sacks of flour, 100 pound sacks of sugar, all kinds of hardware from tacks to large hand scythes. Also we had oil in bulk and tires. The tires on this new car were only three inches wide. Punctures and blowouts were common. There was no spare, so we always carried a tire repair kit.

The left side of the building was the original building and when it was torn down and rebuilt, when I was a teenager, we found hand-hewn timbers and large spikes (square) that looked like they had been shaped in a blacksmith shop.

As you look on the right side of the building, the two windows were in the living room of the small apartment where we lived. One small bedroom for Dad and Mom, Bernice on the sleeping porch, and Fred and I slept in the attic. In the attic was a make-shift room inhabited by dozens of field mice, that is until I learned how to trap them!

Many nights I can remember hearing the pleasant drumming of the rain on the redwood shingled roof that was only two or three feet above my head. On a clear breezy night we could hear the waves of the Pacific Ocean pounding on the surf about 10 miles to the west. What Memories!!

Electricity had come to Hydesville a few years before this picture was taken. You can see wires on the front of the building. Few homes had electricity at this time, and there was no electric water pumps to bring up water out of wells. However we did have a large water system on the rear of the property. With our windmill we supplied a number of or neighbors with running water. The windmill was called an Aero-motor and was manufactured in Chicago. I knew this well as I had to climb the tower ladder many times to oil and adjust the gears, etc. In the picture you can see a few steps of the ladder on the left side of the framework.

We lived in the small apartment at the back of the store for four or five years after this picture was taken and then we moved to big house about 1/4 mile to the west.

The store was located at the intersection of two roads. The road in front of the store is now State Hwy. 36 which runs from #101 on the coast to interstate #5 in the Sacramento Valley. The other road went to Alton. Back then the County did well to keep the roads graveled, however there was plenty of it in the bed of the Van Duzen River which was only a mile or so away.

Herman Beaber
(written in about 1995)

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