James M. Rhoades, who is secretary of the Glendale Chamber of Commerce, is a native son, having been born at Placerville, California, May 27, 1871, a son of Josiah and Bessie (Ashford) Rhoades. His parents were natives of England and came to America as children with their parents. Josiah Rhoades was a carver of marble statuary. He was a Forty-Niner, and remained in California until June 1871, when he returned east and locating in Cincinnati, Ohio followed his profession until his death in 1897. Mrs. Rhoades died in 1880.
The subject of this sketch went to sea at the age of seven as a bellhop on the New Orleans and Liverpool liner Crescent, under Capt. R. M. Evans. In this capacity he crossed the Atlantic thirty-two times. Upon the retirement of Capt. Evans he went to San Francisco and was employed on a liner under a brother of Capt. R. M. Evans. Before quitting the sea he made fifty-seven trips to the Orient, and was assistant purser on the liner City of Yokohama, which position he had held for some time. During the years he sailed the Pacific he was practically a ward of Capt. Evans, who gave him an education amounting to high school training. Returning him to Cincinnati, Ohio, he took a business course at the Ohio Business College.
In 1888 he went to Dawson County, Montana, where he engaged in the live stock business. In 1894 he was elected assessor of Dawson County for a two-year term. In 1896 he was appointed Receiver of the United States Land Office at Dawson, Montana, by President McKinley, and four years later was reappointed by President Roosevelt. Resigning the office in 1902, he went to Missoula, Montana, and engaged in the real estate and insurance business. He was a member of the State Legislature during 1903 and 1904, where he represented the Missoula County Assembly District. In 1912 he was elected mayor of Missoula for a two-year term, which office was filled with credit and honor. He went to Bozeman, Montana in 1914, and was secretary of its Chamber of Commerce for two years. The year 1916 found him in San Diego, California engaged in the real estate and insurance business, where he remained for a year. The call of the Chamber of Commerce of Everett, Washington took him to that city as its secretary for nearly three years. Returning to Southern California he became a resident of Long Beach where he remained until March 1920 when he became secretary of the Glendale, newly reorganized, Chamber of Commerce, which position he has since efficiently and effectively filled.
Mr. Rhoades is a Knight Templar Mason and a Shriner, also a member of Eastern Star, being a Past Patron of the latter organization. He is an Odd Fellow of high standing, being a Past Grand Master of the Grand Lodge of the Independent Order of Off Fellows, of the State of Montana, and has been a representative to its Sovereign Grand Lodge. He has filled practically all of the chairs in the Subordinate, Encampment and Canton Lodges of Odd Fellows. He is a life member of the Benevolent and Protective Order of Elks, holding his membership in Hell Gate Lodge, No. 383, Missoula, Montana.
At Glendive, Montana, on October 21, 1890, Mr. Rhoades married Nellie Scott of that city. Their two children are James and Bessie. James is the custodian of the Citizens Building and resides at home. Bessie married Ernest Hubert, who is a professor in the University of Wisconsin. Mrs. Rhoades is a member of the Order Eastern Star. The family home is at 458 Hawthorne Street, Glendale, California.
From History of Glendale and Vicinity by John Calvin Sherer. The Glendale Publishing Company, c. 1922 F. M. Broadbooks and J. C. Sherer. p. 398-399.