Buena Vista County, IA
IAGenWeb Project

Extracted from:  Wegerslev, C. H. and Thomas Walpole. 
 Past and Present of Buena Vista County, Iowa
Chicago:  S. J. Clarke Publishing Co., 1909, p. 407-08.

Transcribed by Paul Nagy

Biography of  John Rodda

There is a goodly portion of Newell's citizenship that is made up of men who in former years were active factors in the agricultural development of this part of the state, and who through their energy, perseverance and careful management became possessors of a competence that now enables them to live retired.  To this class belongs Mr. Rodda.  He was born in Cornwall, England, January 22, 1852, and represents an old family of that country.  His grandparents spent their entire lives there and were farming people.  Edward Rodda, his father, also a native of England, followed the occupation of farming as a life work, and in November, 1869, came to the United States, settling in Newell township, Buena Vista county, where he secured a homestead claim of eighty acres.  He became a factor in the financial development of this part of the state and about 1877 returned to England.  His death occurred soon afterward in Cornwall, when he was about seventy years of age.  His widow, who bore the maiden name of Harriet Jewell, was also born in England, as were her parents.  Her father was a physician of that country, where he died at the age of eighty years.  His family numbered a son and five daughters:  Charles, Sarah, Kate, Harriet, Fannie and Nannie.


The children of Mr. and Mrs. Rodda were George Edward, now deceased; Samuel Tewell, who is living in Hamburg, Iowa; John; Thomas, who has passed away; Charley Henry, a resident of Sac City, Iowa; and Frederick William, of Minneapolis, Minnesota.


In taking up the personal history of John Rodda we present to our readers one who is widely and favorably known in this part of the county.  He was educated in the common schools of England and at the age of seventeen years came to America with his parents.  His youth was passed on the home farm and upon the father's death he and three of his brothers came into possession of the old homestead in Buena Vista county, at which time John Rodda purchased the interests of the other heirs and gave his time and attention to the further development and improvement of the property for a few years.  He then sold his place and bought a farm of sixty-six acres and another of eighty acres.  From time to time, as his financial resources increased, he kept adding to his property until he had eight hundred and seven acres, making him one of the extensive landholders of this part of the state.  Of this one hundred and sixty acres were in Sac county, but he recently sold that property, still retaining possession, however, of six hundred and forty-seven acres in Buena Vista county.  His land is well improved and valuable and returns to him a gratifying annual income.  In 1901 he ceased to personally engage in farm work and removed to Newell, where he now resides, still giving his supervision to the work there carried on in the development of his fields.


On the 16th of May, 1875, Mr. Rodda was married to Eliza Hunter, daughter of Horace and Laura (Dell) Hunter.  Mrs. Rodda was born in Indiana and by her marriage has become the mother of four children:  May, the wife of Frank Hines, of Newell township, by whom she has three children, Merle, Esther and Neva; Merton, who occupies one of his father's farms, married Amelia Block and they have two children, Viola and Lloyd; Frank, who likewise follows agricultural pursuits, wedded Etta Coates, and they have two children, Blanche and Leon; and John, who completes the family, is at home.  Mr. Rodda belongs to the church of England and Mrs. Rodda is a member of the Christian Advent church.  His political views are those of the republican party and he keeps well informed on the questions and issues of the day, but has no desire for public office.   His entire life has been devoted to his farming pursuits, and his carefully directed labors have brought to him a measure of success, which has gained him classification with prosperous farmers and landowners of the state.