Benjamin Franklin Rhodes, Sr.
On The Life Of B.F. Rhodes, Sr.
Benjamin Franklin Rhodes, Sr., was born to David Wyrick and Sara
Wharton Rhodes in 1869 at Drakeville, Appanoose County, Iowa. He was
baptized at the age of 14. In 1906, he married Miss Otie Sparkman.
Five children were born to this union: David W., Maureen (Mrs. J. C.
Kingsley), Juanita, Geraldine (Mrs. O. P. Baird), and Dr. Frank
Rhodes, Jr. He had one brother, H. H. Rhodes.
attended school and Potter Bible College (B.A.) and the University
of Oklahoma (M.A.). Rhodes began preaching in January, 1894, in
Sumner County, Kansas. He was never a "located" preacher except for
one year in Winfield, Kansas. He evangelized widely, especially in
the last years of the century. After he began teaching at the
Christian colleges, he continued to evangelize during the summer
months. He preached in at least twelve States: Kansas, Oklahoma,
Texas, Arkansas, Iowa, Missouri, Nebraska, South Dakota, Tennessee,
Alabama, Colorado and New Mexico. He also preached the entire summer
of 1921 in Calgary, Alberta, Canada.
Rhodes was one of the founders of Western Bible and Literary College
in Odessa, Missouri. He taught there in 1905-1908. He also taught at
Cordell Christian College, 1909-1911 and 1915-1918; Thorp Springs
Christian College, 1911-1915; Harper College, 1918-1922 and
1923-1924; Abilene Christian College, 1922-1923; and Harding
College, 1924-1947, while it was located at Morrilton, Arkansas.
Rhodes debated Daniel Sommer on the
"Christian College Issue" in 1907 in Odessa and Hale, Missouri.
the last 13 years of his life, he taught at Harding College after it
was located in Searcy, Arkansas. He was the senior member of the
faculty having served the school for 40 years.
Rhodes conducted the first gospel meeting ever conducted in Dodge
several of his brothers, he made the run for land in the Cherokee
Outlet (now Oklahoma) in 1893. They were cheated out of their claim
by some men with guns. His Master's thesis was, "The Opening of the
his work in the Christian colleges, he taught primarily history but
taught a number of social sciences, and always taught a Bible class.
He taught Hebrew for several years. As a teacher, he was known for
his wide and ready knowledge.
the Spring of 1947, before school was out, he finished the Bible
class he was teaching, took the grades to the Registrar's office,
went in to see Dr. George Benson and told
him that this was the end of his teaching. Within a few days, he had
a stroke and died after several additional strokes. Truly, he had
finished the course and kept the faith.
Rhodes died May 27, 1947, at Searcy, Arkansas. He was survived by
his wife, and all five children: David W., Maureen, Juanita,
Geraldine, and B. Frank, Jr. (Juanita since died in 1979).
Funeral service was conducted at the College Church of Christ in
Searcy on the afternoon of May 28, 1947, by George S. Benson,
assisted by S. A. Bell and L. C. Sears.
Rhodes was laid to rest in the Oak Grove
Cemetery in Searcy, Arkansas.
Rhodes was a great and godly man. He wielded a tremendous influence
over the many young people that he taught in different colleges. His
influence will continue to live.
Gussie Lambert, c.1988, pages 237,238
Directions To The
Grave Of Benjamin F. Rhodes, Sr.
is buried in the Oak Grove Cemetery in Searcy, Arkansas. Oak Grove
is the oldest cemetery in Searcy and is located in the north central
part, near downtown. If looking at a map, the location is on E.
Moore. If traveling from Main Street turn north on N. Horton and it
will dead end into E. Moore with the cemetery straight ahead. Enter
the main entrance of the cemetery and turn to your immediate left.
Travel down the little road with the graves and your right and the
cemetery fence on your left. Just as the little road is about to
take a hard turn to the right, stop your car. The grave will be just
to the right of your car. See Cemetery Map
Mar. 14, 1869
May 27, 1947
Jan. 31, 1883
July 21, 1982