Early life and family
Rhoads was born in Philadelphia into a Quaker family. His grandfather John Rhoads (also spelled Roads or Roades) came from a prominent family in England but had faced persecution after joining the Quaker faith. In the late 17th century, he and two of his sons emigrated from Waingroves, Derbyshire to Pennsylvania. The second son, also named John Rhoads, married Hannah Willcox in 1692. Samuel was born in Philadelphia in 1711, their fifth child. He first worked as a carpenter and builder before becoming a merchant.
Rhoads's political career began in 1741, when he was elected to the Common Council of Philadelphia. He designed the east wing of the Pennsylvania Hospital. He also designed the west wing and an additional outdoor structure that weren't built until after his death, in 1794. In 1761 he was elected to the Pennsylvania Assembly, where he served two terms. Rhoads shared the revolutionary sentiment spreading through the city in the 1770s and was a delegate to the First Continental Congress. He was elected Mayor of Philadelphia in 1774.
An associate and friend of Benjamin Franklin, Rhoads played a role in many of the important institutions of colonial Philadelphia. He was an early Director of the Library Company of Philadelphia, a founding Director of the Philadelphia Contributionship, and a Vice-President of the American Philosophical Society. He was a master of the Carpenters' Company of Philadelphia.
Rhoads died in 1784, age 73.
- Biddle, Henry D.; Rhoads, Samuel; Franklin, Benjamin (1895). "Colonial Mayors of Philadelphia. Samuel Rhoads, 1774". The Pennsylvania Magazine of History and Biography. 19 (1): 64–71.
- "Pennsylvania Hospital". World Digital Library. Retrieved February 14, 2013.
- Death notice for Samuel Rhoads; U.S., Quaker Meeting Records, 1681-1935
- Biographical Sketch at Philadelphia Architects and Buildings
- United States Congress. "Samuel Rhoads (id: R000186)". Biographical Directory of the United States Congress.
- Brief biography at Virtualology.com
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