February 8, 1913: Jacob R. Rhoads Body Found Frozen in Schuuylkill River


February 8, 1913: The body of Boyertown native Jacob R. Rhoads has been found solidly frozen into the ice against a rock in a gully in the Schuylkll River. It took two men the entire afternoon to dig him out of his icy grave and get him to the morgue. His body was in advanced stages of putrefaction and his identity could only be made by means of his Veteran Fireman’s badge, a button of the Twentieth Century Quakers and a gold ring containing a garnet. There was no evidence of foul play.

It was known that he had suffered bouts of “melancholia” for some time, and was probably wandering along the bank of the river when he fell in, some distance away from his final resting place in the gully where Mrs. Matthias Deck found him, near her cabin along the river.

No one knows how long his body had been there, but it is estimated at least several weeks. His widow Mary had been anxiously awaiting news about her missing husband. The obituary did not state how long he had been gone, but he had told her before he left home that he would have a surprise for her “on Saturday.”

He was 48 years old and had been married to his wife for 27 years. The had the three sons: Charles, Wilson, and Warren, and two grandchildren. Rhoads was one of the founders of the Friendship Hook and Ladder Company in Boyertown and a member of the Keystone Band and St. John’s Lutheran Church.

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