Frederick Rhoda (1810 – November 11, 1886) was a farmer with over 400 acres (some sources say 217 acres) of orchards in the Fruitvale District of Oakland adjacent to Sausal Creek. Rhoda grew Royal Ann cherries on his property. After the transcontinental railroad reached Oakland in 1869, he shipped some of his cherries to New York City via Saint Louis, where his cherries sold for $5.00 a pound—the first shipment of fruit ever transported to the East Coast from California. 2

Rhoda Street is named for the family, and Lincoln Avenue was named for one of their sons. Another son, Franklin Rhoda, was a founder of the Fruitvale Presbyterian Church.

Family

Rhoda was born about 1810 in Stettin, Prussia, in what is now Poland, though it's listed as Germany in U.S. Census data. He married Elizabeth Donaldson (Wilson) Rhoda (February 15, 1821–January 13, 1881) in 1849 in Iowa. It was the second marriage for both of them. Frederick had one son by his first marriage, William C. Rhoda (1840–1929). Elizabeth had had two sons by her first marriage, Allen David Wilson and James P. Wilson. Frederick and Elizabeth had five children together:

  • Albert Rhoda (September, 1851 – ?) ; born in Oregon ; married Elizabeth (Rhoda)
  • Franklin Rhoda (July 14, 1854 – September 10, 1929) ; born in Crescent City, CA ; married Clara Rebecca Williams (Rhoda)
  • Jane Rhoda (1856 – 1856) ; born and died in Butte Creek, CA
  • Ellen Rhoda (Brendemuhl Stotts) (1857 – August 20, 1911) ; married Augustus Christian Brendemuhl (1848–1902) in 1883 ; after his death in 1902, married Andrew Potts "A. P. " Stotts, who had been a farmhand
  • Lincoln Rhoda (December 2, 1861 – May 10, 1882) ; born in Oakland; namesake of Lincoln Avenue.

By 1860, the Rhoda family had moved to Oakland.

Homes

The family farmhouse is still standing at Wilbur and Whittle. 3 Daughter Ellen Rhoda Brendemuhl and her husband lived in the home at 4300 Fruitvale Avenue. 4 Note that Fruitvale Avenue did not extend all the way to the house when the house was originally built.

Rhoda family home at Wilbur and Whittle. 3,5Brendemuhl - Rhoda house (JL)

Death and Burial

Rhoda family marker
photo CC SA-BY-NC from Our Oakland
Frederick Rhoda died November 11, 1886. He is buried in the Rhoda family lot at Mountain View Cemetery, plot 12. Also buried there are wife Elizabeth and son Lincoln.

Links and References

  1. The Tombstone Transcription Project: Mountain View Cemetery
  2. The Sausal Creek Watershed: A Cultural and Natural History, Lisa Owens-Viani, 1998
  3. Oakland's Laurel District by Dennis Evanosky
  4. An Architectural Guidebook to San Francisco and The Bay Area, Susan Dinkelspiel Cerny, 2007 (the book erroneously states that the house was built in 1900-1901; title records state that the house was constructed in 1883)
  5. Yet another Rhoda home was at the corner of Lincoln and MacArthur, where the Lincoln Court Senior Apartments are currently located. Older residents may recall the vestigial cement steps on the corner when that property was still occupied by the infamous Hillcrest Motel, the demise of which has been linked by some to the revitalization of the entire Dimond District.