Thursday, July 7, 2011

Mattie Florence Rhodes

Mattie Florence Rhodes (1871-1890 ) = Presbyterian. Mattie was born on July 1 to John E. and Catherine Dillman Rhodes. She was the third child of four. Her siblings were William Brooks, Jennie Dillman, and Irma Edna. She grew up in America’s dream home: a cottage surrounded by pretty garden flowers and a picket fence. Like most any other little girl during that time period, she was taught home arts early and received a work basket with a small silver thimble, an emery bag to sharpen her needles, and spools of thread for her birthday since she enjoyed sewing.
Mattie was a member of Mrs. A.G. (Louise) Trumbull’s Sunday School class at Central Presbyterian Church (f. 1857). The ten young ladies called themselves the “Little Gleaners” and pledged to help others. So Mattie and her friends began a sewing circle to furnish linens for a bed at the children’s hospital and sew clothing for the less fortunate. To obtain supplies, the Sunday school class made and sold gingham aprons (25 cents) and potholders (10 cents). They also hosted lawn socials and bicycle teas.
While they distributed the clothing they had made, Mattie discovered that single mothers had a difficult time earning a living because there was no one to watch their children, therefore, they had to keep their little ones with them. Mattie wondered how she could help and began to dream of a safe place where their precious babies could be cared for while their mamas worked.
Before Mattie died from typhoid fever on October 1, she gave the inheritance her father left her ($500) to her friends. Six years later, after they raised more money to go with Mattie’s, the “Little Gleaners” were able to realize Mattie’s dream of a day nursery for working parents’ children.

More to Read:
1. Mattie Rhodes Website
2. Mattie Rhodes Art Center Brochure
3. Elmwood Cemetery: Stories of Kansas City. By Bruce Matthews. Kansas City Star Books, KCMO; 2010.
4. "Tour Elmwood Cemetery’s Outdoor Museum of Kansas City"  History Brochure
5. Findagrave #101569459

Places to See in MO.
1. Mattie Rhodes Art Gallery, 919 W. 17th St., Kansas City,
2. Central Presbyterian Church, 3051 Campbell (Armour & Campbell), Kansas City
3. Elmwood Cemetery, 4900 Truman Road, Kansas City

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Ever since I heard about your faith in the Lord Jesus and your love for all the saints, I have not stopped giving thanks for you, remembering you in my prayers. I keep asking that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the glorious Father, may give you the Spirit of wisdom and revelation, so that you may know him better. ~ Ephesians 1:15-17.