Rhoda Derry

Rhoda Derry

Birth
Fayette County, Indiana, USA
Death 9 Oct 1906 (aged 71)
Bartonville, Peoria County, Illinois, USA
Burial Bartonville, Peoria County, Illinois, USA
Plot 217
Memorial ID 24045836 · View Source
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My G-G-Aunt Rhoda was the youngest daughter of Jacob and Rachel (Bright) Derry. Rhoda had 7 brothers and sisters. Philip, born 1817, Basil, born 1820, Carlisle, born 1822, all in Pennsylvania. Margaret, born 4 April 1824, Mary Jane, born 27 November 1827, Jeremiah, born 6 March 1829, Barbara, born 2 April 1832, James, born 5 May 1831 and Rhoda, born 10 October 1834, all in Indiana. Sometime between 1822 after the birth of Carlisle and 4 April 1824 with Margaret's birth, we find Jacob, Rachel and family in Indiana. First in Fayette County according to the 1830 Census, Tipton County in 1835, and in Madison County with the 1840 Census before moving on to Adams County, Illinois in 1843.

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August 2010, I traveled to Peoria, Illinois and visited her grave site. It was rumored that when a visitor comes to Rhoda's grave site, they feel a tug on their pant leg. This Rhoda did when Dr. Zeller would be near her in the hospital, as she took a special liking to him and actually smiled when he visited her. I didn't feel any tug on my pant leg, but I sure felt her spirit deeply touch my heart.

After researching and documenting many of the details of Rhoda's life, I have asked myself just what kept Rhoda alive all those years? What gave her the will to go on? Was she consciously aware of her surroundings? Did she gouge out her own eyes because of her fear of the Old Scratch and thought that would erase the old goblin from her mind? Or, was it because of the horrors she saw while she languished in the poorhouses and almshouses? These are questions we will never really know the answer to, only wonder.

Rhoda was a prepossessing creature and however tragic her life, she unknowingly played a central role in changing the lives of the mentally disabled in Illinois and much of the U.S. at the beginning of the 20th century. Her life, after all, did have purpose. In my view, Aunt Rhoda will forever remain a very special kind of hero. Her spirit will be forever indelible upon my mind and upon my heart.

D. Doc Derry


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Inscription

"THEY BUILT THIS PLACE OF ASYLUM SO THAT NO OTHER HUMAN WOULD SUFFER AS YOU. YOU TAUGHT US TO LOVE AND FEEL COMPASSION TOWARDS THE LESS FORTUNATE. MAY YOU FIND PEACE AND WARMTH IN GOD'S HANDS"


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  • Maintained by: D. Doc Derry
  • Originally Created by: Amelia Crombie-Christy
  • Added: 19 Jan 2008
  • Find a Grave Memorial 24045836
  • Find a Grave, database and images (https://www.findagrave.com : accessed ), memorial page for Rhoda Derry (10 Oct 1834–9 Oct 1906), Find a Grave Memorial no. 24045836, citing Peoria State Hospital Cemetery, Bartonville, Peoria County, Illinois, USA ; Maintained by D. Doc Derry (contributor 47148583) .