William Henry Rhodes (1822-1876) was born in Windsor, North Carolina. Possessing a great ambition, and a mind superior to his companions, he became a leader among the young men of Galveston, where his father was located in his office as United States Consul to Texas. In 1844, he entered Harvard law school, where he remained for two years. After he completed his study he returned to Galveston, where he entered upon the practice of his profession. In 1847 he was elevated to a Probate Judgeship. He filled this office with distinction for one term. He remained in North Carolina but a short time when he caught the inspiration of adventure in the new El Dorado, and sailed for California. His short story, The Case of Summerfield, appeared in the Sacramento Union newspaper in 1871. It included a character named Black Bart which later became the alias for Charles Bolles. At the time of its publication, the story was the talk of the town more for the concept of being able to set water on fire then for the idea of Black Bart.