By U.S. ArmyApril 9, 2019
General Thomas J. Rodman died 7 June 1871 at 1:30 AM. He was buried on Rock Island Arsenal on 9 June 1871. He was born in Salem, Indiana, on [31 July 1816]. While stationed at Allegheny Arsenal, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, he married Miss Martha Black, daughter of Reverend Black of the Episcopalian Church of Pittsburgh. They had two daughters and [five] sons. General Rodman took sick on 15 December 1870, and was attended by Doctor Gregg.
Referred to as the "Father of the Rock Island Arsenal," Brevet Brigadier General Thomas J. Rodman, was transferred to Rock Island from Watertown Arsenal, Massachusetts, in July 1865. Rodman had a distinctive vision for the newly founded arsenal, one that emphasized Rock Island as a grand national arsenal that would exceed the distinction of all others.
Rodman's vision called for the construction of ten stone shops at the center of the island, constructed entirely of Joliet limestone. The shops on the north would be the island's armory row, while the shops on the south would be the arsenal row. Rodman, a stickler for aesthetics, also insisted on the construction of his officer's quarters in the same Joliet limestone.
Rodman would not live long enough to see the completion of the arsenal. He died in his quarters on June 7, 1871. His funeral was held in Quarters One, where members of the community poured in to pay their respects. Accounts state that over 100 wagons full of citizens flocked to the arsenal.
Rodman is credited not only for his planning of the Rock Island Arsenal, but for the development of the Rodman Gun. The Rodman Gun would be used in coastal defenses around the United States for many years during his life and following his death.
Rodman is buried at Rock Island National Cemetery. His grave is flanked by three Rodman Guns.