Rice - William M. - Montgomery InGenWeb Project

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Rice - William M.

Source: Portrait & Biographical Record of Montgomery, Parke & Fountain Counties, Indiana. Chicago: Chapman Brothers, 1893, p. 183

-- William M. RICE is a prominent and successful representative of the agricultural class of Fountain County. He is a resident of Newtown where he has a large number of sincere friends and was born in Henry County, Kentucky in 1812, being the eldest in a family of 11 children born to Jonathan and Rebecca Reynolds Rice, who were natives of Kentucky born in 1790 and 1785, respectively. Jonathan and Rebecca Rice were married in KY just prior to the breaking out of the War of 1812. When the war was declared, Mr. Rice enlisted but served only the brief time of 60 days. After returning home, Jonathan and his wife settled down to a quiet and happy life in the forests of Kentucky where they lived until 1829 at the end of which time they emigrated to Indiana, and located near Waveland, Montgomery County. Here he purchased 160 acres of heavy timberland, all of which he lived to see cleared and cultivated by his children. He was a master mechanic and worked at his trade the greater part of his time. Our subject's paternal grandparents were English and German ancestry, respectively the former, William Rice, coming to America where he became a brave soldier in the Revolutionary War. His great grandparents were natives of the Old Dominion, and moved from there to Kentucky with pack mules at an early day. Mr. Rice of this sketch was married in this county in 1834 to Miss Catherine Staunton who lived but a little more than a year. In 1836, he came to Fountain County having that year married Miss Mary, the daughter of William Stevens. To them were born 6 children, all of whom grew to mature years, they were Elizabeth, wife of N. Johnson; Rachel the widow of Fielding Slusher by whom she had two children; Mary J, wife of John Gebhart; Jonathan, deceased; William P deceased and George. For many years Mr. Rice farmed successfully, and purchased and disposed of stock in which he was greatly profited. About the year 1844 he engaged in driving stock to Wisconsin in this way, aiding the State in her transaction sin that line. He engaged in merchandising, which he followed until 1880 in partnership with his brother, selling immense quantities for some years. he now owns almost a section of land in this county and is regarded as one of the ambitious and persevering citizens of the vicinity. His father located and died in Illinois near Kankakee. He was married a second time, in 1836 to Miss Mitchell by whom he had 9 children thus making him the father of 20. Isaac Rice, a general merchant of Newtown and brother to the gentleman whose name heads this sketch was born in Henry County, Kentucky in 1821 and in 1829 came to Montgomery County where he lived for 11 years. He then located near Newtown and has made his home in this county ever since, with the exception of a period of 3 years. He was married in 1841 to Miss Margaret Stevens who bore him 4 children, only one of whom is living. These children: Abednego who died and left one child; Hattie C; Mehitable who married John Voliva and is now deceased and Rebecca, widow of Isah Jones and the mother of 4 children. Mr. Rice was appointed Sheriff of Fountain County about 1857 to fill an unexpired term of his brother James. He engaged in merchandising in 1868 in partnership with his brother and has continued in that business since. He and his wife are members of the Baptist Church, in which they have worked faithfully for many years. He has also been a member of the Watt Detective Association. In politics, he is a supporter of the Democratic principles and platform, and has been all his life. Honest, upright and liberal to a fault, he is highly respected and esteemed by all who know him. Socially, our subject is a member of the Independent Order of Odd Fellows and has been 50 years. kbz
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