compiled and copyright by MJP Grundy, 2002
This page is still under construction. It is in the process of being revised and enlarged on the basis of information very generously sent to me by the descendants of two sons of William Rice: one who remained in Ireland, and Edward Rice (1710-1761) who immigrated to Pennsylvania. If you have additions or corrections for this page please contact me at .
This page, like most of the others on this web site, does not try to be a comprehensive history of the Rice family, but seeks to gather as much information as possible about the line leading from William Rice (1692-1764) to Catherine Rice (1780- ) who married Elias Paxson in 1798.
Earlier Generations in the British Isles
First, a little background. If you want to skip it, jump down to William, or even to the immigrant Edward. It is assumed that the Rice family originated in Wales, where Rhys was a common name. Undocumented family tradition holds that a descendant, David Rees, immigrated from Wales to Ireland. I have seen no proof that (as some would like to boast) our particular Rices can be traced back to The Lord Rhys (d. 1197), son of Gruffydd ap Rhys of Deheubarth (d. 1137) and Gwenllian of Gwynedd. In fact, I have my doubts. Genealogies from the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries in particular often cheerfully connected similarly-named descendants with medieval nobility and royalty while offering very little proof. If a reader can supply missing links between the medieval princes and warlords of Wales and Edward Rice who was born in 1710, I will greatly enlarge this page!
An Edmund Rice emigrated to Massachusetts Bay Colony in the early 1630s with his wife and nine children from Berkhamsted, Hertfordshire. He settled first in Watertown, then in Dedham, and finally removed to Marlborough. His story is interwoven with that of the Colony in Benjamin W. Labaree, Colonial Massachusetts: A History (Millwood, NY: KTO Press, 1979), 47-65. I am assuming that Edmund Rice is no relation to the branch of the family that immigrated to Pennsylvania from Ireland.
In the nineteenth century Killyman was a parish in the union of Armagh, partly in the Barony of O'Neill and West (Armagh), but mostly in Dungannon (Tyrone), in the province of Ulster. Today Killyman borders County Armagh on its east, and is two miles north from Moy on the river Blackwater and the road from Belfast to Dungannon. The land there is very fertile, with plenty of bogs.
Ireland suffered severely in the years just before William's birth. When the British Parliament invited William of Orange and his Protestant wfe, Mary Stuart to claim the throne, Mary's father, James II, now openly Catholic, abdicated and fled. However, he hoped to recoup at least some of his loss with French help in Ireland. In March 1689 James landed at Kinsale with French money and arms, and was joind by a volunteer army; the Irish parliament acknowledged his claim. Some Protestant lands were confiscated and returned to their previous (Catholic) owners. During the unrest, most Protestants fled to fortified towns still in the possession of Protestants, or left Ireland altogether. Soon only Londonderry and Enniskillen, the two main Protestant towns, were opposing James's forces. Both withstood seiges. But James was unwilling to cut Ireland loose from England. Had he succeeded, the Protestant oligarchy would have been replaced by a Catholic oligarchy, but it would not have undone the English conquest or restored Gaelic rule. Meanwhile William realized that if James held either Scotland or Ireland, his own hold on England could be threatened. William and his seasoned Dutch troops invaded Ireland. On 1 July 1690 the two armies met at the River Boyne where James was decisively defeated. Although James fled to France, in Ireland civil order had broken down, and violence continued. The French and Irish Catholic troops (who were not paid with any regularity) and the English/Orange troops with their German, Spanish, and Huguenot allies, quartered soldiers on the hapless populace, and freely took whatever cattle, grain, blankets, or other goods they wanted. Both sides made reprisals on anyone they suspected of favoring the opposition. Formerly dispossessed Irish "rapparees" saw an opportunity to turn the tables on their oppressors, adding to the destruction and chaos. In 1691 the English forces negotiated the surrender of Limerick, the last important Irish city to hold out. All Irish who wished to leave and join the French army were permitted do so. About 12,000 did, including most of the remaining nobility and "natural" Catholic leadership. Catholics were also to be permitted free exercise of their religion, although this part of the agreement was not carried out. At the request of the (now Protestant) Irish parliament, William annulled that clause of the treaty. Members of the Church of Ireland (Anglican) were restored to their position as first-class citizens, while Catholics and nonconformists were barred from a number of occupations.
William Rice had at least two sons, one named Edward, who immigrated to Pennsylvania, and one who remained in Ireland. So far I do not know the name of William's wife, or if they had other children.
Edward1 Rice, the earliest ancestor that is proved in this line, was born in Killyman, Dungannon, County Tyrone, Ireland in 1710, and died in 1761 in Bucks County, Pennsylvania. He was married to Elizabeth WILLSON 10 Sixth Month (August) 1742, by a minister from the First Presbyterian Church of Philadelphia. The marriage probably took place at the Deep Run Presbyterian Church in Doylestown. Although the marriage was not under the care of Friends, later generations became Quakers and used Friends' nomenclature for labelling months; see an explanation of Quaker dating. Elizabeth was born in 1724 in Frankford, Philadelphia County, and died in Bucks County in 1814. She was the daughter of James (1696-1731) and Mary (Gillingham) (1698-1731) Willson.
For hundreds of years the parliament in London had imposed restrictions on Irish trade to bolster England's "bottom line". In 1699 new laws virtually destroyed Ireland's export trade in manufactured woolen goods. A drought in the 1710s in Ulster was the final blow for many nonconformist yeoman farmers. Ruined crops included flax, which meant that farmers, weavers and townspeople lost their livelihood. In 1716 sheep were affected with "sheep rot" a disease of the feet, and whole flocks were wiped out. Absentee English landlords who did not know or care what was happening, kept increasing rents. By 1717, what had begun as a trickle in 1702 became a great migration of Ulster people to America. The bulk of immigrants were Presbyterians. Protestant nonconformists were granted legal toleration in Ireland in 1719, although they continued to be liable for tithes to the established church and were excluded from offices under the crown. The Toleration Act did little to slow the out-migration.
Undocumented family tradition offers two stories about Edward's immigration to the new world. One suggests he travelled with two brothers. But there are no other Rices in the Bucks County records for this period. The other story holds that he was joining a brother already in Pennsylvania. The only reference found to potentially support this is the will of a John Rice in Chester County, dated 28 March 1727. However, John identifies a brother named Thomas, who came from a different location in Ireland.
Edward was about 26 when he left an Ireland that seemed to hold little economic opportunity for him. He brought with him a certificate of good character signed by the rector and church warden of the parish of Killyman, Barony of Dunganon, Kingdom of Ireland, and a passport-type of document dated 12 June 1736. This indicates that he was, if not a member of the established Anglican church, at least known to the rector."Wee do certifie that the Bearer hereof Edward Rice was born in this parrish of Kellaman of very Honnest And creditable parents and hath Lived in the parrish Ever Since untill now in very good Credit and Reputation and hath Behaved himself very Civilly and Honnestly without any manner of Scandal known to us. And now he intends God willing to Transport himself to the Province of Pencelvenia or some other of his Majesties Colonies in America where Providence shall Direct him. And wee know no Reason but he may be Received and Admitted into the Society and fellowship of Any Good Christian people in any of his Majesties "Colonies where Providence shall Direct him to settle.
Whereas the Bearer hereof Edward RICE having occasin to Transport Himself into the Province of Pencelvenia or some other of his Majesties Colonies in America where Providence shall Direct and for his better safety desires All persons whome it may concern both Civill and Millatery to permitt the "Bearer to pass and Repass without any hinderance or mollestation either in Body or Goods he in the mean time behaving himself as becometh A Loyall Subject."
Edward was a farmer and a weaver.
On 19 December 1753 Edward obtained the deed to 153 acres in Solebury Township, Bucks County, on old York Road and the Warwick Township line, near Bridge Valley. He signed a mortgage for £185 to Israel Pemberton, Jr., a wealthy and influential Philadelphia Quaker merchant. Descendants Russell (who grew up in Carversville, Bucks County) and Bob Rice have checked out the old Rice family homestead. In early November 2003 there was an old frame farmhouse there, that might have the original building (or parts thereof) still existing within it. Bob is guessing the farmhouse that is visible now dates from the late 1800s. Edward lived on the farm the rest of his life, dying there in 1761.
Elizabeth married, secondly, Matthew BEANS on 18 Fifth Month [May] 1763. Their second intentions and clearness to proceed were recorded in the men's meeting minutes at Buckingham Monthly Meeting on 2 Fifth Month 1763. This implies that both were members in good standing, so I need to check the minutes to find when she was reinstated, or if she was not disowned for marrying Edward Rice out of unity. Elizabeth moved to her new husband's farm in Buckingham, and she died there in 1814.
Children of Edward and Elizabeth (Willson) Rice:i. James2 Rice, b. ca. 1742; d. 5/11m/1822 in Warwick Twp., Bucks Co, leaving 7 children:a) Jane, m. Henry WIGGINS;
b) Rebecca, m. Henry BLACK;
e) Phebe, m. James LUKENS;
ii. John Rice, b. 1744; d. on the homestead in Buckingham 1 Oct. 1801; m. 24 Aug. 1765 Rachel WORTHINGTON; She was b. in 1744; they had 7 children:a) Mary, m. Thomas KIRK;
b) Edward, b. 1765, m. Sarah BAXTER;
g) James, b. 1778
iii. Edward Rice, b. 1747; m. Martha FELL; resided in Plumstead. Children:a) Jonathan
iv. George Rice, b. 1749; m. Eleanor SKELTON; he was a wheelwright who lived in Plumstead; had 8 children:a) Ann;
c) George Jr.;
v. Mary Rice, b. 1752; m. 23/3m/1774 John KINSEY; they were members of Buckingham Monthly Meeting. The minutes note on 1/11m/1779 that a "testimony" was to be "published" against her, meaning that the meeting could no longer own her as a member because she was not upholding one of Friends' testimonies.
vi. Joseph Rice, b. 1754; d. Nov. 1848; m. 14 Apr. 1779 at Buckingham MM, Letitia HARTLEY. She was b. in 1762 and d. 30 Nov. 1815. Had children: a) Catherine Rice, b. 17 Feb 1780; m. Elias PAXSON, 1798vii. Thomas Rice, b. 15 Oct. 1757; d. 11 Nov. 1855 in Pelham Twp., Welland County, Ontario, Canada; m. Mary HARTLEY who was b. 2 Aug. 1759 in Ireland, and d. 4 July 1829; had 10 children:
b) William, b. 30 Apr. 1782, m. Sidney HARTLEY (b. 1783);
c) James Rice, b. 7 Aug 1785; d. before 1791.
d) Letitia Rice, b. 7 Jul 1788; d. 30 Nov 1815; m. John BOTHERS;
e) James Rice, b. 7 Feb 1791;
f) Joseph Rice, Jr., b. 2 Jun 1792;a) Thomas Jr., b. 1779, d. 1828, m. 1804 Abigail DENNIS;
b) Elizabeth, b. 17 Oct. 1780, m. 4 Mar. 1798 George HAVENS;
c) Sarah, b. 1 July 1782 in Solebury, Bucks Co.; d. 8 Aug. 1846 in Pelham, Welland Co.; m. Robert SPENCER Jr., son of Robert and Catherine VanSTERNBERG) Spencer (Robert Jr was b. 10 Aug. 1772 in Fonda Twp., Montgomery Co., NY, and d. 6 May 1860 in Norwich, Ontario; 11 children.
d) Abigail "Abi", b. 7 Sept. 1785, m. Moses FOSS;
e) Ebor or Eber, b. 15 Feb. 1789, d. 23 Dec. 1863, m. Elizabeth MOORE;
f) Jonathan, b. 16 June 1791, d. Jan. 1814, unmar.;
g) Mary, b. 1793, possibly m. Ezekial DENNIS, brother of Abigail who m. Mary's brother Thomas Jr.;
h) Hannah, b. 16 Aug. 1795, m. Thomas PAGE;
i) David, b. 1797, d. unmar.;
j) Edward, b. 18 Mar. 1800, d. 11 Jan. 1861, m. Esther SILVERTHORN; they had 10 children.
viii. William Rice, b. 1758.
Children of Elizabeth (Willson) Rice and her second husband Matthew Beans:i. Aaron Beans
ii. Moses Beans
Second Generation in the New World
Joseph was seven years old when his father died, and nine when his mother married Matthew Beans. Presumably the rest of his childhood was spent on the Beans' plantation in Buckingham. On 1 Sixth Month [June] 1778 his request for membership came before Buckingham Monthly Meeting for business. The next month a favorable report was made, and on 7 Ninth Month [September] 1778 he "came under the care of Friends", meaning that he was officially received into membership of the Religious Society of Friends. In a pattern not too unusual for young people joining Friends, six months later he and Letitia Hartley brought their intentions to marry before Buckingham Friends. She was the daughter of William and Catharine (FISHER) Hartley. On 5 Fourth Month [April] 1779 they returned to monthly meeting to reiterate their intention to wed and were cleared to marry. Isaac PICKERING and John BALDERSTON were appointed by the men to oversee the wedding. The women's meeting also appointed two women to join them in overseeing it. The two men reported back the following month to the men's meeting that the marriage had been accomplished in good order.
There was a war going on, and all men were being enrolled in local militias. More research is needed to find how Joseph threaded his way between the demands of the rebels (aka patriots) and the expectation that Friends would maintain their testimony against wars and outward fighting. The sources are the Pennsylvania Archives and the Buckingham Meeting minutes.
Some time after their marriage, Joseph and Letitia purchased from Letitia' s uncle 100 acres of the northeastern part of the Hartley tract, bordering on the Balderston tract, in Solebury Township.
Letitia died 30 Eleventh Month (November) 1815. Joseph died in November 1848 in his 94th year.
Children of Joseph and Letitia (Hartley) Rice:
i. Catherine3 Rice, b. 17 2nd mo., 1780; m. 1798 Elias PAXSON.
ii. William Rice, b. 30/4m/1782; d. 1827; m. ca. 1803 Sidney HARTLEY. He inherited his grandfather William HARTLEY's farm of 180 acres. William was directed by his grandfather William3 Hartley to provide a "comfortable living" for his grandmother, Elizabeth (Paxson) Hartley. He was active in Buckingham Monthly Meeting. Children were: Samuel H., Hiram, Charles, and Eliza.
iii. James Rice, b. 7/8m/1785; d.y.
iv. Letitia Rice, or Latitia, b. 7/7/1788; d. 30/11m/1815; m. John BOTHERS or Bodder.
v. James Rice, b. 7/2m/1791; d.y.
vi. Joseph Rice, Jr., b. 2/6m/1792; m. 1825 Julia IDEN of Richland Township; their children were:a) Joseph G., b. 1827;
b) William Henry, b. 22/9m/1828, res. Lahaska, d. before 1904;
c) George Iden, b. 1831, d. early 1904 in Princeton, Ill., physician practicing in Morrisville when he enlisted as Assistant Surgeon in the 32nd Infantry, 3rd Regiment in 1862;
d) Lewis C., b. 1833.
Thomas2 Rice, Sr., son of Edward, was born in Solebury Township, Bucks County, on 15 October 1757. He died 11 November 1855 in Pelham Township, Welland County, Ontario. In 1778 Thomas married Mary HARTLEY, daughter of Anthony (1730-1811) and Elizabeth (SMITH) (1732-1769) Hartley. Mary died 4 July 1829 in Pelham Township.
During the Revolutionary War Thomas appeared on the tax rolls of Solebury.
In 1788 Thomas, Mary, and their four little children migrated to Pelham, Welland County, Ontario. Thomas was granted 100 acres at Concession 9, Lot 3, where they farmed and raised their family of ten children. The farm was transferred to their oldest son, Thomas Jr. in 1827, and eventually to Thomas Jr.'s son Samuel. Over time small parcels were sold. The Pelham Arena now sits on the site of Thomas Sr. and Mary's original cabin. Samuel built a home on the property in 1830, two years after his marriage, and the house still stands at 1108 Haist Street. This is the house in which Thomas died in 1855 at the age of 98. It is about 300 yards from the site of the Pelham Arena. An Evangelical Friends Church and cemetery are located adjacent to their farm. When it was established around 1800, of course, it would have been a Friends Meeting with unprogrammed silent, waiting worship. Presumably in the 1828 separation it became Orthodox. That is the year Canada Yearly Meeting (Orthodox) was formed, and in the 1845-55 split, it identified with the Gurneyites rather than the Wilburites. The Evangelical Friends Church didn't separate until early in the twentieth century.
Thomas was also granted 250 acres at Concession 11, Lot 6, and East Quarter of Lot 5, in Walsingham Township, Norfolk County, Ontario. Land Registry records show that the grant was transferred to someone else in 1817. William A. Rice suggests that this indicates neither Thomas nor any of his family ever occupied it.
Mary was a Friend, and was disowned by Buckingham Monthly Meeting 4 Tenth Month 1779 for marrying a nonQuaker out of unity with Friends. Much later, she acknowledged that she had not lived up to Friends' witness in this regard, and was reinstated in Twelfth Month 1800. Her membership was transferred to Pelham Monthly Meeting on 1 Fourth Month 1801, soon after that meeting was established. Apparently Thomas also joined Friends, but I have not yet checked the Pelham Meeting records to find out just when. Both Thomas and Mary are assumed to be buried in the Friends cemetery near the house, but this has not yet been verified.
Children of Thomas and Mary (Hartley) Rice:i. Thomas Rice, Jr., b. 24 Apr. 1779 in Solebury; d. 20 Sept. 1828 in Pelham; m. 1804 Abigail DENNIS (she was b. 1788). They lived in Thorold Township, Welland Co., and became owners of the family farm in Pelham Township in 1827. When Thomas Jr. died the family farm was inherited by his son Samuel. Thomas and Abigail had 6 children:a) Sidney Rice, b. 1805; d. as young woman, unmar.ii. Elizabeth Rice, b. 17 Oct. 1780; d. 4 May 1868, in Homer Grantham Twp., Lincoln Co., Ont.; m. 4 Mar. 1798 George HAVENS in St. Mark's Church, Lincoln Co. He was b. 22 Feb. 1774 in Andersons, Gloucester Co., NJ, son of William and Lydia (MASTERS) Havens, and died 2 Feb. 1842 in Grantham Twp., Lincoln Co. Ont.; had at least one child, George Havens, b. 1799.
b) Samuel Rice, b. 1807; d. 24 Nov. 1885, m. 21 Apr. 1828 Rebecca FORRESTER;
c) Sarah Rice, b. 1809, m. 21 Apr. 1828 Joseph THORN--double wedding with her brother?;
d) Ezekiel Rice, b. 1812; d. 5 Feb. 1874; m. 27 Dec. 1849 Martha FARR; the 1871 census of Stamford Twp. showed 2 other marriages;
e) William Rice, b. 1815; m(1) Martha PEW; m(2) Caroline SERVOS;
f) Dennis Rice, b. 1820; m. Mary HELLEMS;
iii. Sarah Rice, b. 1 July 1782; d. 8 Aug. 1846, in Pelham, Welland Co., Ont.; m. Robert SPENCER Jr., son of Robert and Catherine VanSTERNBERG) Spencer (Robert Jr was b. 10 Aug. 1772 in Fonda Twp., Montgomery Co., NY, and d. 6 May 1860 in Norwich, Ontario; 11 children (order uncertain).a) Robert Spencer, b. 1800, Welland Co Ont; d. 07 Nov 1907 [sic?]iv. Abigail "Abi" Rice, b. 7 September 1785; d. ca. 1875, in Wainfleet Twp., Welland Co., Ont.; m. Moses FOSS (he was b. ca. 1770 in New Jersey and d. ca. 1853 in North Pelham);
b) Elizabeth Spencer, b. 1803, m. John GARNER (who was b. 1798); had a daughter Elizabeth Havens (b. 1803, m. John GARNER who was b. 1798).
c) Catherine Spenser,
d) Mary Spencer,
e) Thomas Spencer,
f) Lydia Spencer, b. 1810; m. Robert GARNER, 16 Apr 1829, Presbyterian Church in Stamford, Welland Co.;
g) Adam Spencer, b. 1811, Pelham, Welland Co., Ont; d. 23 Aug. 1889, Norwich, Ont.
h) John Henderson Spencer, b. 8 Oct. 1815, St Catherines, Lincoln Co., Ont; d. 1 June 1886, Walsh Charlotteville Twp., Norfolk Co., Ont.
i) William Spencer, b. 27 May 1820, Thorold, Welland Co., Ont.; d. 9 Dec. 1893, Pelham, Welland Co.; m. Johanna Christianna WEISS (White). William was a Friends minister in the Friend's Church on Haist St., Pelham, and lived on the farm across Welland Rd. from Jonathan Page; Jonathan Page lived on the farm across Haist Rd. from Samuel Rice, Concession 10, Lot 4. They are buried front row of the Friend's Church graveyard.
j)Ann Spencer, b. 1822;
v. Ebor or Eber Rice, perhaps a nickname for Ebenezar, b. 15 Feb. 1789; d. 23 Dec. 1863; m. Elizabeth MOORE (b. 1792); had 5 children:a) Mary Rice, m. Thomas SMITH;vi. Jonathan Rice, b. 16 June 1791; d. Jan. 1814; unmarried.
b) Jonathan Rice;
c) Daniel Rice (emigrated to Michigan);
d) Felix Rice (emigrated to Kansas);
e) Uriah Rice
vii. Mary Rice, b.1793; perhaps m. Ezekial DENNIS (b. 17 Dec. 1742, in Rockhill Twp., Bucks Co., Pa.), brother of Thomas Jr.'s wife Abigail.
viii. Hannah Rice, b. 16 Aug. 1795; m. 8 Mar 1809 Thomas PAGE (b. 13 Nov. 1784, in Walpole, Cheshire Co., NH; d. 18 Aug. 1849, in Thorold Twp., Welland Co.;
ix. David Rice, b. 26 Nov. 1797; unmarried.
x. Edward Rice, b. 18 Mar. 1800 in Thorold; d. 11 Jan. 1861 in Chinguacousy, Peel Co., Ont.; m. Esther SILVERTHORN (she was b. 1802 and d. 1876). The family farmed at Concession 3, West Half of Lot 19, Chingacousy Township, Peel County, Ontario. They had 10 children:a) Alfred Rice, b. 1821);
b) Jonathan Rice, b. 14 Mar. 1825; d. 24 May 1890;m. 1847 Charlotte CLARRIDGE;
c) Aaron Rice, b. 1826; m. Penelope BUCHANAN;
d) Gilbert Rice, b. 1829; d. 10 Sept. 1906; m. 1851 Mary Ann BUCHANAN; they had at least one son, William Edward Rice who m. Sarah Jane FENWICK.;
e) William Rice, b. 15 Oct. 1830; d. 31 July 1909; m. 2 Dec. 1850 Jane Edith ARMSTRONG;
f) Mary Rice, b. 14 June 1831; d. 13 Nov. 1904; m. 1845 Jason BOWEN;
g) Samuel Rice, b. 1832; d. ca. 1863; m. Orpha Minerva ARMSTRONG;
h) Rebecca Rice, b. 1835; m. Henry Mowbar FREEMAN;
i) Catherine Rice, b. 1837;
j) Esther Rice, b. 3 Jan. 1842; m. James MATTICE;
Third Generation in Pennsylvania
Catharine3 Rice, eldest child of Joseph and Letitia (Hartley) Rice, was born in 1780 in Solebury. On 10 October 1798 she and Elias PAXSON, son of Abraham and Elizabeth (BROWN), were married.
[This entry needs more data.]
Children of Catherine (Rice) Paxson and Elias Paxson:i. Elizabeth Paxson, b. 11 Nov. 1799; m. 1818 Thomas HARTLEY; moved to Baltimore Co., Md.
ii. Abraham Paxson, b. 17 July 1802; m. 15 Mar. 1825 in Solebury Meeting house Evelina WALTON, daughter of Jacob and Hannah; ten children.
iii. Howard Paxson, b. 30 Sept. 1808; d. 5 Apr. 1886; m. in Solebury Meeting house 14 May 1835 Mary SMALL, daughter of Jonas and Ann; 9 children.
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