William Henry Rice may descend from Edward Rice of Franklin County, Georgia. The relationship is suggested by common Georgia connections and by common family names. Additionally, census records are consistent with William Henry Rice being an Edward Rice descendant.
I had at one time thought that Edward Rice of Franklin County, Georgia was a son of Claiborne Rice and Susannah Walton Rice. Claiborne Rice married Susannah Walton in Goochland County, Virginia in 1749. Susannah Walton was the widow of William Walton, by whom she had two children (a daughter and a son named Jesse).
However, I am informed that Edward is too old to have been a product of the Claiborne Rice - Susannah Walton marriage. Edward Rice's age is not known, but Edward's son Leonard is said to have been born in 1759--thus Edward necessarily is too old to have been the product of a 1749 marriage. However, Edward Rice could have been Claiborne Rice's son by an earlier marriage.
Edward Rice of Franklin County, Georgia and Jesse Walton (Susannah Walton Rice's son) owned adjoining lands in Franklin County, Georgia. The Edward Rice family and the Jesse Walton family maintained a close relationship. Members of these Rice and Walton families witnessed many Franklin County deeds for each other and, jointly, for others. Jesse Walton's son, Killis Walton, was named executor of Edward Rice's will. Edward's will, signed and probated in Franklin County, Georgia in 1801, discloses that Edward was survived by a wife, Sarah, and six children: Claiborne Rice; Leonard Rice; William Rice; Polly Rice; Elizabeth Rice; and, Killis Rice.
With this background on Edward Rice, one can better understand the clues which suggest that our William Rice was his descendant. As indicated above, the relationship between Edward Rice and our William Rice is suggested by common Georgia connections and by common family names.
Our William Rice's relationship to Edward Rice of Franklin County, Georgia is suggested by common Georgia connections. Census records show that our William's father was born in Georgia, perhaps as late as the mid-1790's. Edward Rice resided in Franklin County, Georgia as early as 1785. Consequently, at least one of Edward's sons could have been born in Georgia as late as the mid-1790's and, as a further consequence, one of Edward's sons could have been our William's father or grandfather.
Our William Rice's relationship to the Edward Rice of Franklin County, Georgia is further suggested by the given names of William's brothers (Jesse and Walton). Edward Rice's son Leonard (who is a likely candidate for being our William's grandfather) named one son Jesse. Walton Rice could have been named for the Walton family to whom the Edward Rice family was so close: in fact, one of Edward Rice's grandsons (Aaron, son of Leonard) named a son Walton Rice.
Our William Rice's relationship to Edward Rice of Franklin County, Georgia is also suggested by the names given to two of our William's children: Ann and Robert. Edward Rice's son Leonard had children named Ann and Robert. Of course these are oft-used given names, but the common naming is still not insignificant.
Finally, our William Rice's relationship to Edward Rice of Franklin County, Georgia is suggested by our William's own given name. Edward Rice had a son named William.
If our William is related to Edward Rice of Franklin County, Georgia, wherein does he connect? Edward had at least four sons: Claiborne; Leonard; William; and, Killis. Most probably, our William was the grandson of Edward Rice's son Leonard.
We know very little about Edward's son Claiborne. A Claiborne Rice appears on the Franklin County, Georgia tax records for the year 1805 only. This might mean that this Claiborne attained majority (age 21) around 1805 and then left the county. There is no record of a Claiborne Rice buying or selling land in Franklin County.
Edward's son Claiborne might have traveled to San Augustine County, Texas. In 1838 a Samuel E. Powers, who claimed to be the assignee of a Claiborne Rice, obtained a land certificate from the Board of Land Commissioners of San Augustine County, Republic of Texas. The certificate recites that Powers had proved that Claiborne Rice was a married man who had arrived in the Republic of Texas in 1830. Powers was apparently a land broker: he traded heavily in land certificates. Nothing else is known about the Claiborne Rice who was Powers' assignor. This Claiborne Rice could have been the son of Edward Rice of Franklin County, Georgia.
Virtually nothing is known about Edward Rice's sons, William and Killis. Edward's son Killis may have been the "Achilles Rice" who is listed on the 1810 Census for Colleton County, South Carolina: in 1810 this Achilles Rice had a son less than ten years of age.
Edward Rice's son, Leonard, lived in Elbert County, Georgia: he died there in 1842. Leonard had a son who was named William. This William Rice, son of Leonard, is the most likely candidate for being our William Rice's father.William Rice (son of Leonard/grandson of Edward) was born about 1790 to 1794. In 1812, this William Rice married Sally Brown in Elbert County, Georgia. William appears on the 1820 census and the 1830 census for Elbert County, Georgia, Census age ranges for the children of William and Sally Brown Rice are not inconsistent with the ages for our William and our William's two known brothers.
I hope to someday visit Franklin and Elbert Counties of Georgia and Goochland, County, Virginia. The deed and probate records of those counties may hold the answers, or new clues to answers, for the questions about our William Henry Rice's ancestry.
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