William Henry Rice was born in Georgia in 1830. He died in Brown County, Texas in 1903.
Very little is known about William's parents. We know that they were born in Georgia but we don't know their names. We don't know if they ever came to Texas.
William's parents had at least two other children: Walton Rice and Jesse Rice. Like William, Walton and Jesse came to Texas.
Walton Rice, William Henry Rice's brother, was born about 1810 or 1820 in Alabama or Georgia. This brother of William is of the right age to have been the Walton Rice who in 1839 married Malinda T. Horton in Elbert County, Georgia and who in 1840 resided in Pontotoc County, Mississippi. However, we do not know that these Walton Rices of Georgia and Mississippi are William's brother Walton. It may be a coincidence, but William Henry Rice's son, Bud Rice, married Allison Estelle "Allie" Alexander, who was born in Pontotoc County.
Although William's brother Walton may have earlier married, he appears without a wife on the 1850 Austin County, Texas Census in the household of Jared E. Kirby. Walton apparently worked as Kirby's overseer. Also residing with, and tending stock for, Jared Kirby in 1850 was a Solomon A. Rice who was born in Mississippi about 1831. It is not known whether this Solomon Rice was related to our William Henry Rice.
On March 11, 1852, William's brother Walton married Eleanor Melissa Wright in Jared Kirby's Bellville, Texas home. Walton Rice later moved to Milam County, Texas: by 1854 he owned over five hundred acres of Milam County land. Walton died on May 22, 1865. He and his wife, Eleanor Melissa Rice, are buried at Little River Baptist Church Cemetery in Jones Prairie, Milam County, Texas.
William Henry Rice's other known brother, Jesse Rice, was born in Georgia about 1818. Jesse came to reside in Austin County, Texas: he first appears on the county tax roll in 1848. In 1850 Jesse lived in Austin County with the John O. Whitfield family (relationship unknown). In 1860 Jesse lived alone in Austin County: although his occupation was listed on the census as "farmer," he owned no land. Jesse did own three slaves (named Green, Hannah, and Sophia).
Jesse died in Kentucky in November of 1861 while serving in the Confederate Army. Brothers Walton Rice and William Rice were the only heirs making claim to Jesse Rice's estate.
The following is taken from a petition filed in the County Court of Austin County, Texas in 1862:
Walton Rice, a citizen of Milam County, respectfully represents unto your Honor that he is the eldest surviving brother of Jesse Rice, dec'd. That letters of administration on the Estate of said Jesse Rice, dec'd, were granted to one Thomas Cochrane, at the last December Term of your Honor's Court. Your Petitioner, said Walton Rice, desires to administer said estate . . . . Petitioner further represents that , the only other surviving brother of the dec'd, is in the Confederate army, and that it is the wish of said that Petitioner [manage] said estate; and Petitioner prays that said Cochrane be removed from said administration.
[attorney] for [Petitioner]
The following is taken from a petition filed in the County Court of Austin County, Texas in November of 1865:
The petition of [William] H. Rice a citizen of [Milam County, Texas], respectfully represents that Jesse Rice late of [Austin County, Texas] departed this life on the day of November A D 1861 leaving no wife so far as Petitioner knows or believes, that said Jesse Rice died seized and possessed of a small personal estate; that your Petitioner is a brother, and only surviving heir at law of said decedent; That at the [December] Term, 1861 of [this] Court, letters of administration upon said estate were granted to [Thomas] Cochrane of [Austin County]; that at the January (1862) Term of said Court, the said Cochrane was removed from said administration and letters were granted to Walton Rice, a citizen of Milam County, and brother of Decedent; that said Walton Rice declined accepting, and the said Cochrane was again appointed to conduct said administration of said estate, that said Cochrane has made two exhibits showing his acts [and] doings as administrator of said estate, that the last exhibit was made at the January Term 1865 of said Court. Petitioner further alleges that said Walton Rice departed this life on the day of , leaving no children and that he is entitled to balance in hands of administrator after final account rendered, that said last exhibit showed a balance on hand of Eight Hundred [and] Ninety-Six 91/100 Dollars . . . , that all debts except one, a note payable to [Joseph] W. Harper of Four Hundred Dollars . . . exclusive of interest, was the only claim against said estate remaining unpaid. In consideration of which Petitioner prays that the said [Thomas] Cochrane . . . be ordered to make a final account and to pay over to Petitioner the funds remaining after said account . . . .
signed: Chas T. Kavanaugh
Atty for Petitioner
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