WILLIAM H. RICE, a retired farmer, living in the village of Madison, is
descended from honorable pioneer ancestry. He now owns a very pleasant home, to which he has recently removed for the purpose of giving his children a good education, and of living with his family in the comfort and ease which his means enable him to command. He has always been a farmer and a successful one, having already in middle life accumulated a competency for his declining years. This
result has been brought about by hard work and good management.
Baxter Rice, grandfather of the subject of this sketch, having grown to manhood in Massachusetts, came to the town of Madison, Madison County, with a yoke of oxen, one horse, and a sled, in 1817, bringing with him his wife, Harmony White, and a daughter, Katharine, afterward Mrs. Homer Tucker, of Oriskany Falls. At that time he could have purchased the land now known as the Bouckville Flats for fifty cents per acre, but chose a hill farm in the south part of the town, on
which was a log house, after a year or so erecting a framed house, the frame of which is now standing, owned by Albion W. Head. After seventy years the shingles were removed from this house by his grandson, 0. H. Rice. The hill farm, much of it then being covered with woods, the resort of deer and other game, was the birthplace of the eldest son in this pioneer family, Oliver B. Rice. In the year
1819 Mr. Rice sold this farm, and removed one mile further east, still being in the same town. On farm number two were born to them five children,--Baxter, Harmony, Adeline, Harriett, and Henry. Here Mr. and Mrs. Baxter Rice lived till all of their children, grown to manhood and womanhood, had gone from the parental home to homes of their own. Being now far down the declivity of
life and alone, they sold the farm, and went to Oriskany Falls, from that time making their home with their son, Baxter Rice, Jr. Mrs. Rice died at the age of seventy-six, Mr. Rice some years after, at the age of eighty-eight. Farm number two is now owned by Mr. Henry Edwards.
Oliver B. Rice, the father of William, at twenty-six years of age married Mary Hazzard, of Madison Centre; and, purchasing the farm adjoining his father's, within speaking distance, he lived on it for twenty-five years. He then sold that, and moved one mile west to the farm adjoining his birthplace, known
as the Jonas Banton farm, near the Durfy school-house, on which he lived for seventeen years, thence moving to the village of Madison in the spring of 1884, where he lived but one year. His death occurred when he was sixty-seven years old. His widow died two years later, at the age of sixty-nine. They were among the best people in the county, and highly respected. They left two children; namely, William H. and Oliver H., both residing in the village of Madison.
William H. Rice was born February 7, 1848. Diligent and observing, he attended
school as he had opportunity in his boyhood, but learned more by actual contact with the world than from books. The habits formed in early life have remained with him, and still influence his conduct. At the age of twenty-eight years he was married to Frances Holland, a daughter of Hamilton and Susan (Tinslar) Holland. She was one of five children. Her father, who was a farmer, came from Massachusetts to this county when yet a small boy, and died at the age of seventy-eight, her mother being still living, at the age of seventy-two. After their marriage Mr. and Mrs. Rice lived one year on the old homestead, and then on a rented farm two years. They then lived in Madison Centre two years, and then returned to the old home, upon which they lived one year. After living in Augusta one year, they removed to Madison Village, where Mr. Rice was engaged in teaming, and afterward for two years; rented the farm which he now owns, having at the end of this time bought the interests of the other heirs. Upon this farm he lived until the fall of 1892, when he bought his present neat and comfortable home. Starting in life without means, and acquiring the competency which he now enjoys, Mr. Rice has demonstrated in a most practical manner what can be done in a country where opportunity is free and equal to all. He and his wife have six children; namely, Henry B; Mary H., Susan F., Earl H., Clinton B., and Weenia B. Politically, Mr. Rice is a Republican, as was his father before him. He is a strong believer in the principle of protection to American industries. He is no
less in favor of the best and highest practical education for the young, and is giving all his children the most thorough education his means and the facilities existing will permit. This was in reality the principal reason for his leaving the farm and settling down in the village. No man knows better than does Mr. Rice that the perpetuity of republican institutions depends on the intelligence of the citizens, for it is only an intelligent and vigilant constituency that can hold in check the designing demagogue who will occasionally get into power.
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