Biography - W. O. Rice

W. O. RICE, fruit-raiser, P. O. Cobden, was born in Portage City, Wis., August 8, 1851, to William and Miranda (Winchell) Rice. He was born in Mt. Morris, N. Y., September 20, 1813. She also in same State, in Ticonderoga, February 16, 1814. He died April 27, 1882. When Mrs. Rice was a child, her parents moved from New York to Vermont, and there she remained till twenty-eight years of age, removing thence to Wisconsin. He, however, had moved to Wisconsin from New York, and it was there they were married. They remained in Wisconsin till November, 1864, when they came to Union County and settled on their present farm. A son, W. O., and a daughter. Belle, blessed this union; both are now living at home. Mr. Rice was the youngest of a family of five brothers. By trade, he was a carpenter and joiner, and had made that his occupation till coming to this county. Then he engaged in the fruit culture. He was in the service for six months with Gen. Butler, but being too old for active duty, he was commissary clerk. At the time of his death, he was on a prospecting tour in Kansas. He was taken suddenly- sick, and died and was buried without his family knowing anything of it. Mrs. Rice is one of a family of ten children, six girls and four boys. Seven of the number are still living; one died in the Mexican army. Mrs. Rice is a relative of the Winchells, of Michigan, where all her father's family now live, except one of her sisters, who resides in Wisconsin. Mrs. Rice's mother, with a number of other women, were in the battle of Plattsburg, during the war of 1812. Her husband was taking part in the engagement, and as the men would fire and retire to load, the women would give them water, and watch to see if some dear one was missing. Both our subject and his sister were instructed in their studies at home, till they were well advanced in their studies. Miss Belle afterward attended the State Normal, at Carbondale, and has made teaching her profession. Before coming to the State, our subject had attended the German school for one year, then the Cobden schools in this county, and one year at the State University at Champaign. He has always been engaged in fruit farming since working for himself. Their farm consists of forty-seven acres, and is in a good state of cultivation. All the members of the family are Presbyterians in religion, belonging to the Presbyterian Church of Cobden. Our subject has made quite a study of archaeology, and has exhumed the remains of several human beings, and remains of an ancient civilization. These have been taken from the deposits under overhanging cliffs. He has here found complete skeletons, pieces of pottery, ashes, parched corn, bones of different smaller animals, and also pieces of fabrics showing hand-weaving. The skeletons are lying on the sides, knees to the breast, arms between the knees, etc., showing that such was the customary way for burial. He cannot yet determine the exact age in which they lived, but from the deposits in which they are found knows they are of an ancient race.

Extracted 26 Jul 2021 by Norma Hass from 1883 History of Alexander, Union, and Pulaski Counties, Illinois, Part V, page 142.

Templates in Time