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Rice, William J.

Posted by ceddleman 
Rice, William J.
March 16, 2007 02:54PM
HISTORY OF KENTUCKY AND KENTUCKIANS, E. Polk Johnson, three volumes,
Lewis Publishing Co., New York & Chicago, 1912. Common version, Vol. III,
pp. 1325-26. Carroll County.

WILLIAM J. RICE. In the thriving village of Ghent, Carroll county, Mr.
Rice is found numbered among the representative citizens and most
progressive and popular merchants of his native place, and he is a scion
of the third generation of the family in Kentucky, where his paternal
grandfather established his home in the pioneer days.
William Johnston Rice was born at Ghent, Carroll county, on the 17th
of March, 1865, and is a son of David R. and Elizabeth (Johnston) Rice,
the former of whom was born in Montgomery county, this state, and the
latter at Aurora, Dearborn county, Indiana. The lineage of the Rice
family is traced back to staunch German origin and family tradition gives
ample authority for the statement that the early representatives of the
name in America settled in the city of Philadelphia in the colonial epoch
of our national history. David Rice, grandfather of him whose name
introduces this article, was born and reared in the old Keystone state and
he figures as the founder of the family in Kentucky. He made the overland
journey from Philadelphia with a team and wagon and numbered himself among
the pioneers of Montgomery county, Kentucky, where he later removed to
Carroll county, where he continued to be identified with agriculture
pursuits until his death. David R. Rice was a child at the time of the
family removal from Montgomery county to Carroll county, in which latter
he was reared to manhood, in the meanwhile receiving such advantages as
were afforded in the common schools of the locality and period. He
gained prestige as one of the energetic, progressive and successful
agriculturists and stock-growers of the county and with these lines of
industry he continued to be actively concerned for many years. He passed
the closing days of his life in the village of Ghent and was fifty-two
years of age at the time of his demise. His devoted wife survived him by
a number of years and was sixty-one years of age at the time when she was
summoned to the life eternal. She was a daughter of Rev. William Johnston
who was a pioneer clergyman of the Baptist church and who was well known
throughout northern Kentucky and southern Indiana, throughout which
section he long labored with all of zeal and consecration in the work of
his chosen vocation. He was born in Ireland and was reared in the faith
of the Catholic church. His father was a successful manufacturer of linen
in the Emerald Isle, but at the age of seventeen years young Johnston ran
away from home and finally emigrated to America. He was a man of alert
mentality and for a time he was engaged in the practice of law, a
profession which he soon abandoned to enter the ministry of the Baptist
church, in connection with the work of which he traveled extensively
throughout the northern part of Kentucky, as well as in the southern
counties of Indiana. He passed the closing years of his life at LaPlata,
Macon county, Missouri. He was twice married and the maiden name of his
second wife (the mother of Mrs. Elizabeth Rice) was Cobb. David R. and
Elizabeth (Johnston) Rice were both earnest and consistent members of
the Baptist church, and his political support was given to the Democratic
party. The only child is he to whom this sketch is dedicated.
William J. Rice passed his boyhood and youth in Ghent and was
afforded the advantages of an excellent private school and this discipline
was supplemented by higher academic training in Georgetown College, at
Georgetown, this state. As a young man he went to the city of Louisville,
where he associated with John A. Stratton in the real-estate business for
a period of eight years. He then returned to Ghent and engaged in the
general merchandise business, in which he has since continued most
successfully, under the firm name of W. J. Rice & Company. He initiated
operation upon a modest scale and as rapidly as circumstances justified
he expanded the scope of the enterprise until the establishment now
under his control is recognized as the leading department store of Ghent.
Careful and honorable business methods have gained to the firm a large
and appreciative patronage, and the same is drawn from the fine section
of country normally tributary to the thriving village of Ghent, where Mr.
Rice has ever held the unqualified confidence and regard of all who know
him,--and it may well be said that in this section of his native county
not to know William J. Rice is practically to argue oneself unknown. Mr.
Rice is intrinsically loyal and progressive as a citizen and is an
exponent of high civic ideals, as shown in the earnest support given by
him to all measures tending to advance the general weal of the community.
In politics he is found aligned as a staunch and intelligent supporter
of the cause of the Republican party; he is affiliated with the Masonic
fraternity, including DeMolay Commandery, Knights Templar, and Kosair
Temple of the Ancient Arabic Order of the Nobles of the Mystic Shrine, in
the city of Louisville; and in his native village he holds membership in
the lodge of the Independent Order of Odd Fellows. While a resident of
Louisville he also was actively identified with the local lodge of the
Benevolent & Protective Order of Elks, of which he was treasurer for four
years. He and his wife are zealous members of the Baptist church in Ghent,
and he has served as its treasurer for several years past.
On the 7th of January, 1903, Mr. Rice was united in marriage to Miss
Ella Stucy, who was born and reared in the village of Ghent and who is a
daughter of Frederick Stucy, a well known resident of Carroll county and
is a prominent tobacco dealer of this section of the state.
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