Biography of Elisha R. Rice
Orleans County, NY Biographies

Rice, Elisha R., Kendall. - Elisha Rice, Sr., was born July 7, 1760, served in the Revolutionary war, and came to Kendall with his family about 1817. Zebulon Rice, his son, who was born in Vermont, July 4, 1793, settled in this town in 1815 on the farm now owned by his son Elisha R., who died May 11, 1884. He walked from Vermont, bringing a hand sickle, which is still in possession of the family. At the age of eighteen he united with the Christian church and later with the Freewell Baptist society, and in the early history of the town frequently officiated at funerals. Before the original county of Genesee was subdivided and when the County Court was held at Batavia, he was frequently called as a juror, and made his way there through the thick forest, guided only by marked trees; for every civil suit he received twenty five cents and boarded himself, and for criminal trials he received nothing. He was overseer of the poor many years and captain in the old State militia. On a corner of his farm was opened the first cemetery in the west part of Kendall, and his daughter Ursula and his mother were respectively the first and second persons buried therein, both in the fall of 1828. Of his brothers and sisters Elisha jr., Sarah (Mrs. Simeon Cowles), Mary (Mrs. Green), and Roxana (Mrs. Ryan Barber) became residents of this town. Zebulon Rice married, first, November 28, 1821, Wealthy Ripsome, who was born November 7, 1794, and died February 13, 1851. Their children were Elisha R., born January 7, 1823; Jasper, born August 8, 1824. died July 29, 1859; Ursula, born January 3, 1827. died September 15, 1828; Wealtha A. (Mrs. John Thomas), born January 2, 1829, died April 10, 1853; Malinda, (Mrs. Abner Harris), born January 19, 1832, died October 12, 1854; and Theophilus, born April 16, 1835, died February 22, 1842. Mr. Rice married second, May 9, 1852, Rilla A. Perry who was born November 2, 1795, and died April 24, 1881. Elisha R. Rice married, January 10, 1844, Julia A., daughter of David and Phebe Burnett, and their children are: Amelia U. (Mrs. J. C. Wing, and afterward Mrs. Thomas Armstrong), Alice E. (Mrs. William D. Groves), and Ellen M. (Mrs. Aaron J. Warren). Mr. Rice has been highway commissioner, was an ensign in the State militia, and is a member and vice president of the Orleans County Pioneer Association. David Burnett and wife came to Western New York in 1832. settled in Murray about 1834, moved to Kendall in 1847, and finally went to Erie county, where they died. From a local newspaper we take the following account of the celebration of the "Golden Wedding" of Mr. and Mrs. Elisha R. Rice: On January 10, 1844, Elisha R. Rice was married to Miss Julia A. Burnett, by Rev. Mr. Inman, now a resident of Ohio. In accordance with this fact about eighty friends and neighbors gathered at the home of Mr. and Mrs. Rice on their fiftieth anniversary day, January 10, 1894. Mr. and Mrs. Rice began life together about one mile north of their present residence and resided there one summer, while they were building a house of their own Here, in their first., own, and almost wilderness home, they lived until 1854. They then sold their place to a brother and went to the then far west. Elkhart, Ind., but on account of sickness they returned to New York State the same year and again purchased a home and remained in the vicinity of Mr. Rice's boyhood home till 1887. At the request of his father, they removed to the old homestead where he was born, January 7, 1823, and where he still resides. To them have been born three children, who are all living, two of them being present on this anniversary. A peculiar feature of this anniversary is that it is almost a combination of three in one: Birth of Mr Rice, January 7, 1823; marriage of Mr. and Mrs. Rice, January 10, 1844; birth of the eldest daughter, January 13, 1845. A rare instance, in this fiftieth anniversary was the invitation of two couples who had also sailed the sea of life and entered the golden harbor just a little before Mr. and Mrs. Rice. A number of valuable and costly presents were given, which pleased the aged couple very much. All present enjoyed to the utmost the genial hospitality of this respected couple, and after remarks by Revs. T. N. Tanner, of East Kendall, and H. Hornsby, the company adjourned to the dining room and partook of a bountiful repast of luxuries which was enjoyed by all. The following greetings were given by Mr. Rice's little granddaughter, Edith Groves, a solo and two recitations. The recitation, thus:

"Grandparents, dear, we've come with joy to-night,
And blessings true and dear.
Twined with fond greetings, pure and bright,
To crown your fiftieth year.

The wreath contains no costly gems,
No rare and fragrant flowers,
Fairer than buds or diadems,
This offering of ours.

For all your kindness, love and care.
Each generous, noble part.
Accept our gratitude, and wear
The tribute next your hearts,

These friends who circle here tonight,
The trusted and the true,
With us in happy wish unite.
And pledge their faith anew.

Thus will love's ministry, warm and deep,
With friendship's light enfold
Your lives, in holy charm, and keep,
Your hearts from growing old.

Gently, as down the slope of years
Your future footsteps tend.
We pray His hand, through smiles and tears,
May guide you to the end,"

Landmarks of Orleans County, New York
Edited by: Hon. Isaac C. Signor
Assisted by: H. P. Smith and others
D. Mason & Co., Publishers
Syracuse, N. Y. 1894

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