Thomas McClure Rice
(his family, his life, his times, his wife and children, and his fate)
A fictional story in memory of my great, great, great grandfather (the way that I understand it)
written by

Kraig Josiah Rice

(Clicking on these internal links will move you down this page)

Introduction The Massachusetts Rice Family
The French and Indian War The Revolutionary War
Poor Vermont Bountiful Ohio
War in Texas Battle of Salado
Dawson Expedition Conclusion

The flag of the Rice family's mother country, Wales


This is not just the story of a Texas hero but of a man, a man with deep Rice Family roots. In the telling of his story I think it is important to mention his ancestors and his blood line. Why? Well, the psychologists tell us that a man is the product of his heredity and his environment. By mentioning his ancestors and their influence on his life maybe we can understand why he made the decisions that he did. As the old addage goes "we ride on the shoulders of those who have come before us." By understanding the times in which he lived can help us determine a greater picture of his humanity. The humanity of this man is much more warm than a mere name carved on a cold block of stone at La Grange, Texas!

In the brief sketch of his life that I present to you I make an attempt to share the facts of where he came from, where he went, his immediate and extended family, what he did, and what happened to him in Texas.

I used some creativity, some imagination, some social context, current available family records, and much history in the writing of this article. It is by no means a complete story but only an attempt to help us know a brave person whose blood flows in many of our veins.

He was a special man and maybe that explains why so many of us are so special in so many ways and unique in so many talented areas. Sometimes I think it would have been better for me to have been born in the days in which he lived because those were the days of true adventure and excitement- there was always a new adventure� there was always a new frontier to explore. I doubt if life was boring for him.

I share some current stories that happened to me or others to help make this story relevant and a little easier to understand. I like things simple. I hate to guess at what some author has written in an attempt to understand what he meant only to miss the point. Some of what I share happened to Rice Family members and since this is also the story of his family then the happenings are relevant to this article. I also like to tell a story by illustrating it- in the old days of preaching, an illustrated sermon was far more interesting and much more readily got the attention of the parishoners, so this is not just the story of Thomas M. Rice but also some tidbits of what happened to some of his heirs. I have spent a lot of time and effort in bringing this article to you and I hope you like it. If you like it let me know sometime- I always enjoy positive feedback. This article then is my memorial gift to Thomas M. Rice.

In regards to this web page I place my writing about this man in blue letter coloring. I place my own experiences and the experiences of others in purple letter coloring. And I place the quotes of others in green letter coloring. I place the references in small orange print. This adds a little color to the webpage and helps separate the writing of various authors.

The Massachusetts Rice Family

There were three major divisions of the Rice Family that settled in the English colonies in America from England and Wales. One branch settled in North Carolina, another in Virginia, and ours settled in Massachusetts.

Our family came from Wales. There, the name is spelled Rhys, meaning warrior, and pronounced "Reese."

Deacon Edmund Rice and his immediate family came to Massachusetts in 1638. Thomas M. Rice is descended from his son, Edward Rice, his son, Benjamin Rice, and his son, Azariah Rice.

The story of our Thomas M. Rice really starts with his grandfather, Oliver Rice, the son of Azariah Rice. Oliver Rice was the first American Rice soldier in our family. Oliver lived in Brookfield, Mass. His father and mother lived there also owning land near Pine Hill and at Bartlett Point. Rufus Putnam (later to be an American General in the Revolutionary War) moved to North Brookfield with his parents when he was 5 years old. Oliver was 12 years older than him but knew him well since they were neighbors.

The French and Indian War (1754-63)

I am including a brief history here in regards to this war. If you are not interested in reading about this war, just skip over this section in the smaller green print. I place this history here because certain actions in this war are the "stepping stones" to the Revolutionary War.

"The French and Indian War is sometimes referred to as the Great War for Empire, and part of the global conflict called the Seven Years' War (1756�1763) in Europe, that resulted in a British victory and the end of the French empire in North America. In three wars fought between 1689 and 1748, French and English colonists had struggled inconclusively for control of the interior, especially the Ohio territory.

" the summer of 1754, Virginia's governor, Robert Dinwiddie, alarmed by the actions of the French, sent a militia force under the command of a young and inexperienced officer named George Washington to halt French encroachment on what he considered English soil. Arriving near the site of present-day Pittsburgh, Washington built a small fort, named Fort Necessity, and attacked a detachment of French troops, killing their commander and several others. The French retaliated with a strike against Fort Necessity, trapping Washington and his force. Washington surrendered and retreated to Virginia. These encounters began the French and Indian War.

The war entered a new phase when Great Britain and France formally declared war on 17 May 1756. The conflict now became international in scope. To this point, a lack of reinforcements had forced the English colonists to manage the war themselves, and things had not gone well. Now, Britain unleashed the power of the Royal Navy, which proved to be highly effective at preventing the French from reinforcing New France. Meanwhile, the fighting spread to the West Indies, India, and Europe, although North America remained the focal point.

The war was inconclusive until 1757, when William Pitt, as secretary of state, took command of the effort. He planned military strategy, appointed military leaders, and even issued orders to the colonists. Since military recruitment had dropped off significantly in the colonies, British officers were permitted to forcibly enlist or "impress" colonists into the army and navy. Colonial farmers and businessmen had supplies seized from them, usually without compensation. And the colonists were required to provide shelter for British troops, again without being paid. These measures strengthened the war effort but created resentment among the colonists. By 1758, the tensions between the mother country and its colonists threatened to paralyze Britain's war effort. Pitt relented in 1758, easing many of the policies the Americans found objectionable. He agreed to pay back the colonists for all of the materials the army had seized, and control over recruitment was returned to the colonial assemblies. These concessions revived American support for the war, and increased militia enlistments.

Under the hammer of defeat by the French and recognizing the shortcomings of the regular army, British colonial authorities encouraged the development of light infantry units and tactics better suited to frontier warfare. The outstanding practitioner was Robert Rogers, commissioned in 1755 by the governor of Massachusetts to "distress the French and their allies" by every means possible. But although his Rangers and a similar regiment raised by his brother were later to be incorporated into the regular army, it is fair to say that the lessons taught by this war were never accepted by the British army. Contempt for colonial militia and pound-foolish parsimony towards potentially invaluable Indian allies prevailed through the American independence war to the War of 1812.

The colonial militia turned the military tide in mid-1758, and this was more important than any dubious treaty in detaching Indian allies from the French. The French lost Louisbourg, Oswego, and Duquesne in quick succession, closing their St Lawrence lifeline to France and their Lake Ontario route west of the Alleghenies. Finally even the staunchly anti-British Seneca abandoned them in 1759, which contributed to the fall of Forts Niagara and Ticonderoga in July. In September Quebec fell to a daring assault led by Wolfe in which both he and Montcalm died. Although the French counter-attacked in May 1760, bottling up the British garrison, it was sustained by the navy until relieved when militia columns advanced from the south, combining to take Montreal in September. Some French resistance continued, but the rest of the war in North America was mainly against Indian guerrilla outbreaks.

The Treaty of Paris in February 1763 formally ended French participation in the war."

The results of the French and Indian War were of tremendous significance to Great Britain. While England's territory in the New World more than doubled, so did the cost of maintaining this enlarged empire. The victory over France forced the British government to face a problem it had neglected to this point� how to finance and govern a vast empire. The British realized that the old colonial system, which had functioned with minimal British supervision, would no longer be adequate to administer this new realm.

The cost of the war had also enlarged England's debt and created tensions with the American colonists. These feelings were the result of what the British felt was American incompetence during the war, along with anger for what was perceived as a lack of financial support on the part of the colonies in a struggle that was being waged primarily for their benefit. For these reasons, many of Britain's political leaders believed a major reorganization of the empire was in order, and that London would have to increase its authority over its North American possessions. The colonies would now be expected to assume some of the financial burden of maintaining the empire as well."

This is what lead the British to enact the "stamp act" and "taxes on tea," on the American colonists.
Quoted from

In 1754 the French and Indian War started. In March of 1757 the British government sent out a call for more troops from the colonies in America. Rufus Putnam was 19 and Oliver Rice was 31 years old when they marched off to war that year.

According to the Brookfield Vital Records, Oliver Rice, was on the muster roll of Captain Jabez Upham's Company, that marched August 9, 1757, to the relief of Fort William Henry, and was out 17 days. *

*Note: This name William Henry in association with Oliver Rice is important because both names will appear again together generations down the line in our family as descendants of Thomas M. Rice in Texas genealogy. That is how we know that grandpa Oliver had a powerful influence on young Thomas.

Rufus Putnam marched over the Berkshire Mountains towards the Hudson River, near Albany, New York. "It was butchery," he wrote in his diary. "The red men were treaterous fighters. Once, after a siege at Fort William Henry, the British troops had surrendered to the French. The indians had agreed that the 1500 American soldiers in the fort would be allowed to withdraw. But as they were marching out of the camp, the indians suddenly fell upon them, killing many."
Quoted from: Rufus Putnam, by Josephine Phillips, Calif. State Series: State Dept. of Education Sacramento, Calif., 1963, page 10

Putnam's first wife, Elizabeth, and their baby son, died. Then he married into the Rice Family. He married Persis Rice who was the daughter of Charles Rice (her grandfather was the fourth in descent from Deacon Edmund Rice). Later, Putnam was promoted to the rank of Brigadier General during the Revolutionary War.

Kick the British Out!

The Revolutionary War

Our Rice family had lived in Mass. for 138 years before the 13 colonies declared independence from England in 1776. Oliver Rice lived in Brookfield, Mass. at this time. The little town was located near the Quabaug River on luscious green meadowland. During the war Gen. Burgoyne traveled by the town after his surrender at Saratoga, and Gen. George Washington stopped there in 1775 on his way to Cambridge. A few battles had been fought initially in Mass. (Bunker Hill, Lexington, and Concord) but the major battles, after that, were fought in other colonies.

The year 1779 was a tough one for Oliver Rice. His faith was really tested that year. His daddy, Azariah, got sick and died of cancer and his 17 year old son, Nathan, joined the American patriots to fight the British. Young Nathan was going in harm's way- possibly never to return. Oliver was a patriot, a minuteman.

Why was Oliver Rice a patriot? There was a strong sense of unity between the 13 colonies against England over issues such as taxation without representation, colonial rule, territorial boundaries, etc. But I think the major reason was injustice, as well as peer pressure from Rufus Putnam and others. What kind of injustice? The British soldiers shot down innocent protestors in Boston (the Boston Massacre), and rumor had it that some British soldiers, ordered to live in the homes of colonists, had raped the womenfolk therein. Oliver Rice could not tolerate this so in 1779 at the age of 53 he volunteered to be a minuteman in the Brookfield militia. The militia would later be called in modern terms "the National Guard."

What was a minuteman? He was a civilian soldier who had his flintlock rifle, black powder flask, cloth wads (if any), and lead shot next to the front door so when he heard the bugle blow assembly he could grab all of this as he ran out of the house and assembled at the appointed place. He had one minute to do this- that is why he was called a minuteman. Then they would march off in a real emergency to confront the enemy in mortal combat. To my knowledge he never fought in any battles, but he set an example for Thomas M. Rice, his future grandson, to follow because Thomas would eventually be an armed member of the Texas minutemen (militia) in the Republic of Texas. Grandpa Oliver lead the way and set the example- he was a hero to young Thomas- so much so that Thomas named one of his sons after him.

During the war Oliver Rice had a teen age son living at home in Brookfield with him. Nathan Rice (Thomas M. Rice's daddy) was 17 years old and if his daddy, Oliver Rice, was too old to march around, he was not. He enlisted in the patriot army in 1779 and served one month, but a year later, after he was 18 years old, he joined the 6th Mass. Regiment and served 5 1/2 months but did not do any fighting. According to his military records he was 5'8" tall.

The Americans believed so strongly against the idea of putting troops in civilian homes that they passed a regulation forbidding this and that is the way it is to this present day.

Nathan Rice, after the war, eventually moved to Vermont where he met his heart throb. Her name was Jemima McClure and she was the perfect wife for him. There was a song in his heart and a spring in his step- he was in love! Did she come from a worthy and a patriotic family? Oh, yes, her daddy, Thomas McClure, had been born in Scotland, had migrated to the colonies, and had been in the revolutionary war also. Jemima was born on October 9, 1770 in Brimfield, Massachusetts, and she married Nathan Rice in 1797 in Vermont. Her blood line was Gaelic Celtic and she was the mother of Thomas McClure Rice. Jemima named her only son after her father.

According to a distant Ohio cousin, Lucille Shumaker, in a letter to me dated October 5, 1998, she stated, "Thomas McClure must have died in Brimfield, Mass. I have never found any information on him in Washington County, Ohio. If Zelphia (Jemima's mother) was born in 1737, then Thomas may have died leaving Zelphia a widow and alone so at 60 years old or so, made the trip to Ohio with her friends and relatives. Zelphia McClure died on Feb. 12, 1823, aged 86, and is buried in Rainbow Cemetery as is Nathan and Jemima (McClure) Rice."

Flag of Vermont

Poor Vermont

Vermont became the 14th state of the union in 1791. There was a new spirit of settlement but it was already too crowded when Mr. And Mrs. Nathan Rice moved to Poultney, near the New York border, and started a family there. In the several years they lived there three children were born to them: Luceba Rice born in 1798, Zilpha Rice born on December 14, 1799, and Thomas McClure Rice born in 1801. *

*Lucille Shumaker and myself agreed that Nathan Rice came to Ohio before statehood (1803) but this cannot be proved. If that is the case then our Thomas M. Rice would have been born in the Northwest Territory or Ohio Territory. Nearly all of his children in several Texas census polls indicate that he was born in Ohio. Whether they knew him to actually have been born there or just to have been raised there is not clear. Even if he was not born in Ohio he would have spent nearly his entire childhood there so it could be said he came from Ohio...

Nathan Rice made his living from the land being a farmer. Land in Vermont got exhausted of nutrients quite rapidly and it contained too many rocks- the land was poor quality and quantity.

After the Revolutionary War Gen. Rufus Putnam started the Ohio Company and situated its headquarters in Marietta (Washington County) Ohio. In 1790 Putnam's family (remember, he married into the Rice family) arrived at Marietta, Ohio. It is said that Putnam had the Rice coat-of-arms painted on the wall over the mantel in his home there. The Rice family was notified that there was good opportunity for all who wanted to leave rocky Vermont and to go west to fertile Ohio.

Rufus Putnam circulated flyers and posted information about his company in Vermont and Mass.
"... Vermont parents, generations ago, saw their children leave home and spread across the nation because Vermont was too poor to generate much money...those mountains were like prison walls to many nineteenth-century Vermonters, and the world beyond them was more bountiful than the stony soil they enclosed."
Quoted from: Vermont by Charles T. Morrissey, W.W. Norton and co., Inc., New York, New York, 1981, page 122

The flag of Ohio

Bountiful Ohio

Ohio stepped out of the Northwest Territory and into statehood in 1803. Nathan and Jemima Rice that year packed up all their worldly belongings and moved to Gen. Putnam's area to be close to family. According to Lucille Shumaker, "The Rice, McClure, and Witham families all moved together to Ohio from Vermont at the same time." They went overland in big wagons pulled by teams of horses and headed west for the adventure of a lifetime. In those days relatives helped each other and Gen. Putnam helped Nathan Rice and his family. Putnam was family and he died in Marietta at age 86 on May 1, 1824.

The Early History of Washington County, Ohio

"In the early morning mist of April 7, 1788, a flatboat, a galley, and three log canoes arrived at the mouth of the Muskingum River. A vanguard of 48 men of the Ohio Company, led by General Rufus Putnam, came ashore and began a great, historic adventure. These intrepid pioneers, veterans of the Revolutionary War, persevered through daunting hardships to found Marietta, the first organized American settlement in the Northwest Territory and Ohio's first city.

Marietta was named to honor Marie Antoinette, the French Queen who supported the Americans in the war against Great Britain. Marietta became the seat of government for the territory. Drawing pioneers wishing to purchase land, it soon became known as the Gateway to the Northwest. Marietta has "the Start Westward Monument" which is located in East Muskingum Park. The sculptor was Gutson Borglum mostly known for his famous sculptor of the presidents at Mount Rushmore.

Marietta battled Chillicothe for statehood in 1803. These two pioneer cities of the pre-statehood frontier were the active seats of early political debates for statehood. Chillicothe became the first capitol for the new state of Ohio, but Marietta was the main point of crossing for the migration of people to the new frontier.

In 1811 the steamboat appeared on America�s rivers, and Washington County became a major riverboat community, with busy steamboat building yards."
Quoted from

Nathan Rice settled in Washington County, Ohio. He lived in at least 3 towns in that county: Waterford, Union (this is where Thomas M. Rice was living when he married his sweetheart from Ireland), and Rainbow Settlement.

Early Ohio Culture

What was it like in those early days of Ohio for our Rice family? Did you ever wish you had lived in those day? Well, in those days you did not have to lock your doors- when a stranger came to your home you invited him in, fed him, and put him up for the night, even if he had to sleep in the barn- this was family hospitality. If he stayed over one day in length of time he was expected to help out with the chores such as chopping wood with an axe for the fire or shooting some wild game for supper. A man's reputation often hinged on how good a shot he was- no one wanted to waste black powder and ammunition because they were expensive and there were hungry mouths to feed.

Some families who lived along lesser-travelled highways turned their homes into bread and breakfast inns in which "farm wives earned a little extra money by putting up guests for the night." Fleas and bedbugs many times presented problems for the paying visitors.

Church culture was unique. Ladies wore bonnets on their heads and had veils over their faces in church. Ladies would breast feed their babies in church- this was an accepted natural and normal activity. But the church was very important in those days. All "civilized" cultural and social activities centered around the church. The church was the central influence- this is where the average American family learned its moral values of decency, respect, godliness, personal caring and personal sharing as well as community caring and community sharing.

When a man shook your hand in a business transaction it was backed up by his word of honor. The average lifespan of an individual was only 40 years due to wars, disease, and accidents. It was acceptable for a girl to marry at age 13 or 14- she was considered an old maid at age 19 if she was unmarried.

Corporal punishment was socially acceptable in homes as well as in school. A trip to the woodshed meant that a young man would be spanked by his father or uncle or grandfather there.

But where did the true strength of America lie at that time? Was it in her military or wonderful new government of the people, by the people, and for the people? The Japanese right before World War II also asked that question so they sent a delegation to the United States to find out. They studied America's politics, our manufacturing, our military, etc. They concluded that America's true strength was in its churches. I wonder if they would say that today...

The Nathan Rice Log Cabin Home

The first step for Nathan "on his new wilderness land purchase" was for him to clear the land. "The new settler made his way along established routes until, at the end of his journey, he might have to hack a trail through the forest to reach his land. It was imperative for the new settler to get a crop in the ground. Until he could harvest it, he and his family had to depend on the flour and meal they brought with them, plus whatever game and fish they could catch. For this reason most timed their arrival in Ohio for late winter or early spring."
Quoted from: Ohio And Its People by George W. Knepper, Kent State University Press, Kent, Ohio, 1989, page 121

"A "cabin raising" would be held to provide them with a home. This was a community effort which was both functional and social. People working together raised the cabin quickly and in the process enjoyed a social intercourse which gave them an emotional outlet and relief from their solitary tasks. The labor was fueled by copious amounts of whiskey- no other pay was expected."
Knepper, Op. Cit., page 121

Thomas Gets More Sisters

Nathan and Jemima Rice had two more daughters born to them after Thomas was born. Sabrina was born in 1803 probably in Ohio and Lucy Rice was born in 1807 in Ohio to make a total of 5 children. Thomas was the only boy- right in the middle between 4 sisters. I imagine he was spoiled rotten by his daddy. He probably got a pony when he was young and played with the neighborhood boys close to his own age. I assume he had a happy childhood. One of my friends in Cloverdale, California, years ago had a boy and 4 girls and the boy was the middle born child- just like Thomas was. He was spoiled and pampered and could get away with a lot more than his sisters could. He was his daddy's favorite and was even named after his daddy. He grew up, got over his wild rebellious teen-age years, straightened up, and stayed around his folks after that for many years until he left home to make a life for himself. There are many families that have a similar patterning.

Farm Life In Ohio

Part of a young man's job on the family farm in Ohio in those days was the clearing of the land of tree stumps so farming would be smoother and easier. Stumps could be removed in a couple of ways: burning them or digging them out. Thomas did his share of that.

"The general farmer was a grain grower, concentrating usually on corn and wheat. Most corn was fed to livestock, so it went to market as beef or pork. While relatively inexpensive and easy to raise, wheat was susceptible to smut, fungus, rust, and insects.

Livestock was central to the livelihood of the general farmer. Nearly every farm had milking cows. Cheese and butter were made from raw milk.

From early times Ohio was good hog country. The forests provided unlimited forage, and the tough animals thrived. Nearly every general farm had sheep whose wool was spun into yarn and woven into cloth.

Nearly everyone needed at least one horse for transportation. But the general farmer in pioneer Ohio not only grew grains and raised livestock, but also planted trees and grape vines and engaged in vegetable gardening."
Knepper, George W., Op. Cit., pages 126 - 127

Thomas Rice knew well how to use the bull plow, and how to cut grain with a scythe or cradle. He also knew how to haul water from the family's well.

The Year 1811

Certain natural catastrophies in the year 1811 impacted the Nathan Rice family when Thomas was only 10 years old. First, there were heavy rains in the springtime and as a result the Mississippi River flooded- all the local creeks and tributaries also flooded. Crops were destroyed. Some people went hungry.

"The whole valley shook with ague, a plague of chills and fever. In the fall a comet blazed across the sky, a comet of exceeding brilliance and long duration."

Ten days before Christmas a tremendous earthquake hit Nathan Rice's area. It must have torn apart his home cabin but no one in that family was killed. It was one of the first of the New Madrid earthquakes.

"A pall darkened the air, the smell of sulphur was strong, geysers of steam and hot water shot up thirty feet high...."
Childs, Marquis, Mighty Mississippi, Ticknor and Fields, New York, New York, 1982, pages 32 and 33.

This earthquake was the "greatest in the written or traditional history of mid-America. It shook the earth and darkened the sky throughout the whole Mississippi and Ohio valleys. The earth trembled, gigantic crevices, later to become lakes, appeared south of the junction of the two rivers, the Ohio River ran upstream as far as the Falls, and dust clouds hung overhead not for days but for months. The sky was darkened, and the sun glowed faintly red through those thick clouds of dust."
Banta, R.E., The Ohio, Rhinehart and Co., New York, New York, 1949, pages 214 thru 216.

How did these circumstances effect the Nathan Rice family spiritually? Did God use these circumstances to get their attention? Many of these circumstances resembled the circumstances listed in the Book of Revelation (the last book of the Bible) signifying the end of the world. Many folks assumed that Jesus Christ was coming back at that time. Much preaching on prophecy took place in their area and many people repented of their sins in the evangelism crusades that took place around that time. Little Thomas, at age 10, listened to all the talk and saw all the happenings, and I am sure it impacted him for good for the rest of his life.

To help put all of this into modern perspective- in Calif. in 1998 we experienced strange weather circumstances brought about by what they call the El Nino. A negro brother from my church, a board member who also had a prison ministry, remarked to me that he thought God had caused all this rain out of season. I told him I thought it was caused from natural occurrences. We disagreed on the cause but both agreed that it was possible that God was definately getting people's attention (to turn individuals to Him and that each would forsake his or her sinful lifestyle).

Thomas' Boyhood Years

What was it like for Thomas Rice growing up in Ohio as a boy and then as a teenager? First of all he had two older sisters- he had to respect and obey them because in those days older children were responsible for watching over the younger children. Did they switch him or tattle on him when he was being naughty? Secondly, he had chores to do as all children did who were raised on a farm. The old rule of thumb was: keep a child busy and he or she won't have time to get into mischief. His chores included feeding the chickens, slopping the pigs, milking the cows, and churning the cream into butter. He had to shovel out the barn and stack hay in the loft. He had a dog and "Old Lucky" the plow horse to take care of. He had to plow the fields, plant them, and then later, harvest them. He had to chop wood with an axe and saw lumber with a pioneer saw.

"Ohio law required men of military age (eighteen to forty-five years old) to gather a hundred squirrel "scalps" annually to present to township officials. A bounty was also placed on wolves, which along with other predators such as bears and wildcats, took a toll on livestock. Deer, raccoons, and other browsers and foragers could quickly strip the farmer's garden." There was probably a time when he had an encounter with the large timber rattlesnake that was especially feared.
Knepper, Op. Cit., page 122

Thomas and his childhood friends went swimming and fishing in the river and had a tree house and "fort" in the local grove of trees away from his sisters. Of course, these exclusive areas were off limits to all girls- girls to those boys at that age were serious handicaps to male domination of all fun activities. But as Thomas grew older his view of girls changed as nearly any teenage boy will freely admit.

Did Thomas go to school? I believe he went to sufficient school activity to the point of being able to read and sign his name. The Rice family came from Puritan stock in Massachusetts where they founded public schools in order to teach their children how to read so those children could read the Bible. Reading was a very high priority in the Rice family, but "schools remained inadequate until roads opened up the areas and settlement became dense enough to support schools. Marietta and many other towns had schools which grew in quality as the towns grew."
Quoted from Knepper, Op. Cit., page 185

Did Thomas go to church? I believe that he did- he was raised with that expectation put on him by his parents and if they raised him right then there should have been no problem. The Nathan Rice family was religious and so was Rufus Putnam. We know this because Putnam's works show us his faith. Putnam tithed one tenth of all land under his dominion to Christ. "The fact that Ohio is the only state in which Congress set aside public land for the support of religion gave its first settlements a unique relationship to churches. One section in each township of the Ohio Company (Putnam's Company) grant was reserved as "ministerial lands" for the support of organized religion. Income from these lands was doled out on a prorated basis to each religious body within the township."
Quoted from Knepper, Op. Cit., page 169

Did Thomas Rice receive a spiritual heritage all the way back to Deacon Edmund Rice? And how did he manage to pass this spiritual heritage along to his children? Yes, Thomas did receive such a spiritual heritage. One proof of this is seen in the title of Edmund Rice (1638) in most all early Rice family writings- he is not referred to as Honorable Edmund Rice, his political title as mayor of Sudbury, but is referred to as Deacon Edmund Rice, his religious title. He was an ordained Deacon in the Puritan Church. The original name of the Edmund Rice Association was the Deacon Edmund Rice Association of which I was a member. Another proof of this is our Ohio family's close association with Rufus Putnam who influenced Congress to set aside land (he would not get paid for) for ministerial and church purposes in Ohio.

How did he pass this heritage along to his children? It is the same methodology that is used today: by instruction and example. By living a true Christian life- no hypocracy, and by loving his children and being kind to them and teaching them in word and in deed.

The war of 1812

This is one of the few wars that our immediate Rice family did not participate in. Nathan Rice was too old at age 50 and our Thomas Rice was too young at age 11 years. Ohio was little effected during the three years of this war (1812-1815), but in 1814 the British army did burn the U.S. capitol in Washington D.C. to the ground.

Thomas was 13 years old by the end of the war. At that age he knew how to ride a horse, fire a rifle, throw a hatchet (hand axe), and skin a deer or bear with a knife. In his mind he knew he could be dangerous to the enemy. After all, these were the same enemies (the British) that his father, Nathan Rice, had marched off to fight when Nathan was only 17. Inside of every young boy is a soldier? He just waited for the call to arms and he would join his father in a tremendous clash of arms amidst the fire belching from the mouths of the cannons, the screaming, the pain, men yelling out orders, and all the excitement. It would give him a chance to test himself. Would he run when he faced the enemy? Could he load and fire fast enough. Was he tough enough for the ordeal? Thomas never found out the answer to those questions about himself when he was 13 because the call to battle never came to him and his daddy.

Nathan and Thomas were going to wait until the British invaded Ohio before taking up arms against them, but the British were stopped at Detroit from going farther south. But Thomas listened intently to the news coming up the Mississippi River how American General Andy Jackson defeated the British army at New Orleans. The war was over and he had missed this great opportunity to be in it. It was now too late. How badly he had wanted to take up arms against the British like his grandfather, Oliver Rice, and daddy, Nathan Rice, had done 34 years earlier. Now, there were no more wars and no more glory to be won for a real wanderer. But the tales of adventure and excitement kept coming up the river for years to come- whetting the wandering appetite of such a young man.

The flag of Northern Ireland

Emigrants From Ireland to Ohio

In 1815 emigrants from Ireland and other countries in Europe began arriving in Ohio. These continued arriving for several years. Among them was the Hugh Wilson, Sr. family. In this family was a sweet and cute young lady who in her speech had such a wonderful brogue. She was irrestible to Mr. unmarried Thomas Rice. Her name was Elizabeth Wilson and she lived on the Wilson family farm near the town of Salem (Washington County, Ohio). She finished growing up there and she was looking for a handsome young man to marry up with.

She came from a Christian family. How do I know that? Because she was baptized at age 6 in the Presbyterian Church in Belfast, Ireland. And her parents donated part of their land in Washington County, Ohio, for the building of a Baptist church there.

When Thomas met her it was love at first sight- not only was she beautiful but she had all the qualities his mother had. She was irrestible and so he proposed to her. She was 19 years old when she married Mr. Tom Rice, age 23, on September 28, 1824 in Washington Co., Ohio.

The Bloodline of the Hugh Wilson, Sr. Family

According to the Wilson Family records the family is not Scottish (Celtic) but Jute. The family was originally from Denmark having blonde hair and blue eyes and a stocky build- but this was hundreds and hundreds of years earlier. This original family left Denmark and traveled and lived in other countries of Europe over a period of several hundred years. They had settled in Ireland before moving to the United States. To my knowledge this introduces the first of the Vikings to marry into the Rice family in America since the days of Deacon Edmund Rice.

A Bad Economic Depression

In 1819 there was a terrible economic depression that lasted 7 years. Tom married Liz during this time but it was an economic struggle for them from the start. They lived next to his parents on "the Nathan Rice plantation" near Marietta. * This allowed Thomas to generally provide basic food and housing for his family even though there was a general shortage of commodities such as salt, tea, and coffee.

*We know this from the extra census that was taken in that county each year (this census was not the general U.S. population census taken every 10 years).

Baby James Rice was born the next year and he was such a wee little cute infant- and a Rice male at that and heir to Tom and Liz. This was the start of the Thomas M. Rice Family. They lived there with Nathan Rice for a few years and then launched out on their own away from their immediate families. They relocated about 3 counties away to the east around the Steubenville, Ohio area.

Tom and Liz Move A Short Distance Away

Why did they move? Most folks in those days moved for financial advantage. In 1826 and thereafter the economy took off again and there was financial opportunity near the major river ports.

"Steubenville may be considered the first factory town in the state of Ohio- with pottery, coal mining, iron working, boat building, and the weaving of woolens occupying the populace..."
Banta, The Ohio, op. Cit., pg. 533

Steubenville was also a center of the wool trade so there was a lot of financial opportunity there for a young, healthy, hard working man.

"Steubenville is the county seat of Jefferson County, Ohio.

Steubenville was platted as a town in 1797, immediately after the creation of Jefferson County. It was built on the site of Fort Steuben which was erected in 1786�1787 and named in honor of Baron Friedrich Wilhelm von Steuben.

In 1786, the United States government built Fort Steuben within the area known as the Seven Ranges. The federal government had arranged for a survey of modern-day southeastern Ohio in order to prepare for the settlement of the Northwest Territory. Fort Steuben served two purposes. Troops stationed at the fort were supposed to keep illegal settlers from moving into Ohio, and surveyors used the fort as a base of operations. The fort was destroyed in a fire in 1790."
Quoted from

In 1827 a horrible tragedy hit the Nathan Rice family. Tom's sister, Luceba, at age 29 died in childbirth. Luceba was his older sister who helped take care of him growing up. She had mothered him and nurtured him. She was pretty, had a big smile and a popular personality- everyone loved her. *

*This is proved by the fact that Thomas' other older sister, Zelphia, named one of her daughters after her, Luceba Witham b. March 22, 1816. Also I believe that Thomas named his only daughter after her, Mary Luceba Rice b. in 1829. Mary was the name of Elizabeth Wilson's mother, so their only daughter had the 2 names of people they each loved very dearly.

The 1830 census of Jefferson County, Ohio, indicates that Thomas and Elizabeth only owned one milk cow. That is significant because it means that he was a laborer and not a farmer because every farmer plowing his own land had to own at least one horse. The cow was probably milked heavily and the milk used to give to the kids: Mary who was 1 and baby Oliver was born one month after the census was taken or so. James was 5 now and growing. They were struggling parents, hard working but not rich. They were looking for more financial opportunity and circumstances in Texas were changing rapidly that promised them that opportunity if they were willing to relocate to that far distant land, willing to work hard, and willing to sacrifice to get what they wanted. But the timing was not to be just yet. It would be another 6 years before they left Ohio for Texas.

Ohio was shipping a lot of material to the settlers in Texas. Texas was good for business and there were a lot of steam boats going up and down the rivers to carry the goods easily and cheaply to them.

"Texas was a vast undeveloped market which could use their farm and manufactured products and employ their shipping facilities."
Quoted from Banta, The Ohio, op. Cit., page 440

On January 1, 1835 William Wilson Rice was born to Tom and Liz. The name William Wilson played prominently in the history of the Wilson family as an important ancestor.

On Dec. 12, 1835, Sam Houston, Commander-in-Chief of the Army of Texas sent out this proclamation to all citizens in the United States:

"To all who will enlist for 2 years, or during the war, a bounty of $24.00 and 800 acres of land will be given."
Quoted from Nevin, The Texans, op.cit. page 74

160 acres was the average homestead size in the Ohio area. Nathan Rice at the time in retirement owned only 45 acres at Rainbow Settlement near Marietta. In modern day America it takes a minimum of 300 acres to be self supporting on a farm.

Many folks began going to Texas and when they left they would put a sign of their cabin door that read "G.T.T." that meant "Gone to Texas!."

Fighting at the Alamo
The Alamo became the symbol of Texas Independence

War In Texas

By 1836 there were 35,000 people in Texas with lots of room for anyone who wanted to come. It was too good to be true. Lots of acreage at bargain prices and sometimes it was free if a man would risk his life in battle. Santa Anna, the Mexican dictator, had over-ruled the Mexican Congress and nullified the Mexican constitution of 1824. Those 35,000 Americans in Texas were told to capitulate or get out. The Texans said they would honor their original agreement in the 1824 constitution but would not submit to any dictator over them (like Santa Anna). The Texans put the date 1824 on their flag at the Alamo.

So Santa Anna marched with his armies to the northern part of Mexico, the land called Texas, to put down the insurrection there. The Texans organized and sent out a cry of help to folks in the United States. Sam Houston offered free land to any man who would fight for Texas liberty.

Santa Anna destroyed the Texans in the Alamo in March of 1836 but was defeated a short time later at San Jacinto. As a result Texas became an independent nation called the Republic of Texas.

Thomas Rice in Ohio heard all the news of the fighting- the tragedies and the victories.

Recruitment of Volunteers for Texas

The war in Texas was talked about by everyone in Ohio. Appeals and propoganda were sent out.

"The Texas agents had better luck recruiting men than finding money. Davis' letter of February 24, 1836, was read to audiences all through the southwestern states. It produced violent emotional reactions in the border country. All through the Mississippi Valley friends of Texas held mass meetings to send volunteers or "armed emigrants," as Austin called them, to the war. The largest recruiting centers were New Orleans, Louisiana, and Cincinnati, Ohio. Many small companies were raised and outfitted, among them the New Orleans Grays, the Mobile Grays, the Alabama Red Rivers, and the Kentucky Mustangs. Most of these men died with Fannin at Goliad.

"Almost every Southern and border state sent men or weapons. Cincinnati sent the Twin Sisters down the Mississippi; Alabama stripped its state arsenal of muskets for Texas. Thomas Chambers, who was authorized by the Texas Council to raise an "Army of the Reserve" in the United States, successfully propagandized Ohio, Kentucky, and Tennessee. He raised and equipped almost 2,000 volunteers and sent them on their way."
Quoted from T.R. Fehrenback, Lone Star, The Macmillan Co., NY NY, 1968, pg 235

Thomas couldn't take it any more- he had to go. He thirsted for adventure and looked for new opportunity for his growing family. Americans everywhere were flocking into Texas and there was always the possibility that if he didn't act soon he would be left out.

I believe he was a hard worker, shrewd, practical, and enterprising- he was also a warrior. Texas needed men like him with all these good qualities, so he decided to go.

Tom and Liz Move to Texas         

"There was no adventure that could be compared to it, none that so stirred the imagination as leaving behind all that was known and familiar and striking out on a primitive road... for the unknown, a destination lurid with the colors of myth and legend."
Quoted from Lone Star, op.cit., page 235

They planned on leaving for Texas in the late Spring. There were 2 reasons for this:

(l) The crops had to be harvested which meant good wages for any working man whether he was a farmer or a laborer. They would need this money they earned to travel on.

(2) The rainy weather would be over which was important because rain would turn dirt roads into muddy quagmires. But they would still have to put up with was biting mosquitoes and billowing clouds of dust along the trail.

In preparation for the trip they saved their money, gathered what they would need, said their good-byes to friends, family, and loved ones, and purchased the horses and wagon. They left Ohio in June of 1836 and never came back. The family at that time consisted of Tom and Liz and their four children:
(1) James Rice (Jimmy), age 11,
(2) Mary L. Rice (Martha), age 7,
(3) Oliver Hugh Rice (Ollie), age 6, and
(4) William Wilson Rice (Billy), age 1.

Inside of their big wagon was indispensable furniture (including a bed), a gun, seed and food supplies, a Bible, and usually some heirloom from the family of origin. The older kids had to walk much beside the moving wagon. Most stops were planned at night next to a spring, a watering hole, or next to a river so plenty of water was available for drinking, cooking, bathing, and washing pots and clothes. Blood sucking mosquitoes were always a constant problem in those days.

If they needed food Tom could shoot wild game or they could purchase supplies at stores in towns or at an inn or tavern along the way. Most of the cooking that Liz and Martha did for the family was done on the tailgate of the big wagon. (This activity gave rise to the present custom of having a tail gate party on the back of one's pickup truck at American sports games where groups of people eat and drink). The kids could catch fish in the rivers or crawdads in the creeks after they were camped for the night. And Old Blue, the family dog, was always good for chasing down a rabbit or treeing a raccoon or squirrel. These were eaten but the eating of opossoms was optional among some families. Betsy the cow was tethered to the back and followed along behind the moving wagon. It was nice to have fresh milk and a little cheese and butter from time to time.

Sometimes wagons would join together forming a caravan. (When I drove a big rig truck- several big-rigs would get together traveling toward the same destination. We called it a caravan, named after the wagon train caravans of yesteryear). While traveling south through Kentucky Tom and Liz joined their wagon to a caravan also headed for Texas. There was safety traveling in numbers and in those days folks would help one another. They got to know some of these folk quite well. Most of these families were going to Texas to get the free land. And the men might have to fight the Mexicans if they had to. So Thomas became one of them. On August 27, 1836, the caravan ended up at Valasco, the Texas capitol at that time.

There he officially signed up with the other men in the caravan with him under Captain Holmes Company of Kentucky Volunteers in the Texas Militia. This ended a long journey for him and his family as they had traveled about 1,000 miles in 2 to 3 months.

Note: a correction is to be made in one Texas book (and not repeated)- Why?

Because there were two men by the name of Thomas Rice in Texas during the time of the Texas revolution. One was a private- that is my Thomas Rice (Kentucky Volunteers). The other Thomas Rice was a first lieutenant- no relation (1'st Regiment Volunteers).

In a book written by Professor Harry L. Krenek, Ph.D, who used to teach history at Del Mar University in Corpus Christi, entitled "Death In Every Shape: The Dawsom Massacre and the Men of the Fayette Company"- the author got these two Thomas Rices mixed up in his published records. It was just an honest mistake that anyone could make.

Here is the wrong inclusion in his book:
"He also served in the 1'st Regiment Volunteers, commanded by Colonel C.S. Harrison. ("Muster Rolls of the Texas Revolution, pp. 97-98, 121, Texas State Archives," Austin).

Early Texas

In the Spring of 1836, "In the public treaty it was agreed that Santa Anna, the Mexican General and Dictator, would cease all hostilities, that he would never take up arms against Texas, and that all Mexican Army forces would withdraw from Texas forthwith. Santa Anna was to be allowed to return to Mexico as soon as possible."
Quoted from Marshall De Bruhl, Sword of San Jacinto, Random House Pub. Inc. NY, NY, 1993, pages 216.

But Texas General Sam Houston still worried that Mexico could conquor and defeat Texas. Why?

(1) Because the Mexican General Cos was Santa Anna's brother-in-law which gave Santa Anna control over the Mexican Army in case he wanted to use it again, and

(2) Mexico outnumbered Texas. (In 1836 Mexico had a population of 8 million and Texas had a population of only 36,000). Texas could not possibly survive a massive onslaught of enemy soldiers of over 100 to 1 odds. The Texas soldiers at the Alamo were outnumbered and perished for that main reason. But there were Texas politicians who thought Texas could conquor Mexico because they believed the Mexicans lacked the will and desire to fight. But either way the Texas Army was tested under fire and victorious and was still a force to be reckoned with by the Mexican Army.

By the time Thomas M. Rice reached Texas it was an independent republic and the immediate fighting against the Mexican Army was over. Did Texas still want or need him? Oh, yes!

"All that summer (1836) Gen. Houston worried over the rumors that Texas was about to be invaded by Mexico- the "present crisis." The estimate that the Mexican Military Force was somewhere between eight thousand and twelve thousand men was, of course, inflated, but Houston did believe that an invasion was imminent and he called for more recruitment of volunteers in the United States to come to the defense of Texas."
Quoted from De Bruhl, ibid, page 223

A Look At the Thomas Rice Household

Thomas Rice received his free land grant in Fort Bend County, Texas, in 1836. There he built a log cabin house for his family to live in, similar to the one his father built in Ohio. "Well into the 1840's, the homes of Texas farmers were usually rough-and-ready log cabins. As one settler wrote, many houses consisted of one room that "harbored the whole family and comers and goers."

"The small farmer, who raised a few acres of cotton and perhaps a dozen cattle in order to compliment his subsistence crop of corn, still had little money to show for his labors. But every industrious farmer was able to make a decent living; and he could always trade his produce for anything he wanted, from a new plow to fine fabric for the family's Sunday best. Everyone drank coffee- lots of it- and practically everyone used tobacco in some form."
Quoted from David Nevin, The Texans, Time Life Books, NY, NY, 1975, page 163

{Note: I remember when I was three years old (1948) that my folks lived in an old run down duplex in Robstown, Texas. It was alongside the railroad tracks. We shared a centralized bathroom with two old bachelors who lived on the other side of the duplex. They chawed tobacco and when each of them sat on the throne in the bathroom he would spit tobacco juice on the walls. My mother strongly objected and we did not live there for very long!}.

Money became very scarce in 1837, one year after Tom and Liz moved to Texas. The Panic of 1837 under the Van Buren administration plunged the United States into an economic depression. Texas was not a part of the United States at this time, but this recession also hurt many folk financially in Texas so everyone used the barter system where they traded goods. Most all farmers and cattle ranchers had to grow much of their own food.

{My father grew up in Texas during the Great Depression of 1929 that lasted 10 years. He traded a lot during that time because there wasn't much money. It seemed to have been ingrained in him his entire life, as from time to time when he was low on money, he would "horse trade," as he called it. Me and my brother got it from him and we did a lot of trading, even in good and plenteous times.}

Did Elizabeth have to make clothes for her children? Yes, all mothers did.

Mothers and grandmothers did that even when I was a child. When I was 5 years old living in Cal Allen, Texas, I wore home made shorts. Flour and chicken feed came in colorful cloth bags. This cloth could be used to make clothes with (I still see these kinds of cloth bags here in Calif. in the ag stores to the present day). I would pick out the design of the cloth I wanted and my folks would buy the bag. Once home we would put the contents of the sack in a large can or feed holder and then I would give the material to my grandma Rice (Wilhelmina Schulz Rice) who would cut and sew it into a nice pair of shorts for me. They helped keep me cool and I was thrilled to have them.

Clothes were hard to get and were expensive in early Texas. In Elizabeth's day a lot of mothers and girls had to spin cloth on a spinning wheel and use a loom- this is why clothes in those days were so rare and expensive. And this is why the men in the Mexican Army took the clothes off of Thomas' body after they had killed him and left his body laying naked on the ground. It was not anything personal. That was just the way they did things in those days.

Part of the fun of creating such a web page is using one's imagination to see how things were in those days. Here is some clipart of some items of use in those times. I am sure Tom and Liz owned them all. Any antique dealer would love to get his hands on originals now! Let's take a look inside of their house.

And if we take a look around their yard what do you think we might see?

The Thomas Rice Family House is Rain-soaked

A big hurricane leveled Galveston, Texas in the fall of 1837. With high velocity winds and torrential rain it hit all on the Texas plain. Tom and Liz's house got rain soaked- everything that they had brought with them from Ohio got wet. I imagine that this tragedy triggered a remembrance for him back to the days in Ohio when he was a boy of the earthquake that shook his home apart. Many people got flooded and swept away in the flood waters that fall when the rivers over flowed their banks. But no loss of life happened to Tom and his family. Everything they had (that had gotten wet) had to be dried off and made useable again. It was just one setback they overcame besides the financial depression- but the biggest setback was still ahead of them- and it would happen to them during the war.

The Movements Of The Thomas M. Rice Family in Texas

The movements of the Thomas McClure Rice family are not hard to trace. They received their land grant in Fort Bend County, Texas, in 1836. Thomas Rice is listed in the June 1840 census of Texas as living in Fort Bend County. They were still poor, owning only one saddle horse. His job was being a cowboy so he needed this horse. 13 months later his name appears in the Texas Sentinel Newspaper for being delinquent in the payment of his property taxes in Fort Bend County in the amount of $1.25. However, in the fall of 1841 they moved to the Cuero area (Gonzales County at that time but present-day De Witt County). I have been to this area and it resembles greatly the area he came from in Ohio so it must have seemed familiar to him. We know when he moved because his youngest son, Thomas Richard Rice, was born in Cuero in February of 1842, but they maintained ownership of their land in Fort Bend County for awhile.

Texas Politics     

Texas, under President Houston, held a defensive posture politically, but the new Texas president, Mirabeau Lamar, began an offensive series of movements with the view of invading Mexico. In the spring of 1841 Lamar dispatched "a trading expedition" to Santa Fe in Mexican territory with the hopes of adding New Mexico territory to Texas to make Texas an ever greater nation. This invasion of Mexico provoked Mexico against Texas.

A few years earlier there was a scheme to invade Mexico and capture Metamoros, but President Houston fought against and killed that idea. "The most dangerous congressional measure he confronted was an act of war disguised as "an act to define the boundaries of Texas." In a breath taking display of imperialism, the (Texas) House of Representatives passed a bill extending the boundaries of Texas to include two thirds of Mexico. It was, of course, Lamar's old dream of extending the territorial limits all the way to the Pacific Ocean."
Quoted from De Bruhl, The Sword of San Jacinto, op.cit., page 292

I am including a brief history here in regards to the conflict between Mexico and Texas. If you are not interested in reading about this conflict, just skip over this section in the smaller green print. I place this history here because certain actions in this war are the "stepping stones" to the Battle of Salado.

"Texas had only been a Republic for 6 years, and during the spring and summer of 1842, a great interest was felt throughout the Republic for the annexation of Texas to the United States, but Mexico hated the idea that Texas might become a part of the United States.

The Mexican authorities, of course, threw every obstacle in the way of this union that was in their power, and sent out the expedition under General Woll. Their expressed intention was to march through the territory; but their real intention was to make a raid, and thus delay, and if possible, thwart annexation, hoping in the end to induce Texas to submit to Mexican rule.

In the meantime President Houston had been trying to bring pressure on Mexico through the mediation of the strong foreign powers. The United States, as we have seen, recognized the independence of Texas in March, 1837, by accrediting to the republic a charge d�affaires. France recognized it by concluding a treaty of commerce and friendship on September 25, 1839, which was ratified on February 14, 1840. British recognition was obtained in a series of treaties concluded in November 1840, but these were not ratified until June 28, 1842. One of these British treaties was an agreement on the part of England to urge upon Mexico the recognition of Texas, and Lord Aberdeen on July 1, 1842, instructed the British charge at Mexico to make the necessary representation to the Mexican government. This was done, but the overture was rejected. Immediately following the ratification of the British treaties an effort was made to get France, England, and the United States to make a joint demand on Mexico for recognition. But England refused to become a party to this tripartite action. At the same time, however, Lord Aberdeen suggested that the three governments might make identical representations on the subject to the Mexican government. Appropriate instructions were accordingly issued to the diplomatic agents of England and France for making such a representation, but these agents, knowing the uselessness of such action, did nothing.

On October 15, 1842, just after the retreat of General Woll from San Antonio, President Houston again appealed to the powers to use their influence to compel Mexico either to recognize the independence of Texas "or to make war upon her according to the rules established and universally recognized by civilized nations."

"It has now been nearly seven years since the declaration and the establishment of the independence of this republic. During the whole of this time Mexico, although uniformly asserting the ability and determination to re-subjugate the country, has never made a formidable effort to do so. Her principal war has consisted of silly taunts and idle threats, of braggadocio bulletins and gasconading proclamations. All her boasted threats of invasion have resulted in nothing more than fitting out and sending into the most exposed portions of our territory petty marauding parties, for the purpose of pillaging and harassing the weak and isolated settlements on our western border."

Mexico �s object, he said, was merely to keep alive its claim to Texas and to retard the development of the country by threats that it had neither the intention nor the means to carry out.

Daniel Webster was secretary of state at this time in the United States, and on November 12, 1842, he instructed Waddy Thompson. the American charge at Mexico, to urge recognition. The United States saw with pain the preparations for war..."
Quoted from Frank W. Johnson, "A History Of Texas And Texans."

So due to the above reasons, a war began cooking with Mexico that would eventually get Thomas M. Rice killed.

          Sad News From Ohio

In 1841 Tom learned that his daddy, Nathan Rice, had died. Tom could not be there for the funeral but he was comforted in knowing that Nathan had an honorable burial in the Rainbow Cemetery complete with a gravestone. His mother, sisters and their families had taken care of it all.

{Note: I have been to Ohio and visited his grave site. It is well preserved to this day. There was a small American flag flying from it placed there by the DAR (Daughters of the American Revolution) saluting him for his patriotism and service during the Revolutionary War).

Mail and package deliveries in Texas in those days were made by "local freight and stage-coach companies under contract to the government." Tom received a large package sent by his mother in Ohio containing the clothing of Nathan Rice as willed to him in his father's will. It is sad to think that Thomas may have been wearing his daddy's clothes a year later when he was killed in battle.
Quoted from Nevin, op. Cit., page 170

I can just imagine the interest and curiosity of the Thomas Rice Family children after that parcel arrived. This was a great opportunity for Tom to tell his children stories about his father and grandfather, especially how they were both heroes of the Revolutionary War. It might have been the last time he ever told them those stories because a year or so later he would be killed in action.

The Mexican Army Invades Texas in the Spring of 1842

"However, Mirabeau Lamar had succeeded at last in arousing Mexico, and Houston inherited the minor whirlwind the Buonaparte of Texas had stirred up. Santa Anna had bided his time and was again President of Mexico. Fired by the belief that Mexico, to keep any international belief in its sovereignty over Texas and to prevent further raids like the one on Santa Fe (trying to grab land), had to do something, Santa Anna sent an expedition north across the Rio Grande, in the spring of 1842. This was not an attempt to reconquer Texas; it was a show of force. The Mexican army easily captured San Antonio, Refugio, and Goliad- this time unopposed. Mexican Gen. Rafael Vasquez did nothing, however, but occupy the cities, raise the Mexican flag, inspect Texan defenses, and withdraw."
Quoted from T.R. Fehrenback, op. Cit., page 261

The Battle of Salado

The Mexican Army Invades Texas in the Fall of 1842

On the morning of September 11, 1842, a Mexican Army captured San Antonio, Texas, in a lightning fast move. General Adrian Woll was in command. He was a Belgian mercenary but was born in France. His name was pronounced "Gual" in the native French. He caught the Texans there completely by surprise. He commanded a force of 1450 infantry, cavalry and artillery troops and captured the town without a shot being fired in it's defense. He decided to wake up the surprised citizens of San Antonio that morning with the sounds of his "noise only" cannon fire. "However, news of the invasion spread rapidly to the former DeWitt Colony settlements of Seguin, Gonzales and the Lavaca River as well as into the settlements on the Colorado and Brazos Rivers via couriers who had escaped imprisonment.

In San Antonio the District Court of the Republic of Texas had been in session under Judge Anderson Hutchison since the first of September with attendance by many area officials and lawyers from as far away as Gonzales. The advocates had no choice but to surrender to General Woll�s forces under conditions that they would be treated as gentleman. After five days, about 55 prisoners were told that they would have to march to the Rio Grande where they would be handed over into the custody of his superior, General Reyes and likely be set free."
Quoted from Adam Zumwalt Jr., Captain "Black" Adam Zumwalt in the Battle of Salado- Dawson Massacre

Houston was emotionally aggravated by this news. He issued mobilization orders to the Texas militia to expel the invaders and pursue them into Mexico if necessary so "that they should receive that chastisement which the injuries inflicted upon us imperiously demand." Houston's attitude appeared to be: Santa Anna can capture San Antonio but let's see if he can hold it.
Quoted from DeBruhl, Sword of San Jacinto, op.cit., page 298

The Mexicans held San Antonio for nine days. They marched off their prisoners to Mexico and waited to see what the Texans would do next. Santa Anna wanted to make sure that the messages he was sending to Texas was crystal clear. Did these actions prevent this? No. Texas still joined with the United States, and during the Mexican War with the United States, Mexico lost a great deal more land including what is now the states of Arizona, New Mexico, Nevada, and California.

Texas president Houston ordered Colonel Mathew Caldwell of the Texas Army at Gonzales, Texas, to gather together the Texas minutemen and militia to attack Gen. Woll at San Antonio. Caldwell gathered a militia of 225 men at the Cibolo River on the San Antonio Road above Seguin and marched toward San Antonio. Some of these troops included former prisoners involved in the unsuccessful Santa Fe expedition including Colonel Mathew Caldwell. On September 17, his troops made camp about 6 miles east of San Antonio below present New Braunfels at Salado Creek and planned their attack on the Mexicans.

On September 18, Caldwell sent a force of Texas Rangers headed by Captain John C. (Jack) Hays to draw the Mexicans toward the battlefield he had chosen. Their military mission was to lure the greater Mexican force toward the force of 202 Texans. The Texans had the battlefield chosen to their advantage.

"From a ridge 300 to 400 yards from the Alamo, Hays men waved, shouted and challenged the enemy to come out of the Alamo onto the field, as if they were preparing for battle. The actions resulted in a charge of over 400 Mexican cavalrymen out of the Alamo, which turned to a hot pursuit when Capt. Hays and the company turned around and appeared to be running away toward the Salado River. Some distance out, the horse of Captain Augustus H. Jones of Gonzales, a close personal friend of Captain Hays, began to fall behind in relation to the others in the main force. Captain Hays put the entire company just behind Captain Jones with his slower mount leading the way. This contingent led the Mexican force across the Salado River right to Capt. Caldwell's waiting men, hidden in the sunken river bed of brushy bottom land."
Quoted from Adam Zumwalt Jr., Captain "Black" Adam Zumwalt in the Battle of Salado- Dawson Massacre

The Mexican cavalry charged Caldwell's position but many of their soldiers were shot off of their horses. They dismounted and formed a skirmishing line, firing for 3 hours. They sent word to General Woll who marched out of San Antonio with an estimated 850 Mexican soldiers and 2 cannons to attack the Texans.

The Mexican Army attacked across open ground in front of Caldwell's men. They were cut to pieces. The front lines of the Mexican infantry were forced to fall back behind their cannons for cover, out of rifle range. They made several smaller charges that were repulsed with heavy casualties.

"Col. Caldwell and the Texans- in good concealment in the Salado bottom- resisted the Mexican attack, killed 60 Mexicans and wounded many more, with only one Texan killed and 9 wounded."
Quoted from Gen. Thomas Green's Journal of the Texian Expedition Against Mier.

In this battle "Caldwell was doing splendidly, because he knew how to fight both Mexicans and Indians and knew better than to give either an even break. The Mexican cavalry could not ride into his timbers and no Mexican infantry force of only three-to-one could assault Texas rifles firing from cover."
Quoted from Fehrenbach, ibid, page 478

But just as the frontal fight ceased between Caldwell and the Mexicans another battle started. Capt. Nicholas Mosby Dawson showed up with fifty-three Texas minutemen who attacked Woll's rear guard troops. There was quite a battle and several Mexican soldiers were killed and wounded. Dawson was trying to join Caldwell but was at a tactical disadvantage and out-numbered. Him and his men were soon placed on the defensive and defeated.

Texas General Green stated, "Gen Woll, sorely disappointed in driving the Texian wolves from the bush, was about retreating when he was informed a company of Texians was advancing upon his rear, some two miles distant. This company proved to be the gallant and lamented Captain Dawson and his 53 men, mostly from Fayette Co., who had determined upon succouring Caldwell; and it proved a favorable opportunity for General Woll to withdraw from Caldwell without the appearance of flight; consequently, he retreated to some distance and dispatched a large portion of his force to attack Dawson."
Quoted from Gen. Thomas Green's Journal of the Texian Expedition Against Mier.

At sundown, Gen. Woll carried his dead and wounded off of the 2 battlefields. His army returned to San Antonio for the night and then retreated over the Rio Grande River back into Mexico. General Woll had delivered Santa Anna's messages to Texas bureaucrats written in blood.

The Texas Dawson Expedition

It is my great delight to share with you the complete story of the Dawson Expedition as I understand it. I place this story here because Thomas M. Rice was killed in this battle.

Dictator Santa Anna of Mexico received a letter dated March 21, 1842 from Sam Houston of Texas, which said: "Every citizen of Texas was born a free man, and he would be a recreant to the principles imbibed from his ancestry if he would not freely peril his life in defense of his home, his liberty and his country."

"Ever ready to fight, Fayette County was not slow in answering John Hays' urgent call for volunteers to San Antonio. Hays' runners had left San Antonio on Sunday, Sept. 11. By the following Friday, Capt. Nicholas M. Dawson had assembled the nucleus of his band under the historic oak at LaGrange. The band numbered 15 or more. Leaving at once, these men crossed the Colorado on the ferry, near the present old bridge."

"Small groups of volunteers joined Dawson's company on the horseback march to San Antonio, augmenting their number to 53. "They crossed the Colorado River on a ferry run by a Mr. McAhron where they were joined by John Bradley and Francis E. Brookfield. Mrs. Samuel Augustus Maverick, wife of Samuel Maverick, who had been captured during the takeover of San Antonio on 11 September was at the home of Bradley who was her uncle. The contingent moved along the Old Seguin Road which stretched from La Grange through Cedar, O'Quinn, Black Jack Springs, Muldoon, Colony, Elm Grove and Waelder on the way to Seguin toward San Antonio. Between O'Quinn and Black Jack Springs, they were joined by 70 year old David Berry and son-in-law Harvey Hall. Capt. Patrick Lewis and preacher's sons Allen H. Morrell and John Dancer joined them near Black Jack Springs. A group of men from Wood's Prairie near West Point joined at the Ivy School House. They were Joseph C. Robinson, Zed Barkley and sons Robert and Richard Barkley, 69 year old Zadock Woods and sons Norman B. and Henry Gonsalvo, William James Trimble and brother Edward, Norman Miles Wells (nephew of Zadock Woods' wife) and John Wesley Pendleton (nephew of the younger Woods boys). Near Waelder, they were joined by Milvern Harrell (brother-in-law to Pendleton) and Richard Slack."

"Passing Waelder, they were overtaken by two current Lavaca County residents, John Cummings and W.D. Patterson. Residents from the area, now DeWitt County, Thomas J. Butler, Elijah Garey, Thomas Rice and William Savage caught up with the group near the same area. On down the Seguin Road, the Negro slave of Samuel A. Maverick, Joe Griffin, caught up with the group. He was heavily armed and carrying a ransom sent by Mrs. Maverick for release of her husband. Somewhere near Nash's Creek about 15 miles west of Gonzales, Alsey Miller joined the group from the company of Capt. Jesse Billingsley which was still forming for the trip to San Antonio. Capt. Dawson could not be persuaded to wait for Capt. Billingsley who suggested that they march to San Antonio together. A Mr. Adams, Charles Fields, Thompson D. James, Asa Jones, John Jones, William Linn and John McCrady joined the Dawson group somewhere on the journey. At camp near Nash's Creek, Capt. Dawson was elected Captain and Dickerson Lieutenant."

"A courier, John Wilson, from Capt. Caldwell urging reinforcements and describing his location apparently stimulated Capt. Dawson to embark essentially on a forced march. All day Friday and part of the night was spent lessening the distance to the beleagured Alamo City which resulted in reaching Seguin at daylight on 17 Sept. about 45 miles from Salado. Breaking camp early on the morning of Sept. 17, Dawson and his men pressed forward on a march that demanded the last ounce of energy from fatigued horseflesh. With everything sacrificed to speed, there seems to have been no camp made on Saturday night. Apparently no halt was made until the Cibolo River was reached in the early morning hours of the fateful Sunday, Sept. 18, 1842. Both men and horses arrived exhausted."
Quoted from Adam Zumwalt Jr., Captain "Black" Adam Zumwalt in the Battle of Salado- Dawson Massacre

Scouts were sent forward from here in an effort to locate Caldwell and his company, but they apparently found Mexicans instead. Alsey S. Miller- a scout by virtue of having the only fresh horse in the band and being acquainted with the territory- was sent forward to contact Caldwell. Miller never reached him. The Battle of Salado was being fought, and Miller approached only close enough to ascertain this fact. Miller hurried back to Dawson's camp. On the way, he was charged by three Mexican cavalrymen and in the fight which ensued Miller killed one of them and eluded the others, making his way safely back to Dawson.

Another scout reported that another group of cavalry appeared to be friendly Texan forces but these were (in totality) two Mexican groups of cavalry converging on Dawson from two different directions cutting off any retreat that he might have wanted. Dawson was surrounded by a tactical pincer movement between the two groups of Mexican cavalry, one group on his left and and the other on his right.

"Dawson now held a consultation with his men. Should they attack and try to join Caldwell, or should they retreat and wait to join the Texas companies coming in from the east for reinforcements. Zadock Woods, oldest man of the band, voiced the prevailing sentiments: "We have marched a long way to meet the Mexicans, and I do not intend to return without meeting them. I had rather die than retreat." So Dawson gave the order to attack. Both Texan forces were out of view of each other. Capt. Caldwell's men were completely unaware of the Dawson force and action just 1 1/2 miles from the main battlefield."
Quoted from Weyand and Wade's 1936 book, An Early History of Fayette County.

The next events are chronicled in Gen. Thomas Green's Journal of the Texian Expedition Against Mier:
"As Dawson and his men traveled across the prairie in open country, 400 Mexican cavalry appeared. Dawson decided to dismount and fight them on foot. He selected his position in a musquet thicket favorable for his rifle-shooting, and where he could have whipped a much superior force of Mexicans with small arms; but, to his surprise, after the first fire from his party, at which several Mexicans fell, their whole force withdrew to a distance beyond the reach of the rifle, and opened upon the Texians with a fieldpiece (cannon)." The Mexican's loaded their cannon with lead rifle bullets instead of a cannon ball. This is called grape shot or cannister. When the cannon was fired it acted much like a big shotgun spraying flying lead in all directions, killing Texas men and horses.

Green fails to take note of the fact that Captain Nicholas Dawson was offered terms of surrender by Colonel Carasco before Woll's troops opened fire with their cannon, but Dawson rejected them.

The Texians were entirely exposed to the fire from the enemy's cannon, being in a smooth prairie, only partially protected by small musquet (mesquite) timbers, not sufficiently large to shield them from the cannon shot.
...with many of their horses either killed, wounded, or otherwise broken loose from their charge, they found no means left of retreating. Dawson's men and horses rapidly fell from the fire of this deadly gun. Documents- including "Public Debt Papers" (No. 3124)- indicate Thomas Rice's horse was also killed.

Captain Dawson was in a desperate way. He had approximately 26 men killed (half of his outfit), his means of escape was cut off, and he had no help coming from any quarter. Since his situation was hopeless, he decided to surrender. For an enemy leader to fall into Mexican hands meant almost certain death. "Dawson sent out a white flag, but it was fired on," says the Yoakum account. A short time later Dawson emerged from the thicket with a blanket on his rifle in an attempt to call a cease-fire, but in the confusion some of his men took no notice and continued firing." In the fog of war, both sides continued to fire and Dawson was killed. The battle was over after a little more than one hour. Then a cavalry charge was made by the enemy into the grove against the Texians.
Quoted from Haynes, Soldiers of Misfortune, pages 21-22.

Texas General Green gave this account: "Here followed a scene as disgraceful to the enemy as it was revolting to civilized man. After the Texians had surrendered up their arms, an indiscriminate slaughter took place; and, before any stop was put to it by the Mexican officers..." Captain Dawson and other Texans were massacred in a battle sometimes referred to as the Dawson Massacre. Thirty-two of Dawson's men were killed, two escaped, fifteen surrendered and the remainder were cut down after they had surrendered. Among those who escaped was Captain Wood, who, in the act of delivering up his arms, received a cut from a sword. He seized a lance in the hands of one of the enemy, killed the lancer, mounted his horse and escaped. His father, Zadoc Wood, aged 80 years, was killed. His brother Normon was badly wounded and died afterwards, while a prisoner, from his wounds. The other escaped one was A.S. Miller."
Quoted from The Mier Expedition by George Lord

Thomas Rice killed in the Texas Dawson Expedition

According to Wade's account, "Out of a group of 53 men, 35 were left dead on the ground, three escaped, and 15 were taken prisoner." Thomas Rice was among the 35 dead.

"As an officer under General Woll in the recent Mexican campaign against San Antonio, Colonel Carasco had displayed an eagerness to avoid bloodshed. When Woll's troops attacked the town on the morning of September 11, Carasco convinced the Anglo residents of Bexar to lay down their arms, impressing upon them the hopelessness of their situation. One week later, Mexican troops under Carasco engaged Dawson's company as it advanced to join the Texans at Salado Creek, but again the Mexican colonel moved to end the carnage once the defeat of Dawson's men was assured. According to Z. N. Morrell, whose son was among the Dawson survivors, Carasco drew his sword and drove his men away, thereby putting a stop to the slaughter."
Quoted from Morrell, Flowers and Fruits from the Wilderness, page 174.

A second contigent of Texans, numbering about 100 men under James S. Mayfield, reached the scene of the conflict the evening of the 18th, having almost overtaken Dawson. Scouts advised Mayfield of Dawson's plight; the force advanced to the edge of the timber and watched Dawson and his men fight to the death. Mayfield thought it folly to attack the Mexicans, who so outnumbered them and had artillery, so his detachment failed to go to the rescue of Dawson; they camped in the timber until night and then joined Caldwell the next day.

About sundown, Gen. Woll re-assembled his entire war machine- employing about 60 carts to bear away most of his 200 wounded and some of his dead- and made a triumphal entry into San Antonio; from there, he returned to Mexico.

When Col. Caldwell's men arrived the next day, a horrible sight confronted them. Dawson's dead had been stripped and mutilated. Meanwhile, the prisoners were being marched to Mexico where they faced death.

The obituary of the Dawson Expedition is found in the Houston newspaper, Telegraph and Texas Register: "The details of the fate of the unfortunate company from La Grange are distressing in the extreme; there is consolation, however, in the recollection that they fought nobly to the last and died like the immortal heroes of the Alamo, bidding defiance to the foe. Their names shall live while the name of Texas endures, illumined with a halo of glory."

Note: there is as town named Salado, which is north of Georgetown, Texas on I-35. But that town has nothing to do with the Battle of Salado. The Battle of of Salado occurred on the Salado Creek which runs northwest to southeast through Bexar County and eventually joins the San Antonio River south of San Antonio. Now Salado Creek is actually in San Antonio, however, when they were doing all that fighting, it was north and east of the city.

The Burial Of Thomas Rice

The body of Thomas Rice was buried on Monday, September 19, 1842, in the grove where he had fallen. Wade reports: "The bodies of Dawson and his men were buried that day on the prairie of the grove."

It was a delegation of men from Fayette County who brought the remains of Capt. Dawson and his men from from their burial site near Salado Creek to the La Grange Court House 6 years later. On the sixth anniversary of the Dawson Massacre in 1848- in the presence of Sam Houston and a great concourse of dignitaries and citizens from all over Texas- the remains of these patriots and the remains of the men killed in the failed Mier Expedition were given a military burial (were reinterred in a common tomb) in a cement vault high on Monument Hill, a site selected for its grandeur, one mile south of La Grange, Texas.

During the 1936 Texas Centennial Year, $10,000 was provided for the erection of a suitable memorial to those Texas martyrs in the cause of liberty. An imposing granite vault was erected to enclose the original tomb which had deteriorated. The Dawson marker was unveiled near the Salado Battlefield with appropriate ceremonies on the 93rd anniversary of the battle, Sept. 18, 1935." The grave site is now part of the Kreische Brewery State Historic Site.

"The remains of the thirty six men who fell with Captain Nicholas M. Dawson and sixteen of the seventeen men who drew black beans at the Hacienda Salado in Mexico, March 25, 1843, while on the Mier Expedition and were shot by their Mexican Captors were exhumed and on September 18, 1848 placed in a single vault on a hill overlooking the Colorado River and the city of La Grange, Texas. Their place of interment is now shown as Monument Hill. A new tomb erected by the citizens of Fayette County was unveiled over the grave of these martyrs, September 18, 1933, with elaborate ceremonies."
Quoted from;=3556

Dawson County, Texas, was named in honor of Captain Nicholas Mosby Dawson, who also was a Texas Ranger leader.

"At the Fayette County Courthouse (c. 1891)- approaching the main entrance to the building- is an obelisk in memory of the Fayette County men who were killed with Captain Nicholas Mosby Dawson at Salado Creek- just outside of San Antonio in 1842."
Quoted from

Some More Information on the Dawson Expedition

"The exact details of subsequent events vary with the reporter, but most historians agree that Dawson raised the white flag of surrender. Either the men were not unified in the surrender decision, in panic fired on Mexican troops handling the surrender at point blank range or some Mexican troops failed to cease fire or a combination of both. They were charged by the Mexican force and shot down systematically until Col. Carrasco and other Mexican officers regained control of their men. Of the force of 54, 36 were killed, 3 escaped (Thomas D. James, Alsey S. Miller and Gonsalvo Woods) and 15 were taken prisoner.

John McGrady and W.D. Patterson died after escape trying to cross the Rio Grande; John Higgerson was killed escaping from El Rancho Salado on the way to Perote Prison; William Coltrin, William James Trimble, Norman B. Woods died in Perote Prison near Mexico City; Richard A. Barkley, David Smith Kornegay, John Bradley, Nathaniel W. Faison, Milvern Harrell, Edward T. Manton, Allen H. Morrell, Joseph Robinson and Joseph Shaw were released from Perote Prison in 1843-1844.

The next morning the dead were found by members of Capt. Caldwell�s force lying on the field, stripped naked of all clothes and belongings, many mutilated and decapitated beyond recognition. On the morning of 20 Sep, Capt. Caldwell learned of Gen. Woll�s retreat toward the Rio Grande River and began pursuit along with Capt. Jack Hays company and joined along the way by numerous groups of volunteers from diverse settlements. Capt. Zumwalt�s company from the Lavaca River was ordered to attend wounded and return them to San Antonio. The pursuing forces skirmished with the rear guard of the Mexican force. On the Hondo River, learning that Gen. Woll�s army had crossed the Rio Grande the Texan force by majority vote in favor of Capt. Caldwell's opinion, returned to San Antonio without crossing the border. At San Antonio, where combined volunteers of over 1200 reassembled after the Mexican invasions of the past two years, Col. Edward Burleson made a speech denouncing the invasions and announced plans that led to the ill-fated Somerville and Mier Expeditions aimed at invasion of Mexico in late 1842."
Quoted from Adam Zumwalt Jr., Captain "Black" Adam Zumwalt in the Battle of Salado- Dawson Massacre

Sad News from Texas

Jemima Rice, Thomas' mother, must have had a strong constitution, for she was acquainted with much grief in her family. In the 1820's, she lost her mother and her oldest daughter, Mrs. Luceba (Rice) Stacey, who died in childbirth at age 29 on Feb. 28, 1827. In the 1840's, she lost her husband and her only son, Thomas. Jemima never remarried and is buried alongside her husband at Rainbow Cemetery (near where their Ohio home once stood).

The following statement was recorded in the Witham family records in Ohio: "Thomas Rice killed in the Texas Army." The Withams are related to the Rices because Zilpha Rice, sister of Thomas Rice, married Elisha Witham.

In the late 1970's I went to the big library in Columbus, Ohio, to read the newspapers from that time period. I was looking for genealogical and historical information. Here is what I found in relation to the Dawson Expedition:

These are two early accounts from newspapers regarding the Dawson Expedition. The account from the Marietta, Ohio, newspaper is the one that the mother and sisters of Thos. M. Rice would have read in Ohio in reference to the battle in which he was killed. The newspaper editor in Marietta wrote his own story and then he quoted the story from the Louisiana newspaper at his disposal.

The Marietta Intelligencer- Thursday, November 3, 1842 (page 2, column 5)
"{From the New Orleans Tropic, October 15}"
"Late and important from Texas!!" "The Mexicans Retreating!!
At a late hour last night, the schooner, Henry, Captain Grymes, arrived in fifteen days from Linnville, Labaca Bay, Texas.

The Henry reports that General Burleson, with 1100 men had driven the Mexicans from San Antonio, without loss. The Mexicans were fortifying themselves at the river Medina, 15 miles west of San Antonio. Gen. Burleson was within four miles of the Mexican camp, awaiting the arrival of artillery and reinforcements. Long before this time a decisive engagement has taken place, and we deem it probable that not a single Mexican is to be found in Texas.

We are informed that almost every able bodied man in Western Texas has rallied in the defense of the country, leaving the crops to the care of the women and children.

It was reported that a detachment of Texians from Gonzales, in attempting to join the main body of the Texian Army had met with severe loss, and that about forty men were found dead upon the field.

{From the New Orleans Bee of October 19}
"By the arrival of the schooner, Henrietta, Captain Hurd, at a late hour last night, we have dates from Galveston to to the 8th inst.

The papers were filled with accounts of the Mexican invasion, which begins to wear a serious aspect, but so far the Texians have proved themselves worthy of their origin.
We notice in the Civillian of the 1st inst., (month of November- inst.)
a communication from several of the parties who were taken prisoners at the capture of San Antonio.
"They state that they were treated with all the lenience compatible with their condition as prisoners of war, that the force into whose hands they had surrendered was a formal invading army, whose officers are determined to conduct the war upon the principles of the most honorable and chivalrous character."

"The war appears to have fairly set in. A dispatch dated Camp Salado 20th September mentions that Colonel Caldwell, with a force of 350 men had an engagement with General Woll, in which the Texians came off victorious. The Mexicans left 100 killed on the field of battle, besides 200 wounded. We regret to say that a company of 59 men, called the Fayette volunteers, in attempting to join the camp of Col. Caldwell, were cut off and took position in a thicket, from which they defended themselves against an infinitely superior force until completely cut to pieces; 33 of the number were found dead on the field, and the remainder supposed to have been made prisoners of war."

From all that we can learn, the Texians are in excellent spirits, and there is no doubt that they will shortly drive the invaders from their soil. At Galveston they were daily looking for accounts of a decisive battle between the two contending forces."

          Elizabeth Carries On in Texas          

Elizabeth could have sold her possessions and moved her family back to Ohio but she chose to stay in Texas. She carried on with her life after Tom's death. She never remarried even though she was only 37 year old. Thomas was killed just 10 days before their wedding anniversary. They would have been married 18 years in 1842.

Richard Chisholm and some of the other friends of the family helped them out and comforted Elizabeth. To help fill the spiritual vacuum caused by Tom's death I believe the Lord moved another Rice family into the area to be their neighbors. This was the Rev. William Rice family and they were wonderful supportive neighbors as well as spiritual helpers. This Rice family was from the North Carolina branch of the family (ours was from the Massachusetts branch). They stayed for a number of years and then moved on (I believe to the Dime Box area close to Austin if I remember correctly). They were not directly related.

James Rice, Thomas' oldest son, had to step in and become the leader of the family and shoulder the burdens in place of his father. He worked hard and never married.

Martha (Mary L. Rice) was 17 years old when she gave birth to Asa Samuel Rice, her son. She was unmarried. Elizabeth was there for both and loved and helped raise Asa as her own. Asa really loved his mother and named his first daughter after her: Mary Ellen Rice. But Asa really loved his grandmother also and named his second daughter after her: Ann Elizabeth Rice.

          What's In a Name?

Elizabeth attended Martha's wedding to Joseph A. Newman in Wharton Co., Texas, on Feb. 9, 1848, and it was a joyous day for all of them. For awhile Joseph accepted Asa as his own son and Asa is listed as Asa Newman on the 1850 census. Once again Elizabeth got to attend the birth of another one of her grandsons when Martha gave birth to her second son, Leander G. Newman born in 1849. But it was a sad day when Elizabeth had to attend the funeral of Martha a few years later. Asa was then raised by grandma Elizabeth and also he spent a lot of time working on Oliver's farm. Asa loved his two favorite uncles: Oliver and James because Asa named his first son after them, Oliver James Rice. Asa took his mother's maiden name of Rice for his last name due to their kind and loving influence on him.

Elizabeth attended the wedding of her son, Oliver Rice, when he wed Adeline Courtney at Clinton, Texas, on March 22, 1854. It was a happy day for all. She was there when her grandson was born in 1855. In regards to Oren A. Rice- there has been quite a discussion on what his name really was. In several census accounts it is listed as Orien, Aaron, and Oren. I think it could have been O'Ryan, possibly one of Elizabeth's ancestors from Ireland. Nevertheless, the name was settled by the man himself and he called himself Oren. The relatives called him "Uncle Iron." And Elizabeth was blessed with another grandson from Oliver and Adeline, William Henry Rice.

Remember when Oliver Rice from Massachusetts (the grandfather of Thomas M. Rice) went marching off to Fort William Henry during the French and Indian War? Well, our Oliver Hugh Rice in Texas had a sense of humor. He was searching for a name for his son. He reached back into family tree history and named his son William Henry Rice. This odd tradition of naming sons after events or strange people repeated itself when William Henry Rice named his oldest son, Jesse James Rice, after the outlaw, Jesse James, who he read about in a book.

At the time of my daughter's birth in 1982, I had a missionary bottle evangelism ministry. One of our missionary bottles had landed in Dutch Indonesia. The finder wrote us a letter in Dutch saying that he was a Kristen protestant. I liked the name Kristen so I named her Kristen Emily Rice, Emily being my mother's name.

When my youngest son was born I was looking for a name for him. I went to my wife's father and asked him if we should name our son after him and he said no. When asked the same question, my father also said no. So I looked back into family tree history and named him Scott because Jemima McClure's father came from Scotland and was a Scott. I was spiritually saved (in the Navy) when my Bible study group was studying the gospel of Matthew. So I named my youngest son Scott Matthew Rice.

My father, Hanford Maurice Rice, was named Hanford because his parents knew a sailor by that name and liked it. My mother, Emily Ann Schmidt, was named after her father. His name was Emil Schmidt so her parents just added the letter y to his first name and came up with Emil(y). She didn't like the name Emily, so most of her life she went by her nick name, Vicky.

I was named after a woman- a mystery writer by the name of Craig Rice. I had one of her books in my library. I was asked in a job interview one time if she and I were related since I had her name. The answer was no and then I changed my name in court to Kraig. I didn't want any of my writings to be mixed up with hers.

Elizabeth attended the wedding of her son, William Wilson Rice, in Guadalupe Co., Texas, on Nov. 7, 1858, when he wed his first wife, Nancy Ann Baker. What a wonderful time everyone had.

But Elizabeth was feeling sick and things were not looking well for her. There was a big Thanksgiving dinner that someone else had to cook and all were there. They were all concerned about her health. Shortly after Thanksgiving Elizabeth (Wilson) Rice died. We know this because her oldest son, James, filed court papers in December 1858, selling his part of the inheritance to his younger brother, William Wilson Rice. In my initial research in 1978 I overlooked this document and so I thought her death to be in 1859. I apologize for this mistake.

Texas Obituary For Elizabeth (Wilson) Rice

There was no official obituary written in the local newspaper. But later the Thomas McClure Rice Association placed a bronze plaque in the Clinton Cemetery (Cuero, Texas) in her honor.

If she would have had an obituary printed this is probably what it would have said:
"Elizabeth (Wilson) Rice was loved by her whole family and greatly missed when she died. To some she was every much a hero as her husband. She died at the age of 53. She was survived by her 4 sons, James, Oliver, William W., and Thomas R. Rice. She was also survived by 4 grandchildren: Asa Rice, Leander Newman, Oren Rice, and William H. Rice. She was preceeded in death by her beloved husband, Thomas M. Rice, and her only daughter, Mary L. (Martha) Rice. And she has been greatly missed ever since."

Miscellaneous Family Tree Information

Since the days of Thomas M. Rice there have been a number of his descendants who have served in the U.S. military. But the list would be too extensive to mention all of these folks here. Here are just a few:
In reference to the U.S. Civil War all of Thomas M. Rice's sons born in Ohio (James, Oliver, and William W.) refused to take up arms againt the north. Our Rice family never owned any slaves in the north or in the south. However, his youngest son born in Texas (Thomas R. Rice) joined the army of the Southern Confederacy. Truman Courtney Rice served in the U.S. Army during World War One. There were a number of the descendants of Thomas M. Rice who served during World War Two. I thought I would limit this discussion here to artillery, fallen trees, or experiences with artillery because this ties in with how our Thomas M. Rice probably died.

Artillery Fire and Fallen Trees

I think it is interesting when historic facts repeat or nearly repeat themselves in a family. It is a fact that Thomas M. Rice was probably killed as a result of artillery fire. This same thing nearly happened to my father during World War II. Sgt. H. M. Rice was an infantryman with the 2nd Infantry Division fighting the Germans. He had fought at Normandy and Brest, France. While attacking the Siegfried Line in Germany on Dec. 13, 1944, he was in a forest that had snow on the ground. As he was moving forward on the attack a German artillery shell hit a tree in his near vicinity. It was a tree top burst that sent a shower of jagged scrapnel in every direction. One small piece hit him in the back and then the tree fell on top of him. His buddies helped him get on his feet and he walked by himself to the rear where he was hospitalized and eventually sent home to Texas with a lifetime disability.

American Lieutenant Colonel Walter William Rice, son of William Henry Rice, saw 3 months duty against Japan during World War II. He was an artillery officer in the 81st Division. He fired the artillery rather than have it "rain down on him." American artillery was so accurate they could hit a bed sheet 5 miles away. When an artillery shell exploded it threw pieces of steel in a circular fashion 3 feet above the ground. That's why infantrymen "hit the dirt" when it started falling around them.

Concerning falling trees, the son of Thomas Rice, Oliver H. Rice, died when a log fell on him while he was helping build a cabin (at a cabin raising event) for one of his Texas neighbors. Oliver H. Rice, Junior, died as a boy when a tree he was cutting down fell over on him crushing him to death.

William Wilson Rice and Thomas R. Rice died of old age but, following the Civil War, James Rice, Thomas' oldest son, was driving a commercial wagon. He was shot off of his wagon by jayhawkers and left dead alongside of the highway. He was buried in an unmarked grave. He left no wife nor children.

Killed In Action

During World War II the U.S. Army would send a telegram to a soldier's next of kin if he died in defense of his nation. Every family was terrified of receiving such a notice as it caused so much pain. The telegram conveyed the message their loved one was "killed in action." That means that he died in battle- that he went out of this life in a blaze of glory. It is a risk that every soldier takes in every war.

Thomas M. Rice was killed in action but Elizabeth did not receive such a telegram because she was told in person as the Texas Militia always expressed their personal regrets. What a horrifying time it must have been when the rider dismounted at her house and told her that Captain Dawson and his men had fallen in battle and that her beloved husband, Thomas M. Rice, had been killed in action. How did she feel?

I think I can express her feelings through my mother's similar experience in 1987. My father, H.M. Rice, had had quadruple by-pass open heart surgery 3 years earlier. The doctor used stainless steel wire to wire his sternum (breast bone) back together. He was under doctor's orders not to exhert himself physically nor eat a lot of high cholesterol food. But he violated both of these orders and when he would do push-up exercises on the floor he would laugh at the sound his sternum made as the two halves rubbed together. He had just come from the doctor who told him he was in great shape and that he would live to be 100 years old. He was 64 years old and crowed about how he had outlived his father who died at age 64. Hanford was retired, but became the President of the South Cloverdale (Calif.) Water Company. Since his interest was electricity he went down to the pumping station and rewired electric motors and ran underground electric wires doing the work himself. The company gave him a raise in pay and this really excited him so he wanted to do more. One morning he grabbed a heavy metal digging bar and went to dig in the ground at a water junction box. While digging he suffered a massive heart attack. He walked 2 steps toward his pick-up truck and sat on the seat reaching for the microphone of his 2 way cb (civilian band) radio. His handle was "Bear Tracks" and he was trying to call mom. He died there on his pick-up seat. The deputy sheriff found him and drove to mom's house with the bad news.

The deputy sheriff told my mom that her husband was dead. Mom did not shriek, or cry, or wail out loud (like the women of Gonzales, Texas, did in 1836, when they heard the bad news that 33 of their men had been killed at the Alamo). Mom said it was just like somebody had hauled off and punched her in the stomach. She was stunned and emotionally sick and had to go into the house and lay down.

I am sure Elizabeth took Tom's death real hard. It must have been a visit for Elizabeth just like the one my mother received. It was not a good time for the Thomas Rice Family in Cuero in 1842. But it is normal for a person to grieve for a year over the death of a loved one.

A Telegram That Never Had To Be Delivered

Sgt. H.M. Rice was fighting the Germans in the hedgerows of France east of St. Lo during World War II. He ran across one of the hedgerow openings while checking on his men when a German machine gunner opened fire on him. As he was running he tripped over something and fell flat on his face. Just when he did a stream of machine gun bullets ripped directly over him. If he had not fallen he would have been killed. He looked back to see what he had tripped over that saved his life. There was nothing there. That is when he knew that his guardian angel had saved his life. It was a telegram that never had to be delivered. I wondered about this so one day I asked his mother about this. She said that her sons were in the military during World War II (Montrose was in the Navy, and Conard, Hanford, and Davis were in the Army. Two did not go: Hale was crippled with polio and J. Howard was too young). She told me she was in intercessory prayer constantly for her sons who were in the military at that time. She knew it was Christ who had saved Hanford's life on the battlefield of Normandy. She proudly boasted (and rightly so) that God brought all of her sons back to her from the war.

Well done!


As Jesus Christ died a sacrificial death for each of us so we can enjoy spiritual life in Him, Thomas M. Rice died a sacrificial death on the battlefield giving his life that his descendants may live in freedom and enjoy this life physically. He helped pass this along to us. He made the ultimate sacrifice for his Republic of Texas, his immediate family, and his future descendants.

Jesus Christ said, "Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends."
(John 15:13). Thomas M. Rice served in the Texas militia out of duty and in so doing, he died. But he must have had a lot of love in his heart in order to shed his life's blood for us there on that Texas battlefield. Let him never be forgotten. Let him always be our hero. And lets consider this article written about him to be a salute and a tribute of love and appreciation to him. It is a 21 gun salute if you please and if we had a silver cup made for him we could enscribe the words "well done" on it. He is indeed our hero of freedom.

I like what was in the Edmund Rice Association newsletter in 1995:

"In the Spring, 1994, issue was an article about Thomas McClure Rice, who emigrated to Texas with his wife and family in 1836, settling near Fort Bend. Thomas McClure answered a call to arms after the battle at the Alamo, and was killed in action on September 18, 1842, at the Battle of Salado Creek, leaving his wife and five children, aged seven months to fifteen years. Life went on for Elizabeth Wilson Rice, who raised her children and lived until 1858.

In May, 1995, a memorial plaque was dedicated by the TMRA in the cemetery where Elizabeth is believed buried. The last paragraph reads, "The sacrifice and legacy of Elizabeth and Thomas Rice will always serve their hundreds of descendants and the people of Texas."

Anita Cooper, President of the TMRA, reported: Dear Edmund Rice Association:

"It is my pleasure to report a most exhilarating inaugural meeting of the THOMAS RICE MCCLURE ASSOCIATION (TMRA) on May 6, 1995. Seventy-one were in attendance at the Clinton Cemetery in Cuero, Texas, for the dedication of the memorial marker for ELIZABETH WILSON RICE. Members of the James W. Fannin Chapter, Victoria, Texas, of the DAUGHTERS OF THE REPUBLIC OF TEXAS conducted the ceremony. The memorial is a 24" x 36" bronze plaque with a CITIZEN OF THE REPUBLIC OF TEXAS medallion at the top. It is a fitting tribute to one who sacrificed so much and gave us the rich heritage of strength and courage.

Also in attendance was the Texas Living History Color Guard. Five members in period constumes made the cermony more meaningful. They have since "adopted" the cemetery, ELIZABETH's marker in particular, as their own.

The TMRA now has 50 charter members. Much enthusiasm is evident with each one. All are willing to make the Association a success. Members came from as far away as Maryland, and from 20 towns and cities in West, South and Central Texas. Fourth to seventh generations were represented....

We are particularly appreciative to Dennis Rice representing the EDMUND RICE ASSOCIATION. His enthusiasm and knowledge helped to foster an even greater appreciation for the goals of both associations. [The number of] new members to your association is evidence of his work here.

We look forward to many years of productive and enjoyable times....
Anita Cooper, President."

The Thomas McClure Rice Association is now inactive but it was wonderful that such an organization once honored his name, memory, and sacrifice.

Let's keep the remembrance of Thomas McClure Rice and his Texas Republic alive. And like the flag over Texas I say, "Long may it endure!"

Click on the above picture if you want to learn how to have peace in your heart.

since January 20, 2008

My article about Thomas Rice being killed in the Texas Dawson Expedition was published by Rosemary Bachelor, The Epistle Magazine, The News-Journal, Machias, Maine 04654, Volume V, Number 8, April 1979, pages 34-38. I sent copies of this article to my Texas relatives and I am glad that they were able to get together and share a lot more information. There is a lot of info in the Epistle Magazine in regards to all branches of the Rice family. Anyone researching their Rice relatives should look in back copies of this magazine for possible leads. {Note: The Epistle also published an article I wrote on Rev. Jesse James Rice in a later issue (not included here). It included a photo of him and his wife.} Please do not contact me for queries on the Rice family. Thanks:-)