Joseph Rice 1700-1766, A Dissenter – 52 Ancestors #18

Joseph Rice was born about 1700, possibly earlier, probably in Hanover County, Virginia, and died in 1766 in Prince Edward County, Virginia. He married Rachel, whose last name is unknown, probably about 1725-1730.  Rachel died after Joseph but before 1792.

For a long time, Joseph was believed to be the son of Matthew Rice, who lived adjacent to his property in Prince Edward County, Virginia, but this has now been disproven. Matthew is Joseph’s brother. Joseph’s parents are believed to be Thomas Rice, born about 1660 in the British Isles, and who reportedly died about 1716 reportedly on a ship returning to collect his inheritance. Thomas’s wife was Marcy who was possibly a Hewes. Thomas was first found in the New Kent County records of St. Peter’s Parish baptizing his children:

  • James the sone of Thom: Rice & Marce his wife baptized ye 4 day of April 1686.
  • Thom: son to Thomas Rice bapt. ye 24th: day of June 1688.
  • Edward Son to Thomas Rice bapt: ye 17 of April 1690.
  • John Son of Tho Rice & Marcey his wife bapt the 18 Septemr 1698.
  • Mary Dautr of Tho Rice baptiz the 19 September 1700.
  • Alice daut of Tho Rice baptz the 19 September 1700.
  • Marcy dautr of Tho Rice baptized the 5 July 1702.

Thomas’s other children’s baptism records are absent.

I have always wondered about the records in the Vestry book in New Kent and then what would become Hanover Co in Va. Thomas Rice and his wife Marcy are recorded having children in this book, but then some children are apparently missing. Why? I copied part of the transcribed book, including the intro pages, and here is what I found.

“The back part (pages 1-143) contains a record, apparently very incomplete, of births, marriages, baptisms and deaths in the parish between 1685 and 1730 or 31 when a new book was begun.”

The transcriber also goes on to say:

“Of this number some 20 or more leaves have been torn out, apparently at random, generally speaking only 1 leaf at a time is missing, but occasionally two consecutive and in one case three. Furthermore of the ones that remain, or rather that have been counted as remaining, many have been torn or otherwise mutilated to the point where there is less than half and in some cases less than fourth of the sheet left.”

In 1802, this parish was split into two.

Thomas’s immigration is proven by a 1700 land patent to George Alves of New Kent Co. for importing people into the colony which includes the name of Thomas Rice. Marcy’s name is not mentioned which may mean he married her after his arrival before 1686, the date of his first child’s baptism.

We know Thomas owned land, but we don’t know how he acquired it. He died sometime between 1711 and 1716 when his wife was called Widdow Rice, possibly on a boat returning to the old country for his inheritance.

Unfortunately, records are very sparse because the majority of the records of Hanover County were burned during the Civil War, however the parish records of St. Paul’s Parish of Hanover and St. Peter’s Parish of New Kent are extant. Hanover County was formed from New Kent County in 1721.

Joseph is not proven to be the child of Thomas, but circumstantial evidence and family oral history is compelling.

We find Joseph consistently with Matthew Rice, known son of Thomas, owning land beside him in Prince Edward County, Virginia the two men being constantly intertwined throughout their lives.

Joseph Rice is first mentioned in a merchants account book in 1743 in Hanover County, Virginia.

Matthew Rice is first found mentioned in a deed executed in 1741 in Amelia Co., VA, which then encompassed present-day Prince Edward County. He purchased 800 acres and was identified as “of St. Martin’s Parish” of Hanover Co. Matthew accumulated considerable land in Sandy River area close to the land of Joseph Rice, who first obtained land in a 1746, a 400 acre land grant on Sandy River (near Great Saylor Creek) in Amelia (later Prince Edward) County. Later probate records indicate these two men were contemporaries in age. They likely were brothers since their children were near in age and were similarly named.

Joseph surveyed and worked on roads, served on jurys and voted for representatives in the House of Burgesses.

I visited Prince Edward County in 2007 and while I wasn’t able to pinpoint Joseph’s exact land, it was likely near here on Rolling Road, which appeared in his deeds.

Rolling Road

In 1759, Joseph was granted permission to build a “meeting house” on his property, indicating he was a fervent member of a dissenting religion (not Anglican), probably a Methodist given that his 2 grandsons, William and Rice Moore became early Methodist ministers in Halifax Co., Va. and Grainger Co., Tn., respectively, in the 1770’s.

Matthew Rice in Prince Edward County lived adjacent Joseph Rice and James Moore. Matthew is the son of Thomas Rice and Marcy. Joseph is not Matthew’s son. The proof lies in these deeds.

All 3 of these deeds are executed on May 18, 1765:

  • Matthew Rice of Prince Edward County to John Rice of Prince Edward County for the love which I have for my son John Rice of Prince Edward County, 165 acres on the branches of Sandy River in Prince Edward bounded by Matthew Rice Sr., Matthew Harris, Deep Bottom branch, north fork of the Great Branch of Sandy River, Thomas Smith, signed Matthew Rice wit Matthew Rice Jr., Thomas Turpin, recorded May 20, 1765
  • Matthew Rice of Prince Edward County to Nathan Rice of Prince Edward County for the love and affection I have for my son Nathan Rice a certain tract of land about 165 acres on the branches of Sandy River in Prince Edward bounded by Matthew Rice Jr., Daniel Lewallings plantation cornering on the branch, the Great Branch of Sandy River, Thomas Turpin, Matthew Rice Sr., Thomas Smith. signed.  wit Matthew Rice Jr., Thomas Turpin, recorded May 20 1765
  • Matthew Rice of Prince Edward County to William Rice of Prince Edward County for the love and affection I have for my son William Rice of Prince Edward County a certain tract of land about 175 acres on the branches of Sandy River in Prince Edward bounded by Elizabeth Barns, the road, Joseph Rice Sr., William Womack’s new corner line, Matthew Rice Sr., the branch that runs between David Rice and Joseph Rice Jr, it being half of a tract of land that Matthew Rice Sr. bought of Samuel Goode. signed. wit Matthew Rice Jr, George Rabourn recorded May 20 1765.

Note that I don’t show a land purchase from Samuel Goode to Matthew in either Amelia or Prince Edward County, but the Good(e) surname is everpresent with the Rice family, and I have to wonder if Rachel, wife of Joseph Rice was a Goode.

William, Nathan and John Rice were children of Matthew Rice and Ann McGeehee. Doing the math backwards, this means that all 3 of these people were of course born 21 years or more before this time, so before 1745. I show a birth year of 1738 for Nathan and 1742 for William. I don’t show a date for John.

Matthew Rice Sr. was born about 1696. Therefore he would have married and began having children between about 1716/1725.

Anyway, Matthew deeds his land to three of his sons. In the last deed, he references both Joseph Rice Sr. and Joseph Rice Jr., which threw me for a loop for a minute until I realized that our Joseph Rice (Sr)’s son Joseph would have been coming of age about this time, born before 1744 because he was of age when his father Joseph Sr. died in 1766, so he would be referenced as Jr. by this time in 1765.

We know old Thomas Rice and Marcy were in Hanover County having children because the Parish register shows the baptisms from 1686-1700. Two known children, Matthew and William were omitted, but thought to be born in 1792 (William) and 1796 (Matthew). Perhaps they were reversed. There are children every 2 years for all of the other slots, so if not then, they Matthew would have had to be born before 1692 (possible) or after (1700) very unlikely given the ages of the children.

Until I found a chancery suite, it was believed that Joseph was the son of Matthew, but this chancery suit, filed after Matthew died in 1775, proves otherwise. Ann McGeehee was Matthew’s second wife and their children were all under 21 when he died in 1775. Ann had 8 children by Matthew, and I believe that Benjamin Rice was the oldest of her children and came of age sometimes about 1776 because he is not listed as an infant in 1776.

We know that Benjamin went west in 1787 or 1788 from the suit. So let’s say Benjamin was born about 1755, so the other kids Matthew, Charles, Nathan, James, William and John were born to the first wife. Let’s say it took Matthew 2 years to remarry. So he would have married his first wife about 18 years before 1755, so 1737. I show Matthew Jr. in my data base as being born about 1735, so all of that makes sense.

However, the chancery suit gives all the names of his children, says that Matthew Jr. is the eldest child, and says nothing about a Joseph. So Joseph must be a brother to Matthew Sr. and not his son, which means that Joseph was the child directly of Thomas Rice and Marcy, or of some other Rice male in that neighborhood at that time. However, there are no other Rice’s recorded in the parish registers in that time and place.

Joseph Rice’s will was written in 1765 and probated on June 16, 1766, naming his wife Rachel, his children, several still underage, and his son-in-law James Moore. What we know about Joseph’s family is limited and is based on his will and other evidence. His children are listed the order they are set forth in his will along with their inheritance.

      • Son-in-law James Moore 100 acres of the land “whereon I live”.
      • John Rice, underage when his father wrote his will, born after 1744, inherited land adjoining James Moore.
      • William Rice, underage, 100 acres of the “east part of tract whereon I live”.
      • Charles Rice, underage, “remainder of land where I live after death of wife”.
      • David Rice, born before 1744, 133 acres of land where “he now lives”.
      • Joseph Rice, born before 1744, 133 acres” where he now lives”. Joseph also married a Rachel and had 4 children, John, Salley, Massey and Martha Patsy.
      • Mary Rice, feather bed, furniture, cow and calf. Given that Mary was James Moore’s wife, it’s unclear why Joseph named her separately and with her maiden name, unless James first wife died and he later remarried to Mary. We do know that James’ wife’s name in Halifax County was Mary. These people are my ancestors.
      • Not mentioned in Joseph’s will, but proven as his son by earlier deeds of gift, is his son Icay Rice. Icay settled very early in current Bourbon Co., Ky. where he obtained a preemption grant in 1779 just before his massacre on June 20, 1780 at Martin’s Station by Indians. His wife and 4 children were taken prisoner and taken to Detroit where his wife, possibly named Maiden, subsequently remarried.

There is also an unexplained William Rice who died in 1760 in Prince Edward County and Joseph Rice is an appraiser for him. We know this William is not Joseph’s son William, who is alive in 1765 when Joseph makes his will, nor Matthew’s son William who is alive in 1765 when Matthew deeds land to him. Who was this William? Joseph was most likely related to William in some manner.

By 1770, James Moore and his wife, Mary Rice Moore had moved to Halifax County, VA and their children were:

  • James Moore born circa 1785 married Lucy Akin
  • Rev. William Moore born 1750/1751 married Lucy unknown
  • Rev. Rice Moore married Elizabeth Madison and moved to Grainger County, Tennessee
  • Mackness Moore born before 1766 married Sarah Thompson and moved to Grainger County, Tennessee
  • Sally Moore born about 1767 married Martin Stubblefield and moved to Grainger County, Tennessee
  • Mary Moore bore before 1769 married Richard Thompson
  • Lydia (probably) Moore born about 1746 married Edward Henderson and lived beside James Moore
  • Thomas (possibly) Moore, died leaving an orphan

This inventory of Joseph Rice’s estate gives us our only insight into his daily life and tells us a great deal about the man. He was not poor, by any means, but he did not own slaves, which would be in keeping with the Methodist faith. He was probably a soldier, a member of the mustered county militia. Most men were. He could have served in the French and Indian war. Let’s take a peek at what he left behind when he departed this Earth:

  • 31 cattle
  • mare, 5 horses
  • 12 sheep
  • 10 geese
  • 16 hoggs
  • Cart, wheels, old rake
  • 12 bells
  • 4 jugs, butter pott
  • some camphire and tickler (tuhler) bottles and a funnell
  • 4 pair cards
  • 3 drawing knives
  • parcel carpenter tools
  • parcel shoemaker tools
  • two old swords, pistol barrel
  • 3 reaphooks, meal sifters
  • old baskets, wool, flax
  • bed (2), bedstead, furniture, bag of feathers
  • barrell with salt
  • 3 old chests and a box
  • Corn, cotton, tand leather
  • money scales
  • ladle, fleshfork
  • parcel of old books
  • some bottles and old punchboles
  • rifle, smooth bore gun belt, shot bagg
  • 2 smoothing irons, 2 candlesticks
  • 2 iron wedges, parcel of old hoes and axes
  • parcel of pewter dished
  • parcel of cyder casks
  • parcel of salt
  • 4 old saddles and horse harnesses
  • 3 bee hives
  • whip and cross cut saw
  • 6 iron potts, a grinstone, pan
  • loom and slay
  • washing tub, water pails
  • wollen wheal
  • 2 tables, parcel of chairs
  • shears, iron skillet, pickler bottle, bridle bitt
  • 3 beds, furniture
  • 3 cattle hides, knives, forks
  • parcel of wax and tallon
  • spectacles, razor, hone
  • paper, some bottles, old file
  • pair bullet moles
  • 3/4 of a hoggshead crop tobacco

Inventory returned to court March 16 1767

Was Joseph a carpenter or a shoemaker, or was he a jack of all trades out of necessity? Did he use those swords? If so, when and where? Where is the rest of the pistol? Are bullet moles actually molds? Did he make his own ammunition to put in his shot bag? Is there a story to be told?

There were books. Could he read? We know he can at least sign his name because the deeds he executed in his lifetime are signed, not marked with an X. What were the books? There are spectacles. I can see this man wearing his spectacles beside the fireplace, sitting at one of his 2 tables, reading his books by the light of his two candles.

I turned to the Rice DNA project to see if I could better define Matthew Rice, or his line. This DNA project is not housed at Family Tree DNA and it does not provide oldest ancestor information on their website. Unable to make heads or tails of this site, I wrote to the administrator and asked about descendants of Matthew Rice. The administrator replied:

“I have not updated my records in sometime, but at least #4086 who is a descendant of Jesse Rice born circa 1778 of Shelby and Muhlenburg, KY who believes they are descendants of Matthew Rice of Prince Edward County, VA is in Group 4. #4086 has no exact matches, so I am unsure if there are other descendants of Matthew or not.”

The information about group 4 shows the following.

Rice Group 4 cropped

The website goes on to say:

“Although nine of the donors have tentatively been traced back to Rices of Virginia, and eight others to Rices of Kentucky or the Carolinas (and probably to Virginia ultimately), the identification of the progenitor remains uncertain. Indeed, some other testees who do not match seem to be contending for the same progenitor (Thomas Rice of Gloucester Co, Va., c1650 – c1716). It will be necessary to test more descendants to firm up this group.”

But this part, this is really painful.

“Besides the results presented here, some of the participants have tested for certain additional loci with much lower mutation rates. These loci are used in studies of population genetics to define categories known as haplogroups. Since haplogroups are distributed broadly on continental scales and date back to prehistoric times, these categories are not useful for genealogy, and we have avoided displaying them here. Indeed, they would be a hindrance, since they have a notable tendency to distract viewers and participants alike from genealogical pursuits.”

I really want to know the Rice haplogroup. I track all of my haplogroups on my DNA pedigree chart. Furthermore, I want to know a detailed haplogroup. There is so much deep ancestry to be gleaned here and historical context that is unavailable without the haplogroup information.

I wrote to the administrator again, and was very pleasantly surprised to discover that they also maintain the Family Tree DNA Rice project site, grouped in the same way. Now, if they just showed the oldest ancestor too, that would be really useful!!!

The good news is that many of these Rice descendants have their haplogroup extended, including kit 4086, believed to be descended from Matthew. They are haplogroup R1b1a2a1a1b, otherwise known as P312. This SNP in effect divides haplogroup R in half, sometime around 4000 years ago in Europe, distributing from the west of the Rhine basin.

Many people test additional SNPs downstream of P312, but the project doesn’t have the SNP table turned on, so I can’t see if anyone in this group has tested with Geno 2.0 and what extended haplogroup they might be. However, with the new haplotree, promised shortly by Family Tree DNA, hopefully this problem will be resolved because the most downstream named haplogroup will show for everyone.

However, sometimes there is more than one way to discover information.

I decided to check the Haplogroup P312 project to see if any of the Rice’s in this group had joined that project. They do have oldest ancestors enabled, and SNPs as well.

I discovered that kits 4897 and 4131 are found in the DF27 group where the administrator wants participants to also test for Z196.

Both of these men list their oldest ancestor as Thomas Rice, Gloucester Co., VA born circa 1655 and died in the early 1700s. One says 1711, one says 1716. Both show his country or origin as Wales. I wonder if that is something that is documented or they have just assumed due the Rice surname being commonly Welsh. For the first time, recently I’ve seen Thomas’s birth listed as having occurred in 1650 in Shirenewton, Monmouthshire, Wales, but I’ve been unable to find any source for that information, so at this point, I have treated it as simply a hint. I’m not even sure how to go about verifying someone’s birth in 1650 in Wales.

I turned to my British friend, Brian, for help with these records and he every so kindly checked the book, “The British Registers of servants Sent to Foreign Plantations, 1654-1686” by Peter Wilson Coldham to see if Thomas Rice was listed. Indeed, he was.

“Thomas Rice of Shire Newton, Glam, To Clement Blake, mariner, 4 years Barbados.”

This entry was dated August 15, 1656. Next, of course, we need to know if indeed, in Wales, near Shire Newton, there was a Rice whose estate was probated sometime between 1711 and 1716. If the story about Thomas’s death is true, then there would be an estate for him to collect. Of course, if his family was well enough off to leave an estate, why was Thomas Rice bound in the first place instead of his family simply paying his transportation?

Moving back to Thomas’s DNA – checking the SNP tab in the DF27 project, it shows is that kit number 4131, a descendant of Thomas Rice, indeed has had additional testing done, which eliminates several common downstream haplogroups.

4131 Thomas Rice, Gloucester Co,VA,ca1650-ca1716 (WLS?] R1b1a2a1a1b R-P312 P312+, L2-, L20-, L21-, L4-, M126-, M153-, M160-, M65-, SRY2627-, U152-

Even better yet, kit 4897 has taken the Geno 2.0 test and has had many downstream SNPS tested. Indeed, this is my lucky day. This result extends to all of the Rice men who descend from a common ancestor. We can see below that indeed, DF27 is positive.

4897 Thomas Rice, b. 1650 and d. 1711 R1b1a2a1a1b R-P312 CTS10168+, CTS10362+, CTS10834+, CTS109+, CTS11358+, CTS11468+, CTS11575+, CTS11726+, CTS11985+, CTS12478+, CTS125+, CTS12632+, CTS1996+, CTS2134+, CTS2664+, CTS3063+, CTS3135+, CTS3331+, CTS3358+, CTS3431+, CTS3536+, CTS3575+, CTS3654+, CTS3662+, CTS3868+, CTS3996+, CTS4244+, CTS4364+, CTS4368+, CTS4437+, CTS4443+, CTS4740+, CTS5318+, CTS5457+, CTS5532+, CTS5577+, CTS5884+, CTS6135+, CTS623+, CTS6383+, CTS6800+, CTS6907+, CTS7400+, CTS7659+, CTS7922+, CTS7933+, CTS8243+, CTS8591+, CTS8665+, CTS8728+, CTS8980+, CTS9828+, DF27+, F1046+, F115+, F1209+, F1302+, F1320+, F1329+, F1704+, F1714+, F1753+, F1767+, F1794+, F180+, F2048+, F2075+, F211+, F212+, F2142+, F2155+, F2302+, F2402+, F2587+, F2688+, F2710+, F2837+, F29+, F295+, F2985+, F2993+, F3111+, F313+, F3136+, F33+, F332+, F3335+, F344+, F3556+, F356+, F359+, F3692+, F378+, F4+, F47+, F506+, F556+, F63+, F640+, F647+, F652+, F671+, F719+, F82+, F83+, F93+, L11+, L132+, L15+, L150+, L151+, L16+, L23+, L265+, L278+, L350+, L388+, L389+, L407+, L468+, L470+, L471+, L478+, L482+, L483+, L498+, L500+, L502+, L506+, L51+, L52+, L566+, L585+, L721+, L747+, L752+, L754+, L761+, L768+, L773+, L774+, L779+, L781+, L82+, M139+, M168+, M207+, M235+, M294+, M343+, M415+, M42+, M45+, M526+, M89+, M94+, P128+, P131+, P132+, P135+, P136+, P138+, P14+, P141+, P145+, P146+, P148+, P151+, P158+, P159+, P160+, P166+, P187+, P207+, P225+, P226+, P228+, P229+, P230+, P232+, P233+, P235+, P236+, P237+, P238+, P240+, P242+, P243+, P244+, P245+, P280+, P281+, P282+, P283+, P284+, P285+, P286+, P295+, P297+, P310+, P312+, PAGES00083+, PF1016+, PF1029+, PF1031+, PF1040+, PF1046+

Unfortunately, SNP Z196 is not one that is tested in the Nat Geo test, so we’re stuck until the new tree is released, unless, unless….these men have tested SNP Z196 and have joined the DF27 project. Would I be that lucky? Let’s see.

WooHoo, it is my lucky day. Both men have joined the DF27 project, both have apparently tested SNP Z196 because they are both clustered in the group titled “Aa. DF27+Z196- (R1b-DF27*).” Translated, that means they do have the DF27 haplogroup mutation, they don’t have the Z196 haplogroup mutation and the DF27* means that they have tested all downstream SNPs available and they don’t have any, so they are confirmed DF27 and not DF27 with untested downstream SNPs. So even though I can’t see these results directly, the grouping told me everything I need to know!!! Thank you DF27 project admins!!!

So, I’m excited to see where the men with this mutation set are found. Do they cluster someplace in Europe? Will we be able to tell anything from where they are found, as a group? Keep in mind, this map is generated from the “most distant ancestor” field and location, and if you don’t enter that geographic information on the Matches Map, it won’t show up here. What this means is that there are probably a lot more people who could be plotted here but haven’t entered their ancestor’s location information. Let’s see what we have.

DF27 map

This is very interesting. Aside from the British Isles, which is after all, a destination location for the rest of Europe, these group participants are widely scattered. Not something I expected. They are literally found from Spain to Scandinavia and east to west. Let’s take a closer look at the British Isles.

DF27 closeup

There is no Irish or Scottish cluster. Most of these participants ancestors are from England. Interestingly, there is no Wales cluster either. In fact, there is only one person in Wales, a Davies from Monmouthshire, which, ironically, is where Thomas Rice is supposed to be from in one set of records. Of course, verifying those records and proving it’s the same Thomas Rice are horses of a different color. What this does tell me though is that the two Rice men have listed their oldest ancestor on the Most Distant Ancestor tab, they have not entered the geographic information on the Matches Maps tab. It’s very easy to miss.

We’ve learned a lot through our little DNA sleuthing journey to find the results of our Rice line’s DNA. We’re now back some 4000 years or so in Europe and now we’re looking to figure out what type of historic migration event would populate England but not Ireland or Scotland with the DF27+Z196- men. It surely wasn’t Vikings and we know that Scotland and Ireland were settled by the Celtic people, so it wasn’t them. Who was it? Where did these people come from before England?

Saxon map

This Saxon England map above is similar to the distribution of the DF27* group in England, but we know that the Saxons were clustered in Germany before they arrived in England, and doesn’t fit the continental European distribution of this haplogroup very well.

Roman map

This map shows Roman Britain and contains the distribution of DF27 quite well, including the portion in Scotland along Antoine’s Wall which is the northern walled border of Roman Britain.

Antonine wall map

Roman soldiers were recruited and conscripted from all over Europe. At one time Rome controlled most of Europe. The extent of the Roman Empire at its height in 117 AD is shown on the map below.

Roman Empire 117AD

Which one of these scenarios might best fit the cluster of matches that includes our Thomas Rice?  In time, we may discover that answer.

Sometimes looking to the history of the area where an ancestral family is first found is helpful.  If, indeed, our Thomas is from Shirenewton, the history of Shirenewton tells us this:

“Before the Norman invasion of Wales, the Shirenewton area formed part of the forest of Wentwood (Welsh: Coed Gwent). At the time of the Domesday Book, it was part of the lands at Caldicot which were held by Durand, the Sheriff of Gloucester. Durand and his successor as sheriff, his nephew Walter FitzRoger also known as Walter de Gloucester, had part of the forest cleared around the year 1100, and established a small settlement which was known as “Sheriff’s Newton (or New Town)” or, in Latin, Nova Villa. The manor then became known as Caldecot-cum-Newton, and in some documents the village was called Newton Netherwent. “Netherwent” is the English name given to the Welsh cantref of Gwent-is-coed (Gwent beneath the wood, i.e. Wentwood), with “-went” deriving from the Roman town of Venta which became Caerwent. The name “Sheriff’s Newton” became contracted over the years into Shirenewton.


But back to our Rices after they adopted their surname which was after 1086 and probably before 1300, or so. Was our Rice line really from Wales? Do Thomas Rice born about 1650 and found in Gloucester County, Virginia and Thomas Rice born about 1660 in the British Isles and found in New Kent/Hanover County, Virginia share a common grandfather or great-grandfather perhaps? And was that ancestor found in Wales? Do records exist for this timeframe that could confirm or refute the claim that Thomas from New Kent/Hanover indeed was sailing back to claim an inheritance sometime between 1711 and 1716? The answers to all of these questions, some resting in history, some in genealogy and some in the genetics of the future wait for us to answer them.


The amazing thing is that we were able to make this discovery about the Matthew Rice line through his common paternal Rice cousins. I don’t have a male Rice descendant to test. This was done entirely “second hand” or as we could have called it at home, via “shirttail cousins.” In this case, shirttail cousins equate to Y DNA cousins, and that’s exactly what was needed. Now, let’s hope that the genealogy is correct for kit number 4086. While that is a serious consideration, I do know the genealogy of some of the Matthew lines and they did indeed wind up in Muhlenburg, KY where this participant’s ancestors are found, so I’m not terribly concerned about the line being connected to the wrong ancestor.


So, just for the record, anyone who thinks that project fields like haplogroup, oldest ancestor and location aren’t important to be displayed in any project are mistaken and deprive genealogists of information that could be useful.


Furthermore, project features like maps and SNPs, provided free by Family Tree DNA, can very simply be enabled and provide a wealth of knowledge to researchers, especially those who don’t have a male line to test.



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51 thoughts on “Joseph Rice 1700-1766, A Dissenter – 52 Ancestors #18

  1. I love reading your blog. I especially enjoyed this one because I have been recently been working on one of my brick walls and have a Mary Polly Rice (1746-1788) who was the second wife of my ancestor William Trice. His first wife was Elizabeth McGehee b. 1743 (another surname which you mentioned). I am not sure but I think Mary Polly Rice’s father was Charles Rice b. 1715, sadly this did not fit into the information which you had for a Charles Rice but it sure was fun to read your information. How was Joseph Rice related to you? I must be overlooking that link because I know he is an ancestor of yours.

      • I love your work, Roberta.

        Florence Rice Taylor ( b. 1785 in N. C.? ) is my maternal brick wall, but so many of my lines came from Virginia and then to North Carolna…

        Steve in Oro Valley

      • Interestingly,

        A different Joseph Rice of Marlborough, MA (b. 1678) was grandson to Founder, Deacon Edmund Rice of Sudbury, MA. and the Massachussetts Bay Colony……

        Wiki Tree and Geni tell me that Joseph’s daughter married into my Matlock line.

    • My experience in reading this blog plost is quite similar. My earliest maternal ancestress is Fanny Rice, found living as an adult in England in 1855 and presumably born in that country. A mitochondrial full sequence test has given me a moderately uncommon – or infrequently tested – haplogroup subclade and the closer matches are with three or four women from early Virginia and Tennessee, including one named Jenny Goode. Fanny was born too late to belong to this Rice family, unless a few generations of cousins married each other thus keeping the Rice surname in the maternal line. But certainly a coincidence to find both surnames connected in one blog post. Fanny’s daughter emigrated to Australia which severed the trail nicely.

  2. Thanks for working through this problem step by step. It gives me hope that my own genealogical problems will be solvable. Re information that future DNA analysis may uncover, that may be right around the corner. This article was posted yesterday:
    Ground-breaking technique traces DNA direct to your ancestor’s home 1,000 years ago

  3. I’m also in the DF27 project, and indeed they do have great administrators who understand spreadsheets and can interpret test results. But then again so can you. 🙂

  4. Roberta, thanks for your extensive research.

    I am sending you via email information on my Rice line – My brother and I descend from Jesse Rice and his 1st wife Sarah-Sally Mitchell who lived in Shelby County, Kentucky in the early 1800s thru his eldest son, John Rice who married Lucy Abbott in 1819 in Shelby County, KY.

    Kit 4086 referenced above is a descendant thru Jesse and his 2nd wife – youngest son, Louis .
    Thru DNA, my brother (Kit 46745 111 markers FF) has close ties with a descendant of Rowlet Rice of Shelby County, KY – (see 1830 Shelby County, KY census). Also close ties with two other Rices as shown on the attachment I am sending with email.

    Another Jesse Rice died in Muhlenberg County, KY before 1830. Probably related and I have been trying to get a MALE descendant of a Rice who lived and died in Muhlenberg County before 1850.

    Roberta, a few years ago I was fortunate to atttend your DNA workshop in Cumberland Gap and learned a lot. Thanks, Alice Ramer Rice Bratcher

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  6. Roberta, I am not sure if this is helpful, but I descend from the daughter of Wm Rice, Jr, b. 1774, Prince Edward, VA, a grandson of Matthew Rice, who’s 2nd wife was Ann McGeehee. “My” Wm Rice ended up in (far) west Kentucky -Livingston County, Ky, -close to Mulhenburg County ,where numerous Rice’s moved to from VA. When my great-ggr- grandfather died in 1832, his Will states that he owned the estate of Patrick Henry Rice as well as mentions business with Joseph Rice, decd. I have been unable to place this Joseph Rice, but know that he must “somewhat” close kin to my gr-pa Wm Rice who came out from VA to west KY after the Rev.

    • I wonder if we share any autosomal DNA. Have you tested and if so, where? Have you uploaded your results to GedMatch? I’m kit F6656. If would be fund to find some “Rice DNA.”

      • Yes, it would be. It took some work, but I recently was able to prove “my” William Rice to his father, Matthew, for the DAR. William had only daughters, whom I have listed on FAG. Many written works about the Rice and allied families have “slight” genealogical errors……but “my” closest Rice’s ended up in KY…Muhlenburg and Green counties, via a land grant for their work and relationships to the Richard Henderson party. The Searcy,s Harts, Crenshaws,..all Rice kin who opened up Kentucky. Daniel Boone surveyed KY for them…..:)

  7. Hi, I am also a Rice descendant, my ggm Effie Allen Rice m. H.O. Hale. Her father was James Allen>Elijah lll > Elijah ll> Benajah Rice (b.1749VA) > William > Thomas > Edward (1636
    Leicestershire, Eng) > etc. This is what I have and think is correct. Also a Rhys ancestor through the Parsons line. Your writing was interesting, thanks…

  8. Thank you, thank you, thank you. I am a descendant of Matthew Rice, and my research is also that Joseph was his brother. “Father” David Rice, the apostle to KY, and extensive family traveled to KY, with many ending up in green county, but some in Livingston county Ky when terah Templin preached.

  9. I missed this post during 52 Ancestors as I didn’t know I had the Rice family from Hanover, VA in my tree. The paper trail proves my 5X great grandfather was Rev. David Rice (1733-1816) until later in 2014. I believe he was the son of David Rice (married to Susannah Searcy), who was the son of Thomas Rice. The Wales and 1711 reference comes from book first published in 1824 which included the memoirs of Rev. David Rice. The introduction, which was not written by Rev. Rice said:

    “His grandfather, Thomas Rice, was an Englishman by birth, of Welch extraction. He was an early adventurer into Virginia. Where he spent the first part of his life is not certainly known. In the latter part of his life he owned a small plantation in the lower part of what is now called Hanover County. Here he left his wife, with nine sons and three daughters, and went to England to receive a considerable estate which had been left him, but returned no more. The sailors reported that he died at sea. It was supposed that he was assassinated. No return was ever made of the property after which he had gone, and his family were left destitute in a strange land.”

    This paragraph is also repeated in a book about St. Mark’s Parish in Culpeper which can be found on

    My issue is I have more children for Thomas Rice and Marcey than the 12 mentioned in the book and wondered how you knew Matthew Rice was a proven child. He is one I have been unable to prove. The others are sons Francis, Benjamin, Henry, and Michael and daughter Elizabeth.

    This was an extremely informative post! Thank you.

      • Yes, you did. I realize I didn’t word my question well. I wondered if you had a similar list of unproven children of Thomas and Marcey Rice as I have and if you’ve done similar analysis. My DNA test results seem to indicate one daughter of Thomas Rice was a Susannah Rice, born about 1706 married to Thomas Hart (1680-1755). But that’s it.

        • Now I understand better. No, I haven’t done any analysis on any other potential children of Thomas and Marcy. What kind of DNA evidence are you getting that suggests Susannah?

      • So far only three autosomal matches. But Susannah’s descendants moved to what is now Caswell County, NC along with other Rice family members and allied families. Unlike some of my other “old” Virginia families, the marriage between Rev. David Rice’s daughter, Frances Blair Rice to Rev. James Mitchell (1747-1841) was the only Rice intermarriage between the Rice line and my other lines. I’ll admit other marriages are possible but I have done extensive collateral research. So that’s my thinking so far…that Susannah is a daughter of Thomas until proven otherwise.

  10. This is great information. I have just started to recreate my direct line as we have found a new link through my 2X Great Grandfather Lewis N Rice of Kentucky (moved to Yelm Co, WA). His father James, from Rowlett, from Charles, from Matthew to now Thomas Rice above.

  11. Looking of information on my grandfather John Kermas Rice Born in Virginia/West Virginia in 1834 nothing more than this is know, desperately need help to find information on him.

  12. Enjoy reading your history. Al so wondered about the two Thomas Prices of VA, how they are connected. I am in this line of Prices.

  13. …In the memoirs of Rev David Rice, published by Thomas T Skillman, Lexington KY 1824 pp 420…
    “Thomas Rice was an Englishman by birth, of Welsh extraction. He was an early adventurer into Virginia; where he spent the first part of his life is not certainly known. In the latter part of his life he owned a small plantation in the lower part of what is now (1824) Hanover County. Here he left his wife, with nine sons and three daughters, and went to England to receive a considerable estate which had been left to him, but returned no more. The sailors reported that he died at sea. It is supposed that he was assassinated. No return was ever made of the property after which he had gone, and his family were left destitute in a strange land……..”The family being left without an earthly father, were distressed, but they were, in the good providence of God, provided for. The greater part moved about thirty miles farther up the country, where they procured a small plantation, on which they raised numerous families; four or five of them became serious professors of religion, and were succeeded in their religious profession by a considerable number of their children.” pp. 13 and 14. His wife “was esteemed truly a religious woman,” pp 33.

    • I have searched high and low for information to corroborate the part about him returning to England, either through probate and estate records here or a will there. I have been unable to come up with either. Thank you for providing this information.

      • [See last two paragraphs below for Thomas Rice connection]


        Passing through the upper end of Luta [Upper Loutre, Montgomery Co, MO] Prairie about the year 1828 or ’29, I stopped at the house of old Mr. Wm. Rice; he said he was 85 or 86 years of age, and brother of Rev. David Rice, one of the first Presbyterian Ministers of Kentucky. His mind was unimpaired, his memory remarkable and he was esteemed a consistent Christian man. He told me that when a small boy, he saw my ancestor who emigrated from Wales, and was then residing in Hanover Co, Va., remarking that he was one of the oldest and tallest men he ever saw; his name was Thomas Lacy. He told me his history was very peculiar, that when a young man he embarked on board a vessel from Wales with other emigrants, with a view of settling in Virginia; that during the voyage he was captured by a notorious pirate who went under the familiar name of Black Beard, but whose name was Taike; that every passenger on board was made to walk the plank with the exception of Thomas Lacy, who the pirate swore was too fine a looking fellow to be drowned and that he would impress him into his service and make a noble pirate of him.

        A short time after the pirate put into Ocracoke Sound, and cast anchor on a desolate coast, where he was in the habit of trading with some lawless accomplices.

        A man of suspicious character, I think by the name of Minnis, applied to the Governor of Virginia, then residing on Jamestown Island, to aid him in fitting out a large Merchant Vessel and collecting a large number of desperate adventurers with a view of capturing the pirate. He was induced to do this, from the fact that a very large reward had been offered by the British Government and several of her colonies for the capture of the pirate.

        It seems that Minnis was acquainted with the habits of Black Beard and knew at what time he would be on the coast. The vessel was fitted and crew collected. Immediately on entering Ocracoke Inlet the vessel was so fitted to appear almost a wreck. Taking advantage of a favorable wind and tide she sailed slowly under ragged sailes and crippled masts to where the piratical vessel lay, only four or five men on deck making signals of distress as they approached the pirate. All the men, completely armed, hid under the hatches of the vessel. The pirate seemed amused at her slow approach, supposing they had her entirely in their power. The piratical vessel was anchored over a half mile from shore. At this time nearly half the crew were on shore trading as above mentioned. As soon as she reached the pirate she was grappled and drawn up alongside of her. Instantly all the hatches were thrown up and armed men in large numbers rushed on the deck of the pirate. At this instant Thomas Lacy drew his cutlass and shouting with trumpet-voice, “I am a true man. I am a prisoner”, began to cut down the pirates on the right and left. This circumstance increased their panic and threw them into some confusion so that they were quickly overcome by superior numbers. Not one would surrender and every one was slain. Black Beard recognized Minnis and cursed him as a traitor and was soon after killed.

        They then proceeded with their prize to Jamestown where the good Conduct of Thomas Lacy being reported to the Governor, he gave him a share of the prize money, and a tract of land on the frontier in which is now Hanover Co, saying he would make a fine Indian fighter. In a few years after Thomas Rice sailed from Wales and settled in the same neighborhood of Thomas Lacy. Thomas Lacy married his daughter to whom he had been engaged before leaving Wales.

        This Thomas Rice was the ancestor of this William Rice who gave me the above narrative.
        [His daughter, Phoebe Rice married Thomas Lacy.]

        Signed: William S. Lacy

  14. I know this is old and you may not see this, but John Kermas Rice is my great-grandfather and I’ve also found nothing prior to 1834.

  15. My five times great grandfather was John Rice II. He was born on Feb. 23, 1728 in Prince Edward, VA. I’m not sure if he is the missing brother John. If anyone has further information please let me know.

    • Have you DNA tested, and if so where? It would be very interested to see if you match any of the descendants of Joseph.

    • The birth record is not Prince Edward VA – its Christ Church Parish, Middlesex County, VA on the east coast. If you mean John Rice of Caswell County who died 1796/7 its unlikely that that the birth record in Middlesex goes with the Caswell County John Rice as he is a little older.

  16. Hello – these are very interesting details. I have been trying to trace my 7X GGF Thomas Rice, Some sources list him as being born @1665 in Sirementon, Bristol, England (with his father being Edward Rice b. 1636 England), others list him as being born in New Kent, VA (with his father being Sir Stephen Rice b. 1635 Ireland). There are several sources that show this Thomas Rice as marrying Marcy Hewes, having 9 sons and 3 daughters, and then dying mysteriously when returning to England for an inheritance @1711. My line is through is son William, b 1686 Hanover Co. Va.
    Have you found anything more on the birth year, place or parents of Thomas? I have not been able to find any details or confirmation on his death, although it is listed several places as “1711, Atlantic Ocean.’
    I have done the Ancestry DNA test, but don’t see where to find the DNA mapping you referenced. I am signing this with my Ancestry member name: MaineRedSox so perhaps you can see the DNA and tree information.
    Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated!
    Thank you very much!

  17. Pingback: A Crown Jewel for Rachel Rice (c 1707 – after 1767) – 52 Ancestors #252 | DNAeXplained – Genetic Genealogy

  18. Pingback: Mary Rice (c 1723 – c 1778/81), Are You Really Your Sister? – 52 Ancestors #251 | DNAeXplained – Genetic Genealogy

  19. Hi Roberta,

    Have you seen the free online early tax lists for Amelia County?

    There is also an index at FamilySearch (requires a free FamilySearch login):

    Anyhow, the lists are fairly complete and cover the time period before 1754 when the area the Rice family lived was part of Amelia, before Prince Edward was formed.

    My interest is the Womack family. I found all the Womacks in the early Amelia lists here:

    Note I also found some of the records for Francis Rice who married Sarah Womack. I was not specifically looking for Matthew & Joseph Rice, but they are generally near the Womacks in John Nash’s tax district.

    John Nash appears to have listed all white male tithes, which I believe meant they were 16 or older. That helps figure the ages of some of the sons. Joseph Rice and his son David first appear in 1746, and by 1753, it appears Joseph had no other sons who were 16 yet. Matthew Rice starts earlier in the lists. His first son is Matthew Jr who appears with Matthew in 1752 and 1753, which agrees with the chancery case that Matthew Jr was the eldest son. Assuming Matthew Jr turned 16 in 1752, he was born circa 1736.

    I have more info on Womack/Blanton/Rice connections. Thomas Blanton, who later went by surname Womack, was born out of wedlock to Abraham Womack and Ann Blanton. Amelia court records indicate that on the same day in 1751, the court ordered Blanton’s children to be bound out – Richard, Thomas, and Archer – and also Ann Blanton and Abraham Womack were indicted for adultery. This fits with a Womack family “legend” that Thomas Womack and Archer Blanton were full brothers, a legend which has been proven with Y-DNA tests on male-line descendants of Thomas Womack and Archer Blanton.

    Womack family memoirs written in the early 1900s claim Thomas Blanton/Womack’s wife was Louvisa Rice. Although Thomas’s aunt Sarah Womack married Francis Rice, and this Rice family was also in Amelia/Prince Edward, I doubt Louvisa comes from the Francis Rice family, because a chancery case thoroughly explored Francis Rice’s children and many grandchildren. Rather, I am pretty sure Louvisa Rice was related to Joseph and Matthew Rice, given that Abraham Womack (father of Thomas Blanton/Womack) lived on land adjoining both Rice men.

    I recently found a Prince Edward land processioning record for 1765, in which Joseph Rice’s lands were processioned with Thomas Blanton witness. Joseph’s will does not mention all his children – he gave son Icay land, but did not mention Icay in his will. Perhaps he gave Louivisa some personal property before his death? I am leaning toward Louvisa Rice being the daughter of Joseph Rice.

    There are several other Womack, Rice and Blanton connections in records of Amelia and Prince Edward. For example, Icay Rice witnessed a 1760 deed for Abraham Womack (meaning Icay was at least 14, the legal age to be a witness at that time). Richard Blanton witnessed the 1765 deed from Joseph Rice to Icay Rice. Richard Blanton stayed in Prince Edward, and his son Richard Jr married a Jane Rice. Joshua Blanton was listed with Abraham Womack in Amelia tax lists for 1750, 1751, and 1752. He was either the son or brother of Ann Blanton who had the Blanton children with Abraham Womack. Joshua Blanton married Lucy Crenshaw, daughter of John Crenshaw, and John Crenshaw’s will in Prince Edward names daughter Lucy Blanton and three daughter married to Rice men. Ann Blanton was cared for by various people in the community, and Prince Edward church records from 1758 to 1774 name the people who cared for her, including Joseph Rice and Matthew Rice.

    More info on Thomas Blanton/Womack:

    I have more info if you are interested.

  20. Just came across this blog. My ancestor was the Matthew Rice (1710-1775) mentioned. Five or six distant cousins were working on our connection to him about 10 years ago. We found that Matthew’s son, William, administered his father’s estate. Of greatest interest to us was that William, who ended up in Muhlenburg Co, KY, took two of his younger sisters along with him. They were Sara & Anna Catherine and were mentioned as being underage. These Rice sisters married Burks brothers when Anna C. married Thompson Burks & Sara married Charles Burks.
    The Burks brothers first immigrated to Mercer Co, KY, & Charles appeared to stay there about 20 years before traveling into Washington Co, KY (the part which is now Marion Co) to apply for a license to build a gristmill on Hardin’s Creek in 1803. Then he and his sons proceeded to build a distillery there. It’s the current location of Maker’s Mark in Loretto, KY. The Burks are lauded in the distillery’s history.
    At some point, two of Charles Burks’ sons received land from the Rice Survey. I haven’t been able to confirm this yet, but it might be that William Rice bought this land with some of his inheritance from his father in VA. Or maybe he got it from military service, but it was a lot of land. When he moved on into Muhlenberg Co, he must have sold it to his Burks nephews at a premium.
    No one mentioned David Rice, (1733-1816) “apostle to KY”, who is from this line. He lived in Danville & there’s a statue to his memory there.
    I’ve also been to Prince Edward & Amelia Co, VA to do research. Did you see the crossroads there, Rice, VA? No one in the area seemed to know why it’s named Rice, but it’s very near where my Burks lived. Burks’ Old Tavern is still there, dating from the 1750’s. It’s a private residence now, & we made friends with the current owners. I know the Rice family lived nearby because Burks’ deeds mention the same neighbors adjoining. So I’m inferring that Rice, VA was named for our ancestor.

    • Have you seen the recent articles I published? Yes, this is where our ancestor lived. Search the blog in the search box for “Rachel Rice,” “James Moore” and “Mary Rice.” You’ll be amazed.

  21. I am an ancestor of Matthew Rice Sr (1710-1775) spouse Ann McGeehee. I am interested in how Matthew is related to Thomas and Marcy. My information shows him as a son of David Rice Sr but you indicate he is a son of Thomas and Marcy. What do you have that shows Matthew is a son of Thomas and Marcy? My DNA was tested by Family Tree DNA and my kit number is 812625. I am Clayton Jefferson Rice III, originally from Muhlenberg County, Ky. Thanks for all your work. … Jeff Rice

    • Hi Jeff. I’m going to have to back and look when I get back home. Did you check the dates? I found a chancery suit in Halifax County years ago. It’s probably at the Virginia archives now. You might want to check that too.

    • Hi Jeff, I’m very happy to virtually meet a descendant of William Rice (1742-1824). I have a warm feeling for him, because about 10 years ago, some other distant cousins & I worked on our Burks ancestry. We had a brick wall with our Charles Burks (1760-1817), who first appeared in records for Mercer Co, KY, in the part that was Garrard (or vice-versa). Then in 1803, he applied for a license to build a gristmill & distillery on Hardin’s Creek in Loretto, KY. Loretto was in Washington Co at that time, & later became Marion Co. Anyway, he & his descendants (w/ help of slaves) built Burks Spring Distillery there. It’s the present location of Makers Mark, where a lot of the old historical buildings are intact, including the still house.
      Our Charles Burks was married to Sarah, but we didn’t know her maiden name for years. I’ll give you the short version here. One of the cousins, Karen, an astute researcher based in Marion Co, KY, found a doc for an old debt which followed Charles to KY. It was from Prince Edward Co, VA. So she had the idea to just google search for “will of Richard Burks of Prince Edward Co, VA” (she was guessing our Charles’ father would be Richard, since that name was used over & over thru the generations). His will surfaced! In it he named his 3 sons who went to KY, incl. our Charles! We were so lucky. So then, & I don’t know how Karen got onto it, but she found our Matthew Rice’s estate records, which names all his children & his 2nd wife, Ann McGeehee. I guess you’ve seen this. Your William Rice was administrator of Matthew’s will. The papers showed that he took his underage sisters, Ann & Sarah, to KY with him. We knew that Anna Catharine Rice married Thompson Burks. Then we found out that Sarah Rice married our Charles Burks! So we had 2 Burks brothers marrying Rice sisters.
      Then we found a document showing that your William Rice sold 2000 acres of land, called the Rice Survey, in Washington Co, KY to my ancestor, Richard Burks, & his brother, Charles, Jr. So the latter two were William’s nephews. I don’t know how Wm. got this Rice Survey, do you? Was it for military service? That was a large tract.
      This doesn’t get you any closer to knowing that our Matthew Rice was a son of Thomas Rice & Marcy Hewes, and I don’t know if I can prove that. I think it’s traditional from an old genealogy.
      Last night, I spent time filling out my tree on to get you in it. It’s a long line from Wm. to Ezekiel Rice, & on down to the 3 Clayton Jefferson Rices. So we’re 6th cousins. While doing this, I saw that Samuel Ezekiel Rice had the tobacco company? Was it started even earlier, & that’s why they all stayed in Mercer Co?
      I was wondering how you got that Clayton given name. I have Clayton ancestry too, from KY.
      Please reply to my e-mail address to share more:
      Debora Baxter Jackson

  22. Maybe this blog is dead, but I’ve joined the Rice DNA project(Group 14) and I’m looking information to connect Jonathan B Rice (born Henry KY 1790 d Kankakee) to Rice’s Landing, PA Rices. (John Rice d 1802)

    Unable to currently find a connection.

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