This might be seen as a cop-out as this blog was written back in 2012 after I visited the church, since then I have updated it on occasion with more information. This week I had a message from historian Chris Dawson from Brisbane who told me that the Friends of Brisbane Cemetery had cleaned the grave up and it was on Facebook. I had a look and sure enough there were a before and after photo. I got in touch with the friends who sent me the photo and said they would get a clearer one for me to use on the blog. In the meantime I have shown the one the sent off Facebook.
The story here reaches both sides of the Atlantic and concerns this plaque which is on the wall of a small church called St Michael in Eaton Hastings Oxfordshire. It reads
" Sacred to the Memory of James Rice a Beloved Brother who for many years used to worship near this spot. He was dear to all who knew him for his gentle unselfish and affectionate disposition. He was born on the 28 Feb 1843 and after a long illness and much suffering born with the greatest patience and submission to the will of God he sunk into rest on the 5th Aug 1872. He Died at Topeka Kansans US and lies in the Cemetery of that Town"
It intrigued me as poor James had died a long way from home and lay buried in a cemetery far from his family. I wondered if his grave could still be found.
I looked the town up on Wikipedia then found the cemetery. This I looked up as well and found an email address I could write to and as luck would have it a lady called Sara Judge Keckeisen from the Kansas Historical Society kindly sent me a PDF of the cemetery records for 1859 - 1880 and there in the list was James Rice. b Berkshire England. d 1872 Aug 5 Wabaunsee Co Kan. Rel Richard & Mary Rice. and on a Find a Grave link a photo of the grave which I saved
The stone lay broken but the wording could be read,
" Sacred to the Memory of James Rice Son of the late Rev Richard Rice Eaton Hastings Berkshire England who died August 5 1872 aged 29 years. Thy Will Be Done Luke 11th 2nd"
It seems such a shame the headstone was broken but I suppose at least it is still there. One thing that might have been of interest which not mentioned is what the poor fellow died from so if some one who reads this lives near to the place and could contact the Sexton of Topeka Cemetery to see if there are any records of what he passed away from it would be interesting.
The photo I took is now linked in Find a Grave with James Rice's details.
As a footnote I will leave you with these two photo's which I only just noticed while looking to see if I had any photo's I had taken for the Rev Rice and not realised I had, beneath James plaque is a second
who will one day come across their graves.
I intend to go back to the church and see if I can find the grave of his father there and see if I can add a bit more to this story