Saturday, 22 December 2012

James Rice a Beloved Brother

The story here reaches both sides of the Atlantic and conserns 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 borur with the greatest patence 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.
RIP James
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
 to an Edmund Rice who died in Brisbane, Queensland Australia and Walter Rice who died in New Zealand. Both died on the far side of the world a long way from home. The second photo is of a Stained Glass window.
Written on the base is In Memory of Rev R Rice, Mary his Wife and Augustus Goodenough their son. I feel tiring to find the graves of the other two may be a lost cause but maybe there is some one reading this in Australia and New Zealand
who will one day come across their graves.
Since writing this blog I have collaborated with Sharon who runs a blog called Strong Foundations. She managed to find out more on the two Brothers who emigrated
"Edmund Rice was christened 4 May 1837 Shrivenham, Berkshire, England to parents Richard Rice and Mary Goodenough.

He died 28 January 1878 (age 41) and is buried in an unmarked grave at Dutton Park Cemetery, South Brisbane, Queensland (section 9a, plot 45 - refer link below).  He is buried with his wife Lucy Rice ( born 1846 - died 16 June 1896) and son Walter Rice (born 6 Feb 1875 - died 8 March 1934 age 59)."
Edmund (a chemist) married Alice "Lucy" Buxton on 2 July 1863 Lewisham, St Mary


Edmund and Lucy arrived in Australia  on the 14th January 1872.  They traveled in luxury (more than any of my relatives) in a second class cabin aboard the Winefred with two children, Alice age 4 and an infant girl (Sophia) who seems to have died onboard.  They later had son, Walter, who was born in Brisbane 6 Feb1875
Their remaining relatives live in Queensland
 Walter was born in 1845 and died 10th Feb 1880, Dunedin, NZ age 35.  He was a chemist like brother Edmund. He is buried at the Northern Cemetery, Dunedin, Block 144, Plot 13

PS in case you wondering about why I said Oxfordshire and the Headstone Berkshire the boundary's changed in the 1970's



  1. Such a facinating post. Thank you for sharing and thank you for linking up with Cemetery Sunday

  2. It seems there was still some communications with the Rice brothers and their home, even though they all moved to different parts of the world.
    Such flowery speech with the "sunk into rest"!

  3. These are great photos -- and very interesting! What a shame that the stone, itself, is broken -- although it's good that it's still there, I guess. Thanks for sharing this on Taphophile Tragics!

  4. I'm glad you were able to find out more information! Thank you for sharing on Taphophile Tragics!

    1. Could not have done it without help of Sharon