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Home: Regional: U.S. States: North Carolina: Wake County

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Rice Families of Craven Co., NC & Wake Co., NC (c.1730-1790)
Posted by: David Brown (ID *****9344) Date: July 19, 2007 at 18:01:19
  of 1372

I am trying to determine if John Rice, the first Clerk of Wake County, North Carolina, was the son of John Rice, Sr., Clerk of Craven County who in turn was the son of Nathaniel Rice, Acting Governor of Colonial North Carolina from 1752 until 1753 (when Nathaniel Rice died). Following is a proposed outline of the family:

1 [2] Nathaniel Rice Died 1753
.. +Unknown
..... 2 John Rice Prob. Bef. 1720 - Aft. 1774
......... +Sarah Carruthers Abt. 1726 - Aft. 1774
............ 3 John Rice Abt. 1748 - Unknown
................ +Abigail Suggs 1756 - Aft.1804
................... 4 [1] Joshua Rice Abt.1774 - Aft.1850
....................... +Unknown
................... *2nd Wife of [1] Joshua Rice:
....................... +Judith Kirby - Died Aft.1850
............ 3 Nathaniel Rice Abt.1748 - Unknown
............ 3 Mary Rice Abt.1748 - Unknown
............ 3 Sarah Rice Abt.1748 - Unknown
................ +John Hawks
*2nd Wife of [2] Nathaniel Rice:
.. +Mary Bursey - Died 1756

I feel that John Rice of Wake County is the same person as John Rice, Jr. of Craven Co., NC (son of John Rice, Sr.) as both held titles of "Deputy Clerk to the Crown" (John Rice for Wake County, while John Rice, Jr. held the title for the New Bern District) Additionally, I have located a deed from Bladen Co., NC where one John Rice sold land to Christopher Woodward (see below for more details) of Wake Co., NC...it appears that both men were living in Wake Co., NC when the deed was written.

Obviously, "John Rice" is a common name and there were several men by that name in North Carolina. Therefore, I was hoping someone may have further information on this family or other potential clues to assist in resolving the puzzle. I am including documentation I’ve found (see below) for your perusal:

"Craven County, North Carolina Deed Abstracts Deed Book I, Deed Book 5 1707-1775 Book I" by Weynette Parks Haun
"#956 DB: 5-288: 7 Dec 1752. Will of Nathaniel Rice…Debts to be paid
Item: Sister in law Hannah Bursey 1 grown Negro Wench, 1 young Negro Girl
Item: Sister in law Penny Bursey the Gift I have made her by word of Mouth of a grown Negro Wench and a little Negro girl to be delivered 9 months after my decease.
em: My Wifes Niece Elizabeth Dale a Negro woman and a Negro Child named Lun__ on Day of Marriage if she marys with my Wifes Consent else not till she is 20 years old
Item: Rest of estate excepting 5 Pounds Sterling to my Niece Elizabeth Turner of Rumsey in Ham___ (note by DTB: This should be Hampshire)I give as follows: Wife Mary Rice during term of her natural life half my sd estate which at her Discease I give to my son John Rice & his children in equal proportion, the other half I put absolute in her own Disposal to do as she please & to leave it to whom she thinks fit when she dyes excepting wt. the sd half part may be chargeable with after her death in regard of any Engagements I have entered into wch. Are not to take place till after both our Deaths.
Exrs: Wife & my friends James Hasel C.J. & Samuel & John Swann. Wit: James Potterfield, David Limsay, Archibald McClaine. Regtd. Lib. C fol: 736 6/Dec. 1752. At a Court held at Wilmington 27 Feb 1753 Present: Edwd. Hynne, Wm. Farris, John Sampson, Geo. Moor, Wm. Ross, Corn. Harnett, Jno. Lyon, proved by David Lindsay & Archibald McClaine. Isaac Fares C.C. James Hasell qualified 3 Mar 1753 before Matt. Rowan"


The North Carolina Historical Review, Volume XXII October, 1945 Number 4:
Eighteenth Century New Bern. A History of the Town and Craven County, 1700-1800, Part IV, Years of Slow Development by Alonzo Thomas Dill, Jr: p. 470 – "The courthouse soon fell into such a condition that the justices reverted to the old practice of meeting in private homes. The home of the Frenchman John Fonveille, a Christ Church warden, near Union Point; the "new house of Mr. (John) Campbell," and "Mr. (John) Rice’s Red House on Broad Street" – and all were places of meeting for the wandering county court. From about 1761 to the completion of the first brick courthouse in 1764, the justices convened in the house of one Margaret Adams, to whom were paid certain sums for repairs in consideration of the court’s use of her dwelling. A favorite practice of the justices was to convene in a local tavern, such as that of the well known Richard Cogdell, just before they call an end to the session and departed to their homes. Needless to say, with their work behind them, little business was transacted, at least none that could not be settled over a bottle of Madeira or a tankard of Bristol beer."


The Colonial Records of North Carolina: Published Under the Supervision of the Trustees of the Public Libraries, by Order of the General Assembly collected and edited by William L. Saunders, Secretary of State (Broadfoot Publishing Company 1887). Volume 5 of this compiliation relates to the years 1752 through 1759. On page 636, we find the following: "A Bill for an act to impower James Hasell Esq only acting Executor of the last Will and Testament of Nathaniel Rice Esq deceased to make sale of certain Lands lately belonging to the said Nathaniel Rice, devised to his Grandchildren Nathaniel, John, Sarah and Mary Rice Minors -- which Bill was read in this House the first time and ordered to lie on the Table till To-morrow."


"Records of Craven County North Carolina: Volume One" by Elizabeth Moore; Genealogical Records (Publisher): "John Hawks, architect of Tryon’s Palace, was a distinguished figure in Colonial New Bern. He married Sarah Rice, daughter of the Secretary of the Crown, John Rice, and granddaughter of Royal Governor Nathaniel Rice….Among the Rice neighbors were Royal Council members Matthew Rowan, John Baptista Ashe, Eleazer Allen, and Chief Justice James Hasel."


"New Hanover County Court Minutes 1738-1769" Abstracted, Compiled and Edited by Alexander McDonald Walker; Alexander McDonald Walker, Publisher (Handwritten above title is notation of "New Hanover Co., NC Inferior Court of Please and Quarter Sessions") "March 7, 1765: On petition of Hon. Wm Dry, Esq., summons issued to John Rice, Esq. of Craven County, Guardian of Nathaniel, John, Sarah and Mary Rice, children of said John Rice, in order that he may give counter security to the petitioner agreeable to the prayer of said petition."


"Craven County, North Carolina Court Minutes 1764-1771 Book VI" by Weynette Parks Haun:
"Mar-June 1769 #546: John Rice junr. & Mary Rice Minors came into Court and by the Consent of their Father made Choise of Richard Cogdell Esqr. As their Guardian which the Court approved off (sic) and Ordered he Enter into Bond with John Hawk and James Davis Esquires in the sum of 2000 Pounds. Then the Court Adjourned to the Court in Course. Joseph Leech, Rd. Cogdell, Richd. Ellis."
"Mar-June 1769 #548: John Rice junr. Produced a Commission from Benjamin Heron Esquire appointing him Clerk of the Crown for Craven County, whereupon he Qualified agreeable to Law."


"Craven County, North Carolina Deed Abstracts Deed Book I, Deed Book 5 1707-1775 Book I" by Weynette Parks Haun "#600 DB: 1-521: 30 Mar 1769 Benjamin Heron Esqr. Secretary & Clerk for sd province appoints John Rice Jr Deputy Clerk of the Crown for District of New Bern."


From "Wake: Capital County of North Carolina," by Elizabeth Reid Murray, Volume I, Prehistory through Centennial Capital County Publishing Company Raliegh, North Carolina 1983 (excerpts pertaining to John Rice): In 1771 "John Rice, a new name in local governmental service, and not at the time a Wake County resident, was sent by the governor (Tryon) to be clerk of the Wake court and deputy clerk for the crown in Wake...In 1776 five men experienced in local government represented Wake County in the fifth and final Provincial Congress that adopted the 1776 Constitution of North Carolina. These delegates were...the clerk of court, John Rice....Under the new constitution, Wake County was entitled to one senator and two representatives. Sen. James Jones attended the first session of the General Assembly in New Bern in 1777, with John Rice and Thomas Wooten representing the county in the House of Commons...the seats of both Representatives Rice and Wootten had to be (later) vacated because of their having accepted salaried offices back home, Rice returning to his office of clerk of court after a brief absence, and Wootten accepting the office of sheriff for Wake County."


"Wake County North Carolina County Court Minutes 1771 thru 1776 Book A-1" by Weynette Parks Haun: ***p105-109 A Deed from Joshua Sugg to John Rice was in Open Court duly acknowledged & Ordered to be Registered.


From "Marriages of Wake County, North Carolina 1770-1868," Compiled by Brent H. Holcomb & Indexed by Elizabeth P. Bentley. Genealogical Publishing Co., Inc. 1983 Baltimore: John Rice to Abigail Sugg; Thomas Rice, Bondsman; Peter Uptegroves, Wit., Consent from Joshua Sugg, father of Abigail. (Separated sometime between 1781 & 1783 according to legislative petition by Abigail Sugg Rice and her father Joshua Sugg)


From "Land, Slaves, and Other Courthouse Transactions 1808 - 1863 Abstracts of Sumner County, Tennessee," by Juanita Patton, abstractor and published by the Sumner County Archives, we find the following: "Joshua Rice to his children, Nathaniel Rice, Polly Groves, Jno. Rice, Sarah Rice, James Rice, Thomas J. Rice - Deed of Gift. For love and affection for his children Rice gave them all rights of a 'parcel of Negroes willed to me by Joshua Suggs, Sr, dec'd,....his last will and testament after death of my mother Abagail Rice...viz Elie, Toby, Dolly, Weston, Flora, and Peter Wit. Allembert {sp?} Abbott, George Abbott. 13 Oct 1820 {Reg. 10 Mar 1830.}. p. 110-111


From Woodward Family Tree – Christopher Woodward of Wake Co. NC (Online – Applicable Excerpts Only in next three paragraphs):
"….Even though this grant was made fourteen years after Christopher Woodward's death, it still indicates that he had an interest in the land before his death in 1785, and his children had an interest in the same land until at least 1799. The grants map shows nearby grants to Theophilus Hunter, John Rice, John Whitaker, and William Brown. All of these names were associated with the Woodwards as friends, bondsmen, or acquaintances in later years. John Rice sold land in Bladen Co. to Christopher Woodward shortly before his death. William Brown was the bondsman for the marriage of Christopher Woodward's son, Pleasants Woodward. John Whitaker was the bondsman for the marriage of Pleasants Woodward's son, Joseph Woodward. A grandson of Pleasants Woodward was named Theophilus Hunter Jones. But the grants map shows no Smith, Rhodes, or Phillips in the nearby area. Without more information, it is impossible to tell if this grant was located near Crabtree Creek or near Swift Creek. Christopher Woodward's will did not mention land on Buck Branch, and I have seen no later Woodward deeds mentioning Buck Branch….

….This Bladen Co. land was not mentioned in the will because it was purchased after the will was written. I don't know if Christopher ever even saw the land since the deed was prepared and signed in Wake Co. The grantor, John Rice, had been a resident of Wake Co. for many years, but he seems to have had no close connections with any of Christopher Woodward's family. I have no idea why Christopher wanted to purchase land in Bladen Co. unless perhaps he simply thought it would be a good investment. He certainly never moved to Bladen Co., and there are no indications that any of his children ever lived on the land.
Bladen Co Deed Book 36, p. 296:

John Rice to Christopher Woodward. State of NC, Wake Co. 9th day of Nov, 1784. John Rice legatee & heir at law of Nathaniel Rice, Esq. dec'd. 65 -?- specie already paid, land on the SW side Cape Fear river beginning at an oak David Lewis' corner tree. (No other neighbors or landforms mentioned, only degrees, chains, poles, links, etc. for corners) 320 acres more or less. Land was granted by original patent to a certain William Cain bearing a date 8th day Sept. 1735 and conveyed from sd William Cain by a deed under hand and seal of William Barham Esq. high Sheriff of Bladen Co. bearing date 25 day of Mar. 1745 to Nathaniel Rice Esq. Witnesses: Jordan Woodward, Pleasant Woodward. Bladen Co., May term, 1785 this deed was <word omitted> in open court & ordered to be registered. John White CC….



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