Rice B. Bryan was born 4 Jun 1826 in Mercer County, Pennsylvania. He was the oldest son of Jacob Bryan and Mary Bagley. His father Jacob was a farmer and a shoemaker. In 1840, the Bryan family moved to Hancock County, Illinois, where Jacob invested in some land. The family lived in the small town of La Harpe, Illinois for many years.
Rice's sister Hannah was killed in a runaway carriage accident when she was only 22 years old. His brother John died serving for the Union Army in the Civil War at the siege of Port Hudson. Rice and another brother also served in the Union Army, and were apparently both wounded. Rice served in D Company, 78th Illinois Infantry, then was transferred to the 149th Company, 2nd Battalion VRC (Veteran Reserve Corps).
Rice's siblings stayed in Hancock County for the rest of their lives, but he moved to Kansas. He is listed on the 1870 census in Oxford, Johnson County, Kansas, with his wife, Martha, and his daugher, Ella Mae Bryan.
Rice Bryan died on 11 Oct 1879. His daughter Ella was about 14 years old. A tombstone was provided for the Civil War veteran, listing his name and service: SGT R. B. Bryan, 149th Co. 2nd Battalion VRC.