Deacon John Alphonso Rice


Deacon John Alphonso Rice

Northfield, Washington County, Vermont, USA
Death 18 Sep 1913 (aged 83)
Abington, Plymouth County, Massachusetts, USA
Burial Abington, Plymouth County, Massachusetts, USA
Plot 171 & 172 Section C - 2
Memorial ID 130674939 View Source
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JOHN A. RICE, an old and honored
resident of Rockland, was born Janu-
ary 29, 1830, at North field, Vt., a son
of Alphonso and Mary (Cardell) Rice. His
father, Alphonso Rice, who was a manufact-
urer of Northfield, and later a farmer of
Brookfield, in his later years moved to Brook-
lyn, la., where he died at the age of seventy-
eight. His wife, Mary, was a native of New
York State, having been born near Lake

John A. Rice was the eldest of a family of
nine children. He was brought up on the
farm, working in the summer, and attending
the district schools in the winter. At the age
of seventeen he began to teach school, an ex-
ample which was subsequently followed by his
brothers and sisters. He taught in his native
State for four winters, and afterward in Massa-
chusetts for two winters. At the age of
twenty-one, desiring to begin life for him-
self, he went to the West, where he spent
some time in various employments. Return-
ing home, he went to work in the general
store of his brother-in-law at East Stoughton,
now called Avon. As this relative of Mr.
Rice's was also the Postmaster of the place,
Mr. Rice attended for a while to the work
of the post-office. Leaving East Stoughton,
he went to New York City, where, however,
he remained but a short time, returning in
a few months to Vermont. At this time he
was recommended to Nahum Moore, a dealer
in dry-goods and furniture in the town of East
Abington, now Rockland, by a mutual friend,
for the position of the clerk Mr. Moore
needed to take charge of his business while he
was attending to his legislative duties. The
upshot was that Mr. Moore offered Mr.Rice
the position, and Mr. Rice accepted it, and
came to East Abington (Rockland). He soon
proved to his new employer that he possessed
the right qualifications for a successful busi-
ness man. At the end of one year Mr. Moore
took him into partnership. Shortly after Mr.
Rice, in company with a Boston man, bought
out Mr. Moore's interest in the business, and
both conducted the place together for two
years under the firm name of Rice & Eldridge.
At the end of that time Mr. Rice sold out his
interest to his partner, and took a position as
clerk with him, which he held for a period of
two years. During the Civil War he went to
St. Joseph, Mo., with a stock of goods, which
he disposed of there at a great profit. This
was owing to the fact that in that city public
feeling on the subject of the conflict was about
equally divided, and Southern partisans were
as anxious to get rid of the "greenbacks" as
the other side was to get hold of them. Owing
to Mr. Rice's shrewdness, he reaped a veri-
table harvest, especially during the last year of
the war. Upon his return to Vermont, he
purchased the old home farm, and took up his
residence there, but remained only one year.
Returning to Rockland, he resumed his old
business. Shortly after, his store was burned
out. Not discouraged, he continued business
elsewhere until a new building was erected.
About this time his brother, Charles L., came
back from the war, and went into partnership
with him. They continued together for some
time, but, upon the business increasing, they
separated and divided it, John A. retaining
the original dry-goods department, and his
brother taking the furniture line. They have
both achieved success — the logical result of
their enterprise, sagacity, and business
talents. Although the business continues, Mr.
Rice retired from active participation about
twelve years ago.

On May 30, 1857, Mr. Rice married Sarah
S. Soule, a native of Rockland, and a daugh-
ter of Josiah and Sophronia J. Soule. They
became the parents of four children, of whom
three are deceased; namely, J. Willard, Eddie
Lawrence, and Lester Howard. The survivor
is John Wesley, who is at present a student at
Harvard, and resides with his parents. In
political action Mr. Rice is a Republican.
He has strong Prohibition tendencies, but
does not believe that the Third Party is an
available factor in practical politics at the
present time. Besides his hatred of the
saloon as a demoralizing agency, he has a
strong aversion to tobacco, which he is not
afraid to express in a manly way to those
about him. His advice on the subject, if not
always followed, is always listened to with re-
spect, because of his disinterested motives.
His religious views identify him with the
Congregational church, of which he is a
strong, earnest, and useful member, and of
which he has been a Deacon for a quarter of a
century. He has long been a member in
good standing of the Masonic order. A pub-
lic-spirited citizen, Mr. Rice is ever interested
in any practical movement to promote the
moral, social, or intellectual interests of the

Pages 15-16

Biographical Review Publishing Company 1897

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  • Created by: Bill West
  • Added: 31 May 2014
  • Find a Grave Memorial 130674939
  • Find a Grave, database and images ( : accessed ), memorial page for Deacon John Alphonso Rice (29 Jan 1830–18 Sep 1913), Find a Grave Memorial ID 130674939, citing Mount Vernon Cemetery, Abington, Plymouth County, Massachusetts, USA ; Maintained by Bill West (contributor 47532235) .