Monday, August 29, 2016

The Rice Family: Lost at Sea

A couple of my DNA matches confirmed that Rev. David Rice (1733-1816) was my six times great grandfather. He was a prominent man in the Virginia colony, the nascent state of Kentucky, and the Presbyterian Church. He was also an early, strident abolitionist and he was often called the "Apostle of Kentucky." He was written about often and I have collected digital copies of several books which include biographical sketches, his involvement in education and religion or his family's history in the colonies. Those books indicated a Thomas Rice, Rev. Rice's grandfather, was born in England but was an "early adventurer into Virginia." But I had never researched the generations which preceded Rev. Rice.

Interestingly enough, my brothers did not share any DNA matches with Rev. Rice as the common shared ancestor. When my 89-year-old uncle's test results were available, that changed. My uncle currently has 11,800 DNA match results. As a comparison, I have 6,600. Nearly 150 of my uncle's matches include the surname Rice in their family tree. Not only did he share most of the matches I had, he also had several where the common shared ancestor was Rev. Rice's grandfather, Thomas Rice.

So it was time to see what information I had already collected about the early Rice line and develop a research plan for Thomas. I am still working on that plan, but I wanted to share with you a brief sketch of his family history, which I discovered in A History of St. Mark's Parish, Culpeper County, Virginia, by Rev. Philip Slaughter, which was published in 1877. That book contained a direct quote from memoirs written by Rev. David Rice.[1]

Title page of A History of St. Mark's Parish, Culpeper County, Virginia by Rev. Philip
Slaughter, and published in 1877; courtesy of Internet Archive

"Thomas Rice was an Englishman by birth, of Welsh extraction. He was an early adventurer into Virginia; where he spent the first part of his life is not certainly known. In the latter part of his life he owned a small plantation in the lower part of what is now (1824) called Hanover county. Here he left his wife, with nine sons and three daughters, and went to England to receive a considerable estate which had been left him, but returned no more. The sailors reported that he died at sea. It is supposed that he was assassinated. No return was ever made of the property after which he had gone, and his family were left destitute in a strange land.

The family being left without an earthly father, were distressed, but they were, in the good providence of God, provided for. The greater part moved about thirty miles farther up the country, where they procured a small plantation, on which they raised numerous families; four or five of them became professors of religion, and were succeeded in their religious profession by a considerable number of their children."

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[1] I have purchased but not yet received A History of the Church in Kentucky for Forty Years, Containing the Memoirs of Rev. David Rice by Robert H. Bishop, published in 1824.

Friday, August 26, 2016

Confusion Reigns!

Some days my ancestors cause me to tear out my hair. In fact, I think when Dora Pierce Marshall, my third cousin three times removed, thought about who to marry, she decided to be a little bit naughty, willfully causing future family genealogists to go crazy. I'm almost positive she smiled a secret smile as she said her vows.

I know she had a good laugh about it years later.

Dora Pierce (Marshall) Marshall and her husband; courtesy of
Ancestry.com member cgraham206

Let's back up a bit, shall we?

Dora was born on 10 May 1881 in Carroll County, Virginia. Her parents were Asa Howard Marshall and Nancy Virginia Mitchell, the great granddaughter of my five times great grandfather Robert Mitchell (1714-1799). Asa Howard Marshall was the son of Abraham Marshall and Mary "Polly" Bonds. He had an older brother named Alvers S. Marshall. Both brothers farmed in the Pine Creek district of Carroll County.

When Dora decided to marry, she chose her first cousin, a son of her uncle Alvers S. Marshall and his first wife, Pauline (or Perlina) Gallimore. And what do you think her future husband's name was?

It was Asa Howard Marshall! Sound familiar?

Alvers named his first born son after his brother, who happened to be Dora's father. So she married a man with the same name as her father.

Dora so confused me, I had to draw an illustration to sort out the familial relationships.

Relationships between Dora Pierce Marshall and her husband, father and
uncle; created using Microsoft Powerpoint

Dora's husband, Asa Howard Marshall, was born on 9 September 1881in Carroll County. Like his father and uncle, he farmed in the county of his birth his entire working life. He and Dora had 10 children. Asa died 31 August 1950 of acute pulmonary edema. Cora died on 19 January 1958 generalized arteriosclerosis, from which she had suffered for 20 years. They were interred at Top of the Mountain Cemetery in Sylvatus, Virginia.

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To be entirely fair to Dora, I have no idea whether she gave future genealogists a thought when she married her cousin and her father's namesake.