52 Ancestors #17 John B Rice


This challenge is set forth by No Story Too Small, and this week’s theme is “Prosper.”

downloadMy 5th great grandpa was John B. Rice. I’m sure the B is for Benjamin as that was one of his son’s names. John was born in 1755 in Red Bud Creek, Bute County, North Carolina. In 1779 Bute County was divided into Franklin and Warren Counties and ceased to exist. John was born to Jared Rice and Lettie Potts. (My 2nd great grandmother’s name was Martha Lettie Carpenter. I always wondered where Lettie came from. Turns out it was her great grandmother’s name.) John signed up to serve in the American Revolution in 1776 at the age of 21 as a private and sergeant, and received a pension according to the North Carolinians list of pensioners as reported by the Secretary of State to Congress in 1835. He married Elizabeth Hopkins a year into the war and they had a total of eight children. By age 27, the family had moved to Nash County, NC, where John lived a long life and died on 29 April 1836, at the age of eighty-one.

last-will-and-testamentJohn’s will contains info as follows:

Probated August 1837. Page 443, Will Book I. Nash Co, NC. It names wife Elizabeth and son John. Daughter Nancy and her husband Benjamin Carpenter (my 4th great grandparents). Daughter Elizabeth and her husband William Richardson. Son Hopkins Rice. Two people I can’t place Reden Richardson and William Earppe. Grandson: Richardson Rice, son of William Rice. Children of son Benjamin Rice: John B. Rice, Nicholson Rice, Boykin Rice, heirs of Jincy Strickland. Legatee: John Leonard. Exec: Benjamin Merritt, John Rice. Witnesses: William M.B. Anndell, Boykin Denton.

The above named daughter Nancy Rice Carpenter was my fourth great-grandmother who married Benjamin Carpenter. They moved to Lauderdale County, Mississippi in 1821 when Indian land was being sold by the U.S. Gov’t for cheap. She lived as a pioneer woman, raising ten children in near squalor. After reading the following story, I’m under the impression she either must have been rebelling against her family or she really, really loved Benjamin Carpenter. But I found in John Rice’s will that he left items to Benjamin and Nancy and their children, so if she did rebel, they must have made up before John’s death.

I found the following somewhere on line:


Nash County, North Carolina 1787.

A black woman by the name of Chaney was born. Little is known about her background, but it is believed she was the daughter of an African. She and her sister were slaves of the Hopkins Family.

Peter Hopkins, born in 1730, was the first in his family to move to Edgecombe County, North Carolina. He married Wilmoth Fowler who was born in Wake County, North Carolina in 1747 to Joseph and Anne Fowler. The couple had the following children:

  1. William Hopkins
  2. John Hopkins
  3. David Hopkins
  4. Elizabeth Hopkins-Rice (the above wife of John Rice)
  5. Susannah Hopkins-Russell

Elizabeth married a Revolutionary War Hero named John Rice. The two purchased about 800 acres of land on Lee’s Creek. They had eight children as follows:

  1. John Rice Jr
  2. William Rice
  3. Elizabeth Rice-Richardson
  4. Nancy Rice-Carpenter (my 4th great-grandmother)
  5. Mary Rice-Marriott
  6. James M. Rice
  7. Benjamin Rice
  8. Hopkins Rice

Chaney was brought to this 800 acre plantation of John Rice and Elizabeth Hopkins Rice. Most of her children were born here. She had at least five children. In the early 1800’s, John Rice deeded Chaney and her children to his youngest son Hopkins Rice and his wife Jane.

In the early 1820’s Hopkins Rice and his family migrated to Greene County, Alabama and in 1828, they purchased land in the Clinton and Pleasant Ridge areas. Over the years, some of the slaves were sold to various plantations in the area. One of Chaney’s sons, Anderson, was sold to Eldred Pippen. Jesse was sold to Gaston Wilder of Pickens County, Alabama. Richard was sold to William Gilmore of Mantua. The last son, whose name is unknown, was sold to a Mr. Harkness. Her grandsons were also sold.


Nancy Rice-Carpenter is my 4th great-grandmother. Her parents, Elizabeth and John Rice are my 5th great-grandparents. Elizabeth’s parents Peter and Wilmoth Hopkins are my 6th. Though Nancy, being a girl, probably didn’t stand to inherit much of the family’s wealth, I still think it strange that she moved away from her obviously prosperous family.

On This Day in 1828

On This Day 1828

August 15, 1828 was the birthday of my 3rd great grandfather, Rice Benjamin Carpenter.

Rice was born to Benjamin Carpenter and Nancy Rice. He was the eighth of ten children, the first five born in North Carolina, and the last five born in Mississippi. When he was 17 years old in 1846, he married my 3rd great grandmother, Mary Ann Rodgers. The Carpenter and Rogers families lived near each other and Rice and Mary Ann had grown up together.

Jolly family bible pg2Rice and Mary Ann had five children: Martha Lettie (my 2nd great grandmother 1848-1933), Benjamin Hays (1850-1929), William Travis (1854-1856), Charles Clinton (1858-1890), and a son with the initials MF (1862-1863). As you can see by the dates, William Travis died at the age of two, and MF died as an infant. His full name is not known, but his initials are written in the family Bible, as you can see on the bottom of the first column in the photo.

Rice and Mary Ann set up house on land they got from Mary Ann’s father, but sometime around 1860, they sold the land and moved to the town of Marion Station in Lauderdale County, Mississippi, to open a general store. Abandoning the farm so Rice could become a merchant was probably their way of starting over after losing their first son. The excitement of a new life was not long-lived, however. In February of 1862, with Mary Ann eight months pregnant, Rice signed up for the 41st Infantry Regiment, the Cole Guards, and prepared to fight in the Civil War.

port-hudsonOn 31 December 1862, his company found themselves in Murfreesboro, Tennessee (only 25 miles from my house) where they met the Union troops head-on at the Battle of Stones River. As you can see in the Port Hudson News, the newspapers were reporting a successful campaign for the Rebels, but Rice was not so lucky. He was killed in the very first charge. Rice’s son MF had been born March 12, 1862. In February of that year, Rice had signed up to fight, but is shown as absent until May. Perhaps he did get to spend time with his youngest son.

On the 150th anniversary of the battle, 31 December 2012, I visited the Stones River National Battlefield in Murfreesboro. The man there told me the battle that took place on 31 December actually happened about two miles up the road in what is now a golf course.

dec 2012 407The Confederate Circle was established at Evergreen Cemetery in Murfreesboro in 1890, and in 1891 all of the remains of soldiers from local areas were re-interred in a mass grave there. Of the 2000 soldiers buried in the Circle, about 90% are unknown or not recorded in the records – one being Rice Benjamin Carpenter. He left behind a grieving widow and three children ages 14, 12, and 4.

Rest in Peace, Grandpa Rice.

Shameless plugs:

Mary Ann’s story is told in my book Okatibbee Creek.

This post is brought to you by On This Day available at Amazon.

October Ancestry Challenge – Mary Ann Rodgers

oct ancestry challenge-001The October Ancestry Challenge 2013 23 posts – 23 days – 23 ancestors.

Ancestor #17 – Mary Ann Rodgers





Rodgers, Mary Ann Rodgers Carpenter JollyShe was just a name in my family tree. Mary Ann Rodgers Carpenter Jolly. My third great grandmother. 1828-1898.

I discovered that she lost her first husband, Rice Carpenter, in the Civil War in 1862. How sad to lose the one you love, but hey, it’s war, people die. After he died, she remarried in 1864.

I looked at the 1870 census and found she was married to William Jolly and was living with his children, her children, and three children they had together. It was a house-full! But at least their three children (Ancestor #15) were proof they must have liked each other, right? That’s good. I was interested where William came from, so I traced him back and looked at his 1860 census. In 1860, he was living with his wife Harriet, their four children, and a woman named Nancy Carpenter who was 69 years of age.

Nancy Carpenter? The only Nancy Carpenter I know is Rice’s mother, whose maiden name was Nancy Rice. Why was Mary Ann’s mother-in-law living with her future husband?? Were they neighbors? Was she their cleaning lady? I clicked on Nancy Carpenter and saw her relationship to the “head of house” was listed as “mother-in-law.” She was William’s mother-in-law? What?? She was Harriet’s mother?

So, I went back and looked at Rice’s family, and sure enough, his sister Harriet was married to William. Rice died 31 Dec 1862 and Harriet died a month later on 30 Jan 1863. Their spouses, Mary Ann and William, brother-in-law/sister-in-law, married in 1864. Well of course they did. They had known each other for many years, hadn’t they?

The more I looked at the Rodgers and Carpenter families, the more I was amazed by the sheer number of family members they lost to war and typhoid. At the time of my research, I remember counting SEVENTEEN, but I’m sure there were many more I missed. I couldn’t wrap my head around that kind of heartache and quickly became impressed with Mary Ann’s strength. How would you react if you lost two or three family members this year? You would probably need Prozac. How would you respond if you lost a dozen? I wouldn’t even be able to get out of bed. Seventeen in one year? I can’t even fathom that.

okatibbee_cover frontYears, numbers, and names from census records are just that – years, numbers, and names – unless you put yourself in their shoes. Then they become tears, children, and heartaches. We all come from those strong women. We are the living proof of their strength. If the boat sank, the story would be over. But it didn’t, and we know that because we are here. We are the survivors. I dug deep down in my heart and soul and decided to tell her story, a story she would be proud of. I wanted her to know that she didn’t go through all of that in vain. I am here. I am her legacy. Her story has been told to make us all stronger. We are the products of strength, fortitude, and integrity, as well as tears, heartache, and pain. We are the children our grandmothers fought so hard for, and I want Mary Ann to be as proud of me as I am of her.



A to Z Challenge – R is for Rice

Blogging from A to Z April 2013 Challenge

R is for Rice

As with other blogs on my site, this is about my ancestors–the Rice family.

My 3rd great grandfather was Rice Benjamin Carpenter. He was born in 1828 and died during the Civil War serving the Confederacy at the battle of Stones River in Murfreesboro, TN on 31 Dec 1862. He left behind a wife and four young children. He is buried at the Confederate Circle at Evergreen Cemetery in Murfreesboro.

Page 5

carpenter rice

His first name came from his mother’s family—the Rice family. His mother was Nancy Rice, born born 1791 in NC. At some point around 1834ish, she and her husband, Benjamin Carpenter, packed up their home and five children and moved to Lauderdale Co, MS. After arriving there, they had five more children. Nancy and Ben both died in Lauderdale Co in 1870 and 1865, respectively.

Nancy’s father was John B Rice (I bet the B was for Benjamin). John was born in 1755 in NC and died there 29 Apr 1836. He married Elizabeth Hopkins, who was also born and died in NC. They had at least eight children in the late 1700s, including a son named Hopkins Rice. Is this getting confusing yet? John served in the American Revolution (pension no 59062). That makes at least 3 grandfathers of mine who served.

One of my genealogy buddies found the following in a Rice Family archive. It reads to be from a slave’s descendant.

My family history dates back to Nash County, North Carolina in 1787. A woman by the name of Chaney was born. Little is known about her background, but it is believed that she was the daughter of an African. I have done extensive research on the slaves of Hopkins Rice. It is believed that Chaney and her sister were given to the Hopkins Family of Nash Carolina. Peter Hopkins was the first Hopkins in his family to move to Edgecombe County, North Carolina. He was born in 1730. He married a woman named Wilmoth Fowler. She was born in 1747 in Wake County, North Carolina. She was the daughter of Joseph F. & Anne Fowler. The couple had known children: William Hopkins, John Hopkins, David Hopkins, Elizabeth Hopkins-Rice, and Susannah Hopkins-Russell. The Hopkins oldest daughter, Elizabeth, married a Revolutionary War Hero named John Rice. He was born in 1755 in Bute County, North Carolina. They moved to Nash County, North Carolina and purchased about 800 acres of land on Lee’s Creek. They couple had about eight children.1. John Rice, 2. William Rice, 3. Elizabeth Rice-Richardson, 4. Nancy Rice-Carpenter, 5. Mary Rice-Marriott, 6. James M. Rice, 7. Benjamin Rice, 8. Hopkins Rice. Chaney was brought to this plantation, but it is unsure exactly when. However most of her children were born on the Rice plantation. There is a strong possibility that she had more than five children, but it is uncertain. In the early 1800’s John Rice deeded Chaney and her children to his son Hopkins Rice and his wife Jane. In the early 1820’s Hopkins and his family migrated to Greene County, Alabama by way of Georgia. They purchased land in 1828, where the estate grew in the Clinton and Pleasant Ridge areas. In the later years, some of the Rice’s were sold to various plantations. One of Chaney’s sons, Anderson, was sold to Eldred Pippen. Also three of her great grandsons were sold. Jesse Rice was sold to Gaston Wilder of Pickens County, Alabama. Richard “Dick” Gilmore was sold to William Gilmore of Mantua. The last son was sold to a Harkness, whose name is not known.”

John’s father was Jared or Jerret Rice. He was born around 1730. He married Lettie Potts and they had at least six children. They lived in NC. My second great grandmother (Rice Benjamin Carpenter’s first child) was Martha Lettie Carpenter Blanks. I always wondered where the name Lettie came from. Now we know.