Rice, William C.

Born: 1815-07-09 Greenup County, Kentucky

Died: 1897-02-14 Oquawka, Illinois

Flourished: Oquawka, Illinois

William C. Rice, surveyor, attorney, county judge, and state legislator, settled with his family in Christian County, Kentucky in 1820. After attending local schools for several winters, he studied at the Hopkinsville Seminary in Hopkinsville, Kentucky. Rice relocated in 1835 to the portion of Warren County, Illinois that became Henderson County and stayed about a year before moving to what is now the southern portion of the state of Iowa, but at the time was part of the Wisconsin Territory. There, he worked as district surveyor of Van Buren County. In 1838, he returned to Warren County and upon the creation of Henderson County won election as the county’s first surveyor in 1841. Before the end of the year, Rice moved to Macomb where he read law under Cyrus Walker for two winters. He earned admittance to the bar in 1843, opened a practice in Henderson County, and was elected probate judge. The following year, he married Walker’s daughter, Mary Montgomery Walker, with whom he had four children. In 1849, voters selected Rice as county judge and he represented Henderson County in the Illinois House of Representatives from 1855 to 1856 and again from 1859 to 1860. Politically, Rice was first a Whig, then a Republican. At the end of his legislative service, he resumed his legal practice in Henderson County.

History of Mercer and Henderson Counties (Chicago: H. H. Hill, 1882), 999-1000; U.S. Census Office, Seventh Census of the United States (1850), Oquawka, Henderson County, IL, 53; John Clayton, comp., The Illinois Fact Book and Historical Almanac, 1673-1968 (Carbondale: Southern Illinois University Press, 1970), 220, 222; U.S. Census Office, Eighth Census of the United States (1860), Oquawka, Henderson County, IL, 60; Gravestone, Oquawka Cemetery, Oquawka, IL.