John Holt Rice, deceased, for years one of the leading journalists of southeastern Kansas, was born in Greene county, Tennessee, Nov. 14, 1825, and died at Fort Scott, Kan., Oct. 5, 1904. His father, David Rice, was born in Virginia, but when grown went to Greene county, Tennessee, where he engaged in farming, and for twenty-six consecutive terms was surveyor of the county, being elected on the Federal or Whig ticket, although the district was strongly Democratic. He married Jane Doak, daughter of Rev. Samuel Doak, one of the pioneer educators and Presbyterian ministers of Eastern Tennessee and the founder of Washington College, at Washington, Tenn. John Rice, a brother of David, was the founder of the Andover Theological Seminary, of Virginia, so that on both sides of the family John H. Rice was descended from the promoters of educational institutions. He was educated at Tusculum College, in his native county, and at the time he attended it his uncle, Dr. Samuel W. Doak, was president. In February, 1845, Mr. Rice was admitted to the bar, and the following May located at Cassville, Ga., where he opened a law office. In 1855 he became the editor of the "Cassville Standard," in addition to his legal business. On Jan. 1, 1856, he was elected major-general of the Twelfth division of the Georgia state militia, as the Union candidate, receiving a majority of 1,772 votes over Col. E. M. Gault, the Southern Rights candidate. The next year he removed to Rome, Ga., where he remained but a short time, and then located at Atlanta, where he founded the Franklin Printing Company. Under his skillful management this became a large bookpublishing concern and continued to grow until the plant was destroyed during the Civil war. A stroke of paralysis, in 1861, prevented Mr. Rice from taking an active part in the war, but he was always a consistent opponent of secession, although a Democrat in his views prior to the war. His last vote for a member of that party was for Stephen A. Douglas, in 1860. He tried to show his friends that secession would mean ruin to the South, and he would have been a powerful influence at the opening of the war if it had not been for his illness. In May, 1865, he was appointed purchasing agent for the Federal cavalry forces under Gen. J. H. Wilson, and later under General Croxton. He served in that capacity until the troops were mustered out of the service, Aug. 1, 1865. In the fall of that year, having the interests of his family in mind, he removed from Georgia to Westport. Mo., and soon afterward to Cass county, in the same state. While living there he became a participant in one of the most heated political contests ever waged in Missouri, over the enforcement of what was known as the "Drake Code." In 1867 he came to Kansas and located on a farm on Pony creek, in Miami county. On June 22, 1872, he suffered another stroke of paralysis, which prostrated him for two years. In the fall of 1874, believing himself permanently disabled, he went to live at Paola, and on March 20, 1875, purchased a half interest in the "Miami Republican;" two years later he purchased the other half interest and became sole proprietor. When he bought it the paper was not in a prosperous condition, but, with the assistance of his son, Mr. Rice soon built up the circulation to over 2,000, placed it upon a sound financial foundation, and it soon became one of the leading Republican papers of that section of the state. In 1880 he purchased the "Fort Scott Monitor" and soon sold the "Republican." Removing to Fort Scott he continued to conduct the "Monitor." In 1884 he was nominated and elected an elector on the Republican ticket, headed by James G. Blaine. Five years later he became one of the promoters of a railroad from Natchez, Miss., to Bastrop, Ark., a distance of 100 miles. During his absence his sons conducted his paper. Mr. Rice has the honor of being a delegate to the Interstate Mississippi River Improvement & Levee Association, when delegates from eight states met at Vicksburg, Miss., and was selected as a member of the executive committee of the organization. He spent some time in Washington, D. C., in behalf of the organization, and secured from Congress an increased appropriation for levees along the Mississippi river. In 1893 Mr. Rice established the "La Porte Chronicle," at La Porte, Tex., and went there to live, but sold the paper in 1896 and returned to Fort Scott. Within a short time he went to Sedalia, Mo., and established the "Sedalia Capital," with his son as partner. He conducted the paper until 1898, when he disposed of his interest and retired from active journalism, having been editor or proprietor of a newspaper for an even fifty years. He returned to Fort Scott and lived there until his death. Mr. Rice joined the Masonic fraternity in 1849 and was always an honored member of that organization. On Dec. 1, 1847, he married Nancy Russell, of North Carolina, and ten children were born of this union. Of these children there are now living William M., Richard P., Henry V., Loula, wife of William C. Gunn; Flora, wife of Dr. W. S. McDonald; and Oscar. The other children were Edwin D., who died in 1871; Emma P. and Georgia, who died in 1873; and David R., a well known business man of Kansas City, Mo., who died in 1898. A granddaughterGeorgia Paxton Ricereared by Mr. and Mrs. Rice, died in 1903.Pages 302-303 from volume III, part 1 of Kansas: a cyclopedia of state history, embracing events, institutions, industries, counties, cities, towns, prominent persons, etc. ... / with a supplementary volume devoted to selected personal history and reminiscence. Standard Pub. Co. Chicago : 1912. 3 v. in 4. : front., ill., ports.; 28 cm. Vols. I-II edited by Frank W. Blackmar. Transcribed December 2002 by Carolyn Ward. This volume is identified at the Kansas State Historical Society as microfilm LM195. It is a two-part volume 3.
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