Children of Mary Brooks (d. 1787, Frederick County, Virginia) — Elizabeth Brooks (1747/1750 – 1816) and Husband George Rice (abt. 1743 – 1792)

In two previous series, I have tracked lines stemming from Mary’s son Thomas, my direct ancestor, and her daughter Mary, who married Jacob Hollingsworth. The series about Thomas Brooks (about 1747 – 1805) begins here. It was preceded by a series about Thomas’s son Thomas (1775 – 1838) and wife Sarah Whitlock, also my direct ancestors, which begins here. My series about Mary Brooks (1745/1750 – after 15 May 1815) and husband Jacob Hollingsworth begins here.

As a previous posting also notes, for a number of reasons, it seems clear to me that Mary Hollingsworth was the oldest child of Mary Brooks, and that her sister Elizabeth Rice was Mary’s next child. This is why, having discussed Mary Hollingsworth and her family for a generation or two down the line, I am now turning to Elizabeth Brooks and her husband George Rice as I climb back up the Brooks tree.

How We Know That Elizabeth Brooks Married George Rice

An important first question to ask as we look at data about Elizabeth, daughter of Mary Brooks of Frederick County, Virginia: How do we know that Elizabeth married George Rice? As I note above, we do definitely know that by 9 July 1786, Mary’s daughter Elizabeth had married a Rice, but the will does not provide a given name for Elizabeth’s husband. 

A fairly substantial body of evidence strongly indicates that George Rice’s wife Elizabeth, whose name appears in a number of documents including wills made by both George and Elizabeth, was Elizabeth, daughter of Mary Brooks. As I’ve indicated previously, the first record I have found in Frederick County that I can say with certainty is a record of the family of Mary Brooks is a 2-3 March 1767 deed of Patrick Rice selling land to John Rice, with Thomas Brooks, son of Mary, as a witness to the transaction.[2]

Patrick Rice deed to George and Edmund Rice, 25 September 1754, Frederick County, Virginia, Deed Bk. 3, pp. 462-4

We know that Patrick Rice was the father of George Rice from multiple documents. As the posting linked in the paragraph above tells us, for instance, on 25 September 1754 Patrick Rice deeded land in Frederick County to George and Edmund Rice, stating that George and Edmund were his sons.[3] Edmund Rice had been a witness to Patrick’s March 1767 deed to John Rice that was witnessed as well by Thomas Brooks, brother of Elizabeth Brooks Rice. As we’ll see later, when George Rice made his will on 4 August 1792 in Woodford County, Kentucky, he named Edmund Rice as his brother.[4] The will also speaks of their father without naming him.

(I find both Edmund and Edmond as the spelling of Patrick Rice’s son in Frederick County records. Readers should be aware that both spellings occur in Frederick County documents.)

Patrick Rice’s September 1754 deed to sons George and Edmund and George Rice’s will naming Edmund as a brother establish, then, that the Patrick Rice whose March 1767 deed Thomas Brooks witnessed was father of George Rice, whose wife’s name Elizabeth is proven by other records. For instance, as has also been previously noted, on 26 May 1787, George Rice and wife Elizabeth deeded land in Frederick County to Anthony Crum, with the deed noting that the land bordered Patrick Rice, Anthony Crum, and others.[5] Thomas and James Brooks, sons of Mary Brooks, both witnessed this deed along with George Blakemore and William Smith. 

As also discussed previously, Anthony Crum witnessed the 9 July 1786 will of Mary Brooks in Frederick County.[6] Putting these documents together, we can surmise that the Brooks, Rice, and Crum families all lived in close proximity to each other in Frederick County — and that there were clear ties between the Rice and Brooks family that help to account for the marriage of George Rice to Elizabeth Brooks.

A 1 June 1812 relinquishment of dower rights by Elizabeth Rice further shows that George Rice’s wife was named Elizabeth. This instrument shows Elizabeth, as relict of George Rice, relinquishing dower rights in a tract in Frederick County described in a deed of trust dated 28 January 1790 when Elizabeth and husband George sold the land to James Thompson, who later sold to George S. Lane.[7]

Who Were George Rice and Elizabeth Brooks’s Six Children?

George Rice’s 4 August 1792 will in Woodford County, Kentucky, mentioned above also states that his wife was Elizabeth.[8] Elizabeth, too, died testate with a will dated 18 February 1816 in Frederick County, Virginia (see the top of this posting for digital images of the will).[9] As we’ll see when we discuss Elizabeth’s will in detail, it names only one of her children, Rebecca and husband George W. Kiger, along with their children. George’s will does not name his children, but speaks only of “my six children” to whom George devises land. 

Will of George Rice, 4 August 1792, Woodford County, Kentucky, Will Bk. A, pp. 72-4

Much misinformation about the names of George Rice and Elizabeth Brooks’s children is in circulation in published and online accounts of this family. Many of these accounts have turned a grandson of George and Elizabeth, their grandson John Jehu Rice, into one of their children (and many accounts compound the confusion by turning John’s middle name into Lehugh or Lehew and also by misidentifying George Rice’s son Edmund, who left his estate to his nephew John Jehu, as George’s brother Edmund). Here’s accurate information about the six children:

Complaint of Bartholomew Smith, 15 April 1808, Bartholomew Smith v. Exrs. of George Rice, Augusta County, Virginia, Chancery Court 1810-127, case 49

We learn the names of George and Elizabeth’s children from a bill of complaint Bartholomew Smith made on 15 April 1808 when he filed suit against the executors and heirs of George Rice in Augusta County, Virginia, chancery court.[10] Smith states that on 19 September 1791, he bought 180 acres of land in Frederick County from George Rice, with the deed signed and sealed by George. Then his complaint goes on to state:

Your Orator further Sheweth, that soon after the period aforesaid, the Said George Rice departed this life having previously made and published his last will and Testament which said will was proved & admitted to Record by the motion of James McDonald & Micajah Roach, the Executors therein named, who qualified as such & took upon themselves the burthen of the execution thereof; and leaving a widow Elizabeth Rice and Six Children Namely, Ruthmarried to the aforesaid Micajah Roach[,] Polly married to — Wilson, Betsey married to William McCormick[,] Edmund[,] George[,] & Rebecca, of whom Betsy and Edmund are since dead the former leaving four Children by her said husband viz Province McCormick, Polly McCormick, Harriet McCormick, and Anna McCormick (who are her legal Representatives & infants under the age of twenty one years) the latter having previous to his death duly made & Published his last will and Testament whereby he devised all his Estate of every kind & description to a certain Jehu Rice also an infant under the age of twenty one years. 

Smith then stated that he had applied to the above named heirs of George Rice for a deed to the land he had bought, but George’s heirs had refused him a deed on the ground that he had not yet paid the money stipulated in the deed made by Rice to Smith. Hence his lawsuit….

Answer of William McCormick to Bartholomew Smith’s complaint, 29 September 1808, Bartholomew Smith v. Exrs. of George Rice, Augusta County, Virginia, Chancery Court 1810-127, case 49

Also in this case file is William McCormick’s answer to Smith’s complaint, filed 29 September 1808 in Frederick County, in which McCormick states that he is guardian of Jehu Rice and of his four children by Elizabeth Rice, then adds, “the sJehu Rice being the son of Betsy Rice now decwho was a Daughter of George Rice.” George and Rebecca Kiger made their answer to Smith’s complaint on 27 December 1809 in Frederick County, noting that “subsequent to the exhibition of the said bill a matrimonial connexion was formed between these respondents, Rebecca being the person designated in the bill as Rebecca Rice.” As we’ll see later, Rebecca married George W. Kiger in Frederick County on 5 January 1809.

The case file also tells us that when Bartholomew Smith filed his complaint, Ruth Roach, Polly Wilson, and George Rice were all living outside the Commonwealth of Virginia, and could not readily respond to the complaint.

Note that Bartholomew Smith’s complaint also proves that the Elizabeth Rice making her will in Frederick County on 18 February 1816 was George Rice’s widow: her will names one of these children of George and Elizabeth listed in the complaint, Rebecca with husband George W. Kiger, as her daughter. 

Will of Edmund Rice, 20 April 1796, Frederick County, Virginia, Will Bk. 6, pp. 281-2

The will of Edmund Rice naming his sister Elizabeth’s son John Rice as his heir was made 20 April 1796 in Frederick County.[11] In the will, Edmund states that he was bequeathing all the landed property in Frederick County, Virginia, to which he was entitled by his father’s will and all of his landed property in Kentucky and elsewhere to John Rice, son of his sister Betsy all his property that had come to him from his father and all of his land in Kentucky were to go to his nephew John Rice, son of his sister Betty Rice. Edmund also stipulates that he was leaving to his “honored Mother Betty Rice” his mare and colt and to his brother George the increase of the mare.

Edmund made Micajah Roach, husband of his sister Ruth, and Joshua Wilson, husband of his sister Mary, executors along with James McDonald, one of his father’s executors. William McCormick, soon to be husband of his Edmund’s sister Elizabeth, witnessed the will along with James Jones. The name “John” for Edmund’s nephew and legatee is clearly written in Edmund’s will; since the name appears as Jehu in every other document I’ve seen, I am assuming he was named John Jehu Rice. Because John and Jehu look much alike in cursive writing, the name is persistently mistranscribed as John when it’s actually Jehu in the document being transcribed.

Other documents having to do with the estates of both George Rice and his son Edmund corroborate Bartholomew Smith’s list of the children of George Rice and Elizabeth Brooks. In 1803, Province McCormick filed suit in Augusta chancery court against George Rice’s executors.[12] At issue was a deed that James McDonald, acting as one of George Rice’s two executors, made to Province McCormick on 23 April 1802 for 150 acres of land in Frederick County that George had bought from his brother John Rice, on which Micajah Roach had previously lived. McCormick alleged that McDonald had refused him title to the land because Roach would not approve of the land sale, and that McDonald was living on the land and profiting from it. 

Province McCormick’s purchase of George Rice’s land from George’s estate is confirmed in a complaint filed by James McDonald as estate executor against Samuel Morris in Augusta chancery court on 25 November 1802.[13] The complaint states that McCormick bought George Rice’s land for £750 12d 6p. The case file for Province McCormick’s suit against George Rice’s executors indicates that on 18 February 1806, Province and William McCormick, who were brothers, made bond to McDonald and assumed title to the tract of land.

August 1802 list of heirs of George Rice in Province McCormick v. Exrs. of George Rice, Augusta County, Virginia, Chancery Court 1808-143, case 106

Documents in the case file list George Rice’s heirs who were co-defendants with his two executors in this lawsuit. In August 1802 their names appear as Micajah and Ruth Roach, William and Betsy McCormick, Joshua and Mary Wilson, Rebecca Rice, George Rice, Betsy Rice, and Jehu Rice an infant devisee of Edmund Rice who was the son and devisee of George Rice, and who had died. The list of heirs also speaks of the unnamed wife of James McDonald as George Rice’s heir. I have seen no other document providing information about a wife of James McDonald as the heir of George Rice.

The case file also provides other valuable pieces of information: Micajah Roach, George Rice’s son-in-law and co-executor of his will with James McDonald, died at some point between 2 January 1804 and February 1806, when documents in the case file begin speaking of McDonald as the surviving executor. As we’ll see when I discuss Ruth Rice and her husband Micajah Roach, he apparently died 15 July 1805 in Bardstown, Kentucky, where he and wife Ruth owned an inn.

And up to 2 March 1808, when documents in the case file indicate that McDonald had died, Edmund Rice’s son Jehu was under guardianship of James McDonald. At McDonald’s death, William McCormick became administrator of George Rice’s estate and also Jehu Rice’s guardian. 

Deed of George Rice Jr. and wife Elizabeth to William and Province McCormick, 4 September 1809, Frederick County, Virginia, Deed Bk. 32, pp. 15-16

Another document with information about George and Elizabeth Brooks Rice’s children: on 4 September 1809, George and Elizabeth’s son George, who also had a wife named Elizabeth, deeded William and Province McCormick George’s share in the Frederick County land that had come to him as a son of George Rice. The deed identifies George as a son and heir of George Rice.[14]

In addition, in May 1810, George Rice’s widow Elizabeth filed suit against her son-in-law William McCormick and his brother Province McCormick in Augusta County, Virginia, chancery court.[15] In her complaint, which was filed sometime prior to 28 May 1810 when William McCormick was summoned to court to answer the complaint, Elizabeth states that William McCormick had married her daughter, whose name is not given but who we know from other documents was Elizabeth’s daughter Elizabeth.

Elizabeth Rice’s complaint states that she had been left valuable property, to be enjoyed during her widowhood, by the will of her deceased husband George Rice. In 1804 or 1805, she moved to live with the family of William McCormick, who had married her daughter. When she made that move, she entered into a written agreement with McCormick and his brother to place her plantation stock and enslaved people in their hands to manage, with the understanding that they would see her 300-acre plantation managed and its profits shared with her, and that she would also enjoy partial use of 100 acres adjoining her plantation that the McCormicks had bought from George Rice. Elizabeth alleged that the McCormicks had not honored the agreement. 

Agreement by Elizabeth Brooks Rice with Province and William McCormick, 4 September 180[4?], Elizabeth Rice v. William McCormick, Augusta County, Virginia, Chancery Court 1810-44, case 46

The case file for Elizabeth Rice’s chancery suit against William and Province McCormick has a copy of an agreement she signed on 4 September 1804 (? the final digit in the date is blurred), which states that William and Province McCormick had paid her son George $750 and her $50 for her sixth part of the estate of George Rice. For those payments, the McCormicks were to enjoy the privilege of cutting timber on her land for the use of their farm adjoining the one on which she resided, the farm being land that the McCormicks had purchased from the executor of her deceased husband. The agreement has Elizabeth’s signature with John White witnessing.

Deed of Ruth Roach, Polly and Joshua Wilson, George Rice, and Rebecca and George W. Kiger to Bartholomew Smith, 28 February 1811, Frederick County, Virginia, Deed Bk. 33, pp. 366-7

On 28 February 1811, as the outcome of the suit Bartholomew Smith had filed in 1808 against the heirs of George Rice, Ruth Roach, Polly and Joshua Wilson, George Rice, and Rebecca and George W. Kiger deeded to Smith land in Frederick County, Virginia, bordering Anthony Crum.[16] Their deed states that a ruling in Smith’s case was made in chancery court at Staunton on 27 July 1810; the deed states that the parties named were children and heirs of George Rice, and were deeding land to Bartholomew Smith in conformity with the chancery court ruling, with William McCormick acting as administrator of George Rice’s estate. Appended to the deed is a 4 March 1811 directive from the commonwealth of Virginia to several justices of Fayette County, Kentucky, court stating that Polly Wilson could not easily travel to Frederick County, Virginia, to acknowledge this deed, and requesting that justices receive her acknowledgment in Fayette County, which was then made and recorded on 14 October 1811. 

Deed of Mary and Joshua Wilson, Ruth Roach, and Rebecca and George Kiger to William and Province McCormick, 14 August 1815, Frederick County, Virginia, Deed Bk. 37, pp. 338-345
Deed of Mary and Joshua Wilson, Ruth Roach, and Rebecca and George Kiger to William and Province McCormick, 15 August 1815, Frederick County, Virginia, Deed Bk. 37, pp. 431-9

In August 1815, on the 14th and 21st of that month, Mary and Joshua Wilson, Ruth Roach, and Rebecca and George Kiger, also deeded land from their share of George Rice’s estate to William and Province McCormick.[17] The deeds in this series of deeds state that each of those deeding property was a child of George Rice and that the land being deeded was out of tracts devised by Captain George Rice to his six children in his will. On 2 October 1815, Elizabeth Rice deeded her dower right in these pieces of land, noting that she was George Rice’s widow.

These deeds of George Rice’s children and heirs also state that they were heirs of their brother Edmund Rice. The deeds also state that the land in Frederick County the Rice heirs were deeding to William and Province McCormick bordered Anthony Crum and Bartholomew Smith, among others.

Deed of Joshua and Mary Wilson, Ruth Roach, George and Rebecca Kiger, William McCormick, and Elizabeth Rice to Jehu Rice, 12 August 1816, Frederick County, Virginia, Deed Bk. 39, pp. 150-5

On 12 August 1816, as heirs of Edmund Rice of Frederick County, Virginia, Joshua and Mary Wilson, Ruth Roach, George and Rebecca Kiger, William McCormick, and Elizabeth Rice deeded to Jehu Rice their interest in any land in the state of Kentucky previously belonging to Edmund Rice and left by Edmund’s will to his nephew Jehu.[18] The deed states that Edmund left all of his land in Frederick County, Virginia, and Kentucky to his nephew Jehu Rice on his deathbed, but without signing his will or having written all of it. The will was exhibited in court by its two witnesses and probated, without ever having been called into question. Virginia law stipulates, according to the deed, that a will which is not challenged within a seven-year period after probate is binding forever.  

That being the case and wishing to avoid litigation, the parties of the first part, as heirs of Edmund Rice, deeded their interest in all of Edmund’s land in Kentucky to Jehu Rice, who had sold his Frederick County land from Edmund Rice to Province and William McCormick, and had sold two lots in Louisville, Kentucky, that came to him his uncle Edmund to Joshua Wilson. The deed notes that William McCormick was acting as the widowed husband of Elizabeth Rice, deceased, another heir of Edmund. All parties signed, with those not living in Kentucky acting through powers of attorney.  

Joshua and Mary Wilson acknowledged the deed at Louisville in Jefferson County on 12 August 1816, with Mary relinquishing her dower rights, and it was recorded 15 August. Ruth Roach acknowledged the deed at Bardstown in Nelson County on 19 August 1816 and it was recorded the following day. George and Rebecca Rice acknowledged the deed in Frederick County, Virginia, on 5 November 1816, with Rebecca relinquishing dower, and it was recorded the same day.

In the posting that follows, I’ll begin documenting the lives of George and Elizabeth Brooks Rice in detail.


[1] Frederick County, Virginia, Will Bk. 5, p. 158.

[2] Frederick County, Virginia, Deed Bk. 11, p. 386-7.

[3] Ibid., Bk. 3, pp. 462-3.

[4] Woodford County, Kentucky, Will Bk. A, pp. 72-4.

[5] Frederick County, Virginia, Deed Bk. 21, p. 616.

[6] See supra, n. 1.

[7] Frederick County, Virginia, Deed Bk. 33, pp. 491-2. I have not found the 28 January 1790 deed of trust; it’s not indexed in the index to Frederick County deeds.

[8] See supra, n. 4.

[9] Frederick County, Virginia, Will Bk. 9, pp. 535-6.

[10] Bartholomew Smith v. Exrs. of George Rice, Augusta County, Virginia, Chancery Court 1810-127, case 49.

[11] Frederick County, Virginia, Will Bk. 6, pp. 281-2.

[12] Province McCormick v. Exrs. of George Rice, Augusta County, Virginia, Chancery Court 1808-143, case 106.

[13] George Rice Exrs. v. Samuel Morris, Augusta County, Virginia, Chancery Court 1804-73, case 9. In addition to cases I’m citing here, the index to chancery court cases in Frederick County shows a number of other cases filed regarding George Rice’s estate: in Frederick County, George Rice Exrs. v. Devs. of John Rice, 1800-16, no case number; Micajah Roach and Wife v. George Rice Exrs. 1806-65, no case number; Micajah Roach and Wife v. George Rice Exrs. 1813-26, no case number; and James Callan Admrs. v. George Rice Admrs. 1817-18, no case number. Is the last case possibly a case filed against administrators for George, son of George Rice and Elizabeth Brooks? Samuel Morris’s answer to the 25 November 1802 complaint of James McDonald states that Morris filed suit against George Rice’s executors in Frederick County in 1797, but Morris’s answer suggests that this suit never went to court and was settled out of court.

[14] Frederick County, Virginia, Deed Bk. 32, pp. 15-16.

[15] Elizabeth Rice v. William McCormick, Augusta County, Virginia, Chancery Court 1810-44, case 46.

[16] Frederick County, Virginia, Deed Bk. 33, pp. 366-7.

[17] Ibid., Bk. 37, pp. 338-345, 431-9. 

[18] Frederick County, Virginia, Deed Bk. 39, pp. 150-5. This deed is also recorded in Kentucky Court of Appeals Deed Bk. R, pp. 161f, with an abstract in Hattie M. Scott, “Heirs in Court of Appeals Deeds,” Register of Kentucky State Historical Society 42,140 (July, 1944), p. 256.

One thought on “Children of Mary Brooks (d. 1787, Frederick County, Virginia) — Elizabeth Brooks (1747/1750 – 1816) and Husband George Rice (abt. 1743 – 1792)

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.