Children of Elizabeth Brooks (1747/1750 – 1816) and Husband George Rice (abt. 1743 – 1792): Edmund Rice (1778/1779 – 1797) and George Rice (abt. 1780 – 1814)

Edmund Rice

Edmund’s will reads as follows:

In the name of God Amen I Edmund Rice being very sick and weak, but of a sound and perfect Memory thanks be to God for the same to constitute and ordain this to be my last Will and Testament in manner and form following. Item I give and bequeath John Rice son of my sister Betty Rice all the landed Property I am entitled to in Frederick County State of Virginia from my Fathers will and all my landed Property in Kentucky and elsewhere. 

Item, I give and bequeath to my honored Mother Betty Rice my mare & colt and the increase of the said mare I give to my brother George Rice. Also I constitute and appoint my Friends Mr. Micajah Roach Mr. James McDonald and Mr. Joshua Wilson to execute and fulfill this my last Will and Testament. In Witneſs whereof I have hereunto set my hand and affixed my seal this Twentieth day of April one Thousand Seven Hundred and Ninety Six. 

In presence of 

James Jones 

William McCormick

The will has a seal but no signature. Both William McCormick, who had married Edmund’s sister Elizabeth the preceding year, though she’s named as Betty Rice in the will, and James Jones proved the will in court in April 1797.

The will doesn’t provide us with any clear indicator of Edmund’s age at the time he died. The will suggests Edmund was unmarried at the time he died and had no personal property other than a mare and colt. It also suggests that the land in both Virginia and Kentucky that Edmund was leaving to his nephew John Jehu Rice had come to him from his father’s estate, so the fact that he was a land owner at the time of his death doesn’t necessarily mean that he had come of age — and the absence of records showing him acquiring property prior to his death suggests to me he may have still been a minor at the time he made his will. If that’s correct, then he may have been born after 1776-8. 

The previously discussed 15 April 1808 complaint of Bartholomew Smith in the chancery court case he filed against George Rice’s heirs in Augusta County, Virginia, lists Edmund between Mary and George in the enumeration of George Rice’s heirs.[2] I’ve suggested in a previous posting that Mary may have been born in the 1776-8 time frame. I don’t find clear indications of George Jr.’s year of birth, but if Edmund followed Mary and was then followed by George, Edmund may have been born around 1778-9 and George around 1780. In the absence of other documents pointing to Edmund’s date of birth, I don’t think his birth year can be estimated more accurately than this. It’s also possible, of course, that Bartholomew Smith’s list of children of George Rice doesn’t give their names in order of birth, though a number of indicators suggest to me that the list has the children in their proper birth order.

We’ve also found that, in addition to being listed as a deceased son of George Rice in Bartholomew Smith’s 1808 complaint against George Rice’s heirs, Edmund is also named as George’s deceased son in the August 1802 list of George’s heirs found in the file of the Augusta County, Virginia, chancery court case filed by Province McCormick against George Rice’s heirs.[3] As the posting just linked also tells us, deeds made by Edmund’s siblings on 14th and 21st August 1815 to William and Province McCormick also name Edmund as the deceased brother of the siblings.[4] Edmund is also mentioned again in the 12 August 1816 quitclaim deed the other heirs of George Rice made to Jehu Rice of their interest in the Kentucky lands of Edmund.[5]

Other than the preceding pieces of information, I have nothing more to tell you about George Rice and Elizabeth Brooks’s son Edmund, who died young, leaving his property to his nephew John Jehu Rice. He shared the name of George Rice’s brother Edmund, who has been confused with George’s son Edmund, so that beaucoup family trees erroneously report that George’s brother Edmund made a will in Frederick County, Virginia, in April 1796 and died by April 1797.

As was previously stated, George Rice’s brother Edmund had a wife Ruth whose name appears in a 1 June 1773 deed Edmund and Ruth made to Michael and Bartholomew Smith in Frederick County, Virginia.[6] George names his brother Edmund in his 1792 will in Woodford County, Kentucky, and this tells us Edmund was living at that point. The will of Edmund’s father Patrick Rice, 8 June 1798, in Frederick County does not name his son Edmund, so it’s possible that Edmund had died by June 1798.[7] I have done very little research regarding George Rice’s brother Edmund; there’s much more to be done, I suspect. The fact that far too many researchers have confused George Rice’s son Edmund with George’s brother Edmund poses a problem for researchers who take this inaccurate information for granted, though.

George Rice

About George Rice’s son George, I also have limited information. George Rice Jr. left a will in Frederick County, Virginia, dated 21 January 1814, naming his wife Elizabeth as his sole heir.[8] The will (see image at the head of the posting) reads as follows:

In the name of God Amen I George Rice of the town of Winchester tavern keeper being in a low State of health but of a Sound mind do hereby declare my last Will and Testament in the disposal of my worldly goods. First I do order and direct that all my Just debts be paid and my burial expences of the first money which can be made of my effects and all which may then remain of my estate real personal or mixed to be the property and for the use and benefit of my beloved wife Elizabeth forever. Secondly I do appoint an ordain my said wife Elizabeth the executrix of this my last Will and Testament and I do hereby revoke and annul all wills by me heretofore made and to declare this to be my last Will and Testament this 21st day of January 1814. 

George Rice 

Signed and declared in 

the presence of 

John Hoff 

Daniel Overaker 

John Poe

Winchester, Virginia, Personal Property Tax List 1814,  available digitally at Family Search website

I have found no probate information for this will, so the most definite thing I can say about when George Rice’s son George died is that he died after 21 January 1814, probably in Winchester, Virginia. George Rice appears on the 1814 personal property tax list in Winchester taxed for 4 free males aged 16+, three enslaved persons aged 16+, and two horses, and then disappears from the Winchester tax list in 1815, which includes Daniel Overaker and John Hoff, and shows a listing for heirs of Jacob Poe.[9] This may well indicate that George died in 1814 after making his will in January. 

It should be noted that when the heirs of George Rice Sr. deeded land to William and Province McCormick on 14 and 21 August 1815 in Frederick County, George Rice younger was not among the heirs making this deed — another indicator that he had died by 1815.[10] George younger is also not included among the heirs of Edmund Rice quitclaiming their interest in Edmund’s Kentucky lands on 12 August 1816 to John Jehu Rice.[11]

As noted above and previously, George Rice younger is listed as a son of George Rice elder in both the August 1802 list of George Sr.’s heirs found in the chancery court case file of Province McCormick’s suit against George Rice’s heirs, and the 15 April 1808 complaint of Bartholomew Smith against the Rice heirs.[12] As also stated above, the 1808 document lists George after his brother Edmund as it enumerates the heirs of George Rice Sr., and if Edmund was born about 1778-9, as I propose, then his brother George may have been born about 1780 or between that year and 1783 when his sister Rebecca is said to have been born. The August 1802 list of heirs in Province McCormick’s chancery suit also tells us that by that date, George Rice younger had married Elizabeth. 

As a previous posting has told us, when Elizabeth Brooks Rice filed suit against William and Province McCormick in Augusta County, Virginia, chancery court in May 1810, she presented to the court a 4 September 1804 (? the final digit of the year is blurred) agreement she had signed with the McCormick brothers, which mentions her son George Rice.[13] The agreement states that the McCormicks had paid her son George $750 and her $50 for their sixth part of the estate of George Rice.

As we’ve seen previously, on 4 September 1809, George Rice younger and wife Elizabeth deeded to William and Province McCormick George’s share of his father’s land in Frederick County, Virginia.[14] The deed identifies George younger as a son and heir of George Rice.

George Rice is enumerated on the 1810 federal census in Frederick County, Virginia.[15] The census shows his household with a male 26-44, a male 16-25, and a male under 10, along with a female 45+, a female 26-44, and a female under 10. Note that this census places the birth year of both George and his wife Elizabeth as between 1766 and 1784, and that the household contains a woman born prior to 1766 who may be George’s mother Elizabeth Brooks Rice, who died in February or March 1816. If this is Elizabeth Brooks Rice, then the agreement Elizabeth had made in September 1804 (I think that’s the year: see above) which states that she and son George had received payments from Province and William McCormick for part of their share of the estate of George Rice Sr. may indicate that George and his wife Elizabeth were living and farming with George’s mother in these years.

As a previous posting also shows us, George Rice was among the heirs of George Rice Sr. who deeded land to Bartholomew Smith in Frederick County, Virginia, on 28 February 1811.[16] This deed states that the land transaction was an outcome of the lawsuit Smith had filed against the Rice heirs in Augusta chancery court in 1808. 

I don’t find George Rice on the tax list in either Winchester town or Frederick County prior to his appearance in Winchester in 1814 noted above.[17] This makes me think that he had only recently begun to operate a tavern in Winchester when he made his will in 1814. In launching a career as a tavern keeper, he would have been following in the footsteps of his sister Ruth and husband Micajah Roach and Mary and husband Joshua Wilson.

I have found no information about any children George Rice Jr. and his wife Elizabeth may have had. As noted above, his 1814 will names only Elizabeth, making her his sole heir. If the younger males and females in their household in 1810 belong to George and Elizabeth, then the couple may well have had children. If so, I haven’t discovered their names — and I find Elizabeth on neither a tax list after 1814 nor on the 1820 federal census in Frederick County. I have not found a record of Elizabeth remarrying after George died, nor have I found a record of her maiden surname.

A few notes about Daniel Overaker (1768-1819) and John Hoff (1778-1859) who witnessed the will of George Rice: Daniel was named a councilman of Winchester on 4 March 1808.[18] The Overaker, Hoff, and Kiger families (the latter a family into which George Rice’s sister Rebecca married) — all families with German origins — are interconnected in various ways. For instance, on 29 October 1806, Daniel Overaker and his wife Susannah sold to John Kiger a portion of a lot in Winchester.[19] Daniel and wife Susannah (née Freidley) are buried in Winchester’s Centenary German Reformed (now United Church of Christ) cemetery, as are Daniel’s brother-in-law John Hoff and wife Elizabeth, who was Daniel Overaker’s sister. The John Hoff who married Elizabeth Overaker was father of the John Hoff who witnessed George Rice’s will.

In my next posting, I’ll share what I know about George Rice and Elizabeth Brooks’s last child, Rebecca, and husband George W. Kiger.

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

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

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

[4] Frederick County, Virginia, Deed Bk. 37, pp. 431-9.

[5] Ibid., 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.

[6] Frederick County, Virginia, Deed Bk. 16, pp. 309-313.

[7] Frederick County, Virginia, Will Bk. 6, pp. 456-7.

[8] Ibid., Bk. 9, p. 277.

[9] Winchester, Virginia, Personal Property Tax Lists 1814, 1815, available digitally at Family Search website. See also “The Independent City of Winchester Property Owners for 1815,” transcribed by Charlotte Brown at the USGenweb website for Frederick County, Virginia. 

[10] Frederick County, Virginia, Deed Bk. 37, pp. 338-345, pp. 431-9.

[11] See supra, n. 4.

[12] See supra, n. 2 and n. 3.

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

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

[15] 1810 federal census, Frederick County, Virginia, p. 346.

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

[17] See supra, n. 8.

[18] J.E. Norris, History of the Lower Shenandoah Valley Counties of Frederick, Berkeley, Jefferson and Clarke, etc. (Chicago: Warner, 1890), p. 180.

[19] Frederick County, Virginia, Deed Bk. 30, p. 240.

2 thoughts on “Children of Elizabeth Brooks (1747/1750 – 1816) and Husband George Rice (abt. 1743 – 1792): Edmund Rice (1778/1779 – 1797) and George Rice (abt. 1780 – 1814)

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