Family Stories

John Henry Rice, Obituary

The Memphis Appeal, Memphis, Tennessee


John Henry Rice, for forty-two years a resident of this city, died at his home, 253 Adams Avenue, Sunday morning.  To countless friends this announcement brought the most profound sorrow, for it is doubtful if within her citizenship Memphis held a man more universally admired and beloved than he.  He was a personality entirely unique, a character pronounced, and distinct, a genius for making and holding friends.  Nature blessed him with a heart as soft and as tender as a woman’s, a genial wit that effervesced like sparkling wine and carried sunshine into every company that he graced.  No more steadfast friend ever lived to share the sorrows of his kind, nor has one passed into his rest whose passing left a greater void.  He was unquestionably one of the most popular men of the city and counted among his friends the rich and poor alike.  He was a man of more than local celebrity, being widely known and admired in Kentucky, that state from which he came, and to which he made an annual pilgrimage for many years.  Born at Harrodsburg, Kentucky, in 1847, he lived there until the war, when he joined the army, and was noted for his valor, as well as being the youngest soldier in the famous Morgan cavalry, with which he served until the close of hostilities.  He came to Memphis about 1866, and entered the cotton business with the then leading firm of Hill, Fontaine & Co., and remained with them for 30 years.  In the trade he was recognized as an authority in his branch, and was highly regarded in this country and abroad.  He was in active business until two years ago, when failing health compelled his retirement, but to the end he retained an enthusiastic interest in everything pertaining to cotton.  In his death the trade loses a representative of prominence, his business associates a friend and wise counsellor.  The friends who knew him best and love him most recognize that in his passing they have sustained a great loss, and these, with numberless others, join in deepest sympathy, with the grief-stricken wife and daughters left behind.


The Harrodsburg Herald, Harrodsburg, Kentucky

Thursday, May 9, 1907

John H. Rice

A Native of Mercer County Died in Memphis Sunday

The remains of Mr. John H. Rice (Corporal) who died in Memphis Sunday morning, arrived here Tuesday and were taken to the residence of Col. John B. Thompson, where Dr. J. G. Hunter conducted brief funeral services, after which the remains were interred in Spring Hill Cemetery.  Mr. Rice was sixty years of age and a native of this county.  At an early age he entered the Confederate service, was captured and confined in Camp Douglass for many months.  At the close of the war he went to Memphis and was in the employ of Hill, Fontaine and Co., until seven years ago, when the firm retired from business and Mr. Rice conducted it in his own name.  While with the firm as an employee he received a salary of $5,000 a year and was considered one of the finest cotton experts in the south.  In 1870 he married Miss Sue Chambers, of this city.  His wife and two children, Miss Alean and Mrs. W. A. Brown, who resides in Florida, survive him.  He spent the summers here and was a jolly, whole-souled gentleman.  Two years ago he was stricken with paralysis and since then has been in declining health.  Many were the regrets expressed at his death.  The following comrades, who served with him in Morgan’s command, met the remains at the depot and attended the funeral in a body.  J. D. Bryant, John Milburn, J. B. Robards, Dr. Davis Thompson, J. B. Thompson, C. M. Bonta, G. N. Handy, J. F. Witherspoon, Smith Hansford, J. B. Nooe, Judge T. M. Cardwell, Keeling Armstrong, W. J. Hanna, James Woods.  Many handsome floral tributes from Memphis friends and business firms accompanied the remains here, and a number of friends here have contributed flowers.  His sister, Mrs. Mattie Hall and daughter, of Bourbon County, attended the funeral.

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