Cyrus R. Rice, one of the early missionaries and first preachers of Kansas, was born near Lebanon, Tenn., Aug. 27, 1833, son of James Porter and Casandra (Hearne) Rice. His father was born in county, Tennessee, May 6, 1811, and was educated in the subscription schools and at Lebanon Academy. Upon completing his literary education he graduated in the Jefferson Medical College, at Philadelphia, Pa. After receiving his degree he returned to his old home to engage in the practice of his profession and remained there until 1867, when he opened an office at Patterson, Mo., where he was actively engaged until his death in 1868. Casandra Hearne was born in North Carolina, in 1816, and was reared in the faith of the Methodist Episcopal church. She died in Tennessee, in 1858. Cyrus R. Rice was educated at Hickory Grove Academy, near Lebanon, and subsequently studied medicine at the Shelby Medical College, Nashville, Tenn., but never followed that profession. Like his mother, he was a devout Christian and, in 1853, left Tennessee for Missouri, where he united with the St. Louis Conference of the Methodist Episcopal Church, South. The next year he was licensed to preach and was appointed to the Thomasville circuit, filling twenty-one appointments every three weeks in Oregon county. In September, 1855, he was sent to Kansas as missionary for the church, located at Osawatomie, and organized societies in counties on the frontier. He returned to Patterson, Mo., and married Lucy Ann, daughter of W. S. and Rebecca McCormick, March 9, 1856. They made the return trip to Kansas on horseback. Soon after this Mr. Rice was assigned the work of organizing societies all along the Neosho river, from Cofachique, which was near the present town of Iola, to Council Grove. In the fall of 1856 he went to Fort Scott, then a military post, and organized a congregation. Leaving the post he went to Tecumseh, Shawnee county, then the seat of justice, and, during the two years he had charge, built the first church, since used as a school building. In 1859 he was assigned to old Shawneetown, where he ministered for two years. During the Civil war the Methodist Episcopal Church, South, withdrew from Kansas, and Mr. Rice was without regular appointment until March, 1865, when he united with the Kansas conference of the Methodist Episcopal church and was given charge of the congregations at Centropolis and Prairie City for a year. In 1866 he returned to Fort Scott and organized the first Methodist Episcopal church there. The next year, 1867, he removed to Lyon county and organized the District of Emporia, which at that time comprised the territory from Burlingame to Wichita and from Council Grove to Chetopa. His headquarters were at Burlington. He was the first presiding elder of the Emporia district and organized churches at Eureka, Eldorado, Augusta, Douglass, Marion, Wichita, Chetopa, Oswego, Independence, and other smaller places. After working as presiding elder four years, Mr. Rice was appointed pastor of the Sixth Street Methodist Church at Leavenworth; he was there one year, at Ottawa two years, and at Parsons one year, in the same capacity, and then became associate editor of the "Emporia News," with Jacob Stotler. This paper vas founded by the late Preston B. Plumb, United States senator from Kansas. Severing his connection with the paper, Mr. Rice preached at Humboldt a year, at Burlington three years, and at Emporia one year. in 1880 he was again appointed presiding elder of the Emporia district and served four years. In 1884 he was sent as pastor to Eureka, Independence, Cherryvale, Baldwin, Oswego, Hartford, Americus, and PIeasanton successively. In 1904 he preached his semi-centennial sermon at Baldwin, before the annual conference, and retired from active work. He now lives at his comfortable home, in Hartford. Mr. Rice has four sons: Charles H. is a civil engineer with the New York Central railroad; Edwin T. is pastor of the Methodist church at Hartford; Merton is pastor of the First Methodist Church at Duluth, Minn., and Cyrus O. is professor of music in the high school at Spokane, Wash.
Mr. and Mrs. Rice celebrated their golden wedding anniversary at Hartford, March 9, 1906. They are both hale and hearty, and enjoy heir home, "Rice's Rest."Pages 508-509 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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