Thomas J. Rice, BiographyPorter County biographical sketches . . . .

Transcribed biography of Thomas J. Rice


Thomas J. Rice, proprietor of Rice's popular cafeterias at Hutchinson, this county, is a native of Ohio, having been born in Scioto county, that state, April 11, 1872, son of Charles and Sarah (Kirkpatrick) Rice, both natives of that same state, the latter of whom is still living, making her home with her son, the subject of this sketch, at Hutchinson.

Charles Rice was reared on a farm in Ohio and when the Civil War broke out enlisted in Company G, Ninety-first Regiment, Ohio Volunteer Infantry, and served three years in the Army of the East, under General Sheridan. He married in Ohio and remained there until 1876, in which year he came West with his family, settling in Holt county, Missouri, where he bought eighty acres of land and farmed for two years, at the end of which time he moved to Atchison county, same state, where he bought eighty acres and remained seven years. He then moved to Pawnee county, Nebraska, where he bought a farm of two hundred and forty acres and remained for ten years, at the end of which time he sold his place to advantage and moved to Prairie county, Arkansas, where he bought four hundred and eighty acres and after seven years residence there moved to the Creek Nation (now Rogers county. Oklahoma), Indian Territory, and had become well established there when he died, his death occurring in September, 1894, while making a visit to the Chickasaw Nation. He never had a law suit in his life. To Charles Rice and wife four children were born, these besides the subject of this sketch being, John W., a farmer, of Rogers county, Oklahoma; Charles J., a farmer, of Pawnee county, Nebraska, and David A., who died on his farm in Prairie county, Arkansas.

Thomas J. Rice was but four years old when his parents came West and he grew to manhood on his father's farms in Missouri and Nebraska, finishing his school days in high school in the latter state. He married in the fall of 1894 and continued farming with his father until 1902, in which year he engaged in the general mercantile business in the Indian Territory and was thus engaged for seven years, after which he bought a farm in Nowata county, Oklahoma, where he made his home for three years. He then moved to Ford county, same state, where he remained, farming, until he moved to Hutchinson, where, on September 12, 1914, he and his wife opened, at 12 Second avenue, east, the first cafeteria established in that city. So successful did this venture prove that on November 9, 1915, Mr. and Mrs. Rice opened cafeteria No. 2, at 21 South Main street and have since been very successfully operating both places. Mr. Rice has taken an active interest in the general welfare of the city since moving to Hutchinson and is a member of the Commercial Club. He is a Republican and takes an earnest interest in local politics, but is not an office-seeker. He is a member of the Hutchinson post of the Sons of Veterans, of the Knights of Pythias and of the Odd Fellows.

It was in the fall of 1894, in Pawnee county, Nebraska, that Thomas J. Rice was united in marriage to Nellie Sovereign, who was born in Caldwell county, Missouri, November 26, 1876, daughter of Abram and Eunice (Tabor) Sovereign, the former a native of Canada and the latter of Indiana. Abram Sovereign was but a boy when his parents emigrated from Canada to Indiana and settled in Porter county, that state, in the neighborhood of Valparaiso, where he grew to manhood and where he married Eunice Tabor, who was born near Valparaiso. In the latter sixties Abram Sovereign came West, settling in Caldwell county, Missouri, where he remained until 1896, in which year he moved to Pawnee County, Nebraska, where he remained nine years, at the end of which time he returned to Missouri and settled in Vernon county, that state, where he spent the rest of his life, his death occurring in June, 1899. His widow, who still survives, is now making her home in Hutchinson, this county. Seven children were born to Abram Sovereign and wife, as follow: Chester E., deceased; Schuyler C., of Hutchinson; Grant, who is associated with Mr. Rice in the operation of the Rice cafeterias in Hutchinson; Nettie, who married William Scott a farmer, and died in Pawnee county, Nebraska; Leonard, a farmer, of Galesburg, Illinois; Myrtle, who married George W. Hofsess, who is associated with Mr. Rice in the operation of the latter's cafeterias in Hutchinson, and Fred, railway station agent and telegraph operator at Satanta, this state.

To Mr. and Mrs. Rice three children have been born, Alvin, born in Prairie county, Arkansas, July 6, 1895; Fay L., born in that same county, May 11, 1897, and Alta Eunice, born in Nowata county, Oklahoma, June 16, 1909, all of whom are a home. The Rice's have a handsome home at 19 sixteenth avenue, east, built in 1915, and are very pleasantly situated.

Source: Ploughe, Sheldon. 1917. History of Reno County, Kansas: Its People, Industries and Institutions. Volume II. Indianapolis, Indiana: B. F. Bowen & Company, Inc. 371 p.
Page(s) in Source: 376-378

This biography has been transcribed exactly as it was originally published in the source. Please note that we do not provide photocopies or digital scans of biographies appearing on this website.

Biography transcribed by Steven R. Shook


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