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Full text of "Owen Rice, Christian, scholar and patriot; a genealogical, biographical and historical memoir"

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OWEN RICE 

Captain and Acting Major, U. S. V. 

1862.63 




1862 

OWEN RICE 

Captain Co. A, 1862-63, Acting Major, 1863 

153d Regiment, 

Pennsylvania Volunteer Infantry, 

1st Brigade, 1st Division, 11th Corps. 

Army of the Potomac. 




1886 



OWEN RICE 

(Christian, scholar and patriot 
A Genealogical, Biographical and Historical Memoir 

BY 

ETHAN ALLEN WEAVER, C.E., M.Sc. 

Member of the Historical Society of Pennsylvania ; 
Moravian Historical Society ; Pennsylvania-German 
Society ; Society of Sons of the Revolution; Society 
of American Wars; Society of the Army of the 
Potomac (Second Class) ; Etc., Etc. 



INSCRIBED TO 

The Boys of Company A, 1 5 3d Pennsylvania Volunteers 

Living and Departed 



b 






, \f 



^^ 



JUL 1»U 



Three Hundred Copies 
Privately Printed and Issued by 




GERMANTOWN. PA. 
July 1. 1911 



OWEN RICE 

CHRISTIAN. SCHOLAR AND PATRIOT 



OWEN RICE (5th), the subject of this memoir, was on his 
paternal side descended from ancient Welsh ancestry. 

Sir Elider Dhu, of the time of Richard the First (11 57-1 199), 
was the direct ancestor of the Rice family of Killymaenftwyd, 
County Carmarthen, Wales. Lord Rhys (Rice) built part of 
the castle of Dinevor and from this castle called his men to 
meet the Normans. He called this castle his own, when he 
confounded the Normans in their council and compelled them 
to yield him the title of Lord of South Wales. From Dinevor, 
Gruflfyd ap Rhys went forth to slay the three thousand Flemings 
and French. Later came Sir Rice ap Thomas, who joined his 
forces of three thousand men, comprising the flower and 
chivalry of South Wales, with those of the Earl of Richmond, 
and won the Battle of Bosworth (1485) in which Richard 
the Third was slain and which terminated the "War of the 
Roses." He was knighted on the field of battle, and the 
splendid estate which belonged to the princes of South Wales 
was bestowed upon him. Besides these honors he was made 
Lieutenant of Wales and the Lord of Narberth. 

His great-great-grandfather, the immigrant ancestor, REV. 
OWEN RICE (1st) of Haverford West, Wales, came to America 
with the "First Sea Congregation" of Moravians and landed 
in Philadelphia June, 1742. He was an itinerant English 
preacher in Philadelphia (1742), Bethlehem, Pa. (1744), 
in the Swedish settlements on the Delaware River in New 
Jersey (1746), Bethlehem (1747), was ordained in 1748, and was 
the first settled Moravian pastor in New York City (1750-54). 
During intervals he combined the practice of medicine and 
surgery as assistant to the regular physician with his labor 
in the gospel, having acquired considerable experience and 

(5) 



skill in this resj^ect. He returned to England in 1754, and was 
pastor at Kingswood, Leominster, Tytherton, England ; 
Gracefield, Ireland; Plymouth and Gomcrsal, P^ngland, where 
he died in 1785, his remains being removed to Fulneck, England, 
in 1787. He was an eloquent, impressive and popular preacher 
and pastor. He was twice married; first, in London, 1739, to 

Elizabeth ; born in London, England, January 

29, 1717; died at Wiltshire, England, 1756. In this marriage 
were born his children Elizabeth and OWEN, 2nd. He married, 
second, in 1757, Esther O'Neil, who died at Fulneck, June 23, 
1797, without issue. 

OWEN RICE (2nd), his great-grandfather, was born in New 
York City, 1751, and died at Bethlehem, 1820. He was from 
1784 to 1790 in charge of the inn and subsequently of the 
store for the congregation at Nazareth, Pa., and afterwards 
of the congregation store at Bethlehem; where he proved 
himself faithful and efficient. He married, in 1781, Elizabeth 
Eyerly of Nazareth, born 1760, died 1820. They had five 
sons, Joseph, OWEN (3rd), Jacob, John and William. 

OWEN RICE (3rd), his grandfather, was born at Nazareth 
in 1787 and died at Bethlehem in 1856. His boyhood was 
spent in the old diacony store at Bethlehem, succeeding his 
father in the management of it. He subsequently engaged 
in business for himself, but met with financial reverses in the 
panic of 1842. He was prominent in congregational and edu- 
cational affairs. In 1818 he was a deputy to the General 
Synod which met at Herrnhut, Germany, and in 1836 was 
elected the first President of the Bethlehem Public School 
District. He married, first, in 1811, Maria Rosina Vierling, 
born 1791, a teacher in the Moravian Seminary for Young 
Ladies at Bethlehem and a daughter of Dr. Vierling of Salem, 
N. C. She died in 1817 and had issue three sons, EDWARD, 
the only one who survived, a son, name unknown, and Owen 
(4th), who died two days after his mother; second, in 1819, 
Ann Carohne Schropp, in Bethlehem, born 1793, a teacher in 
the Moravian Seminary for Young Ladies. She died at 
Catasauqua in 1853 without issue. 

DR. EDWARD RICE, his father, who was considered the 
most learned man of his time in the Moravian Church in the 



United States, was born in Bethlehem in ISl.'i. He was 
educated at Nazareth Hall, which he entered in 1X25, and 
took the classical and theological courses in the Theological 
Seminary, 1S27-29. Taking up the study of medicine, he 
completed the course at the University of Pennsylvania in 
1834, with distinction, and practiced as a physician at Lititz, 
Pa., for a short time prior to 18.'^7. Further theological study 
led to his ordination as a deacon in the Protestant Episcopal 
Church, but after a short service in that denomination he 
returned to the Moravian Church and was appointed a professor 
in the TheologicalvSeminary, ISI^O to 1S49, and died in the latter 
year. 

Equipped with profound learning, warm piety and unselfish 
devotion, he was a man of exemplary character, one of the most 
amiable of men, free from pride and ostentation, yet dignified 
and commanding general respect. Called into consultation by 
physicians who held his medical skill in high regard, with re- 
spect to certain cases of smallpox in Catasauqua, he answered 
the call without hesitation, and while fearlessly and unsel- 
fishly ministering to his patients contracted the dread disease, 
to which he fell a victim in a few days, at the early age of 36 
years. The inscription on his tombstone at Bethlehem bears 
witness to his erudition and ])ersonal worth: " Liticranim 
lumen, tcrrarum tcncbris abumbratum, nobis cripuit ct in qhriani 
suam reccptiim salvmnjecit Dominus. " 

He married, on August 7, 1833, Juliana Augusta Eberman, 
born August 23, 181 5, a daughter of Rev. William Ebcrman and 
his wife Caroline Elizabeth (maiden name Lembke), and who 
before her marriage and during a part of her widowhood was 
a teacher in Linden Hall Seminary, Lititz. In 1872 she re- 
moved with her two daughters to Osborne, Kansas, where she 
died September 19, 1873, aged 58 years. There were born in 
this marriage three children — Caroline, who married Francis 
R. Grugcr, OWEN (5th) and Louisa, who married A. W. 
Fritchey, all now deceased. 

OWEN RICE of the fifth generation bearing that name was 
born at Lititz, October G, 183(), a son of Dr. Edward and Juli- 
ana Augusta Eberman Rice. In 1849 he entered Nazareth Hall 
as a pupil with a view to preparing for the ministry. In 1852 
he entered the Theological Seminary, then in charge of Rev. 



Edward Rondthaler, located at Nazareth in the" Sisters' House," 
now known as the "Castle." In 1855, when it was determined 
that a college in connection with the Theological Seminary 
should be established, the Rev. Edmund de Schweinitz, then 
pastor of the Moravian Church, Philadelphia, was asked to 
take charge of it, but not feeling at liberty to immediately give 
up his work in Philadelphia, the theological class, consisting of 
four members, removed to Philadelphia, taking up their resi- 
dence at the parsonage, where three of them completed their 
studies in July, 1850. These were Henry T. Bachman, after- 
wards a bishop in the Moravian Church; Owen Rice (5th) and 
Albert L. Oerter, pastor, professor and editor of Church publi- 
cations, and who alone survives. 

Samuel A. Huebner died in 185() just before completing the 
course. 

I\Ir. Rice graduated with honors from both institutions, 
whereupon he returned to Nazareth Hall as a teacher, where 
he remained until the close of 1863, except for the time he was 
in military service. In 18G2, when military drill was intro- 
duced at the Hall, he was chosen commandant of the corps of 
cadets. 

In all of these duties he displayed marked intelligence and 
the ability to impart knowledge. He was popular with the 
pupils, and though a strict disciplinarian was far from being a 
martinet. 

In the summer of 1862, when after repeated defeats of the 
Union Army around Richmond and on the Peninsula, and the 
war clouds were lowering, a Northern invasion was threatened 
and a draft was imminent in order to meet the call of the Presi- 
dent for fifty thousand men from Pennsylvania for nine months' 
services, a vigorous movement was begun throughout old 
Northampton County, Pa., to fill its quota of three hundred 
men by volunteer enlistments, which resulted in the recruiting 
of a full regiment wholly within the limits of the county. Meet- 
ings were held in towns, villages and at country crossroads, 
where the drum-beat brought together the old and young from 
the school-houses, workshops, farms, stores and offices, and the 
"Spirit of '76" was revived in the patriotic addresses delivered 
by distinguished speakers from home and abroad. 



9 

On July 28, 1862, a stirring meeting was held at Nazareth, 
and among resolutions adopted were the following : 

Resolved, By the people of the County of Northampton in Convention 
assembled, that we declare our unalterable attachment to the glorious 
Constitution framed and adopted by our fathers and of the Union of 
the States which it established; that we look to it as the safeguard of our 
liberties and the chief source of our prosperity and happiness as a people; 
that united by its bonds this community of States have successfully 
resisted and bid defiance to foes without, and that now, assailed by foes 
within, the brethren of our household, we will, looking to the God of our 
fathers for our iielp in time of trouble, solemnly devote all we have in 
this world, if need be, to the preservation and perpetuation of an unchanged 
Constitution and an unbroken Union. 

Resolved, That Northampton County, having at the beginning and 
through the continuance of this war manifested to the country and the 
world by the presence of her gallant sons in large numbers in the armies 
of the Republic that she would not be wanting in her duty, will not falter 
now, but will respond heartily and promptly to the call made by the 
President. 

Resolved, That we have heard with feelings of admiration and pride of 
the gallant conduct of the sons of old Northampton upon the various 
battlefields in defence of the flag; and that they may be assured that 
throughout this fearful conflict thousands of anxious hearts at home will 
watch with deep solicitude the progress of the struggle and be filled with 
thanksgiving and joy when the strong arms and stout hearts of them- 
selves and their comrades in arms shall win for us a final triumph. 

Provision was at once made for the collection by subscription 
and otherwise of moneys for the payment of bounties and the 
support of the families of those who should enter the service, 
and these calls were liberally responded to. 

Enlistments were at once begun; the quota of Nazareth 
Borough was thirty-four men, but almost immediately fifty 
had placed their names on the enlistment roll, which was supple- 
mented by further additions, so that the Nazareth company 
finally consisted of one hundred and two men, of whom thirty- 
three are now living, and the regiment, which was designated as 
the lo3rd Pennsylvania Volunteer Infantry, of nine hundred 
and eighty-eight. 

The recruits from Nazareth and vicinity perfected their organ- 
ization in the engine-house of the Vigilant Fire Company on 
North Main vStreet by selecting Owen Rice as their captain and 
Benjamin F. Shaum and John L. Miller, who was supplanted 



10 

by J. Clyde Millar, as lieutenants. Captain Rice with char- 
acteristic magnanimity waived the right to select his non- 
commissioned otTicers in favor of the men of his company, who 
accordingly elected them. The men composing Captain Rice's 
company, designated as Co. A, ranged in age from 15 to 45, 
as follows: one of 15 years, eleven of 18, five of 19, seven of 20, 
thirteen of 21, ten of 22, seven of 23, seven of 24, two of 25, 
three of 20, five of 27, seven of 28, two of 29, one of 30, two of 3 1 , 
two of 32, two of 33, one of 34, two of 35, two of 38, one of 39, 
one of 41, two of 43, three of 44, one of 45, and two unknown — 
an average age of about 20 years. The men of Company A 
were above the average in physical and mental development. 
They w'ere for the most part men who had enjoyed vigorous 
physical exercise and had reaped the benefits of the public 
school system and the superb advantages which the Moravian 
schools afforded. Captain Rice's lieutenants were brave and 
capable officers, Clyde Millar combining with these qualities 
a popularity and high order of intelligence, as is evidenced in 
his magnificent address at the dedication in 1889 of the regi- 
mental monument on Barlow's Knoll on the battlefield of the 
first day of Gettysburg. 

Upon the organization of the company, daily drills were 
held by Captain Rice in the public square at Nazareth from 
September 8th to September 22nd, and it was from the outset 
the best drilled company in the regiment. On September 
22nd, the company departed for Easton, Pa., and there joined 
the other companies of the regiment, departing thence on 
September 25th for Harrisburg, Pa., where they were mustered 
into service, October 7-1 1 , 1862. Before his departure, Captain 
Rice was presented with a revolver by the corps of cadets of 
Nazareth Hall. 

In the various marches and in camp life, Captain Rice gave 
his first thought to the comfort and welfare of his men. The 
battle of Chancellorsville, Va., May 1-3, 1863, was the great 
strategic battle of the Civil War and \Vas the last of a long 
series of Confederate victories — in point of fact, it was the high 
tide of their success. It was the fortune, or rather the mis- 
fortune, of the 153rd Regiment to occupy as part of the 1st 
Brigade, 1st Division, 1 1th Corps of the Army of the Potomac 



11 

a conspicuous position, in that it occupied the exlrciue right 
of Hooker's line of battle and where it received the full force 
of "Stonewall' ' Jackson's attack in his historic ilank movement 
which proved so disastrous to the Union Army in the defeat 
it sustained and to the Confederate Army in its loss of Jackson, 
who was mortally wounded near the line of the 11th Corps, 
his wounding at the time being attributed to a member of the 
iri3rd Regiment, but which, it is now accepted, was done by 
his own men through a misunderstanding. Captain Rice in 
this engagement performed distmguishcd services. 

fust before beginning the march from the winter camp at 
Potomac Creek Bridge near Brooke Station, nine miles north 
of Fredericksburg, Va., to the battlefield of Chancellorsville, 
Major Frueauff was detailed to the staff of Gen. Nathaniel 
C. McLean and afterwards of Gen. Charles Devens, respectively 
commanding the division, as acting assistant inspector- 
general, and Captain Rice was appointed acting major, which 
position he held until after the battle, when Frueauff rejoined 
the regiment and in the absence of the colonel and lieutenant- 
colonel commanded it. After the formation of the line of 
battle a party of skirmishers selected from the various regiments 
of the brigade was placed in command of Captain Rice for 
the purpose of feeling the enemy, which was reported to be 
advancing. Early in the afternoon of INIay 2nd the pickets 
of the enemy were encountered and the advance of a large 
force was no longer in doubt, whereupon Captain Rice sent the 
following message: 

On skinnisli lino on Culpeper l^oad. 2.4.") P. M. 
Col. L. Von Gilsa, 

Comd'g 1st Brig., 1st Div., 1 Itli Army Corps. 
A large body of the enemy anias.sinjz; in my front. For Ciod's sake 

make disposition.s to receive him. 

OWKN RICE, 
.\ct. Major 153rd P. V. 

This message was promptly delivered by Colonel von Gilsa 
to the corps connnander, and at the same time Captain Rice 
received orders from von Gilsa to maintain his position to 
extremity, but not to sacriiice his men, and engage the advance 
vigorotisly in retreat. Scarcely had the skirmishers reached 



12 

their commands (about 5 P. M.) when the enemy opened 
fire upon the right of the line, pushing forward with all its 
might. The men of the 158rd met the onslaught like tried 
veterans, retreating only after firing several volleys which 
Confederate prisoners reported to have fearfully mowed down 
the ranks of the advancing 1st Virginia Brigade. The casualties 
of Company A in this engagement were quite considerable; 
Privates Daniel and Stocker were killed or burned to death 
in the woods, which were set afire by exploding shells ; Captain 
Rice was desperately wounded in the left arm by a fragment 
of shell; Lieutenant Shaum, Sergeants Wm. M. Shultz and 
W. Henry Weaver, Corporals Banner, Wunderly, Gross and 
Nauman and Privates Etschman, Frankenfield, L. F. Gold, 
Herman, A. Johnson, Martin, Senseman, C. Smith and Werkhei- 
ser were captured and taken to Libby Prison. Captain Rice 
was taken to the field hospital, where he positively forbade 
the amputation of his arm, and as soon as possible was removed 
to Washington, D. C, and thence to his home. He was in- 
capacitated for further military service, and to the end of his 
life suffered indirectly from his wound. The wounding of 
Captain Rice, the capture of Lieutenant Shaum, and the 
absence on detached duty of Lieutenant J. Clyde Millar left the 
command of the company with First Sergeant Wm. R. Kiefer, 
who rallied the scattered men of the company as soon as it 
was possible to do so. 

On October 7, 1885, Captain Rice read a paper before the 
Ohio Commandery of the Military Order of the Loyal Legion 
of the U. S., entitled "Afield with the Eleventh Army Corps 
at Chancellors ville." In this address he defends the conduct 
of the 11th Corps against the charges made that it was com- 
posed of a disafTected foreign element, and shows conclusively 
that only a little more than one-third was German or foreign 
lineage, and these for the most part had become denationalized, 
and who "at Gettysburg with its threefold baptism of fire, 
and on every field from Lookout Mountain to the sea, wrote 
the courage of their convictions in answer to the aspersions 
of vaporing zealots, and overwhelmed with unfaltering devotion 
those cavillers who demanded of them the impossible at Chan- 
cellors ville." He furthermore graphically describes the march 



13 

of the regiment from winter quarters to Kelly's I'^^rd on the 
Rappahannock; its crossing there, and that of the Rapidan 
at Germanna Ford; the march to the battlefield of Chancellors- 
ville, and the events which followed to the close of the campaign 
and the return of the regiment to its former winter quarters 
at Potomac Creek. 

This valuable contribution to the history of our Civil War 
reflects to an eminent degree the ripe scholarship, knowledge 
of military affairs and the descriptive powers of its author. 

The serious disability of Captain Rice prevented his par- 
ticipating in the battle of Gettysburg, but his papers disclose 
the fact that he made a thorough study of that campaign, and 
as is also evidenced in the correspondence which he had after 
the war with commanding general officers who took part in it. 
Lieutenant Shaum, having been exchanged, returned to the 
regiment two days before the battle and assumed command 
of the company until wounded in the knee, when the command 
fell to Lieutenant J. Clyde Millar. 

At Gettysburg, as in the battle of Chancellorsville, the 153rd 
Regiment occupied conspicuous positions, and the important 
part which it took in both campaigns is recorded in the history 
of our great Civil War. 

At Gettysburg, on the first day, the regiment engaged the 
well-trained forces of General Early in the commands of 
Generals Gordon and Hays, and it was here General Barlow, 
commanding the division to which the regiment was attached, 
was seriously wounded, at the time thought mortally so, but 
survived to recent times to meet General Gordon and talk 
ovter the events of that day. In the first day's engagement 
occurred practically all of the casualties to the company. Re- 
treating through the town, the company took position with the 
regiment behind a low stone wall at the foot of East Cemetery 
Hill, where on the evening of July 2nd occurred one of the most 
sanguinary hand-to-hand conflicts of the Civil War; here 
the regiment met and assisted in repulsing the famous "Loui- 
siana Tigers," which up to this time had been a distinguished 
fighting organization of the Confederacy, but which after this 
day was never again heard of as an organization. 



14 

The casualties of the company in this engagement were: 
Killed: Privates Buss, W. Gold, J. Johnson and C. H. Miller; 
Wounded: Lieutenant Shaum and Privates Beer, Koenig, Neu- 
meyer, E. Ritter, J. Ritter, A. Ruth, W. H. Ruth, Schwab, 
J. F. Smith, Straub and Transue; Captured: Sergeant Kiefer, 
Corporal V. Heller, Privates W. H. Heller, Hoch, Kist, A. 
Ruth, Werner and Wohlbach. The efficiency of the company 
at no time during its enlistment reached the full number of 
102 men by reason of transfers, deaths from disease and other 
causes, so that the total casualties, as follows, for the year were 
in excess of one-half of the men actually engaged. 

Chancellors- ^, ,,„,,„ t^,„,. 

((ETTYSBURC. lOTAL. 
VILLE. 

Killed or died from mortal wounds 3 4 7 

Wounded .. 4 12 16 

Captvued 16 8 24 

Died of disease. .. . 3 

Total casualties ., 23 24 50 

Those who died from disease were Corporal T. Edward 
Frey, and Privates J. Kinkinger and SchafTer. 

Captain Rice was mustered out wdth the regiment July 24, 
18()3, and returned to Nazareth with the remnant of his com- 
pany after ten months of severe service, during which time it 
was conspicuously engaged in two of the greatest campaigns 
of the war, both of which are considered types of military cam- 
paigns and are studied as such by military students both in 
this country and abroad. 

The return of the remnant of Company A to the old town 
of Nazareth was an event of mixed joy and sorrow to that 
community. The reception badge worn upon this occasion 
reflects this feeling in the following lines which it bore in 
addition to the red crescent and names and dates of the two 
engagements in which it participated: 

"We hail the heroes' safe return 
To home and friends again, 
And mourn with tears of sympathy 
The gallant patriots slain." 

The writer recalls vividly the anxious moments of expecta- 
tion of the return of his father, who was a sergeant in the com- 
pany; the long line of vehicles which brought the veterans 



15 

from Kaston; iheir welcome' as they alighted at Main and 
Prospect Streets; their march through the town; the l)oiiniirul 
collation prepared for them on tables erected on the green in 
front of the new Moravian church, and finally the dispersing 
to their respective homes. The scenes in the homes to which 
there was no homecoming of loved ones, their absence having 
been made i>ermanent through the fortunes of war, cannot 
be described. 

Captain Rice at once resumed his duties at Nazareth Hall, 
in which he continued until the close of that year. In October, 
1863, he was elected a Deputy to the Pennsylvania State 
House of Representatives, and was a member of that bodv 
during the sessions of 18G4-(i5. He served on a number of 
important committees, notably those on Library, Railroads, 
Education and New Counties and County Seats. 

On July 20, IStio, Captain Rice addressed a letter to the Major- 
General of the U. S. Army asking for information as to how to 
proceed in order to exchange his pension certificate for a cap- 
tain's commission in the Veteran Reserve Corps, in which he 
stated that in the Chancellorsville campaign, he was severely 
wounded in the left arm, which sympathetically affected his 
whole frame and for the time incapacitated him for active ser- 
.vice, and being thus disabled he had sent a substitute for three 
years into the service. In endorsement of this application, 
Colonel Glanz, who commanded the lo3rd Regiment, wrote: 

Capt. Owen Rice has always been a faithful and brave officer and was 
much respected for his gentlemanly deportment by officers and by his 
regiment. He was a man of fine military talents and a strict disciplinarian. 

To this Governor Curtin added the following: 

Penna. Executive Mansion, 

Harrlsburg, Pa., Aug. 4, 1S65. 
General: 

I have the honor to request that favorable consideration be given the 

application of Owen Rice of Northampton Co. in this vState, late Capt. 

in the 153rd Regt. P. V., who .seeks an appointment as Captain in the 

Veteran Reserve Corps. Capt. Rice was badly womided at Chancellorsville 

and is an intelligent, reliable gentleman whose appointment would secure 

to the Corps a valuable officer. 

I am, General, very Respty., 

Vr. Oht. Svt., 

Brig. Genl. .J. B. Fry, A (1 (TRTIN. 

Pro. Mar. Genl. V. S., Govr. Pa. 

Washington, I). C. 



IG 

This was concurred in by Pyli Slifer, Secretary of the Common- 
wealth, and A. L. Russell, Adjt. Genl. Penna. 

In response to this request, Thos. M. Vincent, Asst. Adj. Genl. 
U. S. A. forwarded a circular of information from the War 
Department, dated March 17, 1865, giving the information 
desired. In the absence of information, it is safe to assume 
that his physical condition by reason of his wound disqualified 
him. 

In 180.3 Captain Rice remov^ed to Lancaster, Pa., where he 
engaged with his brother-in-law, Francis R. Gruger, in the drug 
business. This, however, proving uncongenial to him, the trend 
of his mind being toward technical pursuits, he about 18(39 re- 
moved to the West, first for some time engaging in the pro- 
fession of civil engineer at Pittsburg, and afterwards with the 
Grand Rapids & Indiana Railroad Company in Indiana. Whilst 
on the surveys of this railroad he married at Rome City, Ind., 
May 4, 1871, a most estimable lady, Mrs. Eleanore Mendham, 
a widow with five children, to all of whom he became very 
much attached, proving himself a devoted husband and loving 
father, which feeling of devotion and love w^as reciprocated by 
them for him. 

In 1873 he was appointed General Freight and Ticket Agent 
of the Cincinnati, Wabash & Michigan Railway Company, 
which position he occupied for fourteen years, the first five years 
of which he was located at Wabash, Ind., when his office was 
removed to Elkhart, Ind. During this time he became inter- 
ested in the formation of an interstate commerce law, and pre- 
sided at a meeting held in vSt. Louis, the first held tt) promul- 
gate the establishment of such a law. In 1887 he removed to 
Chicago to accept a position with another railroad, but was 
almost immediately seized with paralysis. On January 24, 
1890, his wife died, and his condition becoming more critical; 
his stepchildren took him to their old home at Rome City, Ind., 
where after a lingering illness, during which he was affection- 
ately cared for by his stepdaughter. Miss Sallie Mendham Rice, 
he died April 28, 1892, in the 56th year of his age. His remains 
lie at rest in the cemetery at Rome City. 

In his social relations. Captain Rice was a member of the 
Military Order of the Loyal Legion of the United States, Com- 
mandery of the State of Ohio, the vSociety of the Army of the 



17 

Potomac, the Grand Army of the Repubhc, a warrant member 
and the first secretary of Rome City Lodge, Free and Accepted 
Masons, and warden of St. John's Protestant Episcopal Church 
of Elkhart, Ind. 

The rector of the parish in which Captain Rice was the senior 
warden paid the following tribute to his memory: 

Major Rice was distinguished by traits of character which in all ages 
have commanded the respect and admiration of men. He was loyal to a 
cause, to a duty, to a creed, to a friend. He was incapable of a falsehood 
and hardly comprehended deceit in others. He brought to the discharge 
of every duty a brave and loyal spirit, a cultured and refined intellect, 
a pure and devout soul — his maimers eminently were siiaviterin modo, 
fortiter in re. 

He was distinguiished for his well-breil courtesy anil generosity. He 
kept up his interest in learning and literature, through the busiest por- 
tions of his life, and a conversation with him upon almost any of the 
leading topics of the day was a rare treat to a .serious and thoughtful 
man. As profes.sor, soldier, patriot, legislator, student, busine.ss man, 
churchman, father, friend, he was always distinguished by fidelity, earnest- 
ness and devotion. Tho.se who never knew him will not miss him, those 
who mourn him can never fill his place. 

Captain Rice always maintained an afTectionate regard for 
his old friends at Nazareth and an interest in the welfare of 
his boys of Company A, as is evidenced in the following letter 
written to Mr. Granville Henry of "Boulton " : 

Elkh.\rt, In'd., March 0, 1S8.5. 
Very Dear Friend: 

Your most welcome favor forwarded me to-day, and subject to the 
inces.sant interruptions incident to Rail practice. I detail a few moments 
for reply. Recently when reviewing your photo, a sort of anticipation of 
a possible letter overcame me. 

Of myself, as you desire, I can best .summarize by saying that for seven- 
teen years I have been employed in various departments of Western 
Rail practice, as Engineer, Auditor, and during the last ten. on this line, in 
charge of the Foreign traffic relations, my thoughts gravitating between 
seaboard and .seaboard, my telegrams and letters covering one-quarter 
of the continent, and my person traversing a large part of the West. A 
most contentious occupation truly — one in which both physical and 
mental exhaustion is the constant penalty of continuance, and one which 
leaves me little time for study or social amenities and little for enjoyment 
with my family. 

Residing here, I often have need to go to Chicago — not for recreation, 
but to patch up the enlenir mrdial with one or the other of the thirteen 



18 

Trunk Lines which we cross. Like the man trying to pay court to thirteen 
girls at once, I am often made to feel 

" Happy with either 
Were t'other dear charmer away." 

The semi-abandon of the Middle West, after the rough u.sage of the 
war and politic.s, have not aged me very perceptibly, and of all employ- 
ments I prefer "The .strong, champagny-brandy-punchy feeling" of rail- 
way turmoil. 

It pays moderatelj^ well, with almo.st indefinite free transportation, 
but its requirements leave little for future use. 

Outside of business I cultivate only my Wardenship of St. John's Epis- 
copal Church, and my Companionship in the Loyal Legion (the modern 
Cincinnati) and an occasional trip across the Lakes, thro' Colorado or 
some other Lotus land. 

Please say to J. Meyers, to give his attorney my address and on receipt 
of his papers I will make proper affidavit. 

Kindly write me any or all matters within call, regarding Nazareth. 

Are all of my boys of Co. A. reasonably prosperous? 

With very cordial regards to all at Boulton, 

In haste, but faithfully, 

OWEN RICE. 

The high regard in which Captain Rice was held by the officers 
and men of the regiment and his company is shown by the 
following extracts and letters from several of the few who are 
still living: 

Dr. A. Stout, assistant surgeon of the regiment, says: 

He was a good captain, a good engineer, a good scholar and a mighty 
good fellow. 

From his first lieutenant: 

T.\RKio, Mo., April 2.5, 1911. 
Mr. E. A. Weaver, Philadelphia, Penna. 

De.\r .Sir: — In reply to your recent favor concerning Capt. Owen 
Rice I will say that my personal acquaintance with him dates from the 
first recruiting, which was sometime in July, 1862, when he was after- 
wards chosen Captain of the Company and I the First Lieutenant. 

As a man and officer, he was one of the finest and was admired and 
looked up to by those, not only in his own Company, but by the whole 
Regiment and even the Brigade. 

He and I were never thrown together much because he was nearly 
always on Staff or detached duty and I had charge of the Company. 

I have always thought that the battle of Chancellorsville would have 
resulted differently if attention had been paid to some of the advice 
offered by him concerning the battle. 

While he was on outpost duty he saw the enemy approaching and 
reported the fact, but no attention was paid to his reports. 



19 

In the battle of Chancellorsville he was wounded, and 1 was taken 
prisoner and sent to Libby prison, where I remained until jiaroled and 
exchanged two days before the battle of Gettysburg. 

In (hat battle I was severely wounded and never saw C'apt. Rice again 
until he called on me after the nuistering out at Harrisburg. 

The above is the best of my remembrance of ('apt. Rice. 

It has been a long time ago and very difficult to recall. 

Trusting it may be of service to you, I am, 

Yours truly, 

B. F. SH.'M'M. 

Sergeant William M. Shultz: 

In regard to Captain Rice I always found him to be a perfect gentleman 
in all that constitutes the nauie, an apt scholar, a strict disciplinarian, 
thoroughly posted in military tactics and a brave soldier. He abhorred 
everything that was vile in speech or action. 

From a private of Company A: 

My early recollections of Capt. Rice are of the kindliest nat\ire. I 
knew him very well as a young man, and think he was not only a brainy 
and highly intellectual man, but also a good citizen and brave soldier. 
The only thing I had against him was his being a Democrat, and well 
remember how hard he tried to explain to me the iniquity of a tariff 
system. But he was a loyal Democrat, which is more than can be said 
of many others of that period. As a .soldier he was brave, quick, lenient 
to his men, and therefore popular and well liked, never loud or overbearing. 

He was certainly a more than ordinarily gifted man. 

Robert H. Wilson, the fifteen-year-old drummer-boy of 
Company A, over whotn Captain Rice exercised a parental 
care, writes as follows: 

200 E.\ST 16th Street, 
Los Angeles, Cal., June 11, 1911. 
Mr. E. A. Weaver, Germantown , Pa. 

De.^r Sir:— Yours of the 2d inst. received yesterday A. M., having 
been delayed in delivery, on account of no street number. You ask for 
my personal recollections of the late Captain Owen Rice, to add to the 
biographical sketch. I shall be happy to contribute a word of praise in 
behalf of my most estimable, brave, and courageous Captain and friend- 
yes friend; he watched over me during those stormy days of the rebellion 
as a father would over his son, and we lived together in the little tent 
house furnisheil by I'ncle Sam. 1 always bunked with him when we were 
in camp. .\s young as I was — a mere stripling — I often thought that 
a star or two would be more fitting than the four bars he wore. He was 
a man above reproach, always tender and thoughtful for others and 
loved by all with whom he came in contact. 



20 

After he was wounded at Chancellorsville and lay in the hospital, he 
used to send for me to read to him. I would read until I thought he was 
asleep, then I would take a sneak. Well, I haven't gotten over being 
sorry yet for being so disrespectful to this worthy man. When he would 
awaken, he immediately sent for me to come back, and read some more. 
Oh, well, I was only a boy, and didn't know any better. 

I remember well your good father, Sergeant Weaver, and he was in 
my estimation another fine man and brave soldier. 

I shall endeavor to communicate with my comrades, Ricksecker and 
Millar, in the near future. It is a thin blue line now, all that is left of that 
vast Army of the Potomac. 

I am enjoying perfect health, and am just as young as I used to be; 
do a full day's work, every day in the week. Next Thursday, June 15th, 
1 will celebrate my Ooth birthday, and feel as tho I were only forty. 

I shall be greatly pleased with a copy of the reprint of which you spoke. 

Trusting my feeble efforts to contribute to the sketch will be worthy 
a place in same, and may not reach you too late, I remain, 

Yours truly, 

R. H. WILSON. 

An estimate of Captain Rice's personal qualities as pupil 
and teacher can best be made from the following letters from 
several who were thus associated with him at Nazareth Hall 
and in the Theological Seminary. 

One of Captain Rice's instructors at Nazareth Hall in writing 
of him says: 

He was very studious — a young man of more than usual ability, and, 
as his father before him, very thorough in everything he undertook, 
despising everything superficial; a painstaking, hard-working student— 
probably the most efficient in his class at Nazareth Hall. As an instructor 
in Nazareth Hall he displayed these same traits — thoroughness — not 
afraid of hard work — doing his utmost to "go to the bottom" and not 
merely skim along the surface; and this he endeavored to impress upon his 
pupils. He was a good linguist and an excellent mathematician; in short, 
a very able man. He was generally reserved, caring little for society, 
but prizing men of intelligence as his friends. For some time he had been 
drill master of the Nazareth Hall Cadets, and succeeded in advancing 
this part of the educational work of the School. W^hen the country needed 
men at the beginning of the Civil War, he was one of the first to offer 
his services, and succeeded in raising a company of volunteers from this 
town (Nazareth) and neighborhood; very few of these men remain — 
but all held him in high esteem, greatly superior as he was to many others 
who became officers in the army. His men appeared to honor and love him. 

One of his associate teachers writes : 



21 

My relations witli him were limited to one yoar, lS.')C)-'>7. wlien we were 
teachers together in Nazareth Hall. He was a man of brilliant intellectual 
attainments, well read in and enthusiastic for classical and the best modern 
literature, and. po.sses,sed of a delicate artistic taste, his works of both 
pencil and brush were excellent and much admirefl; to which I wovdd 
add a ready knack at caricature. 

It is from personal experience that I tell you of ("a|)t. Rice's love of 
good literature, for 1 have a jileasant remembrance of our sitting together 
in the beautiful woods adjacent to the school, or at night in a vacant 
school room, taking turns at reading aloud our favorite authors. I nuist 
say, also, that I found in Owen Hice always a kind friend and a good 
companion. 

From the last surviving graduate of his class in the Theo- 
logical Seminary : 

He was a bright and ready scholar, engaging easily in the various tasks 
of the curriculum of tho.se days, and standing high in his recitations, espe- 
cially in mathematics, deometry and algebra, trigonometry and sur- 
veying he mastered without difficulty, standing at the head of his class, 
often successfully demonstrating some difficult problem, while his class- 
mates looked on with admiration at the facility with which he did the 
work. Thus he was well qualified for the task — which at the request of 
the town officials of Nazareth he undertook later, while he was a teacher 
at the Hall — of grading the streets of Nazareth, which until then had 
remained in their pristine condition. The writer can still .see him starting 
out or returning across the campu.s — in tho.se days called the .square — in 
front of the Hall, with his leveling instrument on his shoulder. 

The writer does not remember that Owen had any special musical talent, 
or performed on any instrument, but he had decided artistic ability, as 
evidenced by some little sketches and ornamental lettering done while he 
was a boy at the Hall and still in the writer's po.s.session, and still more 
by the proficiency which he aciiuired in painting with water-colors and in 
oil. 

Altliough con.scientious in the performance of liis scholastic duties, he 
was a boy of an active and cheerfid di.sposition, and popular among his 
schoolmates, with whom he never, to the writer's recollection, had any of 
those physical encounters that sometimes mar the peace of academic 
scenes. In both the classical and theological departments of the Theo- 
logical Seminary he continued to approve himself a stvidious and interested 
scholar, successfully wiiming and holditig the affection and esteem of 
classmates and profe.s.sors, attending faithfully to his duties and at the 
same time availing himself of all proper opportunities for mental and 
physical recreation. The onlj' .serious illness the writer remembers him 
to have suffereil from was an attack of iiiHanunatory rheumatism which 
detained him awhile at Nazareth when the theological class was moved 
to Philadelphia, but did not prevent him from replying in a jocular vein 
to a letter llic wiilcr hail sent him. 



22 

As a teacher, loo, at Nazareth Hall from 1856 to 1862 he was successful 
in winning the respect and attachment of the boys in his charge, and in 
interesting them in theirstiidies. Without resorting to any drastic methods 
for the enforcement of the necessary discipline, he seemed to have no 
difficulty in maintaining it. To memorize or copy a few columns of the 
dictionary was enough to subdue those who required treatment. There 
seemed to be a mutual understanding between teacher and scholars that 
the only thing to do was to do the right thing, and thus avoid all unneces- 
sary friction. In ISGl or '62 when the scholars at the Hall were organized 
in a uniformed company, and military drill introduced — although the 
military .system was not as fully developed as it now is — Mr. Rice was 
the teacher who was .specially interested and active in this new departure, 
and in introducing the cadets to the mysteries and niameuvres of the 
parade ground. 

It was therefore not strange that when the bombardment of Fort Sum- 
ter sent a thrill through all hearts, Mr. Rice should be fired with the 
patriotic impulse to rai.se a company of volunteers who .should hasten to 
join the ranks of the Union army. In the town-square at Nazareth he 
made an impassioned appeal to the citizens to enlist for the pre.servation 
of the Union, and succeeded in raising a company which was incorporated 
with the 153rd Regiment of Pennsylvania Volunteers. 

My personal recollections of Captain Rice are those of a 
boy of eight to twelve years of age, when I frequently saw him 
whilst visiting my grandparents on the "Hall Square," in 
whose hotisehold he was well and favorably known. I often 
saw him engaged in reading and study, or in drilling his corps 
of Nazareth Hall cadets. 

Captain Rice spent the Sunday preceding the departure of 
Company A for the front in my home, which visit I distinctly 
remember. His regard for my father is evidenced in the cor- 
dial inscription on his photograph which he gave him, and also 
in a letter which I quote as follows: 

Elkhart, Ind., July 10, 1885. 
E. A. Weaver, Esq., Phila. 

Dear Sir: — Your 7th inst. has reached me amidst manifold duties. A 
very true respect for your father will command compliance with your 
wishes at greater convenience. 

As Acting Major of the 153rd Pa. it fell to me to "lead in" the attack, 
on the right, at Chancellorsville. When Dachrodt retired wounded and 
Glanz had been captured, the command devolved on me. Hence I have 
been designated by our Commandery of the Loyal Legion to prepare a 
historical paper on Chancellorsville. The unique part filled by the 153rd — 
fighting Jackson, single handed — will not be forgotten. 

Very truly 

OWEN RICE, 
Late Acting Major la3rd P. V. 



23 

On July 4, IcSSG, whilst a remnant of the regiment was dedi- 
cating its tablet at the foot of East Cemetery Hill, Gettys- 
burg, Sergeants Shultz and Weaver, who together had enlisted 
and were prisoners in "Libby, " visited the battlefield of Chan- 
cellorsville, in company with myself, and stood on the very spot 
where the regiment was lined in battle twenty-three years 
before, and upon this occasion these comrades and admirers 
of Captain Rice wrote him postal cards which were mailed to 
him from the historic Spottsylvania Court House, in the yard 
of which they had spent their first night as prisoners after their 
capture on the morning of May 3, 1863. 

Captain Rice and Sergeant Weaver were mustered out of 
life's service within a year of each other, 1892-93, and "passed 
over the river to rest in the shade of the trees." 

" The muffled drum's sad roll has beat 

The soldier's last tattoo; 
No more on life's parade shall meet 

That brave and fallen few. 
On Fame's eternal camping ground, 

Their silent tents are spread. 
And glory guards, with solenm round, 

The bivouac of the dead. 

" Rest on, eml)ahned and sainted dead, 

Dear as tlie blood ye gave; 
No impious footsteps here .shall tread 

The herbage of your grave; 
Nor shall your glory be forgot 

While fame her reconl keeps, 
Or honor points the hallowed spot 

Where valor proudly sleeps." 

Whilst Captain Owen Rice Camp, Sons of Veterans, preserves 
in its name the memory of this gallant soldier, it would be 
eminently fitting for the friends of Captain Rice, fellow-citizens 
of Nazareth, the survivors of his company and the descendants 
of those of his comrades who have passed over the "Great 
Divide" to erect in the coming year, the semi-centennial of his 
departure for the war, at Nazareth Hall (his Alma Mater which 
he so dearly loved), in its chapel where he so often worshiped, 
a mural tablet in brass or marble to commemorate his distin- 
guished services and testify to his Christian character, scholarly 
attainments and patriotic devotion. 



24 

The fi)llo\ving lines were wiiiteii liy Caj)Uiin Owen Rice, and 
are contained in a manuscript note-book now in possession of 
a stepdaughter: 

Inscribed [o tlic ].YAd Peniui. Vols.: 

Ilo, coniriide of the Wiir-spent field, tlefeiidcr of the rif^ht, 

What cheer is thine, since laid we down the panoply of night, 

Which bore the flag on honored fields — the flag our fathers bore — 

And bade us hold 'gainst Treason's wrath puissant as of yore? 

Pledge once again the merry cup to days of Auld Lang .Syne, 

Tlie comradeship of camp and watch, and scars of strife divine! 

Ah, how the bugles wake to-night the memories of the time 

When "fall in" woke the startled land to ecstasy sublime! 

Ah, how the bells of Memory's chimes ring out this holy night. 

What griefs were ours, what manly tears, what surfeit of delight! 

The bivouac's cheer, the vigil stern, the sentry's wild alarm, 

The forest's glare, when opened up their throats our men at arms, 

The swelling Hush of Victory's tide, the thrill of battle won, 

The silence of the sad retreat, the sobbing miiuite-gun. 

.\long Potomac's bristling shores, 'midst Rappahannock's shades. 

By Shenandoah's sunny fields and Pennsylvania's glades: 

Pledge high to those who stemmed the tide, bore down the traitor's spite, 

In silence pledge the bravest hearts, who sleep in death to-night, 

The sleep which you and I, old friend, sought with them 'neath the skies 

Which blessed us thro' the fight, but bade their conquering .spirits ri.se 

To wear the wreath of glory, win the Father's proud acclaim. 

And peoples voice in sadness their thank.s — a deathle.ss name. 

-Ml, well we mind the .Vutumn days, grown bent in age and sere. 

In '62 when throiigh the land rang out, "The foe is near! " 



JUL i>a 1911 

LIBRf^RY OF CONGRESS 
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