“ He took him [Abraham] outside and said, “Look up at the heavens and count the stars – if indeed you can count them.” Then he said to him, “So shall your offspring be.”
~ Genesis 15:5 ~ ~ ~
“And so from this one man, came descendants as numerous as the stars in the sky and as countless as the sand on the seashore.” ~ Hebrews 11:12
Martin Rice (1814-1903) = Farmer. Justice of the Peace. Surveyor. Tree-planter. Schoolteacher. Best known for his poetry. Martin was born November 22 in Union County, East Tennessee to Enoch and Mary Rice. He was the youngest of eleven children. They emigrated from Tennessee and settled on government land a few miles from Lone Jack in 1833.
He worked hard with his family to make the farm a success. After work, evenings were spent gathered around the fireplace and Martin learned to read epic poetry by Scott, Byron, and others. Later he taught school in a one-room log schoolhouse. He instructed seventeen students his first year of teaching and received two dollars per pupil each quarter. He also surveyed the townsite of Harrisonville and planted trees in three counties.
Martin married Mary Lynch (d. 1855) of Lafayette County and they became the parents of nine children.
They lived through the troubled times preceeding the Civil War. When Order No. 11 came, as he and six neighboring families were loading their wagons, the men were taken prisoners. Rice’s neighbors were killed, but Martin and his son were released as he had his loyalty papers from the military post at Pleasant Hill. Later, in a rural cemetery southwest of Lone Jack, a stone monument was erected in 1867 as a memorial to these men.
Through poetry, Martin wrote about his life and the people he knew. He was a member of the Pleasant Garden Baptist Church near Lone Jack (f. 1832), later transferring his membership to the Lone Jack Missionary Baptists. The Missionary Baptists withdrew from the Garden Baptists over the issue of missions in 1842. He honored the pioneer preachers he remembered from camp meetings and church revivals such as Joab Powell, Jimmy Savage, Jeremiah Farmer, and Thomas Stayton through his poetry.
More to Read:
1. Jackson County Pioneers. By Pearl Wilcox. 1975.
2. Marriage Records of Cass County, MO.: 1835-1882. Cass County Historical Society, 400 East Mechanic, Harrisonville, MO., 1984
3. Shifra Stein’s A Kid’s Guide to Kansas City, By Diana Lambdin Meyer & Kathryn Lutz Dusenbery 2010, www.kckidsguide.com
4. The Marriage Records of Jackson County, Missouri: 1827-1850. By Mrs. John Vineyard, Independence, MO, 1967. Vol. 1
5. Blue River Baptist
Association Missouri. By Marshall Louis Mertens and O.P. Joyce.
Brown-White-Lowell Press, Kansas City, MO.1947. 6. Findagrave # 23591689
Books of Poetry by Martin Rice:
1. Rural Rhymes & Talks & Tales of Olden Times
2. Rural Rhymes & Poems from the Farm.
3. Tramping Through Western Missouri.1893; reprinted 1994.