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Life Story of

Lucy Rebecca "Lula" Rice Kelton

Born 27 November 1874

In the Name of Rice

Written 1939

 

 

These memoirs are believed to be in the public domain.
If any descendants or others claim copyright to these memoirs, please let us know.

 

 

Great grandfather, Micajah [SIC - Owen] Jenkins and his wife, Nancy Henderson, lived on a farm near Fork Shoals, South Carolina in Greenville County. They built a nice one and one-half story frame house. They are buried in the family burying ground on the farm (now owned by a grandson, David B. Jenkins.

Rebecca Alethea Jenkins and her sister Mary Matilda married brothers. They were the sons of William and Clarissa Rice. William was the son of John and Sarah (Campton) Rice. Richard Rector Rice (husband of Mary Matilda) was born 4 Aug. 1849 d. 1930. Thomas Butler Rice, who married Rebecca, was born 22 Oct. 1847 d. 17 Feb. 1928. Rebecca and Thomas were married in her father's home, in Greenville County, S. C. by Rev. W. L. Ballard. The bride was dressed in white dotted swiss. The women and the negro help cooked cakes for a week before the wedding. They had a long table for the wedding supper and there were about 150 guests, friends, neighbors and relatives from far and near.

I have stood in each room in this home, where mother was born and married. The old house is still occupied. The spring from which they had water is beautiful, all covered with long ferns and trees.

They had eight children:
1. Nora Myrtle, b. 11 March 1872, S. C., d. 26 Sept. 1927, m. 19 May 1895 James A. Summers.
2. Lula Rebecca (who wrote this history) b. 27 Nov. 1874, (16 miles north of Waco) m. A. L. Kelton 1 Jan. 1900.
3. Wade Hampton, b. 16 Nov. 1876, d. 12 June 1878. I remember when brother Wade died. Father took me to his cradle afterward, and I can remember very clearly seeing Father and Mother crying. Wade is buried in ... McClellan County, Texas.
4. Leonard Mercer, b. 21 Jul 1879, m. Nora McCracken 3 July 1898. I can remember in early July, Father brought Grandma Tolar to come stay with Mother. Grandma Tolar was a midwife. I can remember the day Leonard was born. Sister Nora and I went over to Mrs. Lemons' house. I cannot remember Leonard as a little baby. I remember one time when Father took us to Dr. Spencer's on horseback. It was February 13th, and it got so cold, Leonard went home.
5. Imy Alethia, b. 21 Jan. 1882, Navarro County, Texas.
6. Eugene Claude, b. 13 Feb. 1884, m. 13 Feb. 1905, Louise Frazier at Coolidge. That was the day I got so cold.
7. Bess Clarissa, b. 21 June 1887, m. Corby L. Blackwood, 26. April 1910. He died 17 Aug. 1910 & she married David N. McClure, 5 Oct. 1914, Greenville, Texas. We all went to Aunt Mollie Jenkins' house the day Bess came.
8. Isla Ruth, b. 16. Aug. 1891, d. 11. June 1911. Old. Dr. Spencer brought all the children from Leonard on into the world.

Thomas Butler Rice and his wife, Rebecca Alethea Jenkins came with baby Nora to Texas in January 1873. He had come the first time in 1869 and picked the spot where they settled in Washington County near Navasota. In 1874 they were on the move again, this time to McLennan County, 16 miles north of Waco.

When they came to Texas, railroads were few. They drove to Williamston, S. C. to take the train for Savannah, Ga. On to Atlanta, then Mobile, Al., then New Orleans. They took a boat from New Orleans to Galveston, a boat to Houston, and another train to Navasota. It took over a week. Father had nearly $800.00 with him. A lot of money then. Oh, so much has changed!

On the train, as they were leaving Atlanta, the conductor got “smart” and tried to force them into the second class coach. They had to draw their guns on him before he would leave them alone. They told him they wouldn’t go, and that he dare not put his hands on their wives. So they rode in the coach their tickets called for.

In those days you made people walk to the point of a gun. “Gun-totin“ was lawful; you had to go armed for protection. While they lived in McClelland County, horse thieving was rampant. The officers could not catch the thieves for they kept in the thick “cedar brakes" and usually rode at night. People knew better than to turn their young calves out over night; they would disappear. Often the horses would be tied to the porch posts at night, and the man sleep with the gun near. Wherever the thief was caught, he would be hanged to the nearest tree. One day as Father was going home from Waco he saw four man-made graves in “Double-Hollow.” He did not have to ask any questions. He knew.

When I can first remember, John Nails was a terror to me. He rode out one morning and deliberately killed one of our fine neighbors, Mr. Parrymore, when he and his daughter had gone to the spring for water. Nails had not been caught by the summer of 1830 when Father, Mother, and we children visited in Worthan’s Bend. We were wading in the creek. Docia Crawford screamed, “Let’s run to the house! Yonder comes John Nails!” And sure enough, it was! Afterwards he was caught and hanged.

In 1879, Father bought 80 acres in Navarro County (2 miles north of Frost now), of the Haggerty Survey. He paid $2.50 per acre. Then he lived on a rented farm in Ellis County for 2 years, saving money to build his house. They moved into the new home in 1881. Uncle Jake Jenkins was living with us then. He lived with us six years. In a few years, Father bought 100 acres from Uncle Billy Heeser [or Hooser]. He paid $15.00 per acre for this. Finally, in Jan, 1898, they bought the house in Frost where they lived for 30 years. Father was the District Judge, and served as Mayor for about 15 years.

Father was ill for about 14 months before he died, 17 Feb. 1928. Mother passed away suddenly, 11 days later. They lie side by side in the Frost Cemetery.

Going back, for a moment, to Jessie Mercer Jenkins: He married Rebecca Reece, daughter of Jacob Reece (b. 1783, d. 9 Nov. 1873) and Rebecca Pinion, b. 1787, d. 25 Sept. 1865. Jessie and Rebecca lived in the old Jenkins house built in 1800 by great grandfather Micajah [SIC - Owen]. Jessie was born, lived, and died in this same house. It is well-preserved and occupied.

Great grandfather Reece's home was built in 1790. It is still used as a dwelling. The big spring has quenched the thirst of five Rebeccas, our great grandmother, Grand­mother, Mother, myself, and Little Rebecca.

Grandfather Rice’s home is one and a half stories. A beautiful walnut tree stands in the yard. Grandmother Rice planted it when father was a little boy. The spring at this home is so pretty; the gourd still hangs on a bush nearby to quench the thirst of any who come.

A very unusual tie of similarity exists in the Jenkins and Rice families. Both the older sons, named James H., went to war. One was killed, one died, and neither body was brought home. One lies in the National Cem. at Chattanooga, Tennessee, one in Virginia. In each family there is an Ann, a Louisa and a Mary. The old homes are about two miles apart.

The last Christmas Thomas B. and Rebecca Jenkins Rice spent in S. C. before moving to Texas, the ground was covered with snow and ice, too slick for a horse to stand. They walked from Grandfather Jenkins' home to Grandfather Rice’s, Father carrying my sister, Nora, in his arms.

The Rices and Jenkins’ all attended the Fork Shoals Baptist Church. The four of my great grandparents lie buried in adjoining lots in the church cemetery here. The old stump of the tree where Grandfather Jenkins hitched his horse when he came to church still stands. He was a Deacon.

 

 

 

 

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