William and Bridget migrated to Cedarburg, WI from Lowell, MA in 1844 shortly after they married. They established a farm that was 150 acres and raised 12 children. They were members of St Francis Borgia Catholic church and were friends with many people.
Bridget passed away May 26, 1895 and the obituary in the Cedarburg News provided important information.
Died-Mrs Wm. Rice died at her home in the town of Cedarburg on Sunday morning at the age of 79 years. She was a native of Ireland and was married to her surviving husband in Boston, Mass., some 52 years ago. She with her husband was among the first settlers, coming here in 1843. Besides her husband, who is 90 years old, she leaves nine children, Wm. and James of this town, Chas. of New London, Francis of Mason City, IA., Mrs. Keenan, of Mason City, Iowa, Peter of Chicago, Mrs. Ed. Lynch, Mrs. Carey and John of Milwaukee. The funeral took place Tuesday morning from St Francis church, and was largely attended, Rev. F.C. Ryan, officiating.
Bridget was interred at St Francis Borgia cemetery, Cedarburg, WI.
William passed away the following year on March 27,1896 and his obituary provided even more information.
An Old Settler Gone to Rest
One by one the old settlers of our town drop off to join the silent majority. On Thursday evening of last week, Wm. Rice, Sen., one of our oldest and most enterprising townsmen died at his home, reaching the ripe old age of 92 years. Mr. Rice has never been confined to his bed and was able to be about a few hours before his death. For the past year however he began to fail and grew continually weaker from old age.
Wm. Rice, Sen., was born on the 4th of July, 1805, in the county of Monaghan, Ireland. He came to America in 1835 and landed at Boston, Mass., where he remained eight years, when he came west of this city and where he and his family resided ever since. His wife preceded him in death about ten months ago. Of the twelve children born to them, ten survive them, six sons and four daughters, all married and well-to-do. Wm. Rice Jr. taking charge of the old homestead, the others residing in other cities in the Union.
The funeral took place last Sunday afternoon and was very largely attended, all their children being present, Rev. J. W. O’Keefe of St Francis church of this city conducted the same.
William is interred at St Francis Borgia cemetery, Cedarburg, WI.
There were two discrepancies that I see. They are indicating that the couple came here in 1843, but they were married in Lowell in 1844. I have the marriage ledger from both the town of Lowell and the church. His land was purchased in October 1844 so I believe the paper was off by a year. The second discrepancy is the number of children. Bridget’s states there are 9 surviving children and named them with the town they live in. William’s obituary confirmed they had 12 children but states 10 are surviving, 6 sons and 4 daughters. I have searched and I believe Bridget’s is the accurate one mostly because it named them. William’s obituary has an extra living daughter but one of them passed away prior to the couples passing.
There were a few pieces of information that were important. First, it confirmed that the marriage ledger I found in Massachusetts is them. I found this and questioned if this was really them as Bridget’s parents came to Wisconsin later and the first names on the censuses (Thomas and Catherine) were different from what was on the ledger (John and Mary). But the timing of the marriage and the purchase of the land is spot on. Second, it gave me the port William came into although I haven’t found him on any manifests. Third, it gave me the County in Ireland he came from. Finally, it showed that they were among the first settlers and that they were well regarded in the community.
Obituary Cedarburg News May 1895.
Obituary Cedarburg News April 1, 1896.
Curt Oth, Bridget Connelly Rice, Glenn and Kathy photographers, Find A Grave Memorial# 31807096 accessed 6 May 2016.
Curt Oth, William Rice, Glenn and Kathy photographers, Find A Grave Memorial# 31807097 accessed 6 May, 2016.