15 August 2011

Matrilineal Monday - Annie Groff Rice

Annie Groff Rice was the wife of T. Edgar Rice, the policeman shot by Zachariah Walker. This weekend I attended the 100th Anniversary Celebration of the lynching of Walker, put on by the Coatesville Historical Society. In most accounts, understandably so, everyone focuses on Rice or Walker, but everyone neglects the widow Rice and her five children.

Annie R. Groff was born in April 1865. She married T. Edgar Rice in 1888 or 1889. He had been born in October 1865. Their first son, Thomas E. was born in December of 1889. The young couple had two more sons: James Vincent (born August 1892) and George Harvey (December 1895). They also had two daughters: Rachel C. (born November 1872) and Elsie M. (born February 1899). In 1900 Edgar was a farmer, according to the 1900 Census, and the family lived in Newlin. They also had a servant Alfred Hess - an 18 year old farm hand - who lived with them.

The 1900 Census showed Annie had five births and all five children were alive. The 1910 Census shows her having seven births and only five children are living. Living with their parents are: James, George, Rachel and Elsie. Also living with the family is Edgar's brother in law William M. Whiteside, a 50 year old widower. Both Edgar and William are policemen for the steel company.

I often wonder what happened to the Widow Rice. No one ever mentions her. Edgar was buried up Hepzibah - alone.

According to the Chester County Index to Marriages 1885-1930, an Annie Rice, age 50, married a John Commons on March 24, 1916 in West Chester, PA. A quick search on Ancestry.com however did not show any a John and Annie Commons in Chester County, PA.

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