Rice, James O. (ca. 1815–unknown)

By: William L. Mann and Lucie C. Price

Type: Biography

Published: 1976

Updated: June 13, 2014

James O. Rice, soldier and Williamson County pioneer, was born about 1815, probably in South Carolina. He came to Texas by 1836 and served in the Texas army, but reached San Jacinto after the battle. He was a member of Edward Burleson's ranger company in 1838 and was one of the original settlers at the present site of Austin. With Burleson he took part in the attack on Vicente Córdova in March 1839 and in May discovered the Manuel Flores party in the area that is now Williamson County. As lieutenant, Rice led the company in the encounter known as the battle of the San Gabriels, in which Flores was killed and documents were taken that gave the Texans full information regarding the Córdova Rebellion. Rice was later stationed at Camp Cazneau, which adjoined Kenney's Fort in what is now Williamson County. He participated in the Somervell and Mier expeditions in 1842 and in 1843 joined the Snively expedition. He settled on Brushy Creek in 1846 and was one of the petitioners in the organization of Williamson County and one of the commissioners who selected the county seat. He served as postmaster, operated a tavern and a tannery, and was at one time the second wealthiest man in the county. He and his wife, Nancy D. (Gilliland), whom he had married on November 3, 1846, were the parents of at least one child. Rice died before 1900 and was buried in Sebron Graham Sneed Cemetery at Sneed Cove in Travis County.

W. K. Makemson, Historical Sketch of First Settlement and Organization of Williamson County (Georgetown, Texas, 1904). William L. Mann, "James O. Rice, Hero of the Battle on the San Gabriels," Southwestern Historical Quarterly 55 (July 1951). Fannie Sinmacher, Conversation with Bobby Cervantes, May 24, 2014, Del Valle, Texas. J. W. Wilbarger, Indian Depredations in Texas (Austin: Hutchings, 1889; rpt., Austin: State House, 1985).

The following, adapted from the Chicago Manual of Style, 15th edition, is the preferred citation for this entry.

William L. Mann and Lucie C. Price, “Rice, James O.,” Handbook of Texas Online, accessed October 17, 2021, https://www.tshaonline.org/handbook/entries/rice-james-o.

Published by the Texas State Historical Association.

June 13, 2014