biography from Portrait & Biographical Album of Mahaska Co., Iowa, 1887
Captain M. M. Rice, the present Mayor of Oskaloosa, and whose portrait we give on the opposite page, is a native of Franklin County, Ohio, where he was born March 17, 1836. It being generally believed that heredity and environment have much to do with the formation of character, and that our lives are stimulated by the immediate or indirect influence of our ancestors, a short resume of the lives of Mr. Rice's parents may serve as the index to the liberal and humane impulses which mark his daily life and which have won for him the esteem of those who know him. Jason Rice, his father, was a native of Vermont, and possessed many of those traits so prominent in the New England character. He emigrated to Ohio at an early day in the history of that great State, and in fact, when the territory was practically a wilderness. His wife, the mother of Capt. Rice, and whose maiden name was Julia Lathrop, was a native of Connecticut, and, like her husband, possessed many of those remarkable characteristic traits of the original New Englander. This couple were married in Ohio, in 1829, and for the following twenty years lived in that State. They then came to Iowa, being among the early pioneers of the state they located for a short time in Mahaska County, but removed to Keokuk County, where the elder Rice purchased land, opened up a farm and cultivated it up to the time of his death in 1866. In politics he was an old-line Whig, but later on became a member of the Republican party. He was an active, energetic man, and took great interest in the promotion of educational progress. Both himself and wife were members of the Methodist Episcopal Church. Mr. Rice's demise occurred Aug. 30, 1866. His widow, however, still survives, at the age of seventy-six years. Of the children born to them three are living: Adaline, wife of L. H. Keys, of Colorado; Edith, wife of W. A. Rector, of Washington County, Kan., and the subject of our sketch. Capt. M. M. Rice was educated in the common schools and in the Iowa Western University at Mt. Pleasant. He grew up to manhood, active and patriotic, and in August, 1862, offered himself to his country by enlisting in the 40th Iowa Infantry. This regiment, as the history of the late war will always show, saw much hard and dangerous service. We cannot in this brief sketch rehearse the daring deeds of its men, their loyal sacrifices and heroic achievements, but all the experiences of war were theirs. In the early winter the regiment was sent to Columbus, Ky., thence to the Yazoo River, and participated in the seige and capture of Vicksburg in 1863; from Vicksburg the regiment was sent to Little Rock, Ark., crossing a pontoon bridge over the river under a heavy artillery fire from the enemy. They were incorporated into the Seventh Army Corps, and were sent South to re-enforce Gen. Banks, and finally, into the Indian Nation, where they served until the close of the war. The subject of this sketch was promoted Second Lieutenant at Vicksburg, First Lieutenant at Little Rock, and was Captain of the company at its muster out of service at Ft. Gibson, Ind. Ter., at the close of the war. After the war, Capt. Rice returned to Keokuk County, Iowa, remaining two years, and in the fall of 1868 came to Mahaska County, and engaged in farming for two years, when he sold out and embarked in the grocery business in Oskaloosa. In 1879 he was elected Recorder of Deeds for Mahaska County, and held that position for six years. The March following his retirement from that office, he was elected Mayor of the city of Oskaloosa, and is now serving his second term in that capacity. The Captain was a charter member of Phil Kearney Pet, No. 40, G. A. R., is a Knight Templar in Masonry, and a member of the K. of P. and I. O. O. F., in which latter order he has filled all the chairs in the Subordinate Lodge and Encampment, and has twice been elected Representative to the Grand Lodge of Iowa, I. O. O. F. Capt. Rice was married in Keokuk County, Iowa, May 15, 1861, to Miss Margrette E. Carter, a native of Ohio. Four sons have been born to them, three of whom are living: John J., born March 28, 1867; Joe A., July 19, 1871; Charles M., April 19, 1877; Huntley, born March 19, 1862, died in infancy. Capt. Rice has always taken an active interest in public affairs, and as Chief Executive of the city, he is giving his undivided attention to the duties of the position he occupies, and merits and receives the commendations of being the best Mayor Oskaloosa ever had.
Portrait & Biographical Album of Mahaska Co., Iowa, 1887
Mahaska County, Iowa Genealogy