Photo courtesy of the Joshua Brackett Eagle Scout Project
Photo courtesy of the Joshua Brackett Eagle Scout Project

Niobrara County Library - Catherine Ann "Kate" (Williams) Rice (March 3, 1856 - May 25, 1947)

Catherine Ann "Kate" (Williams) Rice (March 3, 1856 - May 25, 1947)

The Lusk Herald
May 29, 1947

Mrs. Kate Rice, Resident Here 52 Years, Dies Sunday

Mrs. Kate Rice, 91 years of age, and a resident of this locality for the past 52 years, passed away at the Lusk Hospital on Sunday, May 25, after being in declining health for several weeks.
Mrs. Rice was one of the oldest, if not the oldest, resident in Niobrara County. She was a woman of an unusual personality and keenly alive to the events of her community and the world at large. During the latter years of her life she was isolated a great deal because of almost complete deafness, yet she never lost her interest in the affairs of this community or in her friends.

A rather unusual feature of the following obituary is the fact that it was written by Mrs. Rice herself:

I, Catherine Ann Williams, was born in Jefferson County, Pennsylvania, March 3, 1856. When I was three days old our home and all the contents were destroyed by fire. Later the same year, my parents, Hiram and Dorcas Williams, and my six brothers and sisters, moved to Illinois, and the following year, 1857, we moved to Monroe, Wisconsin, where my father purchased a farm and we continued to live there for many years. This was the birthplace of my four younger brothers and sisters, making a family of eleven children, of which I was the seventh.

The death of my mother and the marriage of my oldest sister both occurred in 1880. I gave music lessons, later going to Red Oak, Iowa, where I engaged in the same capacity until 1884, when I went to McCook, Nebraska, to keep house for one of my brothers and his three motherless children. I still found time to do my full share of active duties in many ways. I was a member of the Methodist-Episcopal Church, which I so loved, and served as choir leader and organist.

April 18, 1887, I was married to James A. Rice of McCook, and we made our home there until September, 1895, when we came to Wyoming and homesteaded on 160 acres in the Kirtley community. After proving up on our land we moved to Hunter (now Andrews) Neb., where I was postmaster for two years, which position I resigned to live on an additional three-quarters homestead near the Wyoming line, where, with our two children, Delbert J. and Velma, we continued to live until 1918, when we moved to Lusk. My husband, James A., passed away on March 10, 1922, and as both our children were married, I was left alone, but I tried to be always thankful for my many blessings and good friends.

As there was no Methodist Church in Lusk, I joined the First Baptist Church and am a member of the Ladies Aid. I also belong to the War Mothers of the Silver Chapter of Lusk.

Of the family of eleven children, four lived to be more than 90 years of age. Mrs. Rice leaves her son, Elbert J. Rice of Post Falls, Idaho, and her daughter, Mrs. Velma J. Boyles of Lusk; two granddaughters, Mrs. Elma L. Dunkin of Lance Creek, and Mrs. Vivian E. Hank of Lusk, as well as many other relatives in both Kirtley and Lusk.

Final rites were conducted from the Peet chapel on Tuesday afternoon at 2:30, with Rev. Ezra Duncan, pastor of the Baptist church, officiating. Three songs which Mrs. Rice had selected were sung by Mrs. Ab DeCastro and Mrs. Ezra Duncan, accompanied at the organ by Mrs. J. P. Watson. The selections were "Jesus, Savior, Pilot Me," Jesus Lover of My Soul," and "The Old Rugged Cross."

The remains were carried to their final resting place in the Lusk Cemetery by H. E. Zerbe, Frank Martin, Walter Schnorenberg, Curt Grimm, Ed Greene and Rulo Roberts.

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