John H. Rice had the distinction of having made his mark in two states of the Union of widely different tendencies–Georgia and Kansas. He was born in Greene County, Tennessee, November 14, 1825, and his father, a native of Virginia, was surveyor of the county, named for twenty-six consecutive terms. Mr. Rice commenced his higher education at Tusculum College, in his native county, of which his maternal uncle, Dr. Samuel W. Doak, was president. He was admitted to the bar in 1845 and, a few months afterward, opened an office at Cassville, Georgia. In 1855, in addition to conducting a fair legal business, he became editor of the Cassville Standard. In the following year he was elected major general of the Twelfth Division of the Georgia State Militia, as the Union candidate, and in 1857 located at Atlanta. There he founded the Franklin Printing Company, which, under his management, had become a large book publishing concern at the time of its destruction in the Civil war. Always a consistent opponent of secession, General Rice was prevented from taking part in the War of the Rebellion on account of a stroke of paralysis which he suffered in 1861. In May, 1865, he was appointed purchasing agent for the Federal cavalry forces then operating in Georgia, and served in that capacity until the forces were mustered out of the service in August of that year. In the fall of 1865 he moved to Westport, Missouri, soon afterward to Cass County, that state, and in 1867 to a farm on Pony Creek, Miami County, Kansas.
On June 22, 1872, General Rice suffered another stroke of paralysis, which prostrated him for two years, and in the fall of 1874, believing himself permanently disabled, he went to live at Paola. But his health improving, in March, 1875, he purchased a half interest in the Miami Republican, and two years later became its sole proprietor. With the assistance of his son, he built up a substantial newspaper, but in 1880 purchased the Fort Scott Monitor and soon sold the Republican. Moving to Fort Scott, he continued to conduct the Monitor and was drawn into momentous matters outside the newspaper field. In 1884 he was chosen as an elector on the Blaine republican ticket; five years later became one of the promoters of a railroad from Natchez, Mississippi, to Bastrop, Arkansas; served as a delegate to the Interstate Mississippi River Improvement and Levee Association, and eventually secured from Congress an increased appropriation for levees along the Mississippi River. In 1893 Mr. Rice established the La Porte Chronicle, in Texas, and went to live in that town, but sold the paper in 1896 and returned to Fort Scott. Soon afterward he went to Sedalia, Missouri, and founded the Capital, but in 1898 disposed of his interest to his son and returned to Fort Scott, where he died October 5, 1904.