John Campbell Rice, president of the Commercial Bank of Caldwell and a prominent member of the bar of Canyon County, is numbered among the native sons of Illinois, his birth having occurred in Cass County, that state, January 27, 1864. He is of Welsh descent, tracing his ancestry back to the Welsh emigrants of the name who located in the colony of Massachusetts during the early settlement of America. Later, members of the family removed to Tennessee. The grandfather, Ebenezer Rice, removed with his family from Tennessee to Illinois in 1839. Elbert Gallatin Rice, the father, was born in Tennessee in 1823, and was accordingly sixteen years of age when he accompanied his parents to the Prairie state, their home being in what was then Morgan County, but is now Scott County. In his younger years he adhered to the faith of the Baptist church, but afterward united with the Christian church and entered the work of the ministry. By occupation he was a farmer and owned and operated a tract of land, but each Sunday he was found in the house of worship proclaiming the gospel to those who sought to know of the better life. His death occurred in the sixty-ninth year of his age. His wife, who bore the maiden name of Mary Ann Camp, was a relative of General Putnam and a great-granddaughter of General Putnam’s brother William. Mrs. Rice was of English descent, her ancestors being among the early settlers of Connecticut. She is still living, in the seventy-third year of her age, and is a most estimable lady whose many virtues have endeared her to a large circle of friends.
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John C. Rice of this review is the eighth in order of birth in a family of ten children, all of whom still survive. He was reared under the parental roof and completed his literary education in the Illinois College, at Jacksonville, where he was graduated in the class of 1885. Subsequently he engaged in teaching mathematics in his alma mater for a year, and then entered upon the study of law in the Michigan State University, at Ann Arbor. His professional course was terminated by his graduation in Cornell College, in 1890, after which he entered upon the practice of law in Caldwell, where he has built up a large clientage. He has a broad and thoroughly understanding of the principles of jurisprudence, and is very careful to conform to a high standard of professional ethics. He is also connected with other business interests, having been one of the organizers of the Commercial Bank, at which time he was elected president and has since served in that capacity. By judicious management this has become one of the leading banking institutions in this part of the state, and the reliability of the stockholders has secured it a liberal patronage.
On the 2d of October 1895, Mr. Rice was united in marriage to Miss Maude Beshears, of Caldwell, Idaho, and they have two interesting little sons, Elbert Gallatin and Homer Beshears. Mr. and Mrs. Rice are connected with the Christian church, of which he is one of the charter members and also one of the elders. He takes an active interest in its work and is an exemplary member of Essene Lodge, No. 22, A. F. & A. M., of Caldwell, in which he is past master. His political support is given the Democracy. He was elected a member of the fourth state legislature, and during his service was chairman of the house judiciary committee. Although a young man he has attained eminence in professional and political life, and the future will undoubtedly hold still higher honors for him, for a man of marked ability and energy is always in demand in connection with the important activities of business and public life.