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James M. Rice was born in Hamilton county, Tennessee in 1826, and came to Milam county, Texas in 1847, and was married to Elizabeth Standefer.

He was a 49'er in California.

James Rice moved to Hamilton county in 1855 from Hogg Creek country of McLennan county and brought the first wagon from that section into Hamilton county and settled on the Headright of Isaac Standifer on the Leon about 12 miles east of Hamilton. The trail that he made into Hamilton county became the old Hamilton-Waco road, running south of the Leon, south of Mt. View school house and down Hogg Creek.

He took a leading part in the creation of Hamilton county and became the first Chief Justice (County Judge) in 1858.

He selected and negotiated for the land that the county seat now occupies, and with Henry Standefer, a brother-in-law, opened the town’s first store.

He was captain of the Hamilton county Company for frontier defense during the Civil War, and with a portion of his company was at the Battle of Dove Creek southwest of San Angelo.

In early days he drove cattle to Abilene, Kansas, Oklahoma, and eastern markets and drove one heard as far east as Vicksburg, Miss.

He died at Galveston where he had gone on a business trip and was there buried in October, 1872.

The Hamilton County News, Vol. IV, Number 11--Section One

Historical and Trading Expansion Issue

W. F. Billingslea, Editor-Publisher

Subscription Price ONE YEAR ..$1.00

June 29, 1934



People and Places: Gazetteer of Hamilton County, TX
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Copyright © March, 1998
by Elreeta Crain Weathers, B.A., M.Ed.,  
(also Mrs.,  Mom, and Ph. T.)

A Work In Progress