Rice, Henry Leffler

Rice, Henry Leffler, a Dutch Reformed minister, was the son of Henry and Elizabeth (Leffler) Rice, and was born in Washington County, Ky., June 25, 1795. His early education was conducted by the Rev. James Vance, of Kentucky, who took young Rice for some years into his own home. After spending three years in Transylvania University, Ky., he was graduated from that institution in the class of 1818. Having early experienced the renewing grace of God, in his sixteenth year he united, by a public profession of his faith, with the Presbyterian Church at Corydon, Ind. Immediately after leaving the university, he entered the theological seminary at Princeton, N.J., whence he was regularly graduated in three years, after passing through the full course of study. He was licensed by the Presbytery of New Brunswick, Oct. 3, 1821, and was ordained as an evangelist by the same presbytery, Oct. 2, 1822. After his ordination he spent two years in mission work in new portions of the West, and then returned to New Jersey, where he accepted a call to become pastor of the Dutch Reformed Church at Spottswood, and was installed in September, 1825. Here he labored faithfully and successfully about eight years, until he was released by his classis, April 16, 1834, in order that he might accept a call to the German Reformed Church in Chambersburg, Pa., over which latter charge he was installed in May, 1834, and in which he continued until his death. While residing in Chambersburg, he became profoundly interested in the literary and theological institutions of the German Reformed Church located at Mercersburg, and in the fall of 1836 he was induced to undertake an agency on their behalf, his pulpit being supplied, meanwhile, by neighboring ministers. For a considerable time he was president of the Board of Trustees of Marshall College at Mercersburg. After his removal to Mercersburg he studied the German language, and so thoroughly mastered it as to preach occasionally in that tongue to the German people in his vicinity, to their great delight. While prosecuting the above mentioned agency with great energy and success, he was stricken down by fever, and died at Chambersburg, May, 3, 1837. Mr. Rice married, in 1821, Miss Gertrude Van Dyke; youngest daughter of Matthew Van Dyke, of Mapleton, four miles from Princeton, N.J. She was a woman of estimable character and fervent piety. She died June 9, 1837, about a month after her husband. Mr. Rice was a man of large culture and of extraordinary piety, energy, and influence. (W.P.S.)

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