Rice, John Jay

Rice, John Jay, a Presbyterian minister, was the son of Gabriel and Phebe (Garrard) Rice, and brother of Rev. Nathan L. Rice, D.D. He was born in Garrard County, Ky., Sept. 7, 1804, and received his early education wholly in the country schools in the neighborhood of his father's residence. At the age of fourteen he entered Center College at Danville, Ky., but, after staying a short time, he returned home. Subsequently he again entered Center College and remained two years, but did not graduate. While at college he and his brother Nathan were both converted during a glorious revival which occurred in Danville. Soon after, having devoted himself to the work of the ministry, he began to study theology under Rev. James C. Barnes, a widely known pastor and preacher of Kentucky, at the same time laboring in Mr. Barnes's and neighboring churches. He was licensed by the Transylvania Presbytery, April 2, 1827, but soon became convinced that he was not so well furnished as to make full proof of his ministry, and went as a licentiate to Princeton Theological Seminary, where he studied two .years, 1829-31. While a student in the seminary he resided at Dutch Neck, about four miles south of Princeton. and statedly supplied the Church at that place, with frequent help from his brother Nathan. The preaching of the two brothers made a deep impression upon the people of Dutch Neck. Many were hopefully converted. The brothers were regarded with strong affection, and their names are held in tender and loving remembrance to this day among the people of the region. Having returned to Kentucky at the end of his second year in the seminary, Mr. Rice was ordained April 5, 1833, by the Presbytery of Ebenezer, and soon became widely popular as a preacher. In the years 1832-34 he preached as stated supply to the Church at Millersburg, Ky., and from 1834-35 at Maysville, Ky. But, alas! the hand of a fatal pulmonary disease was soon laid upon the zealous and eloquent preacher. After aiding his brother Nathan for two or three years in editing a religious paper which the latter had started, he felt constrained to try a milder climate, and went to Florida. There, from Tallahassee as a center, he traveled much in Central Florida, and his soul was aroused at sight of the ignorance of the people and their destitution of Gospel privileges. Although sick, he must preach; and he did preach until he had utterly exhausted his remaining strength. He was at length seized with a high congestive fever, and died at Quincy, Fla., Sept. 19, 1840. He was a bright and shining light. His abilities were extraordinary. His pulpit gifts were highly attractive. His spirit was Christ-like, tender, loving, full of zeal. Mr. Rice married, May 5, 1829, Miss Emily Craig Welsh, of Lincoln, Ky., and at his death left only one child, a little daughter, who still survives (1878). Had he lived to a good old age, Mr. Rice would unquestionably have been one of the most prominent and illustrious ornaments of the American pulpit. (W.P.S.)

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