Transcribed from History of Wyandotte County Kansas and its people ed. and comp. by Perl W. Morgan. Chicago, The Lewis publishing company, 1911. 2 v. front., illus., plates, ports., fold. map. 28 cm. [Vol. 2 contains biographical data. Paged continuously.] p. 510-511 transcribed by Jessica Hodges and Rebecca, students from USD 508, Baxter Springs Middle School, Baxter Springs, Kansas, on September 12, 2000.

William J. Rice

WILLIAM J. RICE. - One of the stanch institution contributing its quota to the financial prestige and stability of the metropolis of Wyandotte county is the Central Avenue State Bank, of which William J. Rice is president and which is eligibly located at 15 Central avenue, Kansas City. The chief executive of this bank is known as one of the progressive and reliable business men of this section of the state, and his various interests in Kansas City well denote his civic loyalty and public spirit.

Mr. Rice was born in Spencer county, Indiana, on the 4th of July, 1860, and his advent thus justified especial celebration of the anniversary of our national independence so far as it touched the home of his parents, Robert R. and. Mary (Iden) Rice, both of whom were born and reared in Ohio, where the respective families were founded in the pioneer epoch of its history. Robert R. Rice was reared under the discipline of the basic industry of agriculture, to which he continued to devote his attention in the old Buckeye state until 1861, when he removed to Illinois and purchased a farm in Knox county, which continued to be his home until his death, at the age of about forty-five years. His widow lived to attain the venerable age of eighty-two years, and of the six children, two of whom are living, William J., of this review, was the fifth in order of birth.

The childhood and early youth of William J. Rice were passed in Knox and Warren counties, Illinois, to the former of which his parents moved the year following his birth, and after duly profiting by the instructions given in the public schools he further fortified himself for the practical affairs of life by the completion of a thorough course of study in a business college at Quincy, Illinois. He early gave evidence of distinctive business acumen and he has been concerned with banking enterprises from the time he was a young man. He came to Kansas in 1886 and in the same year he assisted in the organization of the first bank in Cheyenne county, in the village of Wano, the new institution being established under the title of the Bank of Wano. The town later assumed the name of St. Francis and is now the judicial center of this county, which lies in the extreme northwestern corner of the state. Mr. Rice was made cashier of the bank, and he continued to retain this position until the 1st of January, 1894, when he disposed of his interest in the same, and for the ensuing four years he held the office of treasurer of the county. The bank was reorganized under the title of the Citizens' State Bank of St. Francis several years after Mr. Rice severed his connection with the institution, and he was one of the most influential citizens of the county until his removal to Kansas City, Kansas, in 1899. Here he was engaged in the real-estate business for five years, both as an owner and broker, and in 1904 he effected the organization of the Central Avenue State Bank, of which he became cashier at the time of incorporation, and under his able direction the institution has gained substantial standing and liberal support. He continued incumbent of the office of cashier until the 1st of January, 1910, when he was elected president, in which position he has since continued to direct the policies of the bank with marked discrimination and success. Mr. Rice is also interested in timber lands in the state of Oregon and is the owner of valuable land in various parts of Kansas, as well as of valuable real estate in his home city. All progressive measures advanced for the general good of the community receive his earnest support and he takes a lively interest in public affairs of a local order, the while he has also been an influential factor in the councils of the Republican party in Kansas. He has served as a member of the Republican State Central Committee, and in this connection has taken an active part in the manoeuvering of political forces in this favored commonwealth, to which his loyalty is of the most insistent type.

In 1889 Mr. Rice was united in marriage to Miss Jessie E. Hart, daughter of John W. Hart, a prominent citizen of Mifflin county, Pennsylvania. He passed away when Mrs. Rice was a mere child. The five children of this union are Ewart R., Gladys, Alice, William Ivan and Joseph Iden.

Biographical Index