Tuesday, February 12, 2019

Allen line: Rice Gaddis McCoy, "Uncle Rice" to us

The more I learn about the McCoy family, the more amazed I am.  I've previously written about William McCoy, the pastor and spinning wheel maker, and about Isaac McCoy, (Uncle Isaac to us), the missionary to the native Americans.  Someday I will write about another son, James McCoy, who was our direct ancestor.  But today I am excited because I've found some information about Rice Gaddis McCoy.  Equally exciting, I've just finished reading a book called "The Frontiersmen" by W. Allan Eckert, and much of Rice's story is described in this book, even though he is not mentioned by name. 

The Frontiersmen is about the settlement of Kentucky and Ohio (a little about Indiana and Illinois) during the years from about 1770 to 1815.  Much of the story is written about Simon Kenton, who may or may not belong to our family, but that is a story for another day.  The book explains the battles with the native Americans which took place during most of this time period, as America kept pushing back the boundaries of the country and as the natives were forced out of their homelands.  It is a hair raising story that isn't taught much in school, but it was very important to the development of our history, shameful though it might be.

I had read long ago that William and Elizabeth Royse McCoy's last child, Rice Gaddis McCoy, was one of the first children born in Cincinnati, in 1789.  That's not quite true, because Cincinnati at the time didn't exist.  There was a small village there, less than a year old, called Losantiville and that's where Rice was born.  The family stayed there a very short time before crossing the Ohio river and settling in Shelby County, Kentucky.  Ohio had not yet been tamed and Kentucky was only nominally safer than Ohio, with frequent Indian raids still occurring.  The McCoys seemed to want to live on the frontier, however, and they were requested to come to Clark County, Indiana to preach the word of God.  The whole McCoy family went with them, Rice being a teenager at the time.

There Rice married Malinda Pound on January 2, 1812.  This must have been shortly after he returned from serving under Governor William Henry Harrison on his march from Fort Knox (on Maria Creek, probably near Isaac McCoy's first church) to what became known as the Battle of Tippecanoe, at Prophetstown.  It wasn't intended to be a battle, really.  Harrison was still hoping to end the disputes between the natives and the whites peaceably.  Tecumseh, the native leader, was not present but his brother, the Prophet, was there and he directed the natives to attack on November 6, 1811.  The Americans weren't quite taken by surprise, but they weren't quite ready for battle yet, either.  It took a little while for them to get organized after the natives made their initial attack.  We know Rice was there because he signed a document in 1812, a memorial to Congress, asking that he (and others) be reimbursed for property lost at the battle, and we know he was a sergeant in 2 (Bartholomew's Regt) of the Indiana Territory Militia because there are records at the National Archives.  Perhaps it was a horse, or some other item of value that Rice lost.  It could have been that his extra clothes or ammunition was captured by the natives.  At any rate, he was there, he lost something of value, and he came home alive.  We don't know whether he served earlier, or whether he served when the War of 1812 broke out, but it's more than possible that he did both. 

The article on Find A Grave states that he was ordained to the ministry on the fourth Saturday in July of 1819 at the old Union Baptist Church.  His name appeared in the minutes of a conference of all the Regular Baptist churches of western Washington County and eastern Orange County in Indiana.  To quote. "It has been said that he was a faithful minister of the gospel, indefatigable in his labors and a most humble Christian.  His zeal for the promotion of benevolent institutions and practical godliness made him many enemies in his church."   

Rice and Malinda had been married for almost 23 years when Rice died of "chills and fever" on September 8, 1834.  His brother James had died of cholera the year before, but this doesn't sound so much like cholera as it does ague or malaria, the illness that was a constant trial to Isaac also.  Malinda certainly had a challenge ahead.  The couple had fifteen children together and it appears that ten or eleven were living when Rice died.   Malinda worked diligently to keep them fed, clothed, and educated, and married again in 1844 to John Martin. He died in 1854, and Malinda died in 1859, the grandmother of about 100 grand children! 

There is probably more about Rice and his father and perhaps our ancestor, William, in the archives at Franklin College.  I would love to go there and explore the treasures they have!  But without knowing any more than this, I can feel a sense of honor and patriotism in this man, in addition to his love for the Lord and his answer to the call of God.  We've been blessed with good examples to follow. 

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