Rice History 1933
At this time Rice had two doctors, Dr. McGee and Dr. Melton. Dr. McGee came in 1877 and a Dr. Sloan also moved to Rice in 1884.
In 1890 a new school building was constructed at a cost of $3,000. Patrons of the school donated enough to pay for it in a short while.
The population of Rice in 1900 was 268. The rural districts were much more thickly populated then than they are now. One Rice merchant, J. A. Lackey, sold ice. There were no refrigerators then and ice was bought in very small quantities. It was sold in three pound chunks for five cents a chunk. The ice had to be shipped from Corsicana by rail.
In May, 1901, about one-third of the business part of Rice was destroyed by fire. Four business houses and the ice house were burned. This represented a loss of about $12,000.
In 1898 the first Rice newspaper, the "Rice Enterprise" came into existence. This paper was given up after a few months. In August, 1901, the first "Rice Rustler" was edited by Clarence Urbin.
The year 1912 is important for three things in the history of Rice. The Dallas-Corsicana division of the Texas Electric Railway system was completed that year. In the summer the new school building was completed at a cost of $16,000. On the second day of December, 1912, an election was held in Rice in which a majority of the electors voted to incorporate. Another election was held a short time afterward to elect city officials.
When the United States declared war on Germany in April, 1917, a number of young men of Rice immediately volunteered. They were trained in various camps over the state. Two men enlisted in the Navy. Robert Wasson, who joined the Marine Corps, was the only one who failed to come back. During the four Liberty Loan drives and the Victory Loan drive $60,000 worth of Liberty Bonds and $10,000 worth of War Savings Stamps were sold in the banking district including Rice, Chatfield and Tupelo. In the third Liberty Loan drive this district was the first in Navarro County to go "over the top".
The Rice post office was advanced from fourth class to third class on April 1, 1918. Since Williams Holmes became postmaster in 1875, nine persons have held that position to date. James W. Norris, J. B. Slade, W. H. Todd, R. M. Langham, J. W. Holland, Mrs. Verna K. Harper, T. Y. Allen and A. H. Coulter have each served as postmaster for from one to twelve years.
On the night of October 1, 1924, occurred the most destructive fire in the history of Rice. The fire originated in a cafe belonging to Jeff Spencer. The fire spread to the barber shop of R. T. Irwin and to the grocery store of A. R. Jackson. The cafe was between the barber shop and grocery store. The fire caused a loss of more than $15,000.
At present, the population of Rice is 611. The aldermanic form of government is used. The churches and school here are very good for a town of this size. There are thirty-three business establishments in Rice. From the center of town gravel roads extend for two miles in each of four directions.
History of Navarro County, 1933, by Annie Carpenter Love