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McHenry County Biographies N-R

James Nish, Treasurer of McHenry County, was born in Wilkirishire, Scotland, in 1824, a son of Nathaniel and Jane (McGeoch) Nish.  He came to America in 1851 and engaged in traveling till 1854, when he located in Cary, Ill., and the following year opened a stock of goods.  After the breaking out of the Rebellion he enlisted and raised Company I, One Hundred and Ninetyfifth Illinois Infantry, and was appointed its Captain.  He participated in the battle of Champion Hills and siege of Vicksburg.  From November, 1863, till April, 1864, he was detailed a recruiting officer, and was then assigned to take charge of the convalescent camp at Cairo, Ill.; and from there went to Nashville, Tenn., and Huntsville, Ala., and participated in the battle of Atlanta, Ga. He was mustered out Aug. 17, 1865, and resumed the mercanitile business.  He was the pioneer merchant of Cary, and it was through his influence that the postoffice was established there, in 1856.  He was appointed Postmaster by President Buchanan, and the position has been hold by him, his brother and son since that time.  He has served the county as Treasurer since 1875, entering upon the ninth year of his duties in 1884, his present term expiring December, 1886.  Mr. Nish was married in LaPorte, Ind., in 1853, to Caroline Dorrington, a native of England.  She was killed by lightning while standing in the store at Cary, Oct. 1, 1857.  John D., their only surviving child, is a Postal Clerk between Elgin, Ill., and Lake Genoa, Wis.  He married Orissa Crissman, of New York State.  Mr. Nish married, subsequently, Sarah R., daughter of L. A. C. Smith.  They have two children -Annie J. and Matie.  Mr. Nish is a member of the Masonic fraternity, and Grand Army of the Republic. Source: "History of McHenry County, Illinois"-1885 - Transcribed by Anne Kunzen

Charles W. Porter
This gentleman stands in a foremost place among the public officials of La Moure county, North Dakota. He has twice been called upon to serve as county treasurer, and is a man of practical business ability, and enjoys the confidence of the people among whom he has chosen to reside since the early days of the settlement of North Dakota.
Mr. Porter was born on a farm in McHenry county, Illinois, March 4, 1858, and was the second in a family of six children, three sons and two daughters, five of whom are now living. His father, Thomas W. Porter, was born in England, and was one of the early settlers of McHenry county, Illinois, where he was married to Miss Julia Roper, who was also a native of England.
Our subject was educated in the district school near his home and assisted on his father's farm until1880, in which year he went to North Dakota, then a territory, and soon afterward returned to Illinois. He again went to Dakota in 1881 and settled in La Moure county and filed claim to the southeast quarter of section 18, township 136, range 63, since which time he has followed farming, and has met with eminent success. He is now the possessor of one and a half sections of land and he has added valuable improvements to his property.
Mr. Porter returned to his home in Illinois in1883, and while there he was married to Miss Mary Tanner, a native of Illinois, who was born in 1857. Mr. and Mrs. Porter have been the parents of three children, as follows: Emma, Grace and Harvey. Mr. Porter was elected county treasurer in 1884, and served two years, and in September, 1898, he was appointed to the same position to fill an unexpired term, and in November of that year he was elected to that office, which he at present holds. He is an efficient officer and commands the respect and esteem of the people. During territorial times he was appointed by Governor Ordway as a member of the first board of county commissioners. Politically he is a Republican and is a man who keeps pace with the times. He holds membership in the Ancient Order of United Workmen and Modern Woodmen of America. He and family attend the Presbyterian church.
[Source: Compendium of History and Biography of North Dakota, Publ. 1900. Transcribed by Renae Capitanio]

William O. Rice
[From Graves Family history]
William O. Rice, second son of William and Aurelia [Orilla] Rice was born at Great Barrington, Mass. in 1825. He married Susan Ward at Wagg's Corners, N.Y. [Bixley's Corners, Hamburg, Erie Co, NY]. William & Susan also removed to Richmond in McHenry County, Ill. and later to Clarence in Green County, Wisconsin. William Rice enlisted for service early in the Civil War on Oct. 16th, 1861. He was mustered out at Pittsburg Landing [Tennessee] by reason of disability [fell off a gun caisson] incurred in the line of duty by a severe injury to one knee. Recovering sufficiently, he reinlisted Jan 17th, 1864 in the 12th Wisconsin Light Artillery in Janesville, WI. from which he served until the end of the War. He was mustered out at Madison on June 17th, 1865. He was a Captain in Artillery and made the famous march with General Sherman from Atlanta to the Sea. He was once captured in South Carolina, but later escaped. His eldest son, Nathan Rice also enlisted for service in the War and had one leg shot off at the Battle of Lookout Mountain, Tennessee. After the war, William Rice lived at Humbird in Trempealeau County, Wisconsin, and later at Osseo where he died. Grandmother Graves often told of her brother William of whom she was very proud, especially on account of his distinguished military service in the Civil War. I have a small picture of Great-uncle William Rice and he was a very handsome young man with a flowing beard.

William O. Rice wrote up a short personal account of his Civil War experiences for his daughter Ella. In his own words, he says,

"Discharged at Pittsburg Landing, Tenn., Mar. 31st, 1862, because of injuries received on duty. After getting rid of crutches reinlisted with [your] brother Nathan in 12th Wis Battery at Janesville for period of three years commencing Jan 5th, 1863 [I believe it was 1864 - ggg-granddaughter Sherrie Rice Smith], Captain Zickrick in command. Went thru with Sherman to the sea. Found the battle of Atlanta, Georgia, and fought the Rebels on the March whenever called on to shell them out of any place where they held advance infantry. I was under fire in the rear of Savannah, Geo. 5 days living on 2 small ears of corn a day.

Afterwards on the march north thru So. Car. near Cheraw I was taken prisoner. In Libby Prison for a couple of weeks, then paroled and made my way to Georgetown, So. Car. then to Charlestown then to Port Royal, So. Car. then to Fort T[F}ucalligo So. Car., from there took ocean steamer to Wilmington, N. Car. and there I overtook my battery, found Nathan well and the boys glad to see me.

From there we went to Raleigh, No. Car. and was there when Lincoln was assassinated. From there we came to Richmond, Va, from there to Washington and from there to Madison and was mustered out of service June 7th, 1865.

I was only wounded once, that was in the rear while on duty at the city of Savannah, by a spent ball from a shell. it struck me over the right eye in the forehead and knocked me down acting crazy for a while. I still have the ball. These are some of the most particulars."

23 July 1879 Declaration for an Original Invalid Pension:
William O. Rice who was enrolled on the 16th day of October, 1861 in company A of the First Regiment Illinois Artillery commanded by Charles W. Williard (Williards and Ballou's were prominent men in Oneida County, NY) and was honorably discharged at Pittsburgh Tenn on the 31st day of March, 1862 that his personal description is as follows: age, 37 years; height 5 feet 10 inches; complexion, light hair, brown; eyes Blue. That while a member of the organization aforesaid, in the service and in the line of his duty at Pittsburgh, Tenn, in the State of Tennessee on or about the 28th day of February, 1862, he was thrown from a caisson while Battery was on double quick March, producing severe contusion of the right knee, and was discharged from service in consequence of same. Afterward partially recovered and enlisted again in 12 Wisconsin Batter and was enrolled on the 5th Day of January, 1864 was again discharged the 7th day of June, 1865.

That he was treated as follows: in cavalry and artillery hospital Paducah, KY, was treated by John Bowman Asst Surgeon. That his is now almost totally disabled from labor in consequence of the above record at the time state above.

Living principally in County of Trempealeau, WI.
Occupation: Mason and nearly totally disabled.

Daughter in law Bertha Rice daugher Alice Rice Anderson wrote the following: "No mention is made here of the fact that his second enlistment was made because his son, Nathan, enlisted and the father, William O., did not want his son to go alone. He did not think the son (age 17) knew what hardships he was encountering. They served together for the balance of the war. He carried a shell in his knew after his injury. My mother and father talked a great deal about him when I was young."

Further Notes from the Submitter: William O. Rice, along with his wife Susan Ward Rice and grandchildren, Herbert Rice and Lula Ann Rice Zhe, and her husband Frank Zhe, are buried in the Sumner Township Cemetery, Osseo, Wisconsin. (Sarah Ann Rice Graves was William's sister)
William O. Rice was born 15-Jul-1825 supposedly in Berkshire County, MA. The 1850 census lists him in Rock Co., WI, where he had immigrated to Wisconsin with other family members, including his in-laws Elanson & Jerusha Van Ness Ward, Noble Lobdell, his wife's uncle, and other family friends, such as Beach's, Sly's, Purdy's, Northrop's, etc. from Hamburg area of Erie County, NY in the late 1840s; however, in 1861 he listed Richmond, IL as his residence when he enlisted in 1st Chicago Light Artillery for Union Army, thus he is found in the 1860 census in Richmond, McHenry Co., IL, Ringwood Post Office. 1870 census has him in Spring Grove, Green Co., WI. Described as 5' 10" blue eyes, brown hair. 1880 census has William, Susan & son George in Sumner Twp., Trempeleau Co., WI. The 1900 census lists him as living in Osseo, Trempleau Co., Wi. with his son, George, Leonora (DL), and Bethia (GD), age 3.
[Submitted by Sherrie Rice Smith - ggg-granddaughter of this couple. Corlissbss@aol.com]



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