MRS. CLARA M. (RICE) STEIDLEY, was born in South Palmyra Township, April 17, 1841. Her father, Richard Rice, was a Virginian and was born April 30, 1795. His father, Edwin Rice, also spent his entire days as far as is known in Virginia. The father of Mrs. Steidley was reared and married in his native State, and removed thence to Kentucky, and in 1830 to Illinois where he made his home in Macoupin County. This removal was made by team and he brought with him not only his wife and five children but also all his household goods and possessions. He settled in what is now South Palmyra Township and made claim to a tract of Government land.
The same fall Mr. Rice returned to Kentucky on horseback and brought back with him to Illinois his brother and family as well as two other families. He returned to Illinois in time to encounter the severities of the winter of 1830, which is noted as the season of deep snow. He and his family lived during that winter in a log cabin of one apartment. Nothing daunted by this experience which must have been a severe one to people coming from the southland, he went to work in the spring to put his farm in condition for cultivation, and made his residence there until his death in 1856.
The maiden name of the mother of our subject was Clara Ann Cave. She was born in Virginia and was the daughter of Thomas Cave, who spent his last days in Kentucky and died in 1878. The mother of Mrs. Steidley reared eleven children, give of whom are now living. In the early settlement of this county the farmers were obliged to live entirely upon the products of the farm as they were so far removed from any market and Mrs. Rice and her children were clothed from material manufactured by her own hand. They raised flax and sheep upon the farm and she was accustomed to card and spin the wool and to spin the flax and from these materials to weave cloth for their clothing.
Clara Rice resided with her mother until her marriage in 1861 to Solomon J. Steidley, who was born in Virginia, and was the son of Joseph and Elvira Steidley. After marriage Mr. and Mrs. Steidley resided upon the old Steidley homestead in South Palmyra Township for some time and then bought two hundred and eighty acres in North Palmyra Township adjoining the village of Palmyra and partly situated within its bounds. He carried on agriculture and was also engaged in the sale of farming implements until his death, but he was not destined to a long life for he was called from earth in June 1878, leaving a widow and three children to mourn his loss. The children are named Charles L., Rosa B. and Mary E. In early life both Mr. and Mrs. Steidley became members of the Methodist Episcopal Church and ever found in it a broad field of labor and influence. Mr. Steidley served his church as both Steward and Class Leader and was an active worker in the Sunday-school. In his death his brethren realized that they met a loss which was irreparable. He was a member of Palmyra Lodge, No. 163 A.F. & A.M., of Palmyra Lodge I.O.O.F., and in politics casts his vote and uses his influence for the promotion of the Republican party. He has been a traveler to a considerable extent and in 1852 went to California, making the journey across the plains with a team. Two of his brothers, Samuel and James, served their country during the War of the Rebellion. John Rice, Mrs. Steidley's brother, was one of the "one hundred days' boys" who went out in 1864 and James who belonged to the Thirty-second Illinois Infantry, fell mortally wounded at Shiloh, April 6, 1862. Mrs. Steidley's brother, Joseph Rice, was killed at the battle of Shiloh. He was First Lieutenant.