Catharine Rice, long and familiarly known as Aunt "Kitty" Rice, was born in Beaver Creek District, August 24, 1797. Her father, Samuel Funk, lived to be ninety-one years old, and her mother Maria (Houser), lived to be seventy-five years old. Her grandfather lived to be about eighty-six years of age, and her grandmother was an octogenarian when she died. Aunt "Kitty" relates that her grandfather came to America in about 1748, early in his married life. He came from the wine districts on the Rhine, being compelled to leave Germany on account of the conscription and his religious compunctions in regard to war. He paid his own fare on shipboard, and advanced the money for the ancestor of one of the prominent families of Washington County, Md. They were nearly three months making the voyage across the ocean. Her grandfather settled near Hagerstown, and was often in peril from the Indians, it becoming about the time of the French and Indian War. She says that one season nine families lived in their barn during the summer and were driven at one time to Fredericktown, twenty miles away, leaving a dinner cooking. They never knew who got that dinner. Aunt "Kitty's" grandfather gave to her father, Samuel Funk, a wild farm which her father and mother prepared for cultivation, working togrether in grubbing out the underbrush and young trees. Later Samuel Funk bought a mill at Beaver Creek, which at one time was so full of grain that the gabel end burst. He was compelled to call in his neighbors with their teams to move the grain to barns in the vicinity. The mill was so damaged that it had to be replaced.
Aunt "Kitty" remembered experiences which she had in going from her father's farm to the weekly market at Hagerstown with butter and eggs. She was the youngest of the family at home, and her father and mother wanted her to care for them till they were gone. This filial duty she was very glad to fulfill, with all the love of a faithful daughter, placing their interests and comfort always above her own. It was not until she had buried her father that she went to Mount Morris, Ill., in company with John Bovey and family, she yet retaining her maiden name. The year of arrival in Illinois she was married to Jacob Rice, who was a native of the same section of Maryland. Mr. Rice had married Mary Rowland, who had died, leaving twelve children. Mrs. Catherine (Funk) Rice had no children of her own, but she became a thoughtful and devoted mother to the children of her husband. The family made their home three miles north of Mount Morris until Mr. Rice died in 1870, at the age of eighty-five. Aunt "Kitty" remained in the old homestead twenty years longer, and then removed to Mount Morris to live with her step-son, the late Hon. Isaac Rice.
Aunt "Kitty" Rice was related to many of the prominent families in Beaver Creek District, among them being Mrs. Samuel Funk, Andrew Funk, Mrs. John W. Kaylor, Mrs. C. A. Weagly, and Mrs. William E. Funk. She was a remarkable woman who sweet life brightened that of all who knew her. She died after having long passed the century mark.
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