This article was originally written by Bobby Rose in the early 1970's.
Submitted by Norwood Thorpe
Rice Station is located about 5 miles west of Irvine on Highway #52 toward Richmond. It was named for Mr. Charlie Rice who was a large land owner and it is thought that he gave the right of way to the L & N Railroad Company for track and the railroad station built there. Mr. Rice's large frame house near the station location is still standing, in good repair and is owned by Mr. James Leonard Rice of Lexington. Neither the railroad track nor the station at Rice Station are in existence at the present time.
Mr. Charlie Rice was married twice, his first wife was Eliza Jane Cox, and his second, Nannie Kate Kirby. Mr. Charlie Rice and his family had lived on Red Lick, Estill County, possibly before moving to the Rice Station area. His father was John Rice and mother Rannie Rucker Rice. It is not known where the John Rice family lived, but early Rice ancestors came from Virginia to Kentucky.
In the late 1800's and early 1900's, Rice Station was a very thriving community, and the L&N passenger trains going from west to east and east to west each day stopped at Rice Station and opened up travel and business to the area.
Mr. William L. Rice, nephew of Mr. Charlie Rice and whos parents were Thomas James Rice and Elizabeth Richardson Rice moved with his wife Louisa Park Wagers Rice from Wagersville (Estill County) to Rice Station in the late 1800's. Mr. William L. Rice and Louisa Wagers Rice were parents of 10 children. Some of the children and descendants presently live at Rice Station and Irvine. Mr. William L. Rice died in July, 1910. His wife lived until September 30, 1943.
Upon moving from Wagersville to Rice Station, Mr. William L. Rice and a live long friend, Jonah Wagers, also of Wagersville and for whom Wagersville was named, became joint owners and operators of a large general store near the Rice Station railroad station. Many stacks of tan bark and railroad ties, among other freight, were loaded daily on trains by Wagers and Rice.
It is said that the Wagers and Rice Store carried all kinds of merchandise and hardware "from coffin screws (coffins were homemade at the time) to whatever was asked fore". The store also carried men's shoes and clothing and women's shoes Also a large supply of yard goods including silks and satins was also carried. The store was a two story structure and Mrs. Irvine Scrivner drove by horse and buggy from her Madison County home each day and had a millinery shop on the second floor. She is said to have been quite skillful at making and trimming hats. Wagers and Rice bought for sale turkeys from farmers in the neighborhood who would dive the large flocks of turkeys from their respective farms to the store.
Mrs. and Mrs. W.L. Rice and friends, Mr. and Mrs. W.S. Witt owned a large frame houses also located near the railroad station. Mrs. Rice prepared in her home meals for drummers who came to the store. They paid $.25 per meal. Mrs. Rice and Mrs. Witt, the former Eliza Wilcox, opened their homes to friends and relatives who found it necessary to stop over between trains. While the drummers who had come by train from neighboring cities to Rice Station were in the area, they would rent a team and wagon from Wagers and Rice and one of the sons of Mr. Rice would take the drummers with their ware samples to other such general stores in the county. Thus Rice Station was used as a focal point of economic and business activity in the west central part of the county.
When Mr. Jonah Wagers sold his interest in the store to Mr. Rice, the store then came to be known as the W.L. Rice and Son's Store. The sons involved where Charlie and Earl Rice.
Among other early families living in the Rice Station community were Jim Tom Turpin, John E. Riddell, John R. Cox, Simp Wagers, W.S. Witt, Jim Lanter, and Warren McGowan families.
The Rice Station community has long been served by a Christian Church located on Highway #52. The frame building was torn down about 1927 and replaced by a red brick structure. The congregation has remained constant through the years.
The Rice Station post office for many years was lodged in the general stores owned by various members of the Rice family. The post office was established August 5, 1892, with Mr. John M. Kerby as postmaster. Other postmasters were: Solomon R. Wilder, James W. Witt, Jr., William L. Rice (3-13-1906), William S. Witt (1/30/1911), Louisa P. Rice (1/16/1913), Columbus Edwards, and Miss Nettie Rice who assumed charge December 30, 1933, and served until her retirement approximately 1975.
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