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Benjamin Rice & Minnie Brown

Migration: VA > KY > White Cloud Twp, Nodaway Co. MO > NE

The Rice ancestors were from Virginia and then Kentucky.

Benjamin & Minnie Brown Rice, were in the census in Falls City, Richardson County, Nebraska in January, 1920. 

After that census, they moved to the Hillsdale--St. Deroin area in southeast Nemaha Co.  They lived on several farms in the area, and at least 2 that are now within the boundary of the Indian Cave State Park. One such location was across the road from Spring Hollow -- I believe that is what the sign says in the park.

Benjamin Rice family was in the Boatman school district in the years of 1921, 1922, and 1923. The children listed were Perry, Minnie, Bennie, and Herbert.

However, I believe that my Perry and Minnie, had probably graduated from grade school by that time. I am not sure that being listed on the school census necessarily meant the child was attending school. My parents were married in 1926, so I doubt that my mother was attending school in 1924.

Back Row: Minnie Rice, girl, girl, boy, boy, boy, girl, girl
3rd row: girl, girl, boy, boy, boy, boy, girl, girl, girl, girl
2nd row: girl, boy, boy, girl, girl
1st row: boy, boy, boy, girl, boy, girl

. She was born April 4,, 1908. The back of the photo only identifies her as being in the 8th grade. My guess is that the year of her graduation was either 1921 or 1922.

I would like to find out what year Minnie Rice graduated and from what rural school. If anyone could identify any of the other students, I would be most grateful.  She attended the Boatman School and St. DeRoin School, that I am aware of, so my guess is that it was one of those schools, but I know that her parents lived at the time in southern Nemaha County. Other surnames she mentioned was Bowers, Keithley, Boatman, Johnson, and Wolf, whenever she talked of the early days in southeast Nemaha County.


I have a picture of my mother, among the other school children, standing at the side of a school building. My mother wrote on the back of the picture that she was 12 years of age, but she wrote nothing else.

In 1924, the Rice children appear in the St. Deroin School District as follows:

Minnie Rice, born 4 April, 1908, age 16
Perry Rice, born 19 September, 1906, age 18
Bennie Rice, born 30 September, 1911, age 13
Herbert Rice , born 1 October, 1915, age 9

The school building appears to be a wooden structure. Does anyone know if the original St. Deroin School was a wooden structure or not?  I am talking about the one that was supposedly swept away by the Missouri River.  I know the present building at the Indian Cave State Park, is brick. In the late 1970s, I took my parents to the school in the park, and Mrs. Shafer who was conducting the school tours, stopped the tour when she found out that my mother was a former student. I am assuming she had something on hand about  the children who attended there, but I have no idea if she knew who the graduates were.

Boatman School was a school district and there were folks in the area who were named Boatman.  I was never sure where the school was actually located, because by the time I even knew of this information, the rural schools were closed and abandoned and probably torn down. Also, larger landowners by then owned the land that had previously been farmed by many small farmers. My first acquaintance with that area was when I first took my mother to the Hillsdale Cemetery in 1955, and that day we drove on the dirt roads, that are now asphalt in the Indian Cave State Park.  As far as I know, my grandparents lived north of the Nemaha--Richardson County Line in Nemaha County. Someone told me that a child in the home would be shown on a school census up until the age of 19, even though they may not be attending school.

I would certainly like to know who was in her class the year she graduated. Surnames, she mentioned, were Shafer, Kirkendall, Bowers, Foster, Boatman, and Johnson.  I have no idea whether these were Boatman or St. Deroin School children, or both.

I think I got what you want except for the name of the teacher.
    I was shocked to see how long they stayed in school those days.  The family did NOT attend Hillsdale School District 55. 
1921-1922 Boatman School, Dist. 58 [Ben Rice children appear in Nemaha Co.]
  Child    birth date      Age
1 Perry    19 Aug 1906      15
2 Minnie    4 Apr 1908      13
3 Bennie    3 Aug  1910     11
4 Herbert   1 Sep  1914      7
1922-1923 Boatman School, Dist. 58
 -- same Rice children
Minnie's age was  listed as 15.  We found that from year to year the birth dates disagreed at some points.  I am sure you have those accurately.  
1924-1925 St. Deroin School, Dist. 56
Rice children names were OK and Minnie was listed as being 16 years old
1925-1926 St. Deroin School, Dist 56
Perry 19 years
Minnie 17 years
Bennie 15 years
Herbert 11 years
Frances born 11 Sep 1919, 6 years
1926-1927 St. Deroin School, Dist 56
Perry 20 years
Minnie 18 years

1926-1927 Perry and Minnie had gone but Bennie, Herbert and Francis were there.  Strange, the spelling of Francis was with the 'I' but listed as a female.
The Rice family did not put in an appearance in 1927.  I had no idea students stayed so long in rural schools as I knew them to be.  
I always thought it was 8 grades and in later years included kindergarten in some schools.  The word "graduation" was nowhere to be seen.  I suppose that is an assumption.
Research by Phyllis A. Palmer Obermeyer 1/2009 

In 1929, my grandmother, Minnie Brown Rice died; I do not know where they lived at that time. 

1930 Census Falls City, Richardson Co. Nebr.
Name: Benjamin Rice
Home in 1930: Falls City, Richardson, Nebraska
Age: 67
Estimated Birth Year: abt 1863
Birthplace: Missouri
Relation to Head of House: Head
Race: White
Household Members: Name Age
Benjamin Rice 67
Perry Rice 23
Benjamin J Rice 19
Francis Rice 10
Eugene Rice 6
Johnie Rice 4 10/12

In February, 1936, my grandfather, Benjamin Rice, died.  He and his younger children lived on the first east-west road that is south of the Hillsdale Cemetery. As I understand it, the town of Hillsdale was over the hill north of the cemetery location.

This diagram, circa 1913, is to help locate landmarks, schools, cemeteries, etc.

Aspinwall Twp: Landmark Analysis by Section
5 4 3 2 1 6 T4N
7 8 9 ? Island
11 12 7

17 16 15 14 13 18
19 Aspinwall
21 22
23 24 19
30 29 28 27
26 25 30
31 32 33 34
35 St. Deroin



Did Nemaha County ever have a Centennial Book, or anything that may have some information about the schools?  It seems that someone would have kept a list of the graduating classes from the rural schools.  I attended rural schools all through grade school, and believe that the information is very important. The information is most helpful in genealogy.

Griffith & Jackson Families

The Griffith & Jackson families were also from Virginia and then Kentucky. My 4th gr-grandparents, John & Nancy ( Francis ) Griffith first settled in Andrew County MO, and then moved on north to Nodaway County MO.

Dennis Herbster (

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