A Look Back: Rice family settles in Tarkington

Charles Matthew Rice

Charles Matthew Rice, 1846-1913, for whom Rice Settlement in Tarkington is named, came to Liberty County in the late 1800s.

Rice was reared in Missouri, then moved to Colorado as a young man with his parents. While in Colorado, he was conscripted into the U.S. Army and was a frontier fighter.

During the Battle of Sand Creek, he suffered three arrow wounds to the back, but miraculously survived his injuries. His family moved back to Missouri after the Civil War ended and Rice then moved on to Texas.

In Tarkington, he was involved in the timber and logging business, and owned a sawmill. He also raised cattle and hogs, and was reported to have been one of the best game hunters around.

He has many descendants still living in the Tarkington and Cleveland area, including great-grandsons Jay Rice and Charlie Rice, and great-granddaughters Carolyn Lilley and Donna Burt. Other descendants are the Chambers family of Tarkington, the late Kenneth Riggs of Cleveland and Faye Wells of Cleveland.

Jay Rice and his son, Luke, and their spouses, still live in the Rice Settlement. Jay’s second cousin, Becky Hughes, also a descendant, also lives in Rice Settlement.

Charlie Rice, the granddaughter of Charles Matthew Rice, is pictured standing in downtown Cleveland sometime around 1916-1920. She died in 1920 at the age of 16.
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Before creating Bluebonnet News in 2018, Vanesa Brashier was a community editor for the Houston Chronicle/Houston Community Newspapers. During part of her 12 years at the newspapers, she was assigned as the digital editor and managing editor for the Humble Observer, Kingwood Observer, East Montgomery County Observer and the Lake Houston Observer, and the editor of the Dayton News, Cleveland Advocate and Eastex Advocate. Over the years, she has earned more than two dozen writing awards, including Journalist of the Year.

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