Oswego County's: Guide To Government

William H. Rice

WILLIAM H. RICE DOCTOR WILLIAM H. RICE represents the Second District of Oswego County. He was born in Elbridge, Onondaga County, New York, in 1821; but, when he was quite young, his parents removed to Clay, in the same County, where the most of his youth was spent. His early education was acquired in the common schools of the town, and in some of the academies of the State. His medical studies were commenced in his own county, and subsequently pursued, for two years, in New York city; he graduated from the College of Physicians and Surgeons, after a thorough course of study, in 1846. After graduating, Doctor RICE spent nearly two years, 'traveling in New England, and in the Southern and Western States. He subsequently resided one year in Brooklyn, New York. In 1850, he located in Caughdenoy, Oswego County, his present residence. A thorough knowledge of his profession soon gave him a large field of practice. In sentiment, he has always been opposed to slavery, and, therefore, entered, at the first, into the Republican organization, of which he is a leading member in his own locality. In the practice of his profession, Doctor RICE had little time to devote to office. He was, however, elected Town Superintendent of Common Schools, and, for some time, held the office of Postmaster in his village, and was Supervisor of his town in 1859, and again in 1860.

In the fall of 1861, the Second Oswego County Regiment, the 81st New York Volunteers, was placed in the field, and, in December of that year, Doctor Rice was commissioned as its Surgeon. Thoroughly educated in his profession, he fulfilled all of his arduous duties with fidelity. He was with the 81st Regiment, during all of the Peninsular campaign, participating in the battle of Fair Oaks, in which the 81st, being in the advance, suffered severely.

He was with his regiment, also, in all the famous "seven days' fight" before Richmond. After this, the 8lst was detailed for garrison duty at Yorktown; but, in December, 1862, it was ordered south, where it participated in the first attempt upon Charleston, in April, 1863. In July following, the regiment was ordered to North Carolina, where it shared in the dangers of the campaign at that point. In the Spring of 1864, it was attached to the "Army of the James," under General Butler, and was among the first regiments landed at Bermuda Hundred. Forming a part of the Corps of "BALDY SMITH," it was uniformly in the fights, until the affair at Drury' Bluff, in which it was engaged under General Smith, after which it joined General GRANT at Coal Harbor, prominently participating in the severe affairs at that point, on the 2d and 3d of June, 1864.

Doctor Rice was here placed in the responsible charge of the Field Hospital of the 18th Army Corps. He continued on duty at that hospital, until the 12th of June, when the corps returned to Bermuda Hundred, and participated in the second attempt on that stronghold of Petersburgh. After this, he was put in charge of the medical department of General CARR's Brigade, then commanding the defenses of the James. He discharged the duties of this position, until he was mustered out, near the close of the war. He had the reputation of being a faithful, popular and efficient surgeon.

Doctor Rice was elected by the Republicans of his District, to the Legislature of 1866, in which body he served on the Committees on Public Health, Medical Colleges and Societies, and Federal Relations. He was reelected to the Assembly of 1867. He is Chairman of the Committee on Charitable and Religious Institutions, and a member of the Committees on Public Health, Medical Colleges, &c.

As a legislator, Doctor RICE is industrious and careful, and is vigilant and faithful to all the interests of his constituents, with whom he has earned the reputation of being a sagacious representative.