Friday, September 7, 2012

Neander Hickman Rice (1814-1886)

   Hailing from Lauderdale County, Alabama, Neander Hickman Rice is honored today on the site not only for his odd name but for his service as Alabama Secretary of State in the early 1870s.  Very little information exists online in regards to the life of this strangely named Alabaman, and considering how obscure he is, I was flabbergasted to have located the above picture of him (courtesy of the Alabama Department of Archives and History website!)
   Neander H. Rice was originally born in Kentucky on January 26, 1814, the son of Green Pryor and Jane Campbell Ewing Rice. Neander is recorded as marrying Ms. Penelope Sannoner sometime in the early 1840s and in 1846 they became the parents of a daughter, Senora. Penelope died that same year and in April 1848 Neander remarried to Lucy Elizabeth Lester, who eventually gave birth to five children, who are listed as follows: Leonora (born 1850), Elizabeth Jane (born 1852), Neander Jr. (born 1854), Green Pryor (born 1856) and William Henry (born 1859).
  Rice is listed as settling in Lauderdale County, Alabama around 1839 and later became the Mayor of Florence, Alabama, although no source mentions when or how long he served. In 1872 he was elected as Secretary of the State of Alabama, officially taking office in January of 1873. Rice left this post in 1874 and from what research has shown, spent the rest of his life in relative obscurity, dying at age 72 on February 8, 1886. He was buried in the Florence Cemetery "with full Masonic honors" and was survived by his wife Lucy, who died in 1888.


  1. I'm the local historian at the Florence-Lauderdale Public Library in Florence, AL. Thanks for posting this photo, as I wasn't aware of it.

    I can tell you that Neander H. Rice was a Republican who opposed secession and served as mayor of Florence from 1871-1873.

    Lee Freeman

    1. Lee,

      Thanks for your comments on Neander Hickman! His article is one of the shorter ones here on the site and I'm amazed that I was able to find as much information as I did on him, considering that there really aren't any biographical resources that mention him at any great length! The photo (luckily enough) was found on a Alabama State Department of Archives and History website, which gave mention of his service as Alabama Secretary of State and little else!