( Thomas Dorr Rice )

by Barry Weaver
Feb 14, 2014

Parents:  William  & Sarah (Collins) Rice  ( RI Cemetery database )

1845  birth of Thomas D. Rice in Warwick, RI, Sept. 2, 1845 (obituary - Pawt. Times, Friday, Sept. 18, 1925)

1862   Thomas enlists in Central Falls on Sept. 16, 1862, in Company B, 11th RI volunteer infantry. He fought in several skirmishes about Richmond and was honorably discharged on July 13, 1863.  (obituary) 

1868  (Oct. 15,1868) Thomas D. Rice, mechanic, marries Henrietta Wilmarth. Thomas b. in Warwick, resident of Pawtucket, son of William & Sarah Rice; Henrietta b. in Attleboro, resident of Attleboro, dau. of Albert & (Al___)(?) Wilmarth. Service by Rev. C. Blodgett  (RI marriage records) 

*Note: entry for parents of Henrietta may be in error; RI cemetery database has Henrietta's parents as William A. & Almira (Codding) Wilmart [sic] 

1869   (obituary states ) in 1869 "Mr. Rice began a wood turning business with Thomas Boardman, their plant being located in High Street, C.F." 
*Note: There is a Thomas Boardman listed in the directory, but no mention of a partnership wih Thomas Rice. A widow "Mrs.Thomas Boardman" is listed in 1871 directory.

1870  Rice, Thomas D. & Co. (John Salsbury) fancy wood workers, 107 Mill, opp. Central. C.F. bds. PV [sic]
*Note:   (obituary states)  " In 1870 Joseph Salsbury entered the business with Thomas D. Rice " This must be in error as all the directories state that it was a John Salsbury who was the partner, not Joseph. 

1870  Fed census:  Rice, Thomas D., 23, turner from Rhode Island, net worth $800.00.; wife - Henrietta 22, from Mass.

1871 thru 1876  Rice, Thomas D. (T.D.Rice & Co.), 9 North, C.F. h. 244 High, C.F.

1877  Rice Thomas D., fancy wood workers, 9 North, C.F.
president, Pawtucket Enamel Co., 16 Dexter. h. 244 High, C.F. 

*Note: "T. D. Rice & Co." is also listed under (Spool & Bobbin Makers) in advertisement section

1880 thru 1881  Rice Thomas D.(T.D.Rice & Co.) fancy woodworkers, North, h. 244 High, C.F.

1881/82  Rice T.D. & Co. , fancy woodworkers & enamelers, r. 244 High, C.F.
Rice, Thomas D. (T.D.Rice & Co. ) North, rear 244 High, house 244 High, C.F.

1883/84/85   Rice T.D. & Co., wood workers & enamelers, 9 North, C.F.
Rice Thomas D. (T.D. Rice & Co.), 9 North, h. 9 Nickerson

1889   year that Narragansett Machine Co. was incorporated
1889  Rice T.D & Co., woodworkers & enamelers, 9 North C.F., h. 5 Nickerson

1890  First listing for the firm of "W.J.Hood & T.D.Rice Mfg.Co." woodworkers, hand & bench screws and enamelers, r. 398 Broad, V.F.

1891  "W.J.Hood & T.D.Rice Mfg. Co.", woodworkers, hand & bench screws and enamelers, r. 398 Broad, V.F.

1892  "W.J.Hood & T.D.Rice Mfg. Co." woodworkers, hand & bench screws and enamelers, 56 Tremont Street, V.F.

1901   Last directory listing for firm of "W.J.Hood & T.D.Rice" 
1901  Thomas D. Rice becomes foreman of Narragansett Machine Co., it having taken over "W.J.Hood & T.D.Rice" this same year. (obituary)

1910   Pawt/CF Dir.  Rice, Thomas D., foreman, Narragansett Machine Co., house 5 Nickerson; Thomas retires in this same year . (obituary)

1925   Thomas D. Rice dies on September 18, 1925 , age 80 yrs.( RI Cemetery Records) (obituary)


    Thomas Dorr Rice was born 1845 in Warwick, Rhode Island. In September of 1862, at age 17, Thomas enlisted in the 11th RI volunteer infantry at Central Falls. Perhaps he had already begun an apprenticeship in Central Falls or Pawtucket when he felt the call to duty. Thomas was honorably discharged a year later in 1863 and married Henrietta Wilmarth [sic] of Attleboro, Mass. He gives his occupation in the marriage record as mechanic. 

    In his obituary, it was said that "in 1869 Thomas D. Rice began a wood turning business with a Thomas Boardman; that business being located in High Street, Central Falls." We were unable to confirm this partnership using the Pawt/CF directories. If there was such a partnership it lasted less than a year. In 1870 Thomas Rice enters a partnership with a John Salsbury under the name "T. D. Rice & Co.", 107 Mill Street opp. Central, C.F. "fancy wood workers". Also in 1870 the Fed. census lists Thomas D. Rice, 23, turner from Rhode Island, net worth $800.00; wife - Henrietta, 22, from Mass. 

   The entries in the directories show little change until 1887 when along with fancy woodworking, Thomas is also listed as the president of the Pawtucket Enamel Co. located at 16 Dexter Street. His woodworking firm is located at  9 North. In this same year of 1877, "T.D. Rice & Co." is also listed under "Spool & Bobbin Makers." An 1879 advertisement for the firm of T.D.Rice & Co. shows the variety of items being produced at that time. Included are "threaded spools and every variety of small wood turning used by brush, tin ware, furniture, tassel, carriage, toy and jewelry manufacturers, either plain, oiled or enameled."
    In 1890 when Hood & Rice formed their partnership, William Hood was 65 years of age and must have seen the advantages of merging his turning business with another so similar and complementary. Hood would have gained the finishing expertise that Thomas Rice had developed, along with Rice's product line, most of which were smaller items and different from his own. That Thomas Rice was 20 years younger than he, and could ease much of the administrative burden from his shoulders, might have been the most attractive advantage to a partnership at this point in William Hood's life. 

    After "W. J. Hood & T. D. Rice Mfg. Co" was taken over by Narragansett Machine Co. in 1901, Thomas Rice stayed on as foreman until he retired in 1910. His obituary mentioned a long illness, and so it was he died at age 80 on Sept. 18, 1925, and was buried at Swan Point Cemetery in Providence, RI.