Edmund Rice, was an early immigrant to Massachusetts Bay Colony born in Suffolk, England. He lived in Stanstead, Suffolk and Berkhamsted, Hertfordshire before sailing with his family to America and he landed in the Massachusetts Bay Colony in summer or fall of 1638, thought to be first living in the town of Watertown, Massachusetts. Shortly thereafter he was a founder of Sudbury in 1638, and he was a Deacon in the Puritan Church, and served in town politics as a selectman and judge. He also served five years as a member of the Great and General Court, Edmund Rices rough birth date of 1594 is reckoned from a 3 April 1656 court deposition in Massachusetts in which he stated that he was 62 years old. His likely birthplace, somewhere in Suffolk in East Anglia, is found through the town of his marriage, many of the church records from 1594 in Suffolk are lost, so any record of his birth or the names of his parents or any of his forebears is unknown. Edmund Rice had a brother, Henry, who married Elizabeth Frost on 12 November 1605 at St. James Church, Stanstead. He moved from Stanstead to Berkhamsted sometime in 1626, based upon the baptismal dates of his children Thomas, under the incumbency of Rev. Newman, Rice served as a churchwarden at St. Peters Church and acted as overseer of the poor for eight years. While living in Berkhamsted, Rice acquired and was taxed on 3 acres of land in 1627, there is no record in Berkhamsted of Rice paying taxes on his land in 1638, possibly due to its sale to finance his trip to America. However, the 1638 petition to the General Court to found Sudbury did not explicitly mention Rices name, the first documented record of his presence in Massachusetts is in the Township Book of Sudbury prior to 4 April 1639 in which he was already serving as a selectman. Between 1638 and 1657, Rice resided in Sudbury where he became a leader in the community, on 3 April 1640, Rice was granted 20 acres in southeastern Sudbury near the Old Connecticut Path. He served as a selectman in Sudbury in 1639 and 1640 and he was designated a freeman on 13 May 1640, and was first elected as a deputy of the Great and General Court in October 1640. He was later appointed by the General Court on 2 June 1641 as a Judge of Small Causes for Sudbury, then from 1648 until 1654 he was elected and reelected locally in Sudbury as one of the municipal judges. He was reelected for another term as a deputy of the General Court in 1643. On 18 June 1645, Rice and his colleagues reported to the General Court on their survey, in 1648, Rice was ordained as a Deacon in the Puritan Church at Sudbury. Stone erected a gristmill on his property of Stones End in 1656 that would become the village of Saxonville. Edmund Rice was particularly successful in his own real estate transactions, within a year, Philemon Whale and Thomas Axtell, former town mates and kin from Berkhamstead, England established their homesteads on adjacent lots nearby. In October 1643 Rice sold Philemon Whale 9 acres of land, on 8 April 1657, Rice purchased the 200 acres Jennison Farm in the southeastern part of Sudbury. The General Court made grants of land to Rice in what is now Framingham,50 acres in 1652 and 80 acres in 1659 and these lands in Framingham were passed on to Rices son Henry in 1659, and became to be known as Rices End
Image: Edmund Rice 1638
Signature of Edmund Rice on a 1659 land survey record of his estate purchase of the "Dunster Farm" property near Old Connecticut Path in old Sudbury. Original in Harvard University Archives, Cambridge.
Andrew Henshaw Ward's A Genealogical History of the Rice Family: The Descendants of Deacon Edmund Rice, financed by members of the Rice family and published in 1858.