Johnson / Bryans Families

Tracing the ancestry of Pamela Murdoch Bryans and Maurice Alan Johnson

William McPherson Rice

Male Abt 1760 - 1800  (~ 40 years)

Personal Information    |    Notes    |    Sources    |    Event Map    |    All

  • Name William McPherson Rice 
    Born Abt 1760 
    Gender Male 
    Baptism 30 Sep 1760  Teddington, Middlesex, England Find all individuals with events at this location  [1
    Occupation Schoolmaster 
    Died 1800 
    Buried 20 Nov 1800  Portsea, Portsmouth, Hampshire, England Find all individuals with events at this location  [2
    Person ID I1280  Johnson Tree
    Last Modified 14 May 2020 

    Father William Rice
              b. 1733
              d. Jul 1794  (Age 61 years) 
    Mother Mercy Cook
              b. 1731
              d. Nov 1783  (Age 52 years) 
    Married 25 Dec 1756  St Martin-in-the-Fields Church, Westminster, London, Greater London, England Find all individuals with events at this location  [3
    Siblings 1  
    Family ID F0455  Group Sheet  |  Family Chart

    Wife Ann Stigant
              b. Abt Nov 1767
              d. Oct 1797  (Age ~ 29 years) 
    Married 20 Nov 1791  St Mary, Portsea, Portsmouth, Hampshire, England Find all individuals with events at this location  [4
     1. Mercy Ann Stigant Rice
              b. 18 Nov 1792
              d. 1794  (Age 1 years)
     2. Allen Gardiner Rice
              b. 1794
              d. 1797  (Age 3 years)
     3. William McPherson Rice
              b. 1 May 1796, Portsmouth, Hampshire, England Find all individuals with events at this location
              d. 11 Feb 1868, 2, Reculvers, Hastings, Sussex, England Find all individuals with events at this location  (Age 71 years)
     4. Henry Gruaz Rice
              b. 1797
              d. 1804  (Age 7 years)
    Last Modified 8 Jun 2019 
    Family ID F0451  Group Sheet  |  Family Chart

  • Notes 
  • Early Life
    William was born in 1760 and baptised on the 30th of September that year, the second child and first son of William Rice and Mercy (née Cook), of Teddington in Middlesex.

    William became a schoolmaster and in 1792 evidently joined the navy as a schoolmaster aboard navy ships. In 1797 he apparently1 charted a submerged reef north of Cape Recife in Algoa Bay, South Africa and was generally responsible for some important African cartography2.

    Family Life
    There is an intriguing baptism record for a William James Rice in Jamaica, as follows:
    William James Rice, son of Wm. McPherson Rice, by Caroline James, a free mulatto woman, born Oct 27, 1788.

    It seems unlikely that there were many William McPherson Rices around at this time who would have had opportunity to travel to Jamaica, so we would need to find evidence that William was serving onboard a ship that visited Jamaica around the beginning of 1788 in order to establish if this was an illegitimate son of the same person.

    A few years after this possibly connected event, William married Ann Stigant on the 20th of November 1791 at St Mary's' in Portsea, Hampshire. The marriage record states:
    "William McPherson Rice belonging to his majesty's ship Hebe3, Bachelor and Ann Stigant of this Parish, spinster were married in this church by Banns this twentieth day of November in the year one thousand seven hundred and ninety one."

    The ceremony was witnessed by John Stigant (Ann's father) and Susanna Yelland. William and Ann had four children:

    1. Mercy Ann, born 1792 and died in 1794 as an infant
    2. Allen Gardiner, born 1794 and may have died in 1797 as a young child
    3. William McPherson, born 1796 and who married Fanny Turner
    4. Henry Gruaz, born 1797 and who died as a child in 1804.The middle name came from his uncle, Louys Gruaz

    So of their four known children, only his namesake William McPherson survived past childhood.

    William died in 1800 (aged just 40), probably around November as he was buried on the 30th of November that year. His will, which was written in 1792 just after he married, states:
    I, William MacPherson Rice, serving as Schoolmaster onboard His Majesty’s Ship Juno4, Samuel Hood Commander...

    I give and bequeath and dispose thereof as followeth, that is to say: One hundred pounds lawful money of Great Britain, that stands nominated for me in the will of Mary Budd, widow, residing at Teddington, Middlesex, in case the said Will of Mary Budd should remain unaltered as far as respects me at the time of her decease.

    And all wages, sum and sums of money, lands tenements, goods chattels and estate whatsoever as shall be any ways due owing or belonging unto me at the time of my decease I do give devise and bequeath the same unto my beloved wife Ann Rice, residing at No. 5 Cumberland Street, Town of Portsea, Hants. And to her case of distribution, ten pounds, that is named in the Will of ye said Mary Budd above mentioned, for my daughter Mercy Ann.

    And I do hereby nominate and appoint Mr John Stigant (senior) (the father of my wife) now residing at No. 1 Gloucester Street, Town of Portsea, Hants, and his son John, Executors of this will.

    Mary Budd (née Chandler) was actually his great aunt on his mother's side.

    In 1797 Lt William McPherson Rice charted a submerged reef approximately 1½ nautical miles off shore, north of Cape Recife. He named it Dispatch Rock and noted that it lies only 3m below the surface at low tide. This rock was a peril to many a ship and in 1838 a lit marker buoy was anchored over the reef, but it was soon washed away. In 1843 another buoy was placed and an official notification was placed in then Government Gazette naming it Roman Rock.

    Barrow offers more detail on the mapping of Algoa Bay in collaboration with Lt William McPherson Rice RN of HMS Hope, "an expert and intelligent gentleman", one of several who did much for the cartography of Africa.

    [3] Possibly
    [4] Possibly

  • Event Map
    Link to Google MapsBaptism - 30 Sep 1760 - Teddington, Middlesex, England Link to Google Earth
    Link to Google MapsBuried - 20 Nov 1800 - Portsea, Portsmouth, Hampshire, England Link to Google Earth
     = Link to Google Earth 

  • Sources 
    1. [S0239] Middlesex Baptisms 1543-1876, FindMyPast, (, William McPherson RIce senior, 30 Sep 1760.

    2. [S0134] England, Select Deaths and Burials, 1538-1991, Ancestry, (, William McPherson Rice; FHL Film Number 1596292; Reference ID p(12) Col 2 Line 31, 30 Nov 1800.

    3. [S0170] England, Select Marriages, 1538-1973, Ancestry, (, William Rice / Mercy Cook; FHL Film Number 561155;, 25 Dec 1756.

    4. [S0170] England, Select Marriages, 1538-1973, Ancestry, (, William McPherson Rice; FHL Film Number 919744, 919745, 919746, 919747, 20 Nov 1791.