Henry M. Rice, U.S. Senator

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Henry Mower Rice

Birthplace: Waitsfield, Vermont
Death: Died in Minnesota, USA
Immediate Family:

Son of Edmund Rice and Ellen Rice
Husband of Matilda Rice
Father of Frederick Durkee Rice; Margaret Rice; Rachel Rice; Robert Toombs Rice; Mary Welch Rice and 4 others
Brother of Edmund Rice, US Congress; Orrin Wheeler Rice; Susannah J. Rice; Ellen Hollingshead; Lafayette Rice and 4 others

Managed by: Kris Stewart
Last Updated:
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Immediate Family

About Henry M. Rice, U.S. Senator


Henry Mower Rice (November 29, 1816 – January 15, 1894) was a fur trader and an American politician prominent in the statehood of Minnesota.

Early life

Henry Rice was born on November 29, 1816, in Waitsfield, Vermont to Edmund Rice and Ellen Durkee Rice. Because of his father's death when Rice was quite young, he lived with friends. After primary education, he studied law for two years.

When he was 18, he moved to Detroit, Michigan, and participated in the surveying of the canal route around the rapids of Sault Ste. Marie between Lake Superior and Lake Huron. It was a major fur trading center.

In 1839 he secured a job at Fort Snelling, near what is now Minneapolis, Minnesota. He became a fur trader with the Ho-Chunk and Chippewa Indians, attaining a position of prominence and influence. Rice was trusted by the Indians, and he was instrumental in negotiating the United States treaty with the Ojibwe Indians in 1847.

Political career

Rice lobbied for the bill to establish Minnesota Territory and then served as its delegate to the 33rd and 34th Congresses from March 4, 1853 to March 4, 1857. His work on the Minnesota Enabling Act, passed by Congress on Feb. 26, 1857, facilitated Minnesota's statehood.

In 1858 Rice was elected as a Democrat to the United States Senate. He served from Minnesota's admittance on May 11, 1858 to March 4, 1863 in the 35th, 36th, and 37th Congresses and was not a candidate for re-election; he was an unsuccessful candidate for governor in 1865.

Rice also served as a member of the board of regents of the University of Minnesota from 1851 to 1859, and was president of the Minnesota Historical Society. As a United States Commissioner during 1887 – 1888, he continued to negotiate treaties with the Indians. He died on January 15, 1894, while on a visit to San Antonio, Texas.


In 1916, the state of Minnesota donated a marble statue of Rice to the National Statuary Hall Collection at the United States Capitol. Rice County, Minnesota is named for him. His brother Edmund Rice served in the U.S. House of Representatives.

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Henry M. Rice, U.S. Senator's Timeline

November 29, 1816
Waitsfield, Vermont
March 29, 1849
Age 32
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