Mary Elizabeth Rice

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Mary Elizabeth Rice (Claiborne)

Also Known As: "Harris", "Royce"
Birthdate: (92)
Birthplace: Essex, England or, New Kent or Hanover County, Virginia Colony
Death: Died in Doswell, Hanover County, Province of Virginia
Immediate Family:

Daughter of Col. William C. Claiborne and Jane Elizabeth Claiborne
Wife of Col Robert Harris; Edward Rice, of New Kent, VA and Robert Harris
Mother of Thomas Harris; William Harris; Charles Rice, of New Kent, VA; Judith Harris; Mary Swann and 7 others
Sister of Frances Withers; Leonard Claiborne; Jane Brereton; Lieut. William C. Claiborne, Jr.; Lt. Colonel Thomas Claiborne and 1 other

Managed by: Jeffery Shoemaker
Last Updated:

About Mary Elizabeth Rice

There has been much speculation about "Mary" Elizabeth Claiborne. Some researchers claim she never exists, some claim she is not a daughter of William Claiborne, others claim she was never married to Robert Claiborne, while finally others claim she was not married to "our" Robert Claiborne.

  • The basic premise is that Mary (Elizabeth) Claiborne was the daughter of William Claiborne, and that she was married for a short time to Edward Rice. After Rice's premature death, Mary went on to marry Robert Harris.


Some of the following information seems helpful, but other aspects seem questionable, such as the "Albermarle, King William Co, VA" (which is not a place, so I've deleted them here) and the listing of Rice children and their dates, about which I'm quite skeptical. If she married Harris AFTER being married to Rice, and her first Harris child was born when she was age 19 in 1849, then giving birth to 13 Rice children would have been impossible. However, the dates of the Harris children are reasonable.

Mary Claiborne

Birth 1630 Essex CO, England Sex Female Died 9 Feb 1710 Glen Cairn, Doswell, Hanover CO, VA

Last Modified 24 Aug 2004

Father William C. Claiborne, b. 10 Aug 1600, Crayford, Kent CO, England Mother Jane Elizabeth Butler, b. 1610, Roxwell, Essex CO, England

Family 1 Edward Rice, b. 1636 Children

	1. Thomas Rice, b. 1656, Shirementon, Bristol County, England
	2. Edward Rice
	3. Claiborne Rice

4. Susannah Rice, b. 1699, VA

	5. David Rice
	6. William Rice
	7. Michael Rice
	8. James Rice
	9. John Rice
	10. Francis Rice
	11. Henry Rice
	12. Mary Rice
	13. Elizabeth Rice

Group Sheet F511 Default Tree

Family 2 Robert Harris, b. 1615, Glamorgan, Wales Married Abt 1652 Children

	1. Robert Harris, b. 7 Jun 1649

2. William Harris, b. 1652

	3. Judith Harris, b. 3 Jun 1655
	4. John Harris, b. 3 Oct 1657

5. Mathew Harris, b. 1661

	6. Edward Harris, b. 1665
	7. Mary Harris, b. 10 Aug 1665

8. Thomas Harris, b. 1667

Hanover County was created on November 26, 1719, from the area of New Kent County called St. Paul's Parish.,_Virginia

Elizabeth "Mary" CLAIBORNE Surname: Claiborne Given Name: Elizabeth "Mary" Sex: F Birth: ABT 1630 in Elizabeth City, VA Death: 9 Feb 1710 in Glen Cairn, Doswell, Hanover, VA _UID: 7D2CFC2FF5F7D6119BCD93052FFC382F39EA Note:

   1. Her paternal family, that of William Claiborne, who came to VA in 1621,
   was of royal descent through the DeToneys and Cliffords. William
   Harris was appointed surveyor general of VA, was a member of the
   Virginia Council, was Secretary of the VA Colony during 1625-1635 and
   1652-1660. Four of his ancestors signed the petition demanding the
   Magna Carta of King John.
   2. Her mother's father, John Boteler, was a son of Cressett St. John who
   married Boteler. Cressett was a bastard daughter of Sir John St. John
   and Ann Nevell. The St. John family line goes back to William Malet of
   the Magna Carta Surety of 1215.
   3. Mary Claiborne first married Edward Rice and had a son, Edward Rice,
   who had a son, Claiborne Rice. Her second husband was Robert Harris
   with whom she married about 1665 in New Kent (=Hanover). They had
   William Harris (Captain) who married Temperance Overton and who had
   Robert Harris (Major) who married Mourning Glenn.
   4. William Deyo determined from his research that Mary was her christening
   name, a name she chose to use. Her name, Elizabeth, was found in
   the will of her mother.
   5. Have also seen the date and place of her death given as 1689 in Hanover
   co., VA.
   Deyo, William. Harris Family of Essex, England, and Virginia.

Change Date: 11 Jan 2009 at 14:34:24

HintsAncestry Hints for Elizabeth "Mary" CLAIBORNE

   1 possible matches found on

Father: William CLAIBORNE b: 1600 in Crayford Parish, Kent, England c: 10 Aug 1600 in Crayford Parish, Kent, England Mother: Elizabeth Jane BOTELER b: ABT 1610 in Little Burch Par, Roxwell, Essex, England

Marriage 1 Robert HARRIS b: ABT 1622/1625 in Henrico, VA

   Married: ABT 1650/1660 in Hanover, VA


   Has No Children Thomas HARRIS b: ABT 1665 in New Kent, VA
   Has Children William HARRIS b: 1669 in , New Kent, VA

Marriage 2 Edward RICE b: ABT 1630 in New Kent, VA

   Married: ABT 1647 in New Kent, VA


Fr Bill Deyo – I have had a number of e-mail with J. Phil Harris about Elizabeth ‘Mary’ Claiborne. I showed him where he had many holes in his thinking. I cannot understand why many are so adamant about not wanting Robert Harris to have married Mary Claiborne, when they admit Robert Harris' father was a surveryor "partner" of William Claiborne. Your referenced note of his stated that Claiborne only had a daughter, Jane, but there is proof that he also had a daughter, Elizabeth! Elizabeth's patent is in walking distance from Robert Harris' land! There are many other connections as well. There is no documented record of "Mary" Claiborne because her given/legal name was Elizabeth. Mary was simply her religious confirmation name that she preferred to be called by. This is the exact case of William Harris' mother-in-law, Elizabeth "Mary" (Waters) Overton, and was not uncommon. I have a Catholic friend who assures me that it is still a common practice for people to use their confirmation name among friends, but their given/legal name must be the one recorded on legal documents. In the 1600s not only the Catholic Church, but also the Anglican Church, kept the practice of confirmation names. After all of my e's with Phil Harris, he stated that he had no problem in Robert Harris marrying Elizabeth Claiborne!! I was glad to see the current DNA references. I had checked on this a few months ago when there were no participants from the William Harris/Temperance Overton line.

DNA would solve the mystery of whether the husband of Mary Giles came from the Capt. Thomas Harris line or the Robert Harris/Mary Claiborne line. The tradition is the latter and was even spelled out in an old Harris diary, but it is no longer available.


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Mary Elizabeth Rice's Timeline

New Kent or Hanover County, Virginia Colony
June 3, 1655
Age 25
The Forks, Hanover, Virginia
August 10, 1655
Age 25
New Kent County, Virginia Colony, Colonial America
October 3, 1657
Age 27
Age 28
New Kent County, Virginia Colony
Age 34
Age 35
Hanover County, Virginia
Age 38
Virginia Colony