bullet Joseph Rice (1785-1831)

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Life's Events of he who blessedly passed away on October 8, 1831, the married Br. Joseph Rice

He was born September 19, 1785 in Nazareth, and spent his childhood years there and in Bethlehem, where his dear parents later moved into the Elders' House. He returned to Nazareth when he was older to learn the hat-making trade. In 1808, he was assigned to take over the tavern in Nazareth, and on September 29 of that same year, in Gnadenhütten on the Muskingum*, he entered into marriage with the woman who is now his widow, then-Single Sister Anne Salome Heckewalder, who was living her parents there [in Gnadenhütten]. After he ran the above-mentioned business in Nazareth for a time with particular luck, he took an assignment for the managing of the same business here in Bethlehem and pursued it with equally good success for a number of years, until he began to operate the Brewery here. His exceptional willingness to serve and good skill in various businesses provided him with many opportunities to make himself useful, but also entangled him in much that became inwardly and outwardly very detrimental to him. Consequently, he spent a series of years in a regrettable condition, which also was very disruptive of his health. It was foreseeable for some time that he would hardly recover fully. Near the end of August, he was seized by a very serious sickness; he began to vomit forcefully and was so debilitated that he was no longer able to go out. It was evident that the Savior intended a time of self-examination for him, which he did not let go unused, and during which he arrived at a fundamental understanding of his various weaknesses and failings. He testified to his trust in the merciful love of He whom, since his youth, was known as He who extends a hand full of forgiveness to each who is anxious for His help and mercy; in this he was full of thankfulness for the love of his wife and family, and dear brothers in particular. In the last days he seemed to suffer much, probably from an inner gangrene, yet was for the most part he was conscious. More than once he expressed the conviction that it would be best for him to be home with his Lord, secure from all weaknesses and dangers, and he spent his time in almost constant, blessed prayer. On the eve of his Day of Home-going, one noticed that his end approached. As often before, a heartfelt prayer was held by his death-bed, during which he joined audibly in the closing words, and he then received the blessing of the Lord for his home-going while fully conscious, and passed away at a quarter to twelve, in the presence of his gathered children and family. His marriage was blessed with three sons and three daughters, all of whom are still here in Bethlehem. His age was forty-six years and nineteen days.

*A Moravian misison to the Indians in Ohio.

Transcription & translation by Katherine E. Carté.

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