Conservationist, writer. Born near Ninety Six on July 2, 1868, Rice distinguished himself as an early proponent of wildlife conservation, environmentally sound farming, preservation of wetlands, and an end to lynching. His parents, James Henry Rice, Sr., and Anna Bolling Lawton, lived at Riverlands Plantation at the time of his birth, although Rice later became well known as the resident and owner of Brick House Plantation in Wiggins.
After Rice graduated from Ninety Six High School and South Carolina College, he began a career in high school teaching. He married Jennie Maner of Allendale on April 30, 1892. They had seven children. Rice left teaching in 1895 to begin a career in journalism and writing. That year he became editor of the Columbia Evening News and of a monograph, Colonial Records of South Carolina. He also served as an editorial writer for the State newspaper in Columbia, and he contributed editorial columns to the Charleston News and Courier. Typically, his writing concerned the flora and fauna of South Carolina, farming practices, and environmental issues. Rice served as chief game warden of South Carolina (1911–1913) and as an inspector for the U.S. Biological Survey (1913–1917). Among many groups and associations in which he was active were the Audubon Society, the American Forestry Association, and the Conservation Society of South Carolina.
Rice wrote two notable books. Glories of the Carolina Coast (1925) is an enthusiastic celebration of the South Carolina coast that includes descriptions of its early history, inhabitants, economy, culture, and environment. The Aftermath of Glory (1934) describes the key people and events involved in the early twentieth-century history of coastal development in and around Myrtle Beach, Charleston, Georgetown, Beaufort, and other locations. His narrative also discusses the impact of this development on the native flora and fauna. Most notable among the poems he published were “The Poet and the City” and “Hampton: Salutem.” Rice died at Brick House Plantation on March 24, 1935, and was buried in Magnolia Cemetery, Charleston.
Rice, James Henry. Papers. South Caroliniana Library, University of South Carolina, Columbia.
Wauchope, George. Writers of South Carolina. Columbia, S.C.: State Company, 1910.