I have obtained a copy of the Donald Jacobus paper from a member of the Edmund Rice Association (ERA).It is not currently available as a reprint, but did appear in their newsletter some time ago (most recently in May 1996).The newsletter reprint sent to me is identical to the original printing in 1933 as part of the The American Genealogist, according to William H. Drury of the ERA.Having read the article, I would like to respond to several points that I feel are on shaky ground.
First, with all due respect to Mr. Flegal, it would be difficult to describe this article as either a "disproof" or "quite scholarly".It makes some assertions that are not without some merit, but rests on several assumptions that are at best questionable, and at worst faulty.
The main thrust of the article is to discredit the work of Dr. Charles Elmer Rice, from a book entitled "By the Name of Rice", written in 1910.The main controversy revolves around the names and existence of the children of Rhys ap Griffith and Katherine Howard.Some sources list three -- Griffith Rice, William Rice, and Agnes Rice.Others have various combinations of these three children.A worthy point made by Jacobus is that Rice's book does not present any footnotes or other citations to identify his information sources.He then makes several allegations of his own that appear to be unsupported.
1.He asserts that very few colonists in New England were "at all closely related to the higher English aristocracy."There are three problems with this statement; Edmund Rice would have been of WELSH descent and related to their aristocracy (and of course to the English through the Howards).Second, the statement is subject to an interpretation as to what is "higher" aristocracy.At the very least, Edmund would have only been 3rd cousins with the descendants of Griffith Rice (William's brother).And finally, this statement would be accurate whether or not Edmund Rice were descended from royalty.The argument is therefore specious.
Anyone who makes even a cursory study of English and Welsh history during the period between the reigns of Henry VII and James I (VI of Scotland) will quickly understand that both the Rhys and Howard families were knee-deep in the political and religious firestorm swirling around the "Great Matter" (Catholic/Anglican/Puritan issues) of Henry VIII, Edward, Mary, Elizabeth I, and James I, and that both families were ultimately devastated by these events.Henry VIII had Rhys ap Gruffyd (Griffith) beheaded in Jan. 1532, allegedly for treason -- most authorities consider him innocent of this charge. Henry then ATTAINDERED (read: stole) the title and estate of Rhys ap Griffith (fitz Uryan of Dinefawr, also the owner of Carew Castle at that time) from perhaps the wealthiest family in 16th century Wales.Katherine Howard later remarried, but her half niece (also named Katherine Howard) became Henry VIII's fifth wife, and was also executed for treason (actually, adultery).Many other members of the Howard family were either executed or imprisoned for a time, including Agnes Tilney (the dowager half-aunt of Queen Katherine Howard, and Katherine (Howard) Rhys' mother).Agnes was so old when the storm broke on the Howards that she was spared execution, otherwise she would have met her end in the Tower together with many of her relatives.It is easy to see that Edmund Rice, as the great-grandson of Rhys ap Griffith, and as a Puritan, might have wanted to avoid associations with his ancestors, since many of them came to a rather bad end.
In the same item, Jacobus claims that because Edmund did not use the title "Mr." (indicating a lower level aristocrat) that he must have been a commoner.I'm not an expert in Puritan politics, but it seems that "Deacon" would be a more important form of address than "Mr." to other Puritans.I suppose Jacobus would have been happier if Edmund called himself "Mr. Deacon Edmund Rice"!
Further, Edmund *was* Puritan, but his ancestry was solidly Catholic.This is evidenced by the support of the Rhys family for the pro-Catholic side during this period (as recorded in a number of books on Welsh history).It would have been bad politics for Edmund to emphasize his Catholic roots to his Puritan colleagues.Don't forget, heretics were being burned on both sides of the Atlantic; people just differed on what constituted a heretic.
2.Jacobus claims that "the Rice Genealogy, by A.H. Ward, published in 1858, does not refer to any tradition in the family concerning an exalted ancestry."He stops short of claiming that these people do not appear in the book, though.Ward does list Edmund's ancestry to include father Henry Rice; however, Edmund's father is listed in other sources as Thomas Rice.The American Genealogical Research Institute lists William Rice in "Rice Family History" (reprinted by ERA); this record is consistent with the WFT and the LDS records.According to Burke's "Peerage", William Rice was granted a coat of arms in 1555.More on this point below.
3."Few families of the English aristocracy could boast such high connections as the Howard family... [Katherine's] brother who aspired to the hand of a niece of Henry VIII, in consequence of which he was suspected of aiming at the throne itself, and died a prisoner in the tower [executed]... Nobody was so closely related to the Queen [Elizabeth] as that, without having estates and a high position."
Jacobus again ignores the obvious, that by 1638 both the Rhys and Howard families were long ago devastated by Henry's blood lust and suspicions, and that the Rhys estate had been attaindered by the Crown upon Rhys ap Griffith's execution.Following Henry, the Rhys family received their titles (and presumably Coats of Arms) again from Queen Mary in 1555 (when the country temporarily returned to being Catholic), but NOT THEIR LANDS OR THEIR INCOMES.(They finally did get back their land, but not until Charles I.)
By Edmund's generation, he was only a second cousin *twice removed* to Elizabeth I, and by then James I was on the throne.Also, the Rice family had becomePuritans (as had many others in Wales), and as such were probably not in good regard with Elizabeth I and/or James I.They were only third cousins to the Rhys family remaining in Wales (Griffith Rhys' descendants) and distant fourth cousins to the nearest Howards (not even considered relatives any more by some).
4.Jacobus claims that "the best authority on the English peerage, especially for the earlier period back [sic] of 1600, is the Complete Peerage by Cokeyne".He then presents some useless, widely known and barely relevant information regarding Thomas Howard and Agnes Tilney from vol. 6, pg. 48, and proceeds to admit that *this book only mentions those who held titles*, and did not give a complete list of their children. I can't see why a discussion of the Howard family would at this point include the Rhys family, since Katherine isn't even mentioned in the work cited.He augments this weak claim by referring to Collins' Peerage (no date given) which "gives a more complete account of the earlier generations than does Burke's Peerage".What is left unsaid is that Burke's Peerage DOES list William Rice as receiving a coat of arms in 1555 (this according to Elmer Rice).He also admits that Collins errs in listing Katherine Howard's first husband (that is, Rhys ap Gruffyd) as Rhys ap Thomas (known as "Father Rhys").This was actually her grandfather-in-law.Of note is the comment that [Katherine's] "will (unproved) is in the principal Court of Probate".This last quoted from Cokeyne.
It appears that Jacobus bolsters his authority and pads the length of his discussion by quoting this information from the Peerage books, while sidestepping the real question of Edmund's ancestry; appearing to be a "straw-man" type of argument.
5.The fifth item directly criticizes Elmer Rice's book, "By the Name of Rice", which seems to be the real point of this article.He rightly takes Rice to task for vague citations in his book, but doesn't bolster his own argument with any information of his own.
6.Jacobus reveals in this item that he has not actually taken the trouble to *read* Elmer Rice's book, but simply quotes a correspondence with a Charles K. Winslow; to wit:"As I understand the statement of Charles K. Winslow, he obtained all his information and references from Dr. Rice."He attacks the Elmer Rice genealogy *as represented by Winslow* rather than referring to the book cited.He cites the 1928 edition of Burke's Peerage, which fails to identify William Rice, as support for his position.However, it is evident from his earlier statement (#4) that a different edition apparently DOES list William (this, again, according to Elmer Rice).
He continues that it is very odd that "William, if son of Rice ap Griffith (sic) should be granted arms.What was to prevent his using his paternal arms, with a difference to indicate that he was a younger son?"The answer is obvious.The Rhys family was without title from 1532 to 1555, and couldn't use a coat of arms.Mary restored their titles (but not the land) in 1555, so naturally they all would have been *granted* a coat of arms AT THAT TIME.Jacobus again betrays his apparent ignorance of Welsh history from this period.By this statement, he also admits that he knew about the 'William receiving a coat of arms in 1555' citation in Burke's, but chooses to obfuscate the problem by attacking the credibility of the granting of a new coat of arms in 1555.
He also states in this item that "William is given no wife,"but in many other sources his wife is listed as Thomasine Myal.He does have a date of birth assigned (according to Jacobus, who fails to give the date) but no death date listed (again according to Jacobus).There are further meaningless citations such as a letter in the Boston Transcript (13 Mar 1929 letter from a mysterious "W.B.W.")attacking the credibility of the "Royalty" argument without providing any evidence to the contrary, apparently intended to lend credence to his position.(Appeal to authority.)
7.Jacobus then approaches the problem from the standpoint of the dates of the principals.He states (probably erroneously) that Katherine Howard was born "about" 1504; some records give her DOB as about 1499. If William Rice was born in 1522 (Jacobus) or 1523 (AGRI, 1973), then Katherine would have been about 23 or 24 years old at the time.Using the erroneous birth date of 1504 for Katherine, Jacobus claims that she would have been too young to have had three children by the age of eighteen.Again, history contradicts him mightily; for Margaret Beaufort gave birth to Henry VII Tudor at the tender age of 13, and was already a widow at the time.Jacobus, even if his dates are correct, has thrust modern sensibilities onto the late middle ages, where they do not apply.
8.The eighth item is an idle speculation about another line of Rices from Crawley, but admits that the names are so common that no conclusion can be drawn from the information.
9.After citing Ward (1858) earlier to support his point of view, he now attacks the same book when it does not help his cause, calls its extensive list of baptismal records for Edmund Rice's children a "guess", and then admits "it may be a correct one".None of this is relevant to the problem of Edmund's ANCESTRY.He also conflates his criticism of Ward with another volley against Elmer Rice.
10.He admits that he has not seen some of the very documents that he cites (Dwnn' Visitations, William Berry's County Genealogies, Katherine Howard's will).
All in all, I must take issue with Carl Flegal's description of this article as a "disproof".Jacobus merely calls into question (based on second hand information) the "traditional" genealogy of the Rhys/Rice family tree, and asks for a more rigorous examination of the problem.He unfortunately pads his very simple disagreement with Elmer Rice with a lot of irrelevant information in an attempt to add credence to his position.Not one of his ten points can be proven or disproven, and many are actually irrelevant or specious.
When this article was first reprinted in 1968, the ERA sought out the author and asked him if he wished to update the information.His reply was "I prepared (the report) over 35 years ago **** nothing further has developed so far as I know **** so please feel free to reprint what you like."In other words, Jacobus had not pursued the problem since before 1933.
And yes, the subject is confusing, but not because Mr. Jacobus has answered it for us; to the contrary, his article further muddies the water.If one "safely ignores" the Rhys/Howard line, it is out of wishful thinking at least equal to that of Dr. Elmer Rice.
I fervently hope that the Edmund Rice Association does in fact find more evidence about the lineage of this family, but lack of evidence is not disproof.It is a lack of evidence.