In 1988, The Centennial History of Hurricane, WV was published to commemorate the town’s 100th anniversary. In 1994, the Centennial Committee published a follow up book which included family histories which were not submitted in time for the 1988 Centennial History. This week’s selection is the 39th history from The Centennial History of Hurricane WV Continued — 1994.
FLORA ZELLA MILLER RICE
Submitted by Arlene Booten
Flora Zella Miller Rice, my Grandmother, was born July 14, 1884, on Sycamore Creek, a few miles south of Hurricane. Known to family and friends simply as “Zell”, she was the youngest daughter of John A. and Frances E. “Fanny” Miller. Her siblings were: Ida May, b. 1871; Albert Franklin, b. 1872; Madora Belle, b. 1874; Henry Jackson, b. 1876; Leonidas “Lon” Dennis, b. 1878; Lydia, b. 1880; and Floyd Kenner, b. 1882.
She grew up on the family farm and attended school on the site where the Bessie Smith Family now reside. On July 29,1905, she was married to Elba Rice, son of David and Dolly Rice, and lived on a farm not far from Hurricane. As a matter of fact, she never lived more than two miles from her birthplace. Zell and Elba had five children: Luther Lewis “Dude” Rice, b. November 4, 1911; M. Garnet Rice Wheeler, b. July 31, 1917; Junior Leo Rice, b. May 26, 1923; Lona Rice Ashworth, b. July 2, 1920; Garland Rice, b. January 27, 1927.
Elba’s work kept him away from home for extended periods of time, so the burden of running the farm fell to Zell and the children. As was the case on most farms in that time period, life was difficult, but Granny Zell kept a positive attitude. She was loyal to family and friends and while her parents were living, she would often spend weekends with them, though they lived nearby. She enjoyed music and there are those today who remember that she was quite accomplished at playing the dulcimer. When the Laywell Church of Christ was organized in 1913, Zell was a charter member.
I have a lot of good memories of “Granny” and the homeplace. Every year, my mom (Garnet) and Daddy would cut our Christmas tree from the farm. I remember, at Christmas, coming over the hill and Granny standing in the doorway hollering “Christmas Gift, Christmas Gift”. She was a kind, sweet lady! She died August 20, 1960.