Rice, James Atkins - He was born in Riceville in McMinn County, Tennessee, on the 26th day of August, 1850, to the Hon. Dick and Juliet C. (Cobb) Rice. He moved with his parents to Pea Ridge in Benton County in 1859 where he grew to manhood. He attended school at Pea Ridge and later entered Cane Hill College in Washington County, graduating with honor in 1872. He studied law in the office of Judge J. D. Walker at Fayetteville and was later admitted to the bar. Opening an office in Bentonville, he rapidly acquired a good practice, took high standing as a lawyer and for many years stood in the very front rank of the Bentonville bar, admittedly one of the ablest in the state.
He was elected in 1874, from Benton County, a member of the House of Representatives of the state legislature and served in the session of 1875, being the first session of the legislature after Reconstruction in Arkansas. He served a second time elected to the legislature from Benton County in 1884 and served during the session of 1885 in both of which session he discharged his duty to the state with marked fidelity and ability. Aside from these two official positions he neither held nor sought public office. He was often in the public mind for official preferment but his devoted loyalty to his friends on every occasion induced him to stand aside in order that some friend might obtain honor of official station.
He was married on the 22nd day of November 1877, in Pea Ridge in Benton County to Miss Lucy A. Winton, who, with their five children, survived his death, which occurred at his home in Bentonville the morning of December 16th, 1910. He is buried in the Bentonville Cemetery.
As a lawyer his analytic mind, possessed of a persuasive and sympathetic eloquence, caring little for precedents, ever guided by a keen and discriminating sense of justice, and basing his arguments upon principals involved , he exercised an unusual influence over courts and juries and commanded and received the respect and admiration of his opponents. Much of his time was given to unremunerated labor. Throughout his professional life he was the willing helper and adviser to that in trouble, more often without than with compensation for his service. He was brave in every phase of life, formed prompt and decided opinions upon all public questions and gave candid expression to his views without bitterness and offense.
He was a most devoted husband and loving father. Aside from his devotion to his family, his unselfish allegiance to his friends was his most notable characteristic and lasting impression upon the people of Benton County.
[Obituary as published in the Rogers Democrat December 22, 1910]