MacEdward Leach and the Songs of Atlantic Canada

Jim and Matilda Rice of Cape Broyle

The Rice house, Cape Broyle. Courtesy of Anna Kearny GuignèJames Rice was born at Cape Broyle on August 31, 1879. His wife Matilda was born there on July 4, 1881 (she is the singer listed as "Mrs. Rice" in Leach's notebooks). As a young man Jim worked at the whaling factory on the South Side of Cape Broyle harbour. Around this time he married Matilda Hartery. Several years later he went to Alaska where he worked for the same whaling company he had worked for in Cape Broyle. Matilda stayed at home taking care of their young family. For a photo of Matilda, see Ned Rice.

Upon Jim's return to Cape Broyle he was employed as a Highroads patrolman. During the winter months, he delivered mail by horse and sleigh, from Tors Cove, through Burnt Cove, Bauline, and on to La Manch Village. In his sixties the pains of a crippling arthritis forced him to give up his job with the Highroads. This job was given to Jim's youngest son, Ned Rice.

James and Matilda raised ten children: Thomas, Cornelius, Richard, Monica (who became Monica Rossiter), Bridget, Ellen, Elizabeth, Ned, Catherine, and Dorothy. They all shared their parents' love of music and song. James died on July 20, 1958, and Matilda Rice died November 25, 1974. (Biography by Carolyn Hawkins, Jim and Matilda's great-granddaughter)

Jim Rice. Photo courtesy of Carolyn HawkinsFrom Jim Rice Leach collected "Greenland Disaster," "The Drunkard's Dream," "The Golden Hind," "John Mitchell," "Virgin Mary's Bank," "You Don't Know How the Dear Girl is Made," "My Little Home Across the Sea," "Roarin' Fire," "Ships and Captains," "Eastern Light," "When We Were Sweet Sixteen," and "Katie, I'm Bound for the Sea." while Mrs. Rice gave him "A Woman's Tongue." James Rice was also an informant for Peacock in 1951 and 1952.

For many years, due to Leach's illegible handwriting, many of Jim's songs were attributed by archivists to a Tim Rice.

Photos. Left: Jim Rice. Photo courtesy of Carolyn Hawkins. Used by permission. Above right: The Rice house, Cape Broyle. Courtesy of Anna Kearny Guigné