Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Macksburg Landmark

Marietta Register, August 2, 1890

Mr. and Mrs. George Butts and Miss B. Rice of Marietta are entertaining a party of "young folk" from the city at their beautiful country residence here. The sound of their merriment and music reminds us, almost sadly, of a decade or more agone, when their sainted mother, the late Mrs. George Rice, was "Lady of the Manor." Never was hospitality more royally dispensed than by her hands. Never was woman more revered and loved than she. A comforter to the sorrowing - a "Mother Bountiful" to the needy, a friend to all, endeared her to every one within her influence, while her womanly sympathies, generous deeds, and true nobleness made an impress on this people lasting as time. When tidings reached us of her death in an eastern city, whence her family had bourne her, hoping for relief, every heart was filled with sorrow, and when the funeral car bearing her remains to her home in Marietta passed through our village, all was hushed and mute with sadness. She is now but a hallowed memory, a pleasing recollection that we cherish as something dear and sacred.

The Rice homestead, historically, antedates anything in our neighborhood. In the year 1815, John Baptiste Regnier, M.D., a native of Paris, France, a gentleman of wealth, rare culture and finished education, came to this country, even to the Valley of Duck Creek - then a wilderness - and pitched his tent, intending to make this his permanent abiding place. With skilled builders, himself the architect, he began the erection of a French Chateau. (The same modernized is now the Rice house.) Ere the completion of his elegant home, Dr. Regnier was stricken by fever and died in 1821 in a little log hut across the creek, almost opposite his beautiful "villa," which was finished and occupied by his widow, children, and children's children a score or two of years; thence it went to strangers.

Mr. Regnier may well be called the father of Aurelius Township - by him it was organized and named (being County Commissioner), by him the forest was cut down, and the country opened up, by his efforts a post office was established, known as Regnier's Mills, P.O., and he was the Postmaster. He built the first mills on the waters of Duck Creek, a grain and saw mill. This saw mill sawed the lumber used in the building of his house, and in the making of his coffin. Mr. Fuller, a carpenter of Marietta, one of the workmen on the unfinished house, made the coffin. He donated the land and laid out a cemetery and was himself the second person to be buried there.

As a physician there was none like unto him; of great intellectual capacity, he was also a man of fine sensibilities and kindly sympathies, and his tender treatment of suffering was as efficacious as his medicine. Mrs. Regnier was of English birth, Content Chamberlain, a good woman,worthy to be the companion of such a man. After his death, she in a measure took his place at the sick-bed. Their children were Alfred, Hannah (Mrs. W. W. MacIntosh), Feliz, Julius, Francis, John, and Aurelius. Mrs. Aurelius Regnier still lives in Marietta. Felix is the only one of the children living.

Not a vestige of the ancient glory of the "Regnier Chateau" is to be seen in the "Rice Cottage," formerly of brick it is now a frame structure, while the spacious rooms, lofty ceilings and broad halls have been remodeled into a more comfortable and convenient home, only the east wing remaining and that enclosed in frame. The grounds were never so beautiful.

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