The Rice Seed Company ~ Cambridge, NY
Simon Crosby cultivated garden and vegetable seeds as early as 1816, having a small seed-house at Coila. He was succeeded by his sons Otis and Aaron, and in 1836 by S. W. Crosby, having occupied, meantime, the Tracy building and a house at Dorr’s Cornens. About this time Roswell Rice was also engaged in the business. In 1834 the seed-trade was started in Salem by R. Niles Rice in a very small way, (disposing the seeds from a wagon, worth about fifty dollars, with which he traveled through the country. He increased his business from year to year, finally locating at Cambridge, in 1844, and purchasing the interests of R. Rice and the Crosbys, with a view to engage on a larger scale. His efforts have been attended with a large measure of success, and the business has attained such proportions that it is the principal interest of the place. In 1865, Mr Niles Rice associated his son, Jerome B. Rice, with him in the management of the business, which now extends through all the New England, Middle, and many of the Southern States. A large number of men and women are employed, and the arrangements for the distribution of the seeds are in .strong contrast with the humble beginning forty years ago, some of the wagons used costing more than five hundred dollars, and other things are, in the same proportion, more complete and extensive. Besides the seeds grown at home, the Messrs. Rice have a large farm in Illinois where many tons of vegetable seeds are grown annually. The firm has originated .several choice vegetables, among them tomatoes, and Rice’s ” Perfection” sweet corn, which is re-puted the nc plus ultra of that vegetable. ~ History of Washington County, New York ~ 1878
Jerome B. Rice & Co Letterhead 1896
Jerome B. Rice President
R. Niles Rice V Pres’ & Treas
C. E. Smith Secretary
Established 1832 – Incorporated 1896
Jerome B. Rice & Co. Cambridge Valley Seed Gardens. Garden, Field and Flower Seeds.
Registered Cable Address – Rice, Cambridge
Rice Seed Company’s headquarters was established in the village of Cambridge, NY in 1879. Its warehouse and accompanying office building, completed in 1895, are at 15 West Main. Founder Jerome Rice’s home is across the street at 16 West Main.
By the side of West Main Street in Cambridge NY is this little cutie, a 23 foot long Footbridge, built in 1890 to provide a short cut over Owl Kill Creek for workers at the nearby Rice Seed Company factory. The little bridge has built-in park benches in the middle.