Peter Račius (1879-1944)
Peter Račius
Peter Rice closeup.jpg
Sex: Male
Birth: June 24, 1879 in Pennsylvania
Death: November 30, 1944 in Jersey City, New Jersey
Father: Juozas Račius (bef1854-1928)
Mother: Maria Wilkowska (c1852-1915)
Spouse/Partner: Eva Daukšaitė (1883-1971)
Marriage: August 14, 1900 in Mount Carmel, Pennsylvania
Children: Elizabeth Tresa Rice (1901-1985)
Eva Marie Rice (1903-1994)
John Rice (c1908-bef1915)
Peter E. Rice (1908-1962)
Katherine Rice (1914-1987)
Edward Rice (1916-1920)
Margaret Rice (1924-2007)

Peter Račius (1879-1944) was born into a Lithuanian coal-mining family in the rural mountains of Pennsylvania. He was a cook and a saloon keeper in Jersey City, and he fathered seven children, five of which survived to maturity.


Peter was born June 24, 1879 in Pennsylvania to parents Juozas Račius (bef1854-1928) and Maria Wilkowska (c1852-1915).

1880 Census[]

By the 1880 census, Peter's parents had adopted the simplified surname Rice. Peter is listed in the household of his father, now Joseph Rice, in Gilberton, Schuylkill County, Pennsylvania.

1900 Census[]

Peter has not yet been found in the 1900 census, but his marriage license states that he resided in Aristes, Columbia County, Pennsylvania in 1900.

Marriage to Eva Dauksha[]

Peter Racius & Eva Dauksha Wedding Photograph

On August 14, 1900 in Mount Carmel, Northumberland County, Pennsylvania, Peter married Eva Dauksha (1883-1971), an immigrant from Lithuania. Eva was under age, and her father John Dauksha, had to give permission. Their marriage license was obtained on July 28th, 1900, and the marriage ceremony took place at Holy Cross Church. Holy Cross was constructed in 1892 as a church for Lithuanian and other immigrants who had come to the area to work in the coal mines.

Children by Eva Dauksha[]

1910 Census[]

In 1910, Peter was listed as a head of household on Wayne Street in Jersey City, New Jersey. His parents Joseph and Mary resided in the same building in a separate apartment.

1915 New Jersey Census[]

Peter Rice household in the 1915 NJ Census

By 1915, Peter resided at 197 Washington Street in Jersey City. This residence was an apartment building located either at or next to where the Lighthorse Tavern restaurant presently stands. The household in 1915 consisted of Peter and his wife Eva, as well as children Peter E., Elizabeth, Eva and Katherine. Peter's father Joseph Rice also resided with the family, as Peter's mother died in April, prior to the census enumeration. Peter's occupation was listed as saloon keeper.

1920 Census[]

Peter Rice Family (probably taken around 1920)

In 1920, Peter was listed as a head of household at 133 Morgan Street in Jersey City. This address is approximately 1 block west of their previous home on Washington Street. The household in 1930 consisted of Peter and his wife Eva, as well as children Eva, Peter E., Katherine and Edward. Peter's father Joseph also still resided with the family. Peter's occupation was listed as cook.

1930 Census[]

In 1930, Peter was listed as a head of household on 10th Street in Jersey City. The household in 1930 consisted of Peter and his wife Eva, as well as children Peter E., Katherine and Margaret. Peter's daughters Elizabeth and Eva were already married by 1930, and sons John and Edward had died.

Essays of Peter's Daughter Margaret[]

Peter's daughter Margaret wrote the following essay about her father. Included in this on-line version of the essay is an extra paragraph which was taken from a separate essay entitled Free Coffee which also discussed her father Peter.

Memories of my Pop[]

Peter & Eva around the 1940s

I remember when a horse and wagon came down the street with a rope tied on to a lot of tin cans and the driver of the wagon would be calling out, rags, rags & he’d ring a bell. Of course, he was called the rag man. He bought old rags and papers, etc. That was one way people could make a few dollars. My pop was one of those people. He had a wagon with built of sides-it looked like a wooden box on wheels. He roamed the streets before daybreak. It was dark yet. When I walked to school I used to pass him, he was on his way back. He’d look in barrels for rags and papers, pieces of copper, etc. After collecting them, he’d take them home and go down the cellar and sort them out. When the rag man came, he’d sell them. When I met him in the street I never thought anything of it. Now, I think what a shame. He wasn’t working, so that helped put food on the table. That was a way of life then, with a lot of people.

One time he brought home a lot of boxes of candy, a cigar store thre out. The cigar store used them for window displas. He got fooled. Most of the boxes were filled with fake chocolates. A few had real candy in them and they were good chocolates. What a treat that was. When I think back, I can’t believe I ate them. We were poor and thought nothing of it.

Also, I remember when I was about 5 years old, after the depression (meaning after the stock market crashed), they had bread lines, where they give away free food. My pop used to take me with him. It was real early in the morning. It was dark yet. We lived one block away from Saint Francis Hospital, and in the morning the nuns used to give out stuff in the garage. When a child was with them, you’d get bread and buns and cup cakes. This time they gave pigs feet. I remember telling my father, pop they have whiskers. He replied-That’s OK. I’ll shave them when we get home.

. . . continued from another of Margaret's essays entitled Free Coffee . . .

Peter Rice in Texas (1944)

My father wasn’t a good provider. Most of the time he was in another state. He was a cook for a railroad camp. He cooked for the men that took care of the rail road tracks, etc. When he was home, he was a gambler, played cards in the saloon & came home drunk most of the time. I’m ashamed to say. But that’s the way it was. Once he won a saloon in a card game. I used to go there in the afternoon & fill the little dishes with pretzels. Every Friday, it was free lunch for the customers. My mother made delicious clam chowder. It drew in a lot of customers. I never knew Dad then . . . Years ago people had little pails-if they wanted to-buy tap beer & take it home they would bring in these pails . . . The saloon was right across the street from where he lived. Some time later my father lost the saloon in another card game. I guess a gambler never wins.

His saloon was on Henderson Street & Steuben Street, Jersey City, N.J. on the corner.


Peter Rice Obituary

Peter died November 30, 1944 in Jersey City, New Jersey, at age 65. He was survived by his wife, and as children Elizabeth, Peter II, Katherine and Margaret.

See Also[]