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Illinois Genealogy Trails

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 Jefferson County Illinois
Rightnowar Family Biographies

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Henry Rightnowar
George R. Rightnowar and his wife, Jerusha Rose, settled in the south end of Long Prairie, between the years of 1826 and 1829, where their sons, Reese, Henry, John and Adam and sons-in-law, Samuel F. Black, John Vaughn, and John Hicks, and their descendants have lived since.

George R. was a native of Pennsylvania and had moved to Illinois and lived in Hardin County for some time. George R. and Jerusha Rose had 10 children: Adam, married to Ann Eliza Howe; Reese, married Nancy; Henry married Jane Hicks; George; Nancy Jane married Samuel F. Black; Jemima married a King; Gooley Jerusha married John Hicks; Rose Mary married John Vaughn; Joe; and John.

Henry, son of George R. and Jerusha Rose, was born January 15, 1815, in Illinois. Jane Hicks was born January 29, 1824, and was married to Henry February 20, 1840. Henry and Jane deeded the acre of ground for the Rightnowar School site August 23, 1859, to school trustees: Samuel F. Black, Adam Rightnowar, and John Hicks and their successors in office. This deed is recorded in Book 41 Deeds and Records, Jefferson County, Illinois. There have been several school houses built on the site. The last one in 1917. It was abandoned when the schools consolidated.

Henry and Jane were the parents of eight children: Elizabeth, born 1841, married John Rutherford; Mary Ann, born 1842. married Samuel Bryce Gilbert; Samuel J., born 1844, was married; George W., born 1846, was married; Elvira Emmaline, born 1847, married Andy Coon Ferguson; Malissa Katherine, born 1849, married to W. C. Troutt; Thomas Jefferson, 1851, married; Lucinda Jane, born 1853; Melvina Tobiatha, born 1855, married John Brown; James Stephen Douglas, born 1858, married; Matthew Green, born 1859; and Amada Lee, born 1864, married Gus Heckman.

Henry and Jane Rightnowar are buried in the Slade Cemetery in Shiloh Township. Mary Ann, daughter of Henry and Jane Rightnowar, married Samuel Bryce Gilbert, January 4, 1878. He was the son of Eli Jr. and Lucy Fairchild Gilbert. They lived in Jefferson County and were the parents of 13 children: James Henry, Lovina Jane, David Platt, Mary Ellen, Martha Ann, Hiram Elza, Robert Harris, Lucy May, Ida Ethel, Samuel Bryce, William Ira, Bertha Elizabeth and Eli Ezra. Ida Ethel Gilbert married Samuel Wade Black on October 2, 1899. They made their home in McClellan Township. ---- Inez Davis
[Source: Facts and Folks, Jefferson Co, IL © 1978, pgs 286 - 287 - Sub. by Cindy Ford]



George "Reeves" Rightnowar
George "Reeves" Rightnowar was born 1810 near Elizabethtown in Hardin County, Illinois. He was the son of George Rightnowar, born 1791 in Pennsylvania and Jerusha Rose, born 1794 in Georgia the daughter of Henry Rose, who were married on June 25, 1809 in Livingston, Kentucky. They came from Hardin County to Jefferson County in the late 1820's settling in the south end of Long Prairie somewhere near the Rightnowar Cemetery. George died November 18, 1845 and Jerusha on September 16, 1857, both at 64 years. This pioneer couple was buried at the Rightnowar Cemetery were their gravestones were recently discovered.

Elizabeth, born 1812, married King William Bean, born 1812. Soon after George "Reeves" came to Jefferson County with his parents he married, in 1829, Nancy Sarah Overbay, in 1806 in Tennessee. They lived in McClellan Township in a log house about one half mile Northeast of the Rightnowar cemetery. After improving 80 acres in the S 1/2; SE 1/4; of Section 8 for agricultural purposes and establishing his residence there, purchased it on December 8, 1855 from the Illinois Central Railroad Company. His log cabin was built on a small spot of the ground a short distance west of the Big Muddy Creek. When it overflowed its banks the back waters would sometimes surround the cabin but not reach it. Since there was no well at the cabin, water was carried or hauled about a quarter mile from the creek.

The known children of George "Reeves" and Sarah were: Elizabeth M. J. born 1832; Martha Jerusha E., born 1835, married in 1859 to James P. Hirons and in 1886 was living in Boone County. Arkansas; John Harve, born April 15, 1840, ried in 1868 to Sarah E. Giles, born 1842, and lived east of Rightnowar Cemetery on a spot known as "The John Harve Hill". He died in 1906 with pneumonia. George H., born 1838, married in 1862 Hannah Casey Hicks, and had these known daughters: Sallie, married Joshua Smith; Martha Alice, married Jackson Runnels ; Marinda Belle, married Joseph Loman; and Ellen married Oliver Dennis.

George "Reeves" and Sarah's fifth child was Adam W. "Little Ad", born November 27, 1844, married first in 1876 Nancy Giles. born 1857. and had Sarah Mary, died in infancy; and anda Emily. He married second in 1879 Mary Susan Thompson, born 1856, and had Martha Ellen and Nellie Ann. heir sixth child was Shadrick Jeff, born about 1853, married in 1878 Maria Smith, born 1857, the daughter of Absalom th. Born to them in Jefferson County were Reason and Betty. Near the turn of the century Jeff's family moved to Arkansas.

Just before his death George "Reeves" deeded his 80 acres other land he had acquired to his children, giving Martha and her husband, James P. Hirons, the home place. Due to ill health he was bedfast and in intense pain for sometime brfore his death. Because he required help to turn in bed, his granddaughters, Amanda and Martha told many times of their assisting him while they were young girls still at home. Sarah, his wife, died sometime in the 1860's. He died a widower about 1887. Although no markers can be found they are thought to be buried in the Rightnowar Cemetery.

For several years after his death his "old powder horn" used for muzzle loading guns and muskets, with his name Reeves and his birthdate which dated back to the early 1800's carved on it, was in the possession of his son "Little Ad's" family and hung around until it crumbled, split and finally deteriorated with age.
[Source: Facts and Folks, Jefferson Co, IL © 1978, pgs 286 - Sub. by Cindy Ford]


Adam Rightnowar
Adam W. Rightnowar, known as "Little Ad" was born November 27, 1844 in McClellan Township; the son of George "Reeves" and Nancy Sarah Overbay Rightnowar. He was first married January 6, 1876 in Jefferson County to Nancy Emmaline Giles, born March 24, 1857, the daughter of Mary Emily Giles, 1836-1913, who was the daughter of Cyrus Giles, 1796-1872. "Little Ad" and Nancy had two daughters: Sarah Mary L died in infancy: and Amanda Emily, born November 2, 1878, died November 14, 1941, who married in 1896 George W. Bean and had Alex, Gerald, Mabel, Sadie and Daisy.

Nancy E. died January 2, 1879 when her little daughter, Amanda, was two months old. She went to the creek east of the family home to do her laundry, as there was no well at the b cabin and water had to be carried from the creek. She later took pneumonia and died at age 21 years. She was buried beside her first child in the Rightnowar Cemetery.

"Little Ad" married the second time in 1879 Mary Susan Thompson, born October 20, 1856 the daughter of Elijah and Louisa Henson Thompson. They had two daughters: Martha Ellen, born January 3, 1881, died September 4, 1956: and Nellie Ann, born June 12, 1889, died 1964. He was a farmer and also worked in the timber and sawmill business. Innumerable railroad ties were being cut about this time. He lived all his life near his parents. His daughters attended the Rightnowar School which was located about two miles southwest of their home.

As was the custom for entertainment, neighbors, friends and all the kin would gather for social dances and playing music. On one such occasion two men came by, not to visit or dance but to cause a disturbance. After being asked politely to choose a partner and dance or move on, the two men doing neither but choosing to continue their noisy disorder until one of "Little Ad's" neighbors at this gathering decided to put them in their place; bounced their heads together, pitched them out in the yard and sent them down the road on their way.

"Little Ad" built his log cabin near the line of Section 8. but over in Section 17 in McClellen Township on the 40 acres his father had deeded him in 1886 just before his death. Gary and Carole Garner now own this land lying east of their home. Near this date "Little Ad" erected the first room of the log cabin, later called the "summer kitchen" when another room was added in the early 1900's. This second room was constructed partially with lumber. The "summer kitchen" was also called the "loom room" for it was used for weaving rugs by his second wife. Mary Susan. Eventually the family dug a well near the house and every spring a catfish was caught and put in the well to kill the wiggletails.

Before his death he was sick about three years with cancer. He died on January 9, 1907 at the age of 63 years, and was buried in the Rightnowar Cemetery. His second wife, Mary Susan, died about January 20, 1929 at the home of their daughter, Nellie, who lived southwest of Mt. Vernon. She was taken in a horse drawn hearse to the Rightnowar Cemetery to be buried beside "Little Ad". It was so muddy and bad that winter that a second team had to be hitched to the front of the first team before the hearse could be pulled through the deep mud. One of her grandsons had to agree to work for the owner of the second team one full day shucking corn to pay for the use of his team. Little Ad's" daughters inherited his 40 acres; Nellie got the west part; Amanda got the center 13 acres, and Martha E. got the house place on the east. She was forced to abandon the "old home site" in 1946, the year the back waters came up so high.
[Source: Facts and Folks, Jefferson Co, IL © 1978, pgs 287 - Sub. by Cindy Ford]

Little Ad Rightnowar's Cabin
Little Ad Rightnowar cabin
Source: "The Prairie Historian" September 1981, Vol.11 Issue 3


This picture of Little Ad Rightnowar’s (born 1844 -1897) log cabin was taken about 1909.
It was erected about 1900, and located in the NE¼ NE¼ of Sect. 17 McClellan Twp.
about a mile east of where Jerry and Margie Elliston’s house was destroyed in the 1957 tornado.
This log cabin wasn't far from the creek on land now owned by Gary and Carol Garner.
The road to the Garner's at that time ran on east toward the Big Muddy.
The little cabin on the right behind the well, built in the 1880’s, was first used as a home and later as a summer kitchen. It was also called the "loom room" for it was used by Mary Susan for weaving rugs after the other part of the cabin on the left was added.
Standing on the right by the large framed picture of Little Ad is his second wife, Mary Susan Thompson Rightnowar (1856-1929). On the left is their daughter Nellie (1889-1964 and in the center is her husband Fred Grahlherr (1885-1917), and their two children, William (baby) and Opal, in the white dress.
Picture and story by Sylvia Bean Shelton Dareville, IL

Elmer Hart says that the loom Mary Susan used originally belonged to his grandparents, Mr. and Mrs. Pinckney Davis



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