Information from the December 1984 Prairie Historian
Long Prairie, McClellan Township
In 1852 Henry Rightnowar purchased from the government the land on
which Rightnowar School stands,
and on August 23, 1859 he and his wife Jane (Hicks) turned it over
to school trustees Samuel Finley Black, Adam Rightnowar, and John Hicks.
It is believed that school was held there before 1859 however, because
Mary Frances Howe's fifthe reader bears her name and the date 1857. Doubtless
she had attended school for some years before that because you do not enter
school in the fifth grade. A mention of the school property was mentioned
in a deed dated 1865 written by Eli Gilbert, a Justice of the Peace.
The present building is the third one to be erected on the same site.
The first one, built of logs, was at that time on the east side of the
Pinkneyville Road and a lane led from the road east to the school house.
The road that now passes on the east side of the school was not opened
until much later.
The present building was erected in 1915-16 and Charles E. Simmons
who is still living, taught the year prior to that in the old school and
the first year in the new one. At that time there were seven such stuctures
in McClellan Township. Charlie's salary was $45. per month for teaching
and for assuming all janitorial duties.
Trustees paid Frank Place $215.00 for constructing the new school which
was built from $674.97 worth of materials, $109.01 of which was spent for
fifty new desks with folding seats.
One student on that first day, Charlie Elliston, learned the hard way
about how treacherous those folding seats could be. He got his toes mashed
when the pupil in front of him sat down. His crying alerted the others
to the danger but did not keep them from suffering the same fate at other
Transportation costs were much lower 70 years ago also. Johnny Earl's
father hauled concrete blocks from Mt. Vernon to the school site for $3.
per hundred, gravel for the same didtance for $1.75 a yard, and 3,000 shingles
When Johnny Earls, who was born and raised near the school, and his
wife LaVera purchased the school at auction in 1955, they paid $350. for
it, more than it had cost to build & equip it in 1915. They have preserved
and restored it as a landmark and to the best of knowledge it is the only
country school left in the county in it's original state and in good condition.
In 1981 Johnny and LaVera, their family and friends, began painting
and restoring the building an the first annual reunion was held at the
school that year. It has now evolved into a Long Pr. Homecoming where a
basket dinner is served and a good time had by all. A speaker usually recalls
something of the days gone by and the values that were instilled in pupils
back in those days. Such memories and stories are dear to the hearts of
all who ever attended there or any other one room country school.
This list was provided by Nina Dare