Jefferson County

Information from the December 1984 Prairie Historian

Rightnowar School 
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 times.
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 for $2.65.
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

Rightnowar School 1894
1894 Students Teacher Della Armour
Numbered from Left to Right
Front Row
3rd Row
4th Row:
1. Sam Elliston
1. Luna Rightnowar
7. Ira (Barney) Bean
2. Doug Mandrell
2. Ethel Bean
8. Edd Bean
3. John Vaughn
3. Stanton Bean
9. Louis Wells
4. Homer Rightnowar
4. Edd Mandrell
10. Dave Wells
5. Walter Bean
5. Adam Wells
5th Row:
Second Row:
6. Della Armour (Teacher)
1. Inez Rightnowar
1. Lottie Lennington
7. Joe Elliston
2. Lizzie Lennington
2. Edith Rutherford
8. Sam Rightnowar
3. Martha Rightnowar
3. Nell Rightnowar
9. Frank Bean
4. Mandy Rightnowar
4. Rosa Elliston
10. Tom Elliston
5. James Wells

Orley Modert, former student of Rightnowar School, provided this list of students who attended during the years 1900 -1906. The teachers at that time were Mr. Lacey and Albert Schmidt
Alson Modert
Earl Earls
Orley Modert
Dick Earls
King Hester
Fern Bean
Cynthia Hester
Add Wells
Richard Davis
Amega Wells
Tish Davis
Minnie wells
Ralph Masters
Charlie Rutherford
Monroe Masters
Orlie Rutherford
Etta King
George Rutherford
Bill King
Ralph Rutherford
Harvey Gilbert
Adam Rightnowar
Bill Lennington
Homer Rightnowar
Brian Gilbert
Nell Rightnowar
Edna Fairchild
Doug Mandrell
Evert Fairchild
---- Munson
Bessie Lennington
---- Dennis

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