My Genealogy Hound

Below is a family biography included in Biographical and Historical Memoirs of Pulaski County, Arkansas published by Goodspeed Publishing Company in 1889.  These biographies are valuable for genealogy research in discovering missing ancestors or filling in the details of a family tree. Family biographies often include far more information than can be found in a census record or obituary.  Details will vary with each biography but will often include the date and place of birth, parent names including mothers' maiden name, name of wife including maiden name, her parents' names, name of children (including spouses if married), former places of residence, occupation details, military service, church and social organization affiliations, and more.  There are often ancestry details included that cannot be found in any other type of genealogical record.

* * * *

Prof. J. R. Rightsen, the efficient and popular superintendent of the Little Rock city schools, is a native of Illinois, where his youth and early manhood were passed. He comes from “warriors bold” on both the paternal and maternal sides of the house. His grandfather Rightsen was under Jackson at the battle of New Orleans, and his grandfather Waddell was a British officer in the same engagement. The latter was conquered in more ways than one, for soon after the close of the war he resigned his commission and came to America, transferring his allegiance to one of America’s daughters. The Professor’s early education, the foundation of his future career, was received in the graded schools of Mattoon, Ill. Completing the course there, he entered the Normal school, from which he graduated with high honors, in 1868. The following year he was engaged in teaching, and having been elected to the principalship of Peabody school, he came to Little Rock, reaching there the first week in 1870. In December, 1871, he was chosen city superintendent, and has held that position ever since. Owing to the unsettled condition of affairs in the city, during the years of 1874 and 1875 he taught, and in connection with his duties as superintendent, assumed the principalship of the high school. Under his able management, the schools have grown from demanding a corps of twenty teachers, teaching in ten different places (the school-rooms in churches and store buildings), to about fifty teachers, occupying good modern buildings. Prof. Rightsen is a quiet, unassuming gentleman, pleasant and agreeable in his manner, yet impressing one with the decided dignity and strength of his character. No higher encomiums of praise need be passed on him than the simple statement that for nearly twenty years he has held the most important position in educational circles in the State of Arkansas. In his marriage relations he is singularly fortunate. The only thing that mars the happiness of himself and wife is the death of their only daughter, Mary Clyde, whose departure has left a break in the family circle that the two boys, Richard and Willie, are naturally hardly able to fill. Mary died February 7, 1885, lacking but a few days of her eleventh birthday. Prof. Rightsen’s wife is the brilliant and accomplished daughter of Chief Justice Wilshin. Their marriage was celebrated August 29, 1871.

* * * *

This family biography is one of 156 biographies included in Biographical and Historical Memoirs of Pulaski County, Arkansas published in 1889.  For the complete description, click here: Pulaski County, Arkansas History, Genealogy, and Maps

To view additional Pulaski County, Arkansas family biographies, click here

Use the links at the top right of this page to search or browse thousands of other family biographies.