Historical Details

Rightmire and Voorhees Family

Courtesy of Our Heritage: Niobrarans and Neighbors, 12/31/2020


by Eleanor Aamodt

James Marion Rightmire was born to Harrison and Melinda Wilson Rightmire on Sept. 17, 1866 in Hardin County, Ohio. His father, Harrison , had served in the Civil War as a member of Company A., Ohio Volunteers from Nov. 4, 1861 until Aug. 29, 1862. He was wounded at the Battle of Shiloh, loosing three fingers on his right hand.

Approximately in 1866, the Rightmire family moved to Nebraska by covered wagon, homesteading near Omaha. They sold this land in April, 1871 and moved to Tekahama, Nebr. In 1879 they moved to Madison County to establish a timber claim. They later moved into Tilden, Nebr.  As a young man Marion came to eastern Wyoming and worked for the OW Cattle Co. He returned to Tilden, where he met and married Minnie Belle Moore on March 4, 1896 at Battle Creek, Nebr.

Minnie was born to Henry and Charlotte Doud Moore Oct. 22, 1871 in Genoa, Ill. They came to Nebraska arriving Sept. 19, 1882.

Marion and Minnie had two children, Edna Charlotte, born Dec. 15, 1896 and Hugh on March 2, 1903.  Hugh died of whooping cough on Feb. 2, 1904 and is buried in the McCoy Cemetery between Tilden and Meadow Grove, Nebr.

Marion never forgot Wyoming and many of their relatives had made their home in Niobrara County and Goshen County. In 1914, he brought his wife and daughter and posses­sions to Wyoming by train to homestead in Sunshine Valley in northern Goshen County.

They unloaded at Van Tassell, stayed with the Ora Abel family the first night, then travel­ed on to Node and stayed with Will and Mattie Harvey, Marions sister, before they came to their new home on the prairie.

Archiebald Byron Voorhees was born to Zara and Alice Beeles Voorhees Jan. 28, 1885 in Jerauld County, South Dakota. He had four brothers, Manley, Duane, Arthur and Lester, and three sisters, Clara, Blanche and Inez. He attended country schools and the Free Methodist Seminary in Wessington Springs, S.D He entered the Grand Island Business college and played on the football team until he was forced to return to Wessington Springs for health reasons.

In the spring of 1913, he and his sister Inez came to Wyoming to homestead in Sunshine Valley. Their homesteads joined each other and their north boundries were the Niobrara County line. They came to Wyoming by immigrant train to Van Tassell. This was the common debarking point for people coming to eastern Wyoming in the teens.

While they were unloading his team and belongings, he climbed the sandrock bluffs to survey this new land on which he was to make his home for the rest of his life.

While up there, he carved his initials in the bluff as many people before him had done. Mr. George Siebken took him to his new home.  He called his homestead "Calamity Hill", as it was the highest land around the valley and a calamity was always happening. His brother Manley came in 1914 to stay with Archie and built a small two-story house and barn for him.

In South Dakota, he had always picked up bullsnakes by the tail and snapped their heads off. He continued to do so until he picked up a Wyoming rattler snapped the head off, the head flew back hitting him in the chest. Needless, to say, he soon found other methods of disposing of them!

Rightmires were neighbors to the south of Archie. Archie played the guitar and and Rollo Porter played the fiddle for neighborhood dances.    He met Edna at a dance at Al Riders.   They were married on Sept. 27, 1916 at Lusk, Wyo. by Rev. E. A. Blenkarn, the Congregational minister.

They had two daughters.  Alice Athalia born Nov. 5, 1921 and Rosemary Elaine March 15, 1928. The summer of 1914, Edna recalls going to Van Tassell after the mail and some supplies.  A fire had been started by a man stirring ashes. She could see the smoke from Van Tassell. This turned into quite a prairie fire and it burned up to Rightmires land before it was put out. Cowboys from the big outfits and all the homesteaders turned out to fight fires with wet gunny­ sacks and shovels. Mrs. Finton always kept a barrel of water they could use to wet their gunnysacks with.

Archie and Edna lived at Calamity Hill till 1920. They farmed and raised a few cattle. Rye was their main money crop and they raised corn and oats for feed. They also always raised a large garden for vege­tables for the table.   When all their horses died of what was known as "loco", Walt Rymal loaned them a team of mules and Billy Bar­rett loaned them a team of horses.  Billy's horses were the only ones in the community that didn't die.  Archie always kept this team in the barn and didn't turn them out to pasture.   Perhaps this is what saved them.

When the weather and roads permitted they took a team and wagon and picnic to Harvey Draw in the Rawhide Buttes for fire wood. They would also visit with Frank and Nora Rider. If they couldn't get to Rawhide for fuel they would collect dried "cow­ chips" from the pasture to burn. This was a common practice among homesteaders.

They first got their mail at Van Tassel then at Node. In 1915 a post office was established called Pleazal.  They received their mail here until it was abandoned in 1921. They then got their mail on a route from Jay Em. By this time, they were trav­eling to Jay Em to trade as it was about 8 miles away.

In 1920 Archie and Edna rented the Whitesides place and moved on to it. Their neighbors and closest friends were Billy and Mabel Barrett. Edna recalls one acci­dent. Billy was pulling a well and some­ thing slipped. It injured his hand quite severely. Mabel wasn't home so he wrapped a bandage around it and walked approximately two miles to Archies. They took him in exhausted and in great pain. She had to soak the dried bandage off, while she was cleansing and dressing the wound, he fainted away. The closest doctor was in Lusk.

Edna's cousin, Fae Lynn was a registered nurse so she helped many sick people in the community. Otherwise they took care of wounds and sickness with their "Dr. Book", common knowledge and a good supply of tur­pentine. These two couples remained life­ long friends. One time when Marion had injured his finger, he had wrapped a rag soaked in turpentine around it. He struck a match to light his pipe and the rag flam­ed.  He sure ripped it off in a hurry.

Archie had bought a white mare dappled with brown spots from Will Harvey in approxi­mately 1920. She had a colt with deformed jaws.   This colt died from malnutrition.Walt Rymill liked the mare so Archie sold her to him.  He bred her to a palomino stallion. Her colt was palomino and was sold to Roy Rogers for the first "Trigger".

When Archie and Edna left the Whiteside's place, Archie went to work for Granville Tinnen in 1923. Edna helped Mrs.Tinnen with the cooking and house work. When they left there, they moved in with Edna's parents, Marion and Minnie Rightmire. They lived together the rest of their lives. They spent Sundays visiting with relatives and neighbors.

Their first car was a 1916 Roadster bought in 1921 from Billy Barrett.         They affectionately called it "Blue Liz".

Early in 1926 they moved to Node to work with the C&NW railroad section crews. Calamity Hill now belongs to Charles Can­ field and the Rightmire place to Andrews Livestock Company.

At Node, they lived on the Fred Chris­ tianson place until Will Harvey sold his possessions.   Then they rented his home in Node until they moved to Lusk in the fall of 1927.

Approximately in November 1927 they bought their home at 734 South Linn Street in Lusk. This home was the birthplace of their daughter, Rosemary, and two grand­ children. Rosemary was married to Herbert F. Tadewald on Sept. 26, 1946, and Marion died at this home on June 5, 1945. Archie was at home until an hour before he died. So this home has been the scene for many happy and sad family events.

Minnie was not in good health the last few years of her life and she spent many hours writing poems of her childhood and other times. She died after gall bladder surgery on Jan. 30, 1937. She and Marion are both buried in the Lusk Cemetery.

During the depression, work was not to be had, so Marion and Archie did any kind of job that was available. Archie worked as an apprentice electrician on the Ranger Hotel under the direction of Mr. Sacqsue in 1927 and 1928. He worked at the power plant for the Town of Lusk November 1928 - Decem­ ber 1932 under L. S. Berry, along with Fred Williams.  During February-April 1931, Marion worked as a rock crusher laborer for the Town of Lusk.  He also worked as labor­ er on the D.A.R. Park April and May of 1932.

Archie joined the 3C's in Aug. 5, 1934 until Jan. 2, 1935 He was a power plant operator at the Guernsey Camp. He worked on the WPA from 1936-1940.   During WW II he went to Casper and worked at the air base as an electrician during 1944 and 1945.

When he came home from Casper, there was a lot of building going on in Lusk and he started his own business as an electri­cian.   In 1951 when the REA came to Niobrara County, he wired many country places for electricity.

He retired from this at the age of 65. He spent his days fishing and reminiscing other times with his many friends. He loved children and spent many hours entertaining his own girls, his grandchildren and great­ grandchildren up until the time of his death of a heart seizure Nov. 23, 1965. He is buried beside Marion and Minnie in the Lusk Cemetery.

Edna still lives at the family home - taking in ironing, raising a large garden and enjoying her family.

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Related/Linked Records

Record Type Name
Obituary Rightmire, Minnie (10/22/1871 - 01/30/1937) View Record
Obituary Rightmire, James (09/17/1866 - 06/05/1946) View Record
Obituary Voorhees, Archie (01/28/1885 - 11/23/1965) View Record
Obituary Voorhees, Edna (12/15/1896 - 10/09/1989) View Record