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Below is a family biography included in the Biographical Annals of Montgomery County, Pennsylvania published in 1904 by T. S. Benham & Company and The Lewis Publishing Company; Elwood Roberts, Editor.  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.

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GEORGE W. RIGHTER, one of the most progressive citizens of Upper Merion township, is a son of John and Elizabeth (Legeaux) Righter.

The family is of German origin, tracing their ancestry to one of three brothers, who, with two sisters, came to Philadelphia. One of them, John, located on Mill creek, in Lower Merion, where he owned a grist mill. All were Friends, and the two sisters were preachers in the Society.

John Righter (great-grandfather) had a family of children, among them Anthony, the ancestor of George W. Righter’s line.

Anthony Righter (grandfather), a millwright by trade, was a native of Lower Merion, but lived later in Whitemarsh township. He married Catherine Taylor, and they had nine children: John, Morris T., Isaac, Joseph, Anthony, Richard, Mary (Pontzler) , Catharine and Elizabeth (Nuss). Anthony Righter died at the age of eighty-nine years.

John Righter (father) also born in Lower Merion, engaged later in the business of burning lime, at Spring Mill, much of it being taken to Philadelphia. Large quantities were shipped by the canal after its construction, amounting to hundreds of thousands of bushels a year. Originally a Democrat, John Righter became a Republican, and was generally active in the affairs of his community. He died in 1869, aged eighty- three years, his remains being interred in Barren Hill cemetery. His wife was Elizabeth Legeaux, who died in 1867, in the seventieth year of her age. Their children are: Peter L., Isaac, Joseph C., Anthony P., John A., Charles C., Lucressa R., George W., and Lindley. All are deceased but Charles and George W.

Peter Legeaux (maternal grandfather) was a native of Lorraine, France. He came to America in 1785. He was an attorney-at-law, having been admitted at Metz in his twentieth year and at the supreme court at Nantes, in 1768. Peter Legeaux was a very remarkable character. He was a member of the Masonic order, a member and correspondent of several academies of science and art in Europe and America, a meteorologist, a man of considerable literary ability and had a thorough knowledge of astronomy. He planted vineyards on his tract of land at Spring Mill and organized the Pennsylvania Wine Company. Washington visited him at his Spring Mill home during his term as president of the United States. He died at Spring Mill, September 27, 1827. His will is a very peculiar document, his property being divided among three heirs, his daughters, Sophia and Elizabeth, and their mother. Sophia married Joseph Geiger and moved to another part of the country but her family is now extinct.

George W. Righter was reared on the homestead at Spring Mill, in the house of Peter Legeaux, still in good condition. He attended the township schools and later took a course of study at Treemount Seminary, Norristown, under the teaching of Rev. Samuel Aaron, one of the most famous educators of his day. After completing the course at the Seminary, George W. Righter engaged in teaching, which pursuit he followed for five years. At the end of that time he engaged in agricultural pursuits for which he had a special aptitude, and the cultivation of the soil has claimed his time and attention ever since, mostly on the farm which he bought in 1863, near Merion Station, on the Reading Railway, one of the most fertile and best managed in the state. He has long been active in the Patrons of Husbandry, taking a deep interest in everything pertaining to the success and prosperity of agriculture. In politics he is a Republican with independent tendencies, believing in the motto of the greatest good to the greatest number, and casting his ballot in the way that he thinks best calculated to promote that object. He is a member of the Lutheran church.

On February 24, 1859, Mr. Righter married Caroline, daughter of John and Almira (Hallman) Hart. Their only living child is Harry Sherman, born January 21, 1863. He married Almira Ford. Their children are Caroline May, born April 9, 1884; Salome Hart, born July 16, 1886; Theoline Ford, born August 16, 1888; Georgine Annetta, born March 18, 1891, and died January 26, 1895; Marion Legeaux, born September 4, 1896, and died January 23, 1897; Anna S., born February 16, 1898, Harry S. and George W., who died in infancy. Harry S. Righter attended the public schools of the neighborhood and later attended the Conshohocken high school, where he was graduated in 1875, after which he pursued a regular course at the University of Pennsylvania, from which he was graduated in 1880, adopting civil engineering as his profession. He has since been connected with the Pennsylvania Railroad Company as civil engineer. Carrie E., George W. and Mary Romaine, other children of George W. and Caroline Righter, died in childhood.

John Hart (father of Mrs. George W. Righter) was born in Plymouth township, where he grew to manhood and learned the trade of a carpenter and builder. He was engaged for a time in mercantile business in Norristown, then at Hickorytown and still later in Roxboro. A short time before his death he sold his Roxboro business, went to Upper Merion and resumed work at his trade. He was a member of the Lutheran church of Barren Hill for a half century, as was his wife. In politics he was a life-long Democrat, but not an office-seeker. He had seven children: Samuel H. (deceased). born March 13, 1834, married Matilda Rex. Charles is also deceased. Caroline H., born May 19, 1839, married George W. Righter. William E., born March 15, 1842, married Salome Boyer. He enlisted in 1861, in the Fifty-first Regiment Pennsylvania Volunteers, and served through the war. He was wounded at Antietam, but, afterwards recovering, re-enlisted and was mustered out at the close of the war. He went into the army as a private and came home a captain. He was for a time clerk in one of the departments of Harrisburg, and later elected on the Republican ticket, as state treasurer but died November 9, 1889, during his term of office. John H., born September 9, 1846, married Harriet Miller. Mary Emma L., born August 17, 1848, married Frank Churlton, a Philadelphia manufacturer. T. Jefferson, born April 16, 1851, married Maggie Myers. He is now deceased. George Howard, born March 7, 1856, married Elmira Diffenderfer. He is the station agent at Pennsburg, on the Philadelphia & Reading Railway.

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This family biography is one of more than 1,000 biographies included in the Biographical Annals of Montgomery County, Pennsylvania published in 1904 by T. S. Benham & Company and The Lewis Publishing Company.  For the complete description, click here: Biographical Annals of Montgomery County, Pennsylvania

View additional Montgomery County, Pennsylvania family biographies here: Montgomery County, Pennsylvania Biographies

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