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History of RIGHTER FAMILY and DAIRY FARM
Succasunna, Roxbury Township, New Jersey

The many Roxbury residents who use Righter Road scarcely imagine the rich history associated with the Righter family of Succasunna, after whom the road is named. Proprietors of a large Dairy Farm, their long history in this area has not been well known, but now will be told as family members share their story on this website along with historical photos never seen outside the family.

Righter farm Succasunna New Jersey NJ

Aerial view of farm: was taken by the Lakeland News, a local paper of the late 1930’s early 40’s. It was used for a contest to see how many people could identify the farm. The road on the left side of photo heading up is Righter Road. The top of the photo with white house in the background, going across to the right is Eyland Ave. I had some friends that lived on Eyland. In the foreground on the left is the Righter homestead. Creamery adjacent to the house is hidden by a tree. Behind the house is the cow barn and silo and attached to that on the right side of the photo is the horse barn. The chicken coop is the long narrow rectangle building in front of silo. I remember as a boy my mother hanging up laundry between the trees in the front middle part of the photo. (Editor: This photo looks westward, south is to the left, and north and Route 10 are to the right)
This current
birds-eye view shows the  area of the farm, it is oriented roughly the same as the photo above.

Roxbury Township recreational facilities Horseshoe Lake is at top, Imagination Playground is in the center. The original barn and farmhouse stood in the area in the lower right of the satellite image, the new building on that site is a recreation facility.

 


Cyrus H Righter (Uncle Dick) behind the wheel. Harry (my father) in back seat with their mother Laura Virginia Dixon Righter. Photo1913.

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My name is Dixon Hartwell Righter, born in 1927. I am the grandson of Cyrus H. Righter (born March 3, 1850) and Laura Virginia Dixon (born 1848). Righter Road is named after Cyrus H. Righter, my Grandfather. I don’t know where to begin so I guess I will give you some history of my family that is documented in the standard history of Morris County:
     "History of Morris County, Lewis Publishing Company 1710-1914" (Righter: pages 282-284)
and then I will share some memories I have of growing up on the Righter Dairy Farm that was once located on Righter Road. 

My Grandfather Cyrus H. Righter was born March 3, 1850 to Cyrus H and Elizabeth (Johnson) Righter. He was the fourth child out of five born to his parents. My Grandfather married Laura Virginia Dixon on November 20, 1873. In 1881, my grandfather purchased the farm on which he lived in Succasunna, New Jersey. The records indicate he purchased 76 acres from the George T. Cobbs estate in Morristown. He increased his holdings to 176 acres. For the first year, my grandfather conducted a truck farm and than ran a high-class dairy that sold his products from local delivery wagons. The Righter Farm also consisted of meadows for the production of hay and potatoes.

My Grandparents, Cyrus H. Righter and Laura Virginia Dixon had three children, Nellie Elizabeth, born 1875, Cyrus Dixon Righter, born 1878 (we called him Uncle Dick), and Harry H Righter, born 1880 (my father). Nellie Elizabeth married William Thomas Fitzherbert in 1896; they eventually relocated in Arizona. The two sons Cyrus (my uncle Dick) and Harry (my father) remained in Succasunna and assisted their parents in conducting the farm and dairy.

Cyrus Dixon Righter (Uncle Dick) and his first wife Clara Myers, born 1876 (Aunt Clara) lived diagonally across the street from the Righter homestead on Righter Road. They had no children. Their house is still there today. My Aunt Clara passed away in 1936 at the age of 60. My Uncle Dick remarried.

As far as I can determine, Harry H. Righter (my father) married Elsie Boeticher (my mother) in 1919 in Newark New Jersey. Their union produced five children; Cyrus Harry (1920-1995),  Dorothy Ann (1922-1988), Muriel (1924-1926),  Dixon Hartwell, that’s me (born 1927) and William Otto (1929-2002).

I was born in the homestead on this farm on August 2, 1927. My memories of my life on the farm are rather hazy. My father Harry died on May 27, 1935 (I was 7 years old). I remember doing many menial chores such as feeding chickens, and retrieving eggs from their nests. I also assisted in feeding cows prior to their milking by the farm hands. I mowed the front and side lawns of the farm house and occasionally fed the three horses in their stalls in the barn adjoining the main cow barn. For fun I  used to play football on the side lawn with my younger brother and friends, as well as playing marbles in the driveway in front of the creamery. I also would help my mother and sister hang clothes on the clothes line which was several yards from the house. Other fun things were playing "kick the can" and hide and seek.

In the winter we would go ice skating on a small pond during the day and sometimes at night with the help of a small bon fire to keep us a little warm. In the summer we would go swimming in the Black River which flowed adjacent to the farm property. We would also go swimming in the "sand pit" (which is now known as Horseshoe Lake).

The only vivid memories of my father were that he would sit in a rocking chair in the kitchen by the window and smoke a cigar. He went to bed very early for he had to rise very early to go to work in the barn and also to deliver milk by truck to neighboring communities such as Dover, Wharton, Mine Hill and Kenvil.

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Elsie Boeticher & Harry Righter, courtship circa 1917

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Scan 13:   Harry Righter and Elsie Boeticher,  wedding portrait, married in 1919 in Newark, NJ

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Scan 11:  Elsie Righter with children Dot (left) Dixon (on lap)
and Cyrus (right)


Scan 12:  My Dad, Harry Righter with son Cyrus and
Uncle Frank Meyers at right (Aunt Clara’s brother)

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Scan 7:  My mother Elsie Righter, my sister Dot on the right, myself Dixon  on left looking up and my younger brother Bill.


Scan 24: 
Harry holding Billy (left) and Dixon (right) on
front porch

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Harry Righter family, Succasunna, New Jersey
Scan 21 Harry and Elsie holding Dixon,
Dot and Cyrus on ground left to right


Scan 36:  Dixon Righter as a baby


Scan 26:  Elsie and Harry with Dixon


Scan 25: top to bottom: Cyrus, Dixon, Billy


scan 015 L-R: Uncle Dick, Harry (Dad), in front Cyrus and
Dixon at right


scan 020 Dixon, left, and younger brother Bill


Scan 57:  The old barn is in background on the left. This is Uncle Dick and Aunt Clara’s house, which was diagonally down the road across
the street to the right of the Righter homestead.  Uncle Dick and Aunt Clara are in center of picture on the porch. The rest of the people
around them I do not know. The two men on ground are Aunt Clara’s brothers. I believe the man on the right was Frank Meyers.
The window on the right is the living room. This house is still standing and occupied on Righter Road. I stopped and took a picture of it
last year when I was visiting the area!

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Scan 32:  Standing: Grandmother Righter (Laura Virginia Dixon), Harry Righter (my father), girl unknown. 
Sitting are Aunt Clara and Uncle Dick.

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Scan 40:  Elsie (my Mother)


Scan 42:  Elsie and son Cyrus

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Scan 68: My sister Dot


Scan 50:  Dixon, friend Helen Gnatz (her family lived on Eyland  Ave)
and my brother Bill.

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Scan 3. This is the barn that replaced the original barn around 1935. The original barn is in background of older pictures.

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Scan 5, To the right of the front door the 2 windows on the ground floor was the parlor. It had bookcases, piano and
brown leather living room furniture. This was the room my father was laid out. The side room sticking out on the right side
of house had a stove, sink, table and chairs, it was like a mini kitchen, behind that was a screened porch that lead into the real kitchen.
To the right is the creamery and the barn is in the background. On the second floor are the windows of Dots room and in the back, Cyrus’ room.

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Scan 4


Scan 6. Scan 4 and 6 are the Righter homestead. Driveway heading up to house, running along left side of house to the back. I indicated
driveway on printed aerial view picture The porch is facing Righter Road. It was a dirt road and every now and than tar and oil was put on the
road to keep the dust down. Description of layout of house: As you walk in front door off porch the main living room on left, behind living room
is dining room, kitchen behind dining room.  The second floor windows; above living room was Dixon and Billy’s room and in back above
dining room was master bedroom. My father died in the master bedroom. Top middle window on side of house was attic. 
On the side of the picture which is the front of the house is as follows;
top middle window is the attic. Right window over porch was Dots room, Cys room in back behind Dots, can’t see in this picture.
The middle window over porch was hallway window. The hallway went the length of house front to back  
(Written on the back of this photo is 1945, Righter home on farm after the yard had deteriorated some).

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Scan 8:  February 28, 1909, Grandfather Cyrus H. Righter (age 59) on left.
Harry Righter, my father (age 29) on right.


Scan 9:  Under umbrella, Elsie and Harry Righter, baby unknown, probably
Cyrus my older brother.  Standing in center Uncle Dick (Cyrus Dixon) and
Aunt Clara.  Man standing in hay – unknown.

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Scan 80:  Cows on the Righter farm!

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Righter Bros. Milk Bottle Succasunna


World War II photograph depicting Sgt. Cyrus Righter (born 1920) of Succasunna New Jersey, wearing a French Beret with French Army insignia, doing his laundry in North Africa.

Addendum: The Righter Family history as told in 1914

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