Life of Richard Malachi Rivers in His Own Words

From Linda Dunlap Rohrig (

I was born in Jefferson County, state of Alabama near Warrior February 13, 1886. My father, Fredrick M. Rivers (born 1819) and mother, Synthia Knight Rivers (born 1828) came to Alabama from South Carolina in 1852. My father entered 320 acres of land near Birmingham (old Hawkins field) where Fairgrounds now is and swapped this land for land at Robins Cross Roads in 1856, then exchanged this for land near Warrior in 1858, then exchanged this land for land near Houston, Alabama in Winston in 1872.

I grew up a rural boy on a farm one mile south of Houston to age 18. As I was the youngest of 12 children (8 boys and 4 girls) my father willed me the estate of 320 acres of land and some personal property. At age of 19, I gave it all back to my father and mother and left home for about 6 months. My youngest sister Jane (Aunt Jane Waid) wrote me to come home which I did and stayed with my parents and bought an improvement for $80.00 then homesteaded 160 acres which cost me less than $100.00 and proceeded to hire a small yoke of (oxen) steers and make a crop.

The parents got me to teach a literary school at Pleasant Hill about 3 miles below Houston. They paid me $12.50 and board per month for two months. Before this school was out they asked me to teach the next public school and I taught school at this place six years and in 1889 I married one of my pupils, Miss Sarah Lou Wilson.

At this time I was having a school taught at Houston in old Court House and was going to to school there part time. In 1888 I was elected Justice of Peace for Beat and served about 16 years. In 1892 or 93 I moved to Houston, bought W.C. Curtis stock of goods, taken over the post office at Houston and served as Postmaster for 12 years there. During this time I taught school at Houston four years. Made race for Legislature on the Republican ticket and was elected (in 1898) during that and after time (?) I served two terms on Board of Education for Winston County. In 1904 I resigned as postmaster and I began farming and mail contracting. In 1926 I made another race for Legislature and served until 1930. My father died 1890 and my mother 1902. I have ten children, 5 boys and 5 girls, and this date 1942, I have 37 grandchildren and 3 great grandchildren.

Sources: Found among Rivers and Baldwin family papers my dad (Daniel Baldwin Dunlap) had in his shed. This information was compiled by his cousin Betty Johnson March 31, 1985. She got her information by writing to various relatives. My dad's mother was Joanna Baldwin, her mother was Huldah Ann Rivers, sister of Richard Malachi Rivers. As of this date, August 22, 2005, my dad is 85 years old.