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Ruegnitz, Charles 1849 - 1902


Posted By: Reid R. Johnson (email)
Date: 3/11/2021 at 12:24:18

Elkader Register, Thur., 29 May 1902.

Charles Ruegnitz.

As the people of Elkader arose from their beds Sunday morning they were startled by the intelligence that was telephoned and spoken from family to family that Charles Ruegnitz was dead. It was sad news to each and every one and all took it to themselves as a personal affliction.

It appears that Mr. Ruegnitz after passing the night in a peaceful slumber awoke about 5 o'clock Sunday morning, and getting out of bed moved about for a moment or so and then laid back upon the bed and gasped once or twice. His wife noticed that something was wrong and attempted to arouse him but failing to do so screamed for help and at once aroused Dr. McGrath who lives near by. But all attempts were vain, the spirit of the beloved husband and father had departed to be numbered with the host who had preceded him to the unknown shore.

Mr. Ruegnitz had been in poor health for several months past, troubled with rheumatism that compelled him at times to use a cane. A few months ago he was attacked with a sudden sinking spell but he recovered and was attending to his official duties. Saturday evening the choir of the Congregational church and others were practicing at his residence and he was rehearsing a solo he expected to sing. But alas, how little we know of the changes that a few hours may bring about.

Charles Ruegnitz was born in Mecklenberg, Germany, Jan. 12th, 1849, the son of Charles and Mary Meder Ruegnitz. At the age of 16, with his parents, he came to Clayton county, settling at Clayton Center. Here the young man engaged as a cooper, a trade he had learned in the old country. In 1870 he went to Omaha, where he worked for a season on the Union Pacific railroad. He then returned to Clayton and took charge of the hoop factory at that place for the Northwestern Hoop Co., of Chicago. In 1882 Mr. Ruegnitz embarked in the hoop business on his own account and followed it for three years.

In the fall of 1885, Mr. Ruegnitz who had always been an enthusiastic worker for the party, was elected Treasurer of Clayton County on the democratic ticket, and at the time of his demise was filling his eighth term. No man in the party had his strength before the people, and several times he was re-elected without opposition. In the fall of 1882 he was nominated by the democrats for State Treasurer, and although defeated made a good showing of strength. He was a member of the school board of Elkader several years, and was in March again re-elected to the position.

In the civic societies he was specially interested in the Iowa Workman, having been a charter member of the lodge at Clayton. He had for the past two years held the important post of Grand Overseer of the Grand Lodge of Iowa Workman, and was re-elected to the position last week. He was a charter member of the Mystic Camp 319, M.W.A. of Elkader and has served as its Banker almost the entire time since its organization. He has been a leader in the ranks of the Turn Verein of the county, and an interested member of the Gesang Verein of Elkader. It was a great pleasure for our departed friend to sing, and of late years he was usually found in one or the other of the church choirs on Sunday.

In 1872 Mr. Ruegnitz was united in marriage at Communia, with Miss Emma Venus. He is survived by the wife and three children, Fritz, who is engaged in business at Stratford, Iowa, Emma at home, and Louis who is attending the medical department of the University of Michigan at Ann Arbor. Besides these, five brothers and two sisters mourn, they are: George, a resident of Volga twp.; Albert, at Elgin, Ill.; August, at Dubuque; Max, at McGregor; Louis, at Pueblo, Col.; Mrs. O. D. Oathout, at Luana, Ia.; and Mrs. Eliza Baker, at Jackson, Mich. These were all able to be present at the funeral except Albert and Louis.

Charles Ruegnitz was one of the most popular men in the county. Always obliging, he would discommode himself to render a service to a friend a sorrowing widow or the distressed orphan. He was ready at every call to do a service for the county, his society or the town. As an official he was in every way trustworthy and efficient. He served the common people, and was never so busy but what he could not stop to explain a point to the poor man with a small tax just as cheerfully as he did to the heaviest tax payer.

To his family he was a devoted husband and father, the kindest brother, always ready to extend a helping hand to those less fortunate than himself.

In his death the community has lost one of its most useful citizens, and the county a faithful servant. His good deeds and friendship will linger long in the memories of the host who have been pleased to call him friend and brother.

The funeral service proceeded from the house to the Turner Opera house. Rev. Baxter, of the Congregational church officiated, with Rev. G. H. Braun and Father Siefert assisting. The Opera House was fitted to seat 700 people, but many were unable to get in. The funeral was one of the most largely attended ever held in Elkader.

"Good Bye and farewell ! Peace, peace, be to thee and thine !"

(Note: There followed a lengthy description of the funeral and Resolutions of Respect that were not transcribed. Also, a picture of the deceased accompanied this article, but did not reproduce well enough to be used here.)


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