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RUGGLES, John Calvin - 1912 Bio (1832-1912)


Posted By: Debbie Nash (email)
Date: 7/22/2003 at 20:39:10

From the “History of Jefferson County, Iowa” – 1912, Volume II
Pages 384 – 386


“Seventy years have passed since John C. RUGGLES, a well known and retired agriculturist of section 4, Polk township, first came to Jefferson county and, therefore, he may be said to have been a witness and an assistant to its entire growth. At that time the Indians were far more numerous than the white settlers and Mr. Ruggles remembers the time when he played with the children of the Black Hawk tribe, who were living in near-by villages. He was born in Miami county, Ohio, on the 21st of March, 1832, and is a son of Jesse and Lavina (WHETSTONE) RUGGLES. The father was born in Kentucky in 1806, of English descent on the paternal side and of German lineage on his mother’s side, and went to Ohio about 1830, where he located in Miami county. In 1834, when John C. RUGGLES was two years of age, his parents left Ohio for the middle west, stopping in Illinois for one year and then locating in Lee county, Iowa, where they rented a farm for three years, before settling permanently in 1839 at Blue Point, in Black Hawk township, Jefferson county. Here he entered considerable land, which he cultivated until the time of his death in 1848, and is widow made this her home until she passed away in 1851.

John C. RUGGLES remained at home until the time of his father’s death. He acquired his early education in the schools near his home and later was engaged in teaching in Black Hawk township for nine months. In 1854 he joined a party of six and went to California, making the trip with ox teams in six months and twenty-six days, but, not meeting with the success in mining that he had anticipated, he returned home after nine months. He made the trip via Cape Horn to New York, from which city he came overland to Iowa. The following year he went to Kansas to investigate the possibilities in agriculture in that state, but after careful consideration decided that Iowa offered better opportunities and so he returned to this state. He engaged in agriculture in 1859 after purchasing a farm, on section 4, Polk township, just north of his present homestead. This property was his home until 1865, the year in which he purchased eighty acres of the farm upon which he now resides. At a subsequent date he acquired eighty acres additional, which was situated east of the original property, and he is now the owner of one hundred and twenty acres of this land, having sold forty to his son. His property is under a high state of cultivation and shows the result of many years of active work and scientific management on the part of the owner. In 1892 Mr. RUGGLES discontinued active farming and since that time his son, Charles B., has undertaken the management and development of the home property. By persistent energy and unceasing toil, carried on under the difficulties which only the early settlers can full appreciate, Mr. RUGGLES has earned a success as substantial as it is deserving. He has turned land upon which labor had never been expended into such a state of productivity that it annually yields in increasing returns and presents an appearance which attests to the skill and ability of its manager.

Mr. RUGGLES was married, on the 31st of December, 1857, to Mrs. Martha Ann BOWMAN, the widow of Solomon BOWMAN and a daughter of James and Nancy (RUGGLES) ORSBORN. Mr. ORSBORN was a native of Ireland but came to America when very young, his father having drowned on the way across the water. James ORSBORN was apprenticed to a Kentucky hat maker and learned the hatter’s trade, but in 1841 came to Jefferson county, Iowa, and located in Black Hawk township, where he took up agriculture and resided until his death on February 17, 1879. Mrs. ORSBORN was a native of Kentucky and died at the home of her son-in-law, Isaac WEBB, in Polk township. By her first marriage Mrs. RUGGLES had a son, J. S. BOWMAN, who is an agriculturist in Adams county, Iowa, and is married to Allie WHITE, of Keokuk county, Iowa. They are the parents of the following children: Hulbert K., Howard J., Alta, Willard, deceased, Lottie, Columbus, Fay, Lonnie and Doris. To Mr. and Mrs. RUGGLES the following children have been born, all of whom, with the exception of Owen Perry and one who died in infancy, survive. The eldest, Jesse O., is engaged in agricultural pursuits in Keokuk county and is married to Clementine LEWIS, of Polk township. To them four children have been born: Gilbert Wayne, Mabel, Tony and Lilly. Amos Henry is an agriculturist of Polk township and married Evelena McVEY. Their children are Ora, Iris, John C., Bernice, Martha, William, James and Leonora. Charles B. is residing with his father and is managing the home place. He has been twice married. His first union was with Louisa MARSHALL, of Keokuk county, and to them one child was born, Nona Joyce, who is residing with her father, her mother having died on the 26th of April, 1900. Charles B. RUGGLES was married February 5, 1903, to Miss Hattie HALE, of Davis county, Iowa. He is a director and was one of the organizers and incorporators of the Linby Savings Bank of Linby and has served as director of school district No. 7 and as road supervisor in district No. 3 of Polk township. He also holds membership in Lodge No. 173, I. O. O. F., of Ioka, Iowa, and in the Modern Woodmen of America of Packwood. Mrs. RUGGLES is a member of the Rebekah Lodge of Ioka. Cyrus R. is engaged in agricultural pursuits in Polk township and married Miss Lillie CLINE, of Polk township. They are the parents of one child, Orville. Nancy Jeannette became the wife of Frank JOHNSTON, who is employed by Miller & Son in Packwood. To them two children have been born, Edwin Clayton and Opal Ruth. Omar S. is a farmer of Wapello county and wedded Lydia DOWNING, of Polk township, by whom he has two children, John C. and Thomas Cleo. Lilly Jane became the wife of E. A. ROMAC, an agriculturist of Polk township, and is the mother of one child, Jessie Marie.

In politics Mr. RUGGLES has always been a loyal and enthusiastic democrat. He has served as a trustee of Polk township for two terms, as township road supervisor for a number of terms and as a member and secretary of the district school board for thirty years. In 1896 he was defeated as a candidate for state representative although he ran far ahead of his ticket in a county strongly republican. In religious faith he affiliates with the Methodist Episcopal church, in which his wife holds membership. He is also a member of the Masonic lodge of Ollie, Iowa, and Lodge No. 173, I. O. O. F., of Ioka, and his wife holds membership in the Order of the Eastern Star. Throughout his community Mr. RUGGLES is regarded as one of the earnest and honorable citizens and as one whose life has been devoted to the moral, social, industrial and intellectual development of the county.”

I am copying this information for the benefit of genealogical research and am not related to said individuals.


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