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Ruckman, Eliphalet Benton


Posted By: Marilyn Holmes
Date: 4/22/2017 at 17:39:58

Historical and Biographical Record of Iowa

HON. ELIPHALET BENTON RUCKMAN is one of the people and highly esteemed citizens of Marion county and has been a prominent factor in the promotion of educational, social, political and moral interests, also has taken an active part in advancing the material welfare of the community. This work would be incomplete without the record of his life, for he is justly numbered among the most valued and prominent citizens in the section of the State.

Mr. Ruckman was born in Barren county, Kentucky, April 28, 1837, and is a son of Amos and Amanda F. (Houck) Ruckman. The grandfather, Isaiah Ruckman, was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, and was a son of Joseph Ruckman, a tailor by trade, who was of Holland lineage and made his home in the Keystone State. Isaiah Ruckman carried on agricultural pursuits as a means of livelihood, and removed to North Carolina, settling in Roanoke county. Several years later he went to Barren county, Kentucky, where he spent his remaining days.

Amos Ruckman was born there on the 17th of February, 1806, and continued his residence in the South until 1852, when he removed to Marion county, Iowa, and entered land in Union township. He was a very industrious and energtic man, upright and honorable in all things, and was held in high regard for his genuine worth. For two years he served as Justice of the Peace, but was never an office-seeker. He married Amanda F. Houck, who was born in Barren county, Kentucky, May 11, 1812, and was the eldest in a family of fourteen children, whose parents were John and Elizabeth (Hoye) Houck, the former a native of Rockingham county, Virginia. The grandfather, Henry Houck, was a native of Germany and the founder of the family in America. Amos Ruckman continued his residence on the farm which is now the home of our subject until his death, which occurred April 26, 1884. His widow still survives him and is now living with her son Eliphalet. In the family were three children. The eldest is the subject of this sketch, who was born April 28, 1837; the next was John Lewis Ruckman, born September 17, 1838, was commissioned Captain of Company B, Third Iowa Infantry Regiment, September 4, 1862; and Joseph, who was born February 4, 1840, and commissioned Second Lieutenant November 1, 1862, of the same company.

Mr. Ruckman, our subjet, was born in Barren county, Kentucy, and after coming to this state pursued his studies in Central University, of Pella, Iowa, after which he attended Bryant and Stratton business College, of Chicago, from where he was graduated in the class of 1860. He watched with interest and solicitude the attitude of the South prior to the Civil was, and when Fort Sumter was fired upon resolved to strike a blow in defense of the Union, enlisting in Company B, Third Iowa Infantry, under Captain Stone. At different times his regiment was attached to the command of Generals McPherson, Lawman and Sturges. The troops went to Missouri, where he participated in the battle of Blue Mills, and afterward went to Mississippi, where he took part in the engagements of Holly Springs, Corinth, Iuka, Hatchie River Bridge, Shiloh and the siege of Vicksburg. He then went to Jackson, Mississippi, and in the battle of that place lost his life. He was buried near the Pearl river, but subsequently his remains were transferred by the government to the national cemetery in Vicksburg.

Joseph, the second son of the family was born in Barren county, Kentucky, February 4, 1840, and came with his parents to Iowa. He pursued his education in Central University of Pella, and also entered upon a collegiate course, but just before his graduation he left school and with his brother, John L. entered the service of his country as a loyal defender of the old flag and the cause it represented. They were together in all the marches and battles up to the battle of Jackson, Mississippi, where his brother was killed and he was wounded. He was then captured by the enemy and died four days later. They left to the family a priceless legacy--an untarnished record as faithful defenders of their country. The career of both was an honorable one and their aged mother and brother may well cherish the memory of these heroes.

Eliphalet Benton Ruckman, our subject, attended the public schools of his native State until coming with his parents to Iowa in 1852. He here continued his studies, and later was a student in the Central University, of Pella. He also learned surveying, then taught school for a time, and subsequently followed farming. On the 17th of March, 1859, he was united in marriage with Miss Charity Walker, a native of Ross county, Ohio, and a daughter of William and Mary (Teter) Walker. Ten children were born of this union: Robert Quintus, who was born December 20, 1859, and married Miss Sophronia West, and resides on a farm in this county; Mary Elizabeth, born October 9, 1861, and is now the wife of George G. Jones, an agriculturist of Marion county; Eliza Jane, born December 28, 1861, and is the wife of John O. Rinehart, a resident farmer of Marion county; Hannah, who was born February 8, 1866, and was killed by lightning May 25, 1878; John Lewis, born January 25, 1868, and is now Deputy Clerk of Marion county; Joseph Independence, born July 4, 1870, and is at home; Zaccheus A., born April 4, 1873, and is a member of Company D, Third Iowa National Guards; Martha Sarah, born January 29, 1876; William Clyde, May 17, 1878; and one who died in infancy. The mother of this family was called to her final rest January 25, 1881, the loss was widely and deeply mourned by many friends as well as her immediate family.

The cause of education has always found in our subject a staunch friend, and to fit his children for life's practical and responsible duties he gave to all of them a college education. His life has been a busy one, devoted to farming and stock-raising, and at one time he was one of the most extensive land owners of the county. He now has 600 acres, valued at $40 per acre. He has a prominent part in public affairs, and for twenty-five years has served as a member of the board of trustees of Central University. In 1890 he was elected to represent this county at the Ottumwa Coal Palace, and was vice-resident if the Good Roads Convention in Des Moines in 1892. He favors every enterprise that is calculated to promote the general welfare. He has held a number of offices, having served as Constable of Union township, as secretary of the School Board of his district, and as Surveyor of Marion county, both by appointment and election. He was Township Trustee, then served for three years--1889, 1890 and 1891--as County Supervisor, when he was again elected Trustee, being now the incumbent in that office.

A highly intelligent, patriotic and honorable man, his example is indeed exemplary, and Marion county numbers him among the citizens that it could ill afford to lose.


Marion Biographies maintained by Allen Hibbard.
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