Frederick Ruder

FREDERICK RUDER was a pioneer in Kansas Territory in the year 1857. His home was in Leavenworth, but he was closely identified with those activities which spread out from Leavenworth over the plains to the Far West. Leavenworth sixty years ago was one of the most important cities of the Middle West. It was a river town, was thriving and bustling with trade, and to the great territory to the west, now divided among a dozen or more states, Leavenworth occupied relatively a more prominent position than Kansas City does today. Frederick Ruder was for a number of years connected with the quartermaster's department at Fort Leavenworth as an "artificer." In that capacity he had to travel across the plains many times and he came in intimate contact with Indians, buffalo and all the incidents and environments of the Far West which has been celebrated in history and story. Frederick Ruder was an unpretentious, hard working, thrifty citizen, a splendid example of the German character, and he established a business at Leavenworth which is now continued by his son, Fred W., who in many ways is a copy of his father in character and likewise enjoys an honorable position of esteem in the community.

The parents of the late Frederick Ruder were natives of Baden Germany, where they married. They came to America in 1833. Steam vessels were not plowing the waves of the Atlantic Ocean at that time, and the Ruder family traveled on a sailing boat. The vessel was shipwrecked and it was six months before they were safely landed in this country. They established a home in Medina County, Ohio, and there Frederick Ruder was born May 28, 1835.

He grew up on the farm which had been his birthplace, and had but the ordinary advantages of the country schools of his time. He served his apprenticeship at the harnessmaker's trade in Cleveland, and as a journeyman workman he started west, remaining a time at Toledo and also at Chicago. He had the spirit of adventure, and kept on westward until he arrived at the real frontier. During the '50s there was no topic of discussion so prominent in men's minds as Kansas and the great political and economic question connected with that district.

Frederick Ruder located at Leavenworth in 1857. For the first year he worked on a farm, and then secured employment at his trade in Fort Leavenworth. About 1870 he moved out into the country and continued farming for thirteen years. In 1884 he sold his farm and returning to Leavenworth established the harness making business which has been conducted under the family name there for over thirty years.

Frederick Ruder died May 23, 1913. He married Miss Mary Helling. Of their seven children all are still living except one. Frederick Ruder was an active republican in politics. He was hard working, industrious, possessing the thrift of his German ancestors, was honest to the penny, and his life record was one of growing prosperity. He enjoyed the respect and esteem of a large circle of acquaintances and friends, and many of the old timers recall his name and his character with expressions of regard.

The oldest of the children of the late Frederick Ruder is Fred W. Ruder, who was born at Fort Leavenworth November 13, 1865. He succeeded to the business founded by his father, and for thirty-two years as workman and owner has been connected with this one business house of Leavenworth. He is a prominent Mason, has served as worshipful master of the lodge and is a member of Abdallah Temple of the Mystic Shrine. Fred W. Ruder married Ida E. Wettig. Her father, William Wettig, came to Leavenworth in 1857.


A Standard History of Kansas and Kansans, written & compiled by William E. Connelley, Secretary of the Kansas State Historical A Standard History of Kansas and Kansans, written & compiled by William E. Connelley, Secretary of the Kansas State Historical Society, Topeka. Chicago: Lewis Publishing Company, copyright 1918; transcribed November 11, 1998.

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