ULYSSES GRANT RUTH. Among the business men of Scott County who are contributing to the advancement of their community through the medium of capable and conscientious service, one of the best known is Ulysses Grant Ruth, county treasurer. A resident of thirty years' standing, during a long period he has been interested in business affairs and of more recent years has been the incumbent of high official position. Both as an official and business man his actions have warranted the respect and confidence in which he is held.
Mr. Ruth is one of the settlers of 1886, having come direct from Missouri to Scott County. He had spent four years of his youth in Lafayette County, Missouri, but is a native of Greene County, Indiana, where he was born May 11, 1865. His grandfather was John Ruth, a native of Pennsylvania, who settled in Southern Indiana when that part of the Hoosier state was a wilderness, and subsequently engaged in agricultural pursuits during the remainder of his life. Mr. Ruth was of German blood, and it is believed that the family has been in America since colonial times and that it was represented in the "Boston Tea Party." John Ruth married a Miss McCoy, and in their family were four sons and four daughters, but of these George W. Ruth was the only one to migrate to Kansas.
George W. Ruth, now a resident of Scott City, father of Ulysses G. Ruth, was born July 25, 1833, in Greene County, Indiana, where he received a limited education in the public schools. As a young man he engaged in agricultural pursuits, but his operations in this direction were interrupted by the outbreak of the Civil war, and in 1861 he enlisted in Company C, Fifty-Ninth Regiment, Indiana Volunteer Infantry, Capt. Benjamin R. Wagner. Later he was enrolled in Captain Hobinson's command of the Fourth Indiana Cavalry, and with this organization served until honorably discharged in July, 1865. During his service he took part in a number of engagements, including the battle and siege of Vicksburg and the Battle of Chickamauga, and while he was never wounded nor taken prisoner, was incapacitated by illness toward the close of the war and was therefore transferred to Rock Island, Illinois, where he was honorably discharged. His civil life has always been devoted to the pursuits of agriculture, in which he was actively engaged until recent years, when he has been living retired in his comfortable home at Scott City. He is a republican in his political views, but public life never held out any attractions to him. Mr. Ruth married Miss Minerva Faucett, whose father was a native of Indiana. He was a soldier of the Union army during the Civil war and lost his life as a result of his service. Mrs. Ruth died at Scott City in 1903, at the age of sixty years, being the mother of the following children: W. S., who is engaged in farming in Scott County; Ulysses G., of this notice; Belle, who died unmarried; Emma, who died as the wife of Walter Finkenbine, of Scott City; Josephine, of Gravette, Arkansas, wife of James Huff; Celestia, who is Mrs. M. A. Easley, of Scott City; Ella, who is the wife of John Easley, of Labette County, Kansas; Ira S., of Scott City; Robert I., also of this city; and Florence, who is the wife of Houdy Shell, and resides at Caldwell, Idaho.
Ulysses G. Ruth received the major part of his education in the public schools of Greene County, Indiana, and as a youth his chief employment was found in farming, he remaining on the homestead place until after he had come to Scott County. When he began life for himself he took up mining at Corder, Missouri, as a coal digger, and it has only been recently that he has obliterated the last trace of the coal grime bruised into his hands during that trying period in the mines. On his return to Scott County he tried farming for a time and was married, but soon gave up agricultural work to become a clerk and store manager at Scott City for W. Meisenheimer, with whom he remained nine years. He then engaged in general merchandising himself as one of the firm of Ruth Brothers, but after a few years, owing to impaired health, he sold out to his brother and retired from commercial affairs. A little later he joined A. B. Timberman in the erection of the first two-story, brick business house built at Scott City, with an opera house above, and at that time, also, he entered the real estate and insurance business, in which he has continued to be interested to the present time. He has been gathering in land in the county, being interested in several quarter-sections, and has furnished seed wheat to the farmers, and in this way is an agriculturist.
Mr. Ruth cast his first vote in Scott County. He was reared as a republican and his first presidential vote was cast for Benjamin Harrison in 1888. He was a delegate to the convention at Hutchinson that named Chester I. Long for Congress, and served on the Scott City Council for eight years, during which time he battled for cement walks and the securing of the water and light plants for the city. In 1910 he was drafted, while absent, for county treasurer, on the republican ticket, but was defeated. In 1912 he was elected to that office as the successor to W. W. Finkenbine, and in 1914 was again elected to this office, but this time as a progressive.
Upon retiring from the treasurer's office Mr. Ruth established himself in insurance and real estate, as senior partner of Ruth & Norman. His chief time is given to the work of food administrator for Scott County.
Mr. Ruth was married in Scott County, May 12, 1892, to Miss Florence C. Sparks, a daughter of Levi and Mrs. (Rohr) Sparks. Mr. Sparks came from Illinois to Kansas and homesteaded a farm in Scott County, spending his last years at Wichita, Kansas, and being buried at his old home at Pontiac, Illinois. In his earlier years he knew Abraham Lincoln well and was a frequenter of Chicago when it was little more than a village. His children included: George, a resident of Pontiac, Illinois; Anna, who married George Mitchell, a resident of Chicago; Laura, who married Harvey Cox, of Cole Bluff, Indiana; John, who lives at Browning, Missouri; Ralph, of Kirksville, Missouri; Florence C., Mrs. Ruth, born at Champaign, Illinois, June 9, 1868; and Frank, a resident of Nevada, Missouri. Mr. and Mrs. Ruth are the parents of four children: Jennie, who is the wife of Charles Garrett, of Garden City, Kansas, and has one child, Almeta; Eva, who is the wife of John Linn, of Scott County, and has one child, Agnes; and Ulysses G., Jr., and Florence C., who reside with their parents.
Mr. Ruth is a Blue Lodge Mason and past master of his lodge at Scott City, having sat in two Grand lodges of Masons; and is also past noble grand of Odd Fellowship and has served in several Grand lodges. He and Mrs. Ruth are members of the Presbyterian Church, in which he has been a trustee for many years.
Transcribed from A Standard History of Kansas and Kansans, written and compiled by William E. Connelley, Secretary of the Kansas State Historical Society, Topeka. [Revised ed.] Chicago: Lewis Publishing Co., 1919, c1918. 5 v. (xlviii, 2530 p.,  leaves of plates): ill., maps (some fold.), ports.; 27 cm.
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