The RUGGLES Family
James Elbert Ruggles was born February 23, 1836 on Cabin Creek in Lewis County, Kentucky the son of Silas A. Ruggles, Sr. (born February 14, 1813-died July 30, 1881) and Matilda Roberts (born December 13, 1811-died September 8, 1897). James Elbert was a Civil War veteran, enlisting in Company "K," 23rd Regiment of the Kentucky Infantry (Kentucky Volunteers) in 1861. According to his military records, James Elbert Ruggles had been an infantryman for only fifteen days when he lost his left index fingers and half of his middle finger from an accidental discharge of a gun. he continued his service and fought by his younger brother until Samuel was killed May 21, 1862 at Pulaski, Tennessee. James Elbert fought in many other battles, including the Battle of Chickamunga, in which he was wounded in his left thigh. He was mustered out December 27, 1865 at Victoria, Texas and returned to his native Kentucky. On November 20, 1867 James Elbert Ruggles married Eliza Mary Eritt (born February 6, 1848) and for a few years lived on a farmstead on Cabin Creek in Lewis County, Kentucky. In the late 1870's he moved his family to Kansas and in 1880 settled on a farm in Liberty Township (Southeast Quarter of Section 8, Township 33 South, Range 5 East), which is now owned by Larry Dixon. Silas Anderson Ruggles, Jr., and his family soon followed his brother and settled on a farm also in Liberty Township (Northwest Quarter of Section 8, Township 33 South, Range 5 East) which is now owned by Dr. Chandy Samuel.
James Elbert Ruggles
The children born to James Elbert and Eliza Mary Eritt Ruggles were: Marcellus, married and moved to Missouri to work with the railroad; Annie Laura, married Ambrose Smith and moved to a farm near Latham; James Elza Ruggles, married Edith Genevia Bowser and continued to live in Liberty Township.
Eliza Mary Eritt Ruggles passed away February 8, 1903 and was laid to rest in Rose Valley Cemetery, Liberty Township. James Elbert Ruggles died September 10, 1905 and rests beside his wife.
Written by Pearl Ruggles
Scanned out of the Cowley County Heritage book, pg 280.
James Elza Ruggles was one of the children of James Elbert Ruggles and Elza Mary Eritt. James Elza was born in Lewis County, Kentucky December 20, 1876. His family came west to Kansas in a covered wagon when he was four years old. The family settled on a farm in Liberty Township and he spent most of his life in this area.
James Elza Ruggles
He married Edith Genevia Bowser October 25, 1893. To this union the following children were born: Edna M., born June 28, 1894, died July 1, 1894: Urdeen Luella, born September 19, 1895 married Arthur Abildgaard September 14, 1942, died August 10, 1971; Iva B., born March 15, 1897, died June 25, 1898; James Walter (Bill), born November 2, 1898, married Grace Genetta Brooks October 12, 1929, died June 3, 1897; Elizabeth Ione (Doll), born March 11, 1901, married Harold Lauppe May 22, 1932, died October5, 1956; Ethel Vina (Babe), born August 16, 1902, married Glenn Franklin Miller October 15, 1935, now living in Winfield; Lillian Beatrice, born August 7, 1905, died August 14, 1905; Violet Audrey, born December 12, 1910, died July 29, 1921.
James Elza farmed, and broke and trained mules for his livelihood. He worked closely with his son Bill, often going to town for feed and supplies. The hills in that part of Liberty Township were steep and if the load was heavy, the wheels had to be blocked so the horses or mules could rest. The horses and mules also liked to run down the hills. Bill liked to tell the story about when he and his father were going down the hill to Badger Creek taking the wagons to town for feed and supplies. Something spooked the horses hitched to the wagon Bill was driving and they took off on a dead run around James Elza's wagon, clipping the wheels on his wagon, as they headed for the creek. When the run away team came to the creek they bolted across. The king-pin came out of the wagon tongue and the wagon stayed in the creek while the horses continued on. Bill let go of the reins only after being jerked from the wagon. The horses continued running for another two miles. A neighbor who lived just north of Badger Creek, saw the run away team and went to see if he could help. The horses were rounded up and hooked up to the wagon. No one was hurt and the pair continued on to Winfield.
Submitted by Pearl Ruggles
Scanned out of the Cowley County Heritage book, pg 280.
James Walter Ruggles is the third generation of Ruggles to live in Liberty Township, Cowley County, Kansas and the first generation to be born there. His grandfather, James Elbert Ruggles, came to Kansas by covered wagon in the late 1870's and settled on a farm in Liberty township. James Walter (nicknamed "Bill" by his father) was born November 2, 1898 to James Elza Ruggles and Edith Genevia Bowser.
James Walter Ruggles
Bill attended Red Valley School, a one-room school house located on what is now a part of the Theimer farm on Cowley County 20. Bill was bitten by a copperhead snake when he was eight years old. His father and uncle took him the twelve miles to Winfield by horse and wagon. A neighbor told them to put a fresh killed chicken on the wound to draw out the poison. Bill lived, but the scar remains to remind him of the event.
Bill started farming at a young age with his father. Bill and his father also broke and trained mules. At age 16 he was given charge of Abner Duncan's farm while Mr. Duncan and new bride honeymooned.
There were many barn dances in the rural area. Bill escorted his sister to these dances and sometimes played the harmonica.
He married Grace Genetta Brooks October 12, 1912 at McPherson, Kansas, the Rev. Walter Bynum performed the ceremony. Bill and Grace have four children, James Maurice, born December 19, 1931; Melvin Walter, born October 28, 1934; Marcia Janiece (now Andes), born May 16,1938; and Leora Jean (now Bland), born December 21, 1942.
The name of James has been in the Ruggles family for at least six generations. James Elbert, grandfather; James Elza, father; James Walter, the subject herein; James Maurice, son; Randal James, grandson; and Daniel James, great-grandson.
Bill and Grace raised their family on Silver Creek in Sheridan Township on the Perry Miller farm. When farming couldn't pay the bills, Bill went to work for Smith-Moon Steel Company in 1954. He retired from Smith-Moon in 1964 and then worked for Snyder Clinic as groundskeeper for several years.
In 1976 Bill went to Ribold, Lewis County, Kentucky to see the place where his father and grandfather had lived. The old log cabin still stands and the land is still owned by the Ruggles family.
Bill died June 3, 1987 in the county where he had spent his entire life. He is buried at Rose Valley Cemetery along with his wife, Grace, who died November 26, 1985.
Submitted by Pearl Ruggles
Scanned out of the Cowley County Heritage book, pg 280 & pg 281.
Melvin Walter Ruggles was born October 28, 1934 east of Winfield in an oil field house in Tisdale Township, the son of James Walter Ruggles and Grace Genetta Brooks. His family lived on farms in Tisdale, Liberty and Sheridan Township.
Melvin Walter Ruggles
Melvin spent most of his youth along Silver Creek. He hunted and trapped for furs, which he sold to Roy Kadau, a neighbor. Mink furs brought the best prices, but skunk furs were the most plentiful.
The Bair family became neighbors and Gene Bair and Melvin were soon good friends. Melvin attended Silver Creek, which was a one-room school, and often rode his pony to school. Melvin, Gene Bair and Pat Sitton were the only graduating eighth graders at Silver Creek in 1948. they all attended Burden High School and were among the 16 graduates in the Class of '52.
Melvin served three years in the army, 1956 to 1959. He married Pearl Mae Rule in Glassboro, New Jersey on October 12, 1957 ( his parents 28th wedding anniversary).
Melvin was employed at Binney & Smith from 1954 to 1968 when he started his job at the power plant for the City of Winfield.
In 1968 he purchased a farm in Liberty township next to where his great-grandfathers settled when coming to Kansas in the late 1870.
Melvin and Pearl had four children:
- Sharon Colleen, born September 29, 1959, married Edward Roy King January 7, 1989;
- Steven Walter, born April 3, 1961, married Veva Elizabeth Adams, June 9, 1984;
- Sonja Lynne, born August 2, 1963, married Michael Eugene Todd, January 5, 1985;
- Stanton Dale, born November 19, 1964, married Robin Renee Ralls July 6, 1985.
They have five grandchildren:
the sixth generation of Ruggles to live in Cowley County and the fourth to be born there.
- Jessica Renee Todd, born July 19, 1985;
- Peter Walter Ruggles, born January 2, 1987;
- Joshua Dwight Todd, born March 1, 1987
- Joshua Dwight Todd, born March 1, 1987;
- Ruth Elizabeth Ruggles, born April 3, 1988;
- Molly dale Ruggles, born in Winfield on August 16, 1988,
Pearl Mae (Rule) Ruggles was born June 29, 1937 at West Jersey Hospital in Camden, New Jersey, to Clarence Samuel Thomas Rule (born March 2, 1895, died January 28, 1968) and Mary Driver Rule (born April 4, 1896, died October 15, 1978). She was the ninth of then children. The other nine children were Clarence Blaine, born February 16, 1918, died April 24, 1989; Rupert William, born January 18, 1920, died May 11, 1959; Francis Hughes, born April 15, 1922, now residing in Kane, Pennsylvania; Hilda Rose Rule Murray, born October 8, 1923, now residing in Glassboro; Kenneth Thomas, born July 7, 1925, died September 25, 1988; Harvey Vernon, born August 7, 1927, now residing in Troy, Tennessee; Arthur Lang, born May 27, 1930, now residing in Trenton, south Carolina; John Allen, born December 7, 1934, now residing in Lake Havasu City, Arizona; Sarah Frances Rule Bair, born October 29, 1938, now residing in Winfield.
Pearl Mae (RULE) Ruggles
Pearl spent her childhood years in Glassboro. She married Melvin Walter Ruggles (a native of Cowley County) October 12, 1957. They moved to Kansas in 1959. Her sister, Sarah Frances, married Gene Bair (who grew up near Burden) and moved to Kansas in 1959 also.
Pearl lived in Winfield until she and Melvin built a home south of town. In 1968 they moved to a farm in Liberty Township. In her role as a farmer's wife, this easterner has helped with the harvest, hauled hay, helped with livestock, sparred with snakes, scorpions, wolf spiders and other varmints and in spite of all this, Pearl enjoys the farm and likes living in the rural setting.
Pearl is a legal secretary. She began work in 1959 for Lloyd S. Roberts and has watched the law firm change from Roberts & Roberts to Roberts & Herlocker then to Herlocker, Roberts & Herlocker and its present name of Herlocker, Roberts & St. Peter. Pearl and Melvin have four children: Sharon Colleen Ruggles King, born September 29, 1959; Steven Walter, born April 3, 1961; Sonja Lynne Ruggles Todd, born August 2, 1963; Stanton Dale, born November 19, 1964. They have five grandchildren.
Submitted by Pearl M. Ruggles
Scanned out of the Cowley County Heritage book, pg 281.
Tom & Carolyn Ward, Columbus, KS