|The information contained in this file was submitted by Debbie Ruff and was taken from a journal kept by Rev. Charles Henry Ruff, her husband's great grandfather. For the complete story, please read her introduction to this informative and interesting material.|
Several years ago, Billy and Grace Lupfer came to our home for a visit. Our
conversation centered on the weather, our children, the likelihood of a good wheat harvest, the usual topics for our families. Before they left, Billy mentioned a book he wanted Ronnie to have. It was Charles Henry Ruff’s journal with records of the baptisms, funerals and weddings he had officiated. He thought Ronnie should have it, as he was the fifth generation “Charles Ruffs.” So, they left it that night and we put it on the shelf in Ronnie’s study. There it set for five or six years.
For some reason, last year I pulled it out, blew the dust off and flipped through it. My first thought was, “This man kept records of everything!” I scanned it and put it back. Some weeks later, I got it out again and began to see obvious patterns and a wealth of information that I had not seen before. Each time I read through it, I saw something new.
What became apparent was that the author was intent on keeping his records up to date and precise. No, he did not have a large church congregation. And he was not a famous or highly educated man. Some may have in fact, criticized him because he did not strive for fame or money. Instead, he merely attempted to live a godly life, preach God’s Word and raise his large family to follow a godly path. What seemed to be an ordinary record book revealed a man who saw perfection in a child who had died sooner than any mother’s heart wanted to let him go. C.H. Ruff saw wonders in climbing into a borrowed automobile, and remembering at a friend’s funeral, that he had also performed that person’s marriage ceremony years earlier. Outbreaks of revival among various churches were seen clearly as baptisms counted on one day numbered up to twenty-one.
Another fact came to light as I charted the twelve Ruff children’s’ marriages and baptisms. All twelve of Charles Henry and Adela Ruff’s children were baptized and married by their father. He also performed the marriages of his brother, Walter, and his sisters Jessie, Mabel and Abbie.
An interesting note, found at entry #24, was a marriage ceremony conducted for William Shank and Katie Meyers on December 23, 1906 at Wellmonville, Kansas. Rev. Ruff’s notation for that entry was, “Night I was Lost.” He had traveled fifty miles north of Burdett that winter night to unite William Shank and Katie Myer, the great-great-grandparents of Katie Lynn Shank, who, eighty-one years later, married the preacher’s great-great-grandson, Travis Charles Ruff. In sharing this information with Katie last year, she said her grandfather, Harry Shank had heard family stories through the years about the preacher who got lost on his way to marry his great-grandfather. What wonder Charles Henry would have felt knowing of such a coincidence. Most likely he would have attributed the chain of events to the Supreme Plan of our Maker rather than coincidence.
Travis Charles is the sixth generation of first-born sons of Charles Ruffs-Charles Chester, Charles Henry, Charles Chester Silas, Charles LeRoy, Charles Ronald, and Travis Charles. All have served the Lord in the Hanston Baptist Church, which Charles Chester helped build in 1917. Charles Henry preached from its pulpit, Charles Chester Silas and Charles LeRoy served as trustees, and Charles Ronald served as a deacon and song leader. Charles Ronald is now teaching an adult Sunday School class in the same room and using the same podium that his great-great grandfather taught Sunday School from some 75 years ago. As of July 31, there is now a seventh generation of Charles Ruffs…. Braeden Charles, son of Brad Thomas and Cheri Ruff and Charles Garrett, son of Travis Charles and Katie Ruff.
C.H. Ruff, better known as “Charlie”, was the officiant at five of his nephew and nieces weddings. In all he performed seventy-five marriage ceremonies, traveling a total of 1,636 miles, most of which were traveled by means of a horse and buggy. For forty years, 1897-1937, Charles Henry Ruff joined couples in holy matrimony.
Charles Henry Ruff performed one hundred fifty-seven baptisms during his ministry, baptizing all of his children, three daughter-in-laws and two granddaughters, four nieces and one nephew. The last entry was for the baptism of his granddaughter, Mary Beth Nutt, June 28, 1930, who was eight years old. Most of the baptisms took place in the Pawnee Creek, with many in neighbors’ pools, even in irrigation ditches. Some of the last entries show that a degree of progress had taken place in rural Kansas, for the last five baptisms are listed at Hanston, where a baptismal had been built eight years earlier.
Rev. Ruff officiated at one hundred sixty funerals during the period between 1897 through 1940. He traveled a total of 6,661 miles to serve the bereaved, the majority of which were made by horse and buggy. He noted in each case, the cause of death, the age of the deceased, the place of burial, the bereft, the weather and mileage. One column was of particular interest. It was labeled, “Hope.” Under that column, he had noted for each deceased person their “hope” or the state of their soul. Some were simply listed as, “Baptist, Methodist, etc., or “no profession, claimed Christ and perfect.” Upon examining the entry of “perfect,” it was discovered that in each case of infant or childhood death, he had used the term “perfect” to describe the child’s spiritual condition.
Charles Ruff preached the funerals for four nieces and nephews, one grandchild and many dear, old friends. He, however, never had the sad duty of preaching at the funeral of one of his children. All twelve children lived to adulthood and well beyond.
On October 26, 1914, Rev. Ruff officiated at a funeral of new circumstances. His remarks read, “1st auto funeral.” It wasn’t until April 7, 1917, that he drove his own auto to conduct a funeral. Up to that time, he had relied on a horse and a buggy, or a neighbor drove him to his destination. Sometimes he received monetary thanks for his services. Sometimes he was given food, but most often, no notation of a gift was made at all. How often he was called to aid others and be taken from his home fires with no thoughts of being compensated.
DATE CANDIDATE AGE CHURCH BAP. PLACE COMMENTS ======================================================================================== 18 Sep 1898 Nellie Sidebottom Emmanuel Coon Creek, Garfield 30 Apr 1900 Ed. Marion Mt. Carmel Pawnee, Hodgeman 30 Apr 1900 Mattie Marion Mt. Carmel Pawnee, Hodgeman 30 Nov 1904 Sam’l Alexander Emanuel King’s Pool 09 Apr 1905 Annie KinHg Emanuel King's Pool 09 Apr 1905 Bessie Ruff 11 Emanuel King's Pool 09 Apr 1905 Zella Ruff 9 Emanuel King's Pool ?? Jun 1905 Bert McJunkin Mt. Carmel Pawnee Pool 23 Jul 1905 Mrs. John McFadden Mt. Carmel Pawnee Pool 23 Jul 1905 Mrs. Lily Person Mt. Carmel Pawnee Pool 23 Jul 1905 Clarence Person Mt. Carmel Pawnee Pool 16 Dec 1905 Stella Wollard Mt. Carmel Pawnee Pool 16 Dec 1905 Nona Wollard Mt. Carmel Pawnee Pool 16 Dec 1905 Ira Thompson Mt. Carmel Pawnee Pool 16 Dec 1905 Unice Thompson Mt. Carmel Pawnee Pool 16 Dec 1905 Mrs. Newport 59 Mt. Carmel Pawnee Pool Attended her funeral Mar 11, 1935, 88 yrs. 16 Dec 1905 June Newport Mt. Carmel Pawnee Pool 28 Jan 1906 Nate L. Graves Mt. Carmel Pawnee Pool 07 Apr 1907 Mrs. Mattie Alexander Emmanuel King’s Pool 06 Jun 1909 Nellie Ruff 12 Emmanuel King's Pool 20 Mar 1910 Hattie Huddleston Bethel Walter Renner’s 22 Mar 1910 Lena Huddleston Bethel Walter Renner's 01 May 1910 Olin Lamport Emmanuel Rozel 01 May 1910 Mrs. Emma Lamport Emmanuel Rozel 01 May 1910 Joy Besore Emmanuel Rozel 01 May 1910 Chas. Wilson Emmanuel Rozel 01 May 1910 Mabel Ruff 11 Emmanuel Rozel 01 May 1910 Chester Ruff 9 Emmanuel Rozel 05 Jun 1910 Mae Besore Emmanuel Rozel 11 Feb 1911 Mrs. Hannah Cunningham Hanston R. Peterson’s (June 7,'40) 11 Feb 1911 Alice Peterson 9 Hanston R. Peterson's 11 Feb 1911 Fern Peterson 11 Hanston R. Peterson's 11 Feb 1911 Will Benge Hanston "" (Died Feb. 18, 1936) 11 Feb 1911 Zoa Benge Hanston "" (Died July 2, 1920) 11 Feb 1911 John Peterson Hanston "" (Died 1927) 11 Feb 1911 Manuel Garcia Hanston R. Peterson's 11 Feb 1911 Mrs. Manuel Garcia Hanston R. Peterson's 11 Feb 1911 Jaunita Garcia Hanston R. Peterson's 11 Jun 1911 Tressa Wheeler Hanston R. Peterson's 11 Jun 1911 Mamie Wheeler Hanston R. Peterson's 11 Jun 1911 Mrs. Maud Peterson Hanston "" (Died) 23 Jul 1911 Maud Burdett Hodgeman Clark’s Tank 23 Jul 1911 Maggie Burdett Hodgeman Clark's Tank 23 Jul 1911 Mrs. Lottie Porter Hanston Peterson’s 23 Jul 1911 Mrs. Florence Wheeler Hanston Peterson's 23 Jul 1911 Clara Benge Hanston Peterson's 17 Aug 1913 Willie Jones Emmanuel King’s 17 Aug 1913 Roena Ruff 10 Emmanuel King's 06 Jun 1915 Mabel Stevens Emmanuel King's 05 Dec 1915 Mrs. Tina Wilson Emmanuel King's 02 Apr 1915 Mrs. Minnie Merkel Emmanuel King's 02 Apr 1915 Herman Merkel Emmanuel King's 02 Apr 1915 John Merkel Emmanuel King's (Died Dec. 22, 1937) 02 Apr 1915 Cecil Merkel Emmanuel King's 02 Apr 1915 Gladys Merkel Emmanuel King's 02 Apr 1915 Frank Olsen Emmanuel King's 02 Apr 1915 John Olsen Emmanuel King's 02 Apr 1915 Earl John Emmanuel King's Tank 02 Apr 1915 Viola John Emmanuel King's Tank 02 Apr 1915 Nina Webster Emmanuel King's Tank 02 Apr 1915 Lena Webster Emmanuel King's Tank 02 Apr 1915 Carl Sidebottom Emmanuel King's Tank (Died) 02 Apr 1915 Alta Elmore Emmanuel King's Tank 02 Apr 1915 Lizzie Elmore Emmanuel King's Tank 02 Apr 1915 Glenn Ruff Emmanuel King's Tank 02 Apr 1915 Estal Jones Emmanuel King's Tank 02 Apr 1915 Tom Stevens Emmanuel "" (Died Sept. 27, 1928) 02 Apr 1915 Alvin Tucker Emmanuel King's Tank 02 Apr 1915 Jack Tucker Emmanuel King's Tank 02 Apr 1915 Grace Jones Emmanuel King's Tank 02 Apr 1915 Charlie Jones Emmanuel King's Tank 05 Aug 1915 Ruth Ruff Mt. Carmel Pawnee 05 Aug 1915 Ivy Ruff Mt. Carmel Pawnee 05 Aug 1915 Irene Morphew (sp.) Mt. Carmel Pawnee 05 Aug 1915 Iola Morphew Mt. Carmel Pawnee 05 Aug 1915 Edna Antenen Glendale Pawnee 05 Aug 1915 John Bondurant Glendale Pawnee 05 Aug 1915 Mrs. John Bondurant Glendale Pawnee 01 Mar 1917 Freddie Keast Bethel Larned 01 Mar 1917 Irene Keast Bethel Larned 01 Mar 1917 Robt. Shumate Bethel Larned 01 Mar 1917 Lillard Taylor Bethel Larned 01 Mar 1917 Ethel Taylor Bethel Larned 01 Mar 1917 Thressa Taylor Bethel Larned 01 Mar 1917 Eula Taylor Bethel Larned 01 Mar 1917 Beulah Taylor Bethel Larned (Twins) 01 Mar 1917 Earnest Blake Bethel Larned 01 Mar 1917 Bernice Blake Bethel Larned 01 Mar 1917 Fritz Clark Bethel Larned 01 Mar 1917 Emma Clark Bethel Larned 01 Mar 1917 Florence Hall Bethel Larned 01 Mar 1917 Henry Hall Bethel Larned 01 Mar 1917 Harley Fulton Bethel Larned 15 Apr 1917 Julius Shank Glendale Pawnee 15 Apr 1917 Elvie Shank Glendale Pawnee 15 Apr 1917 Mrs. Dora Horton Mt. Carmel "" (Died Feb. 21, 1927) 15 Apr 1917 Charlie Horton Mt. Carmel Pawnee 15 Apr 1917 Melissa Horton Mt. Carmel Pawnee (Burned to death) 15 Apr 1917 Tommie Horton Mt. Carmel Pawnee 15 Apr 1917 Nelson Horton Mt. Carmel Pawnee 15 Apr 1917 Clifford Newport Mt. Carmel Pawnee 15 Apr 1917 Harry Ruff Mt. Carmel Pawnee 15 Apr 1917 Pansy Chafie Glendale Pawnee 13 May 1917 Margaret Davis Ingalls Irragation Ditch 20 May 1917 Rhoda Ruff 10 Emmanuel Pawnee 20 May 1917 Jessie Ruff 8 Emmanuel Pawnee 20 May 1917 Wm. Merkel 45 Rozel Pawnee 20 May 1917 Chester Davidson Glendale Pawnee 17 Jun 1917 Adah Clarke Mt. Carmel Pawnee 12 Aug 1917 L.M. Juvenal Glendale Bonner Shanke Pool 12 Aug 1917 Lena Juvenal (wife) Glendale Bonner Shanke Pool 12 Aug 1917 Bessie Meyers Glendale Bonner Shanke Pool 12 Aug 1917 Deward Antenen Glendale Bonner Shanke Pool 12 Aug 1917 Clarence Antenen Glendale Bonner Shanke Pool 24 Mar 1918 Opal Miller Glendale Pawnee Ford 24 Mar 1918 Bonner Shank Glendale Pawnee Ford 24 Mar 1918 Mrs. Bonner Shank Glendale Pawnee Ford 24 Mar 1918 Sylvester Hunt Glendale Pawnee Ford 24 Mar 1918 Mrs Sylvester Hunt Glendale "" (Died in 1920 of Influenza Feb.10, 1920) 26 Mar 1918 Mrs. Alice Faiks Hanston Pawnee Ford 26 Mar 1918 Chas. Leonard Hanston Pawnee Ford 26 Mar 1918 Viola Leonard Hanston Pawnee Ford 26 Mar 1918 Mrs. Gomas Hanston Pawnee Ford 26 Mar 1918 Arlyn Shank Glendale Pawnee Ford 26 Mar 1918 Viola Shank Glendale Pawnee Ford 26 Mar 1918 Clara Miller Glendale Pawnee Ford 19 Jun 1919 John Henderson 78 Hanston Prepared tank 19 Jun 1919 Mrs. Rambean 50 Hanston Prepared tank 20 Jul 1919 Annabelle Seeman 10 Hanston Prepared tank 03 Aug 1919 Ruth Meadows 15 Hanston Prepared tank 31 Sep 1919 John Huffman 30+ Hanston Prepared tank 06 Jun 1920 Charles Leonard 44 Hanston Prepared tank 06 Jun 1920 Guy Newport (Hanston?) Prepared tank 06 Jun 1920 Elsie Newport (wife) (Hanston?) Prepared tank 06 Jun 1920 Vernon Antenen (Hanston?) Prepared tank 06 Jun 1920 Lavon Hunt (Hanston?) Prepared tank 06 Jun 1920 Dorothy Hunt (Hanston?) Prepared tank 11 Jul 1920 Mrs. Hazel Shumong Hertle (Hanston?) Prepared tank 11 Jul 1920 Geo. Fay Cunningham (Hanston?) Prepared tank 29 Aug 1920 Violet Juvenal (Hanston?) Prepared tank 29 Aug 1920 Carl Juvenal (Hanston?) Prepared tank 29 Aug 1920 Clyde Shank (Hanston?) Prepared tank 29 Aug 1920 Glenn Shank (Hanston?) Prepared tank 29 Aug 1920 Leo. Shank (Hanston?) Prepared tank 29 Aug 1920 Wiley Meyers (Hanston?) Prepared tank 29 Aug 1920 Lawrence Antenen (Hanston?) Prepared tank 29 Aug 1920 A Mexican Mother (young) (Hanston?) Prepared tank 12 Jun 1920 Elizabeth (Ruff) Lewis 12 Jun 1920 Kolma Selby Lewis 28 Aug 1921 Mrs. Geo. Salmans Hanston 01 Jul 1928 Henry Foos Glendale (World War Soldier) 01 Jul 1928 Wilford Hunt 10 Glendale 01 Jul 1928 Thelma Ruff 12 Glendale 28 Jun 1928 Sam Ruff 17 Hanston 28 Jun 1928 Myrtle Mead 18 Hanston 28 Jun 1928 Thelma Ruff 15 Hanston 28 Jun 1928 Roena Smith 16 Hanston 28 jUN 1928 Mary Beth Nutt 8 Hanston