HODGEMAN COUNTY BAPTISM
Performed by Rev. Charles Henry Ruff

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.

INTRODUCTION

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.

         Funerals    Marriages     

RECORD OF BAPTISMS


A postcard photograph showing a baptism by C. H. Ruff on August 29, 1920
at Weir's Crossing on the Pawnee River.

   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


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