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SAMUEL H. RUGGLES,
Pages 247-248

(Illustration)

of Circleville, Ohio, was born at Brownville, Jefferson county, New York, June 8, 1821. His father, Samuel, and his mother, Anna H. Ruggles, were natives of Boston, Massachusetts. In early and middle life, his father was largely engaged in foreign commerce, but in the war of 1812 he suffered sever losses by the capture of his vessels by the public enemy; and, soon after the close of that war, he removed to the Norther part of the State of New York, where he engaged, in a reduced manner, in agricultural and mercantile pursuits, and died at Lowville, New York in 1834, leaving his widow with a family of five children to support and educate, with very limited means. Mrs. Ruggles was, however, a woman of much force of character, and displayed her good judgment by maintaining her son, our subject, at the Lowville academy until he had obtained a good English education. Then, and after her husband's death, she resolved to have that son seek, in this then comparatively new State, his fortune. In 1835, with his uncle, General H. Lawrence, she therefore sent him to Circleville, Ohio, where he was engaged as a junior clerk in the mercantile house of Rogers & Martin, with no promise of compensation beyond his living. Having, as the time went by, the natural longing of a lad who never before had been away from it, to return to his mother's home, he asked her to consent to his doing so; but this she resolutely refused, and it is to this refusal ("the greatest trial of her life," as she subsequently characterized it on her death-bed), that our subject attributes the beginning of his success in life; for, at the end of two years' faithful service in his business, his employers placed one hundred dollars to his credit, promised him promotion, as he deserved it, and one hundred and fifty dollars for the third year, with his board, lodging, etc. Then it was that his ambition to excel was stirred, and he resolved to accumulate, by saving at least two-thirds of his salary, and by investment, carefully directed, have his little surplus fund afford him some revenue. The result exceeded his expectations. The firm noticed his attention to business, and earnest effort to accumulate by the saving of his salary, and the means he took to increase it; and, after serving them eight years in all, they took him into partnership, with on-fourth interest in their wholesale grocery, grain, and pork-packing establishment, and in 1845, following the engagement of the firm in the commission business in New Orleans, with an increased interest in it, he was placed at the head of the house in Circleville, and in a few years afterwards, purchased the entire interest of his partners there. After 1852, retiring from the grocery and grain branches of his business, he devoted his attention almost exclusively to pork-packing until 1863, when, in the interest of his children, he began investing in farms and farm land lying in the vicinity, but remaining engaged in the pork trade, and so continuing during the subsequent fifteen years. While not refusing minor civil and local office, Mr. Ruggles has invariably declined that which would interfere with his regular business. Having shunned all speculative operations, indorsing the ventures of others, investments in fancy stocks, and joint stock companies, so, to use his own expression in speaking of these things, he would have shunned rattlesnakes, he has never sustained any of those losses which usually result from such engagements.

When Fort Sumter became the initial target for the guns of rebellion against constituted authority, he was among the first to assist in the fitting out of a company; and before the Federal armies had gained a single victory, he invested largely in government bonds. Subsequently he assisted in the organization of the First and Second National banks of Circleville, in 1863, and was at once elected a director, and subsequently continued to be re-elected annually to such office.

In 1839 Mr. Ruggles married Miss Catharine, daughter of the late Ralph Osborn, of Columbus, Ohio, a pioneer of distinction, and four children, Samuel Turney, Lizzie J., Nelson J., and Fannie M. Ruggles have bee the issue of this union.

Though not a member of any church organization, Mr. Ruggles habitually contributes to religious and charitable objects, and also ear[n]estly interests himself in ever public enterprise that promises to beniefit the community in which he resides.

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