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George William Rugg
SUCCESS in this life comes to the deserving. It is an axiom demonstrated by all human experience, that a
man gets out of this life what he puts into it, plus a reasonable interest on the investment. The individual
who inherits a large estate and adds nothing to his fortune, cannot be called a successful man. He who falls heir to a large fortune and increases its value is successful in proportion to the amount he adds to his possession. But the man who starts in the world unaided and by sheer force of will, controlled by correct principles, forges ahead and at length reaches a place of honor among his fellow citizens, achieves success such as representatives of the two former classes can neither understand nor appreciate. To a considerable extent the late George William Rugg, pioneer steel and iron manufacturer, and veteran of the Civil War, who for three decades was prominent among Cleveland's men of affairs, was a creditable representative of the last-named class, a member of that sterling type of successful, self-made men which has furnished much of the bone and sinew of the country and added to the stability of our Government and its institutions. He was a man of many sterling characteristics of head and heart, and among his contemporaries it would be hard to find a record as replete with toilsome duty faithfully and uncomplainingly performed in all the walks of life, while his career in the humble sphere of private citizen was such as to recommend him to the favorable consideration of the best people of northeastern Ohio, where he spent his life.
Mr. Rugg, who, for a period of twenty-eight years was at the head of the plate and sheet department of the Cleveland Rolling Mills, was born in Burton, Ohio, February 1, 1846. He was a son of George and Harriet C. (Dickey) Rugg, both natives of the State of New York, the father born in Watertown, and the mother in Adams. The Rugg family originally came from Massachusetts. Three children were born to George and Harriet C. Rugg, all of whom are now deceased. These parents grew up in their native State, were educated and married there, and in an early day came to Ohio, locating the home of the family in Burton, and later in Bedford, where they became well known, and later came to Cleveland.
George W. Rugg grew to manhood in Bedford, and there attended the common schools, receiving a meager education, which, however, was later in life augmented by wide home study and by contact with the world, and he became an exceptionally well informed man. He started to learn telegraphy at Randall, a station on the Erie Railroad, walking from Bedford to his place of work. After mastering the telegraph key, he came to Cleveland and entered the office of the Cleveland Rolling Mills at Newburg, it being through his knowledge of telegraphy that he secured this position. He proved a faithful and alert employee and his promotion was rapid; in a few years we find that he had been given charge of one of the company's big mills in Indiana. All the while he had
been mastering every detail of the business, and, finally returning to Cleveland, he was identified with the Cleveland Rolling Mills, and finally became secretary of the American Sheet and Boiler Plate Company, of which he was a stockholder, and he was also financially interested in the Cleveland Rolling Mills Company. For many years his influence did much in shaping the successful policies of these mammoth concerns, increasing their prestige throughout the country and being all the while the principal motive force in their development. This noted pioneer steel maker continued in active business, ranking high among Cleveland's steel and iron manufacturers until his retirement from active life in 1900. He had been a partner in the firm of J. Paton and Company, manufacturers of steel specialties, in addition to his other extensive business interests.
Mr. Rugg proved his patriotism when the War of the Rebellion broke out by enlisting in Company B, One Hundred and Seventy-seventh Ohio Volunteer Infantry, although he was at the time under eighteen years of age, but he is remembered by his comrades as a brave and gallant soldier for the Union, serving with great fidelity throughout the conflict, and, for meritorious conduct, became corporal of his regiment. After the war he was honorably discharged and returned home.
Mr. Rugg was married on December 19, 1878, to Mary J. Kaup, of Tiffin, Ohio. She is a daughter of Solomon and Hannah Hayes (Osborne) Kaup. Her father was born in Schuylkill County, Pennsylvania, and her mother was born in Danville, Pennsylvania. They grew up and were educated in their native State, and were married in Newark, New Jersey, where they lived until 1857 in which year they came west to Tiffin, Ohio, and established the future home of the family. Mr. Kaup spent most of his active life in the lumber and planing mill business, owning large interests at Tiffin, in which city he and his wife spent the rest of their lives, both now deceased. There Mrs. Rugg grew to womanhood and was educated. She is the eldest daughter of a family of six children, namely, Mary J., widow of the subject of this memoir; Ai F., who lives in Tiffin, is married, and has two children, Lillian and Harry; Mrs. William B. Stanley, who lives in Tiffin, has one daughter, Mrs. Maude Atkinson, of Cleveland; John T., deceased, left a daughter, Mrs. John Locke, of Tiffin; the other two children of Mr. and Mrs. Solomon Kaup were B. S. Kaup and Miss Lillie Kaup, the latter died when twenty-one, and the former when fifty-two. The Kaup family has been a very prominent and influential one in northeastern Ohio for many years.
One child was born to Mr. and Mrs. Rugg, whom they named Burt Hayes Rugg, who grew to manhood in Cleveland and received the advantages of an excellent education; he married Magdalena Starke, of Cleveland. He is a young man of fine mind and exemplary habits, and is one of Cleveland's most promising young business men. Mrs. Mary J. Rugg is a member of the Daughters of the American Revolution, by virtue of the fact that one of her
ancestors fought in our war for independence. She takes a great interest in this great society to which it is an honor to belong.
Politically, Mr. Rugg was a Republican, and while he was deeply interested in the welfare of Cleveland, his State, and the Nation, he never cared to be a political leader, or to hold public office, although well qualified to do so. He preferred to give his attention exclusively to his business and his home, being best contented when by his own fireside, always careful to make his home a pleasant place. Of a social turn, he had a host of warm friends who were always welcome at his residence, where they found free hospitality and good cheer. He was a great reader, kept a splendid library in which he spent much time, but while he liked to have his friends visit him, he spent as little time away from his home as possible visiting others or in travel. He attended and liberally supported the Episcopal Church, however did not holdmember- ship with any denomination, but was nevertheless a man of high Christian character. Fraternally, he was a member of the Bedford Masonic Lodge, but he cared little for lodges or clubs of any kind.
Mr. Rugg was summoned to his eternal rest on April 3, 1914, at his late residence on east Fifty-fifth Street, Cleveland, at the age of sixty-eight years, and after a residence there of twenty-eight years. He will long be remembered as one of Cleveland's most progressive and worthy citizens.
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