Biography - Francisco Ruffner

FRANCISCO RUFFNER. The gentleman whose name heads this sketch, is the owner of a good farm located on section 33, Moweaqua Township, Shelby County, and a view of which is shown elsewhere in this volume. He came hither in 1877, and has since been a resident in this place, giving the township the benefit of the improvements that he has made, and of his own genial presence with that of his amiable family. Mr. Ruffner was born in Licking County, Ohio, October 1, 1839. He was only thirteen years of age when he went with his parents to Allen County, Ind., where he remained for fourteen years. Later he came to this State and located in St. Clair County, where he was the proprietor of a farm for a period of five years. From there he removed to Clinton County and five years later came to this county, where he has since lived.

Our subject has always been engaged in agricultural work, his father before him having been a farmer. His father was Benjamin Ruffner, a native of Ohio, and a son of Benjamin and Ann (Coffman) Ruffner, both natives of Virginia. After marriage they removed to Ohio and settled in Fairfield County, which was at that time in a state of wild unbroken beauty, with virgin forests in which were found game of every description belonging to the latitude. As can be imagined, the country was then sparsely settled, and the educational advantages were not what they now are. It was there that their son Benjamin, Jr., was born, the father of our subject. There also our subject's grandfather spent his last years, passing away from this life while yet in middle age. His wife survived him for some years and settled in Champaign County, where she died at the good old age of seventy-seven years.

Benjamin Ruffner, father of our subject, was one of fourteen children, of whom two are yet living. He was educated a farmer, and one can imagine the social breaks in the monotony of pioneer farm life such as corn husking, barbecues, spelling school and singing matches. From among the maidens of the county in which he lived he chose his wife, who was before marriage a Miss Mary Lamb, a native of Ohio, whose parents were from Virginia like those of our subject. Her father was William Lamb, and her mother Catherine (Cupp) Lamb. They lived and died in Fairfield County, where they were well known as among the earliest and most respected pioneer settlers. They died full of years and honor. They, like our subject's grandparents, were members of the old school Baptist Church. Mr. Lamb served as a soldier in the War of 1812. There were ten children in this family, all of whom are living except our subject's mother. Mr. and Mrs. Lamb each lived to be over eighty years old.

After their marriage, our subject's parents settled in Fairfield County, Ohio, where they remained until after the birth of their first child. They then removed to Licking County, there devoting themselves to clearing up and improving a farm upon which they built a large brick house and laid out many valuable improvements. Later they removed their family, in February 1853, to Indiana, settling in Allen County, but afterward they returned to Ohio living for one year in Miami County.

A spirit of unrest seemed to possess the family of Ruffners, for after the many changes they had made in residence, they returned to St. Clair County, this State, and a short time after located in Clinton County, where the father died at the age of sixty-six years. His wife passed away at the home of her sons in this township and county, eight years later, in 1874. She was at the time of her demise about seventy years of age. She and her husband were devoted members of the Baptist Church.

The original of this sketch is the second in order of birth of eight children, six of whom are yet living, all having entered the marital relation with the exception of one. Our subject reached his majority in Allen County, Ind., and when he made his advent into Illinois, he was still a single man. His first marriage look place in Kentucky, where he was united to Miss Anna F. Coffman. She died in the prime of her life, after the birth of her first child, which also yielded its little life with that of its mother. She was only thirty-four years of age at the time of her death.

Mr. Ruffner again married, inviting to be mistress of his home Miss Mary J. Ramsey. Their marriage was celebrated September 27, 1888, in Lancaster County, Pa., of which place the lady was a native, being there born August 30, 1842. She is of Scotch and Dutch ancestry. Her mother, whose maiden name was Lucy Gochnau, is yet living in her native town. The father, Samuel Ramsey, died in Pennsylvania while in the meridian of life, he also was a farmer. Mrs. Ruffner is a noble woman, having the best of qualities. She is kind, hospitable and sympathetic, and interested in all that interests her husband, to whom she is a great help.

Extracted 29 May 2017 by Norma Hass from 1891 Portrait and Biographical Record of Shelby and Moultrie Counties Illinois, pages 274-277.

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