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Ruff Family
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Ruff Family
Contributed by Adams County ILGenWeb
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The history of the RUFF family in Quincy is very interesting. Their forefathers were Huguenots, who had settled at Lake Geneva, in French Switzerland, and also at La Chaux de Fonds, Switzerland. The name originally was written RUFF. The history of the family can only be traced back to three boys, aged 13, 11, and 9 years, respectively, who were the only survivors of their family after that horrible massacre of Bartholomew's Night, August 24, 1572, where they witnessed the killing of their parents and sister. The boys escaped onto a raft, which during the night came down the River Aar. Although discovered by the raft-men, they were allowed to remain on the raft, which finally reached the River Rhine, when the youngest of the boys, being weak and of no special benefit to the raft-men, was put off at Koblenz. The boy then made an attempt to get back to his old home, and wandered along the Moselle in the direction of Metz. He rode on the wagon of a charcoal burner to the border of Alsace, and finally was placed under guardianship at Neu Hornbach, where he grew up to manhood, and the family lived for several centuries. In 1793, Ludwig RUFF, born 1776 in Neu Hornbach, moved to Weissenburg, Alsace, and, being a millwright, entered the service of a mill owner by the name of BREIT. Later he went to Weiler near Weissenburg and erected a mill of his own, conducting an oil mill and a saw will. In 1802 he married Elizabeth BREIT, a daughter of the miller BREIT; she was born in 1778. He also was elected as burgomaster of Weiler, where the couple remained until 1837, when they emigrated, came to America and located in Quincy, where Ludwig RUFF died in 1846; his wife departing this life in 1857. Jacob RUFF, the eldest son of Ludwig and Elizabeth (BREIT) RUFF, was born in Weiler, Alsace, in 1804, where he learned the carpenter's trade, and married Margaretha BURG, born in the same town in 1815. They emigrated to America and located in Quincy in 1838. Jacob RUFF for many years was engaged as carpenter and later opened a grocery store at Fifth and State streets, which he conducted for a number of years. He died October 3, 1895, and his wife followed him in death September 15, 1896. Children were: Mrs. Rosa KULL, wife of the saddler John E. KULL, Ottumwa, Iowa; Mrs. Caroline WEBER, wife of the druggist Christ WEBER in Quincy; Mrs. Elizabeth URECH, wife of Frederick URECH, near Kirksville, Missouri; Mrs. Marie KELLER, wife of William KELLER, near La Plata, Missouri; and Mrs. Sophia MORGAN, at La Plata, Missouri. Caspar RUFF, the second son of Ludwig and Elizabeth (BREIT) RUFF was born in Weiler, Alsace, in 1806. As soon as able, he assisted his father in the mill, and later was apprenticed to the Genauds, proprietors of the great iron works in Schoenau. After serving his apprenticeship, he returned to Weiler, where he built a smithery and a forge. He and his brother, Jacob RUFF, also conducted an oil mill and a saw mill. The first trip-hammer used in Weiler was made by Caspar RUFF, and is still there, as a remembrance, a relic of those days, eighty years ago, when he, in the prime of his life, was a prominent factor in the industry of his native town. When Henry RUFF, the eldest son of Caspar RUFF, visited Weiler years ago, he was shown the trip-hammer his father made. In 1832 Caspar RUFF married Margaret Salome BASTIAN in Weiler, and in 1837 the family emigrated to America. They came to Quincy, where they arrived July 9th, of said year, locating here for life. Caspar RUFF began his activity in Quincy as a millwright, also conducting a smith shop at the southwest corner of Sixth and State streets. In the early 40's of the last century he erected the original Washington Brewery, the second brewery in Quincy, which he in company with William GASSER conducted for a time; he also served in the Mormon war. Later he assumed the business and together with Theodore BRINCKWIRTH conducted the brewery at Sixth and State streets for three years, when BRINCKWIRTH left for St. Louis, where he established a brewery. Finally Caspar RUFF sold the Washington Brewery to Blank & Thies, and in 1855 erected a brewery on South Twelfth Street, which he conducted until 1863, when he retired from active business, which was assumed and continued by his sons John and Caspar RUFF, Jr. Caspar RUFF, Sr., died in 1873, his wife living for a quarter of a century after her husband's death, she departing this life in 1899. Henry RUFF, the eldest son of Caspar and Margaret Salome (BASTIAN) RUFF, was born in Quincy, September 19, 1839, where he grew up, assisting his father in the brewery business until 1855, when he went to Germany for some time, preparing for the mercantile business. Returning to Quincy, he opened a dry goods store under the firm of Ruff & Rau. Later he retired from the dry goods business and opened a carpet store which he conducted for many years, until he finally retired from active business life. In 1861 Henry RUFF married Lisetta LUTHER, born in Homburg in the Palatinate. They have one daughter, Lottie, who in 1883 became the wife of Dr. George BOCK, and they have three sons: Carl, professor at some college; Hans, employed by the government in the Department of Agriculture; while Hugo L. BOCK is a first lieutenant in the service of the United States at Fort Riley, Kansas. John RUFF, the second son of Caspar and Margaret Salome (BASTIAN) RUFF, was born in Quincy, October 19, 1840, and married Anna E. LOCK in 1861. He was a brewer by profession. They had five children, of whom three are living, William J. and Caspar H. RUFF, and Lisetta SCHAEFFER. John RUFF died May 16, 1880; his wife followed him in death four years later. William J. RUFF followed his father in the business and when eighteen years of age went to Germany, where he attended a brewing academy in Worms, and studied chemistry and brewing. Upon his return home from Germany, he took over the superintendency and brewmastership of the Ruff Brewing Company. After the death of Caspar RUFF, Jr., he assumed the management of the firm. Having made the business a scientific as well as practical study, he invented a number of machines and devices used in the manufacture of beer, notably one of international reputation in the shape of a beer pasteurizing machine, which revolutionized the preservation of beer without the use of chemicals. The machines of his invention are found not only in some of the largest breweries of the United States, but also in Mexico, in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, in Kobe, Japan, and in Capetown, South Africa. William J. RUFF, May 25, 1887, married Bertha A. BARTH; she died April, 1914. Their children are: Edgar J. RUFF, now superintendent of the Ruff Brewing Company; Clarence F. RUFF, connected with the Ruff-Koyer Hardware Company, and Wilbert RUFF. Caspar RUFF, Jr., the third son of Caspar and Margaret Salome (BASTIAN) RUFF, was born in 1844, became identified with the brewing business, and for many years was manager of the present Ruff Brewing Company, the success of which speaks only too well for his business ability and foresight. He married Hannah TANSMANN, and departed this life November 26, 1906, his wife following him in death some years later. Children living are: Edward R. and Ida RUFF, and Lenore (RUFF) RICHMILLER. Edward. H. RUFF was secretary of the Ruff Brewing Company until about a year ago, ill health necessitating his retirement. Daughters of Caspar and Margaret Salome (BASTIAN) RUFF living at this writing are: Rosa (RUFF) JANSEN, a twin sister of Caspar RUFF, Jr., was the wife of Matthew JANSEN, deceased, a captain of Company A, Twenty-seventh Illinois Infantry, who distinguished himself during the Civil war, being mustered out with the rank of major; Louisa (RUFF) JANSEN married Theodore JANSEN, a member of the Twenty-seventh Illinois Regiment, and brother of Matthew JANSEN, also deceased; Friedericke (RUFF) TANSMANN, wife of Frederick TANSMANN of this city; and Katie (RUFF) KOCH, widow of William KOCH.

QUINCY AND ADAMS COUNTY HISTORY AND REPRESENTATIVE MEN by David F. Wilcox. Chicago: Lewis Publishing, 1919, pp 337 - 340.

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Submitted: 05/26/10

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