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 Jacob Ruger

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Jacob Ruger

Birth
Hohenlohekreis, Baden-Württemberg, Germany
Death
4 Mar 1916 (aged 80–81)
Momence, Kankakee County, Illinois, USA
Burial
Momence, Kankakee County, Illinois, USA
Memorial ID
59942208 View Source

After one of the most heroic struggles ever made by a human against the ravages of disease and old age, Jacob Ruger answered the final call, and passed away at a few minutes after midnight Saturday morning.
While it was known that Mr. Ruger's condition was critical and that his death was only a matter of time, the news of his passing away came as a shock to the entire county, and to Momence in particular.
Last December Mr. Ruger submitted to the amputation of his right leg, which was necessary to save his life and relieve his suffering from gangrene. He withstood the ordeal remarkably well and had almost entirely recovered, when his heart failed. On several occassions he sank so low that his life was despaired of, but each time his wonderful vitality mastered the situation and he rallied. Each attach made him weaker, until he was no longer able to withstand the strain, and he peacefully passed away.
Capt. Ruger was one of the best known men in Kankakee county, and his remarkable struggle against disease was anxiously watched by his many friends. In this city, where he had lived for over sixty years, his condition had been the only daily topic of anxious inquiry. While his case was known to be hopeless his friends hoped against hope that the "grand old man" might be spared. Everything that medical skill, loving care and kindly sympathy could do was done, and the tender devotion of loved ones made his final days among the happiest of his life. The fact that he recovered sufficiently after the operation to receive his friends, who came in such numbers expressing kindly interest, more than repaid him for the terrible ordeal through which he had passed.
To write a history of Capt. Ruger would be to write a history of Momence. During the past sixty years there has not been a movement which had for its aim the betterment of this city in which Mr. Ruger was not prominent. As a citizen or official he was always fighting the battles of Momence. He did it in an unostentatious manner he never claimed any credit, but to those who were interested his real worth as a citizen was best known. His life was such a one as gained the confidence and esteem of all who knew him. His word was good as his bond. He was given positions of trust, often unanimously. He never was defeated for a public office, and never solicited a vote = he never was obliged to.
Jacob Ruger was born in Wurttemberg, Germany, on December 11, 1835. He lived in his native land until about seventeen years of age, where he learned the harness-making trade, of which he became a master. Many of his neighbors were leaving for the new world, and he became so strongly imbued with the opportunities that the United States offered, that he also left the Fatherland to make his fortune in the land of promise. He was accompanied by his brother, Charles. They first went to Pittsburgh, but soon caught the go west spirit, and in 1854 he went to Joliet where for two years he worked in a large harness shop. He came to Momence in 1856, and had resided here since that time. In 1858, Mr. Ruger went into the harness business on River Street in a small way. His reputation for turning out honest goods caused his business to expand, and step by step, he established a name which was closely allied with good harness for miles around.
In 1857 he was married to Narcissa Burcham. The union was a particularly happy one, and they had the pleasure of celebrating their golden wedding. Just as Mr. Ruger was getting his business and home established, the civil war broke out. Filled with that patriotism so characteristic of the German race, he closed his business, left his home and loved ones, and enlisted in Co. H., 76th Illinois Volunteer Infantry. He served with his company until the close of the war, being honorably discharged at Galveston, Texas, July 22, 1865.
Soon after leaving for the front he was promoted to second lieutenant, and upon the death of Capt. Plummer, was elected Captain by a unanimous vote of the company. He served as captain for two years, and participated in the battles at Vicksburg, Jackson, and the siege of Ft. Blakely. While his company was in the thick of these battle, he escaped injury.
After the close of the war he returned to Momence and again took up the harness business, which he successfully conduced until about two years ago, when he turned it over to his son Roderick R. He also took an active interest in the affairs of the city, both in a civic and political way. He served for several years on the village board. In 1882 he was elected supervisor for Momence township, which position he held until 1892, when he was appointed County Treasurer to fill an unexpired term, and served for three years. At the expiration of his term he was again elected as supervisor and held that office continuously until his death. For many years he was one of the directors of the Momence Building and Loan Association, and had much to do with the remarkable success of the association.
Mr. Ruger was a member of Momence lodge, A.F. and A.M., Momence Chapter R.A.M., Ivanhoe Commandery Knights Templar, and Worchester Post, G.A.R. He head been treasurer of the Masonic lodge for more than forty years.
Mr. Ruger was the father of eight children, six of whom survive him, they are Mrs. Emma Smith, Mrs. Hilta Johnson, and Roderick R. of Momence; Mrs. Frank Lake of Harvey; Mrs. Leona Cunningham of Los Angels, California; and John of Ashland, Oregon. Mrs. Ruger died in May 1911.
A touching manifestation of the love and respect, which was cherished for him by friends and by men with whom he was associated in public life, was the sympathy of the Board of Supervisors which he was a member at the time his leg was amputated. The vote of sympathy was extended to him and when he had so far recovered as to make it possible, he responded in a pathetic letter to board, which has been spread upon the records of the county, there to remain as the last official work of a wise and efficient public servant.
Few men had the friendship and love that he possessed of all. He was square in all his dealings and was a friend to everyone and when he passed through the trying ordeal in December he received many tokens of friendship and respect.
The funeral was held on Monday afternoon and was one of the largest attended of any ever held in this city. The services were held at the Episcopal church, Rev. Keicher officiating. Every available seat in the building was occupied by sorrowing relatives and friends.
At the close of the church services, the Masons took charge and conducted the services at the grave. Rev. Keicher delivered an excellent and appropriate sermon and the music was furnished by a quartet composed of Miss Grayce Lane, C.L. Tabler, Mr. and Mrs. C.A. Violet with Mrs. C.W. Hoover at the organ.
About 70 members of the Masonic lodge attended in a body. Nearly every member of the board of supervisors was present, as were also the county officers. The members of the G.A.R., W.R.C and S of V. were also present in numbers.
The active pallbearers were B.L. Tabler, S.E. Roush, Clarence Hayden, C.B. Astle, Robert Pittman and Geo. Chatfield. The honorary pallbearers were W.P Watson, John B. Hayhurst, C.H. Bellinger and V.T. Brassard from the Masonic lodge and John King, Jerome Vail, M.D.Hunger and James Moran, members of Mr. Ruger's company.
As a mark of special respect every business house in the city was closed during the hour of the funeral. The floral offerings were the most beautiful and numerous ever seen in this city. Among the pieces deserving of special mention was one from the board of supervisors and county officers, one fromt he business men of Momence, A.F. and A.M. Lodge, R.A.M., O.E.S., W.R.C., L.O.O.M., Momence Cemetery Association, King's Daughters, Priscilla club and many from individual friends.
Among the out of town relatives who attended the funeral were Mr. and Mrs. C.S. Lake, J.J. Lake, Hilton Lake, Lawrence Lake, Emma and Agnes Lake and Otto Brauer of Harvey; Mrs. N.C. Studey of New York City; Steve Wheeler. Lyman Wheeler and Fred Smith of Kankakee.
The interment was in the family lot at Momence Cemetery.

After one of the most heroic struggles ever made by a human against the ravages of disease and old age, Jacob Ruger answered the final call, and passed away at a few minutes after midnight Saturday morning.
While it was known that Mr. Ruger's condition was critical and that his death was only a matter of time, the news of his passing away came as a shock to the entire county, and to Momence in particular.
Last December Mr. Ruger submitted to the amputation of his right leg, which was necessary to save his life and relieve his suffering from gangrene. He withstood the ordeal remarkably well and had almost entirely recovered, when his heart failed. On several occassions he sank so low that his life was despaired of, but each time his wonderful vitality mastered the situation and he rallied. Each attach made him weaker, until he was no longer able to withstand the strain, and he peacefully passed away.
Capt. Ruger was one of the best known men in Kankakee county, and his remarkable struggle against disease was anxiously watched by his many friends. In this city, where he had lived for over sixty years, his condition had been the only daily topic of anxious inquiry. While his case was known to be hopeless his friends hoped against hope that the "grand old man" might be spared. Everything that medical skill, loving care and kindly sympathy could do was done, and the tender devotion of loved ones made his final days among the happiest of his life. The fact that he recovered sufficiently after the operation to receive his friends, who came in such numbers expressing kindly interest, more than repaid him for the terrible ordeal through which he had passed.
To write a history of Capt. Ruger would be to write a history of Momence. During the past sixty years there has not been a movement which had for its aim the betterment of this city in which Mr. Ruger was not prominent. As a citizen or official he was always fighting the battles of Momence. He did it in an unostentatious manner he never claimed any credit, but to those who were interested his real worth as a citizen was best known. His life was such a one as gained the confidence and esteem of all who knew him. His word was good as his bond. He was given positions of trust, often unanimously. He never was defeated for a public office, and never solicited a vote = he never was obliged to.
Jacob Ruger was born in Wurttemberg, Germany, on December 11, 1835. He lived in his native land until about seventeen years of age, where he learned the harness-making trade, of which he became a master. Many of his neighbors were leaving for the new world, and he became so strongly imbued with the opportunities that the United States offered, that he also left the Fatherland to make his fortune in the land of promise. He was accompanied by his brother, Charles. They first went to Pittsburgh, but soon caught the go west spirit, and in 1854 he went to Joliet where for two years he worked in a large harness shop. He came to Momence in 1856, and had resided here since that time. In 1858, Mr. Ruger went into the harness business on River Street in a small way. His reputation for turning out honest goods caused his business to expand, and step by step, he established a name which was closely allied with good harness for miles around.
In 1857 he was married to Narcissa Burcham. The union was a particularly happy one, and they had the pleasure of celebrating their golden wedding. Just as Mr. Ruger was getting his business and home established, the civil war broke out. Filled with that patriotism so characteristic of the German race, he closed his business, left his home and loved ones, and enlisted in Co. H., 76th Illinois Volunteer Infantry. He served with his company until the close of the war, being honorably discharged at Galveston, Texas, July 22, 1865.
Soon after leaving for the front he was promoted to second lieutenant, and upon the death of Capt. Plummer, was elected Captain by a unanimous vote of the company. He served as captain for two years, and participated in the battles at Vicksburg, Jackson, and the siege of Ft. Blakely. While his company was in the thick of these battle, he escaped injury.
After the close of the war he returned to Momence and again took up the harness business, which he successfully conduced until about two years ago, when he turned it over to his son Roderick R. He also took an active interest in the affairs of the city, both in a civic and political way. He served for several years on the village board. In 1882 he was elected supervisor for Momence township, which position he held until 1892, when he was appointed County Treasurer to fill an unexpired term, and served for three years. At the expiration of his term he was again elected as supervisor and held that office continuously until his death. For many years he was one of the directors of the Momence Building and Loan Association, and had much to do with the remarkable success of the association.
Mr. Ruger was a member of Momence lodge, A.F. and A.M., Momence Chapter R.A.M., Ivanhoe Commandery Knights Templar, and Worchester Post, G.A.R. He head been treasurer of the Masonic lodge for more than forty years.
Mr. Ruger was the father of eight children, six of whom survive him, they are Mrs. Emma Smith, Mrs. Hilta Johnson, and Roderick R. of Momence; Mrs. Frank Lake of Harvey; Mrs. Leona Cunningham of Los Angels, California; and John of Ashland, Oregon. Mrs. Ruger died in May 1911.
A touching manifestation of the love and respect, which was cherished for him by friends and by men with whom he was associated in public life, was the sympathy of the Board of Supervisors which he was a member at the time his leg was amputated. The vote of sympathy was extended to him and when he had so far recovered as to make it possible, he responded in a pathetic letter to board, which has been spread upon the records of the county, there to remain as the last official work of a wise and efficient public servant.
Few men had the friendship and love that he possessed of all. He was square in all his dealings and was a friend to everyone and when he passed through the trying ordeal in December he received many tokens of friendship and respect.
The funeral was held on Monday afternoon and was one of the largest attended of any ever held in this city. The services were held at the Episcopal church, Rev. Keicher officiating. Every available seat in the building was occupied by sorrowing relatives and friends.
At the close of the church services, the Masons took charge and conducted the services at the grave. Rev. Keicher delivered an excellent and appropriate sermon and the music was furnished by a quartet composed of Miss Grayce Lane, C.L. Tabler, Mr. and Mrs. C.A. Violet with Mrs. C.W. Hoover at the organ.
About 70 members of the Masonic lodge attended in a body. Nearly every member of the board of supervisors was present, as were also the county officers. The members of the G.A.R., W.R.C and S of V. were also present in numbers.
The active pallbearers were B.L. Tabler, S.E. Roush, Clarence Hayden, C.B. Astle, Robert Pittman and Geo. Chatfield. The honorary pallbearers were W.P Watson, John B. Hayhurst, C.H. Bellinger and V.T. Brassard from the Masonic lodge and John King, Jerome Vail, M.D.Hunger and James Moran, members of Mr. Ruger's company.
As a mark of special respect every business house in the city was closed during the hour of the funeral. The floral offerings were the most beautiful and numerous ever seen in this city. Among the pieces deserving of special mention was one from the board of supervisors and county officers, one fromt he business men of Momence, A.F. and A.M. Lodge, R.A.M., O.E.S., W.R.C., L.O.O.M., Momence Cemetery Association, King's Daughters, Priscilla club and many from individual friends.
Among the out of town relatives who attended the funeral were Mr. and Mrs. C.S. Lake, J.J. Lake, Hilton Lake, Lawrence Lake, Emma and Agnes Lake and Otto Brauer of Harvey; Mrs. N.C. Studey of New York City; Steve Wheeler. Lyman Wheeler and Fred Smith of Kankakee.
The interment was in the family lot at Momence Cemetery.


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