History of Ruffles Township, OH
From: The History of Ashland County, Ohio
By A. J. Baughman
Published By The S. J. Clarke Publishing Co., Chicago, 1909



Ruggles township was organized in 1826, and until the erection of Ashland county in 1846, belonged to Huron county. It derived its name from Almon Ruggles, who settled in Huron county in 1808, and who, in 1815, laid out the town of Norwalk.

In 1820 its territory was included in Bethel township, which had a population that year of one hundred and sixty four. The population of Ruggles in 1830 was two hundred and seventy one and in 1840 it was one thousand two hundred and forty four.

Ruggles township, as well as the whole of the original territory of Huron county, was within the "Fire Land" district. These fire lands embraced a tract of country containing seven hundred and eighty one square miles, or nearly five hundred thousand acres, in the western part of the Western Reserve. The name originated from the circumstance that the state of Connecticut had made a grant of these lands in 1792, as a donation to certain sufferers by fire, occasioned by the invading English during the Revolutionary war, particularly at New London, Fairfield, and Norwalk. This tract was surveyed into townships of about five miles square each; and these townships are then subdivided into four equal quarters, No. 1 being the southeast, No. 2 the northeast, No. 3 the northwest, and No. 4 the southwest. And for individual convenience, these are again subdivided, by private surveys, into lots of from fifty to five hundred acres each, to suit individual purchasers. The surveys were made in 1808.

Daniel Beach immigrated to Ruggles township on the 2d of August, 1823. He died in 1862. His was the first family that settled in the township. He was born in Connecticut.

Aldrich Carver and family, consisting of three persons, settled in Ruggles, in 1825. His was the fourth family then in the township. He had emigrated from Cayuga county, New York.

Bradford Sturtevant and family emigrated from New York in 1816, and settled in Ruggles township, Ashland county, in 1823, being the second pioneer in the township. The lands of the township at that time, Mr. Sturtevant said, were monopolized by non residents speculators. A daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Sturtevant's born May 17, 1825, was the first white female child born in the township.

Salmon Weston came to Ruggles township in June, 1825, and was the first white settler in the eastern portion of the township. He removed from Connecticut, and occupied one month in traveling from his old home to his new. The journey was made from Warren, Connecticut, to Albany, New York, in wagons; from Albany to Buffalo, on the Erie canal, from the latter place to Sandusky City, on the schooner Superior, and from Sandusky to Ruggles in wagons.

At a meeting of the Firelands Historical Society held at Norwalk, December 12, 1906, Russell Godfrey said he would be a resident of Huron county yet, if Ruggles township had not been sliced off and given to Ashland. He further said:

"I want to make a few remarks. When Ethan Pray's name was mentioned, it brought to my mind a little incident that transpired many years ago that gave a coloring at least to my life. In the winter of 1840 and 1841, Ethan Pray taught school in North Fairfield. I was a pupil in that school. I was about six years old at that time. The teacher, Mr. Pray always opened the school with prayer. I was a small boy and full of mischief. One morning while he was engaged in that service, I had a piece of chalk in my pocket. I took it out. His back was turned, and I marked down the back of his old blue swallow tail with that piece of chalk, little thinking that he felt it. When he got through, he pulled off his coat, went and got his whip and I think he gave me as good a dressing as a boy ever got. But that whipping was the best lesson I ever learned in school. It taught me never to interfere with public worship of God in any form from that day to this, and I feel thankful today for that lesson. About ten years ago, I met Mr. Pray here on the square and was introduced to him. I told him of this incident. 'Well,' he said, 'if it did you any good, I am glad of it.'"

RAPE OF RUGGLES TOWNSHIP.

From the Firelands Pioneer.
The following from the Firelands Pioneer shows the high regard in which Ruggles township was held by the people of Huron county:

The law to erect the county of Ashland passed the General Assembly of Ohio on the 24th of February, 1846. Its present territory originally formed the townships of Vermilion, Montgomery, Orange, Green and Hanover, with parts of Clear Creek, Milton, Muffin, and Monroe, * in Richland county; also, the townships of Sullivan and Troy, in Lorain county; all except the eastern tier of sections of the townships of Jackson, Perry, Mohican, and the fractioned townships of Lake, in Wayne county, and the whole of Ruggles, in Huron county. The counties from which Ashland was made contained originally an aggregate of two thousand nine hundred and forty square miles and ninetythree townships. The several dates of their organization and number of civil townships Were as follows:

Counties

When
organized

Square
miles

No. of
townships.

========

======

=======

=======

Richland

1813

900

25

Wayne

1812

660

20

Lorain

1824

580

19

Huron

1815

800

29

 

 

2940

93

For many years after its organization Richland county possesed the largest of any county in Ohio. This fact gave rise to a multitude of new county schemes. There was scarcely "a laid out" town outside a limit of twelve miles from Mansfield that had not annually beleagared the legislature with applications for new counties for the benefit of town lot owners. Within what is now Ashland county, there were numerous schemes which proposed to effect the territories of some of the counties from which Ashland was finally made prominent among which were the proposed new counties of Ellsworth, with the seat of justice at Sullivan; the county of Mohican, with the seat of justice at Loudonville; the county of Vermilion, with the seat of justice at Hayesville; also, applications from Jerome, Orange and Savannah for new counties, with the seats of justice at their several towns; and at a later date, a new. county for the benefit of real estate owners at Ashland. The success of the last named project, by the passage of the act of the 24th of February, 1846, and by the vote of the electors of the new county on the first Monday of April of the same year, was regarded as a final settlement of all rival schemes; but the erection, at the legislative session of 1847-48, of the County of Morrow, a long pending and rival "claim," was a yet further invasion of the territory of "Old Richland." The checks imposed upon the general assembly by the constitution of 1851, with respect to the erection of new counties and the removals of county seats, are among the wisest provisions of that instrument, and destroyed the occupation of a horde of mercenary lobbies, whose corruptions had attained such magnitude as generally to control the legislation of the state. The constitution of 1802 simply prescribed the minimum area to four hundred square miles. without any guarantees for private rights involved in the changes of county lines and county seats. The legislative power over these subjects was supreme. One legislature could "permanently establish," and their successors could, and often did, as permanently unsettle and unmake "as a breath hath made." Rights which might be truly termed "vested," acquired under the most solemn legislative sanctions of former years, were wantonly invaded; and in an hour of fancied security men would find the accumulations of years virtually confiscated by "solemn" legislative enactmentan enactment secured by the corps of "lobbies" who held control of every avenue leading to the law making halls and not only that, but had invaded the sanctity of the premises within the legislative bar and dictated the votes of the worse than "wooden men" who were often sent as "representatives of the people." unless other abuses have recently reappeared at Columbus, and the lobbies found other prey, the corruptionists have had a long fast at Ohio's capital.

* Monroe was subsequently retroceded to Richland county.

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