John 1785-1822

The Eldest Brother?  John Ruggles 1755 (VA) - 1822 (OH)    

This page was last updated on 11 March 2001 -- rak.

The Rev. J.  S. Ruggles said in his remembrances that he believed his ancestor William Ruggles had a brother named John.  John is our current candidate for senior sibling.  He was the first of the family name into Mason County, and he is the only one of the early Kentucky Ruggles who is commonly accepted as having had a middle initial.  I know from other family research that it was the practice in the middle colonies in the middle of the eighteenth century to name the first son after his two grandfathers -- in such cases the first name was that of the paternal grandfather and the middle name was the family name of the maternal grandfather.  

If John was the eldest, he was born, as indicated above, ten years earlier than previous family research has indicated.  Available census data only indicate that he was born before 1765.

Although virtually all available family research and family trees refer to him as John "B" we have found no contemporary document which refers to him as such.  As best we can tell, a descendant out of Iowa first used the "B" and reported his wife Elizabeth (Betty)'s maiden name as "Brimmer".  Thus, we have to view the "B" as a bit suspect.  If he did not have a middle initial, our hypothesis that he was the senior sibling or at least the senior son is considerably weakened and his birth year might well have been closer to 1765 than to 1755.

The best report on John and his descendants we have seen is on the World Family Tree CD (hereafter WFT) 14, Tree 2619.  That study gives most of its sources in detail.  This like virtually all research on him gives John's wife Betty's maiden name as Voyers or Voires.  Given the birth year of their eldest attributed child, they must have married during 1784-1785.

Tree 2619 gives names and dates for 12 children and hundreds of descendants for 10 of them.  John and/or some of his descendants are also treated in FTW8, Tree 2113, in FTW13, Tree 2742; and in Steve Ruggles'  Web Site at

John's children with best available birth years and places evidently were: Thomas P (1785,Monongalia Co, VA), Mary Elizabeth (1789,MD), Nancy Ann (1790,MD), George B. (1795,Mason [became Lewis] Co, KY), Rachel Lavine (1797, ditto),  Elizabeth (1800, ditto), John B. Jr (1801, ditto), William (1804, ditto), Jesse (1806,Lewis Co, KY), James (1807, either Lewis Co, KY or Miami Co, OH), Jane Etta (1810,Lewis Co, KY), and Sarah (1811, Miami Co, OH).  The fact that these are John's children is "proven" in that they are named in the 1822 Miami Co, OH probate of his estate.  So far as we now know, none of the birth places are proven beyond doubt and evidently were derived from an understanding of where the family was living in a given year.  The birth dates for Thomas P, Nancy Ann, Rachel Lavine, Jesse, and James may have been taken from their gravestones.

In this study John is identified by the number 10000.

For the first two generations of his descendants, click on them.

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Southern Ruggles Home Page    First Siblings?    Into Kentucky