Male 1790 - 1861

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Generation: 1

  1. 1.  Dr. Henry RUFFNER was born 16 Jan 1790, Page County, Virginia (son of David RUFFNER and Anna BRUMBACK); died 17 Dec 1861, Lexington, Virginia.


    The basic trouble was somewhat subtler. Ruffner was a reasonable man in an unreasonable age. In 1847, Henry Ruffner was 57 years old. His career had bordered on the brilliant. After the Rev. war, the father settled in Virginia, where Henry was born in 1790. Early in the 1800s, the family moved to the Kanawa Salines in Western Virginia. A man of strong intellectual bent, Ruffner grew up on a farm and thirsted for an education. By 1812, he had finished a four year course at Washington College in a year and half and shortly thereafter was ordained a Presbyterian minister. In 1838, he became president of the college. It prospered under his direction and his son, somewhat later, was proud to point out enrollment tripled during the period.

    After he reached Lexington, a club known as the Franklin Society and Literary Co, played an important part in Ruffner’s career. The society was an organization composed largely of faculty members from Washington College and neighboring Virginia Military Institute. It was a sort of formalized debating group where men exchanged opinions, arguments and information. Ruffner was an active member.

    Meanwhile, throughout the period, the society unlimbered thousands of words and countless studied phrases on a subject in which all its members were interested: the status of western Virginia. With Lexington laying west of Blue Ridge, Ruffner and his associates identified themselves with the mountaineer fringes which had clambered long and unsuccessfully, for certain concessions from the Tidewater section which dominated Virginia politics. One of the big issues was slavery. The Tidewater favored it and in 1832 had crushed legislative attempts to end it in Virginia. After these debates, as one observe put it, expressions of sentiment on slavery were "infrequent, cautious and usually private."

    Now Ruffner was well educated and well read. What’s more, he was an eloquent speaker: strong, sincere, and intimately acquainted with the art of debating. His rhetoric was sharpened by his experience in the pulpit and his enthusiasm was fanned by his extreme distaste for the South’s "peculiar institution." Ruffner centered his argument on slavery. He focused his coldly logical intelligence on its social and economic aspects. Briefly, these were his points; eastern Virginia was wrong from holding political power and equality from its western frontiers. The East was wrong in defeating the emancipation bill of 1832. Slavery wasn’t profitable and the West should have the privilege of doing away with it. He pointed out the South, as an entity as declining in power, prestege and prosperity in contrast to the free North’s surge. He cited many examples to show that much of the South’s economic back-wardness was directly traceable to slaveholding. In every case, he was careful to point out he had no interest common to the abolitionists. In fact, he said much of the nation’s trouble was "due chiefly to the fanatical violence of those Northern anti-slavery men." In another place, he said: "That of all the ill wind that would blow on (our) cause, this storm of abolition was the worse." About the only moral position he took was in keeping with his Calvinistic background. He deplored the fact that old virtues of thrift and hard work were being replace by both "unthrifty sentiments" and a distaste for manual labor. Industrious habits, he said, were giving away to "indolent relaxation, false motives of dignity and refinements and a taste for fashionable luxury."

    To put it mildly, his address was a success. John Letcher, who was to be wartime governor of Virginia, congratulated him on advancing "the final arguments which will doom it (slavery)" and other Franklin Society members urged him to put his speech in pamphlet form so that the rest of the state could share his views. That’s how "Address to the People of West Virginia…" came into being. It soon became known as the "Ruffner Pamphlet", a title it keeps today. Ruffner’s arguments, forceful and logical though they were, hardly seemed revolutionary. After accepting the congratulations of his friends, he settled back to await the public reaction to his pamphlet. His wait was a short one. Virginians greeted the essay with quick, pointed and vicious anger. (missing words, because of the copying)…labeled him an abolitionist and reacted accordingly. For example, the editor of the Southern Literary Messenger had agreed to print a history of Washington College written by Ruffner. As soon as the pamphlet appeared, the editor changed his mind saying:, "the erasure of your name from our contributors was intentional." Another man, an office holder, returned his copy marked: "Fool, Liar, Falsehood, Treason!" Letcher and some other members of the Franklin Society turned on him and spent years denying they’d ever agreed with Ruffner’s arguments.

    Ruffner’s son summed up his father’s position when he said, "He was made to feel, in many ways, that he had bitter and unscrupulous enemies and that there was no peace while he remained as college president." On June 21, 1843, he resigned.

    Dr. married Sally LYLE [Group Sheet]

    1. David Lewis RUFFNER
    2. Anna RUFFNER
    3. Julia RUFFNER
    4. William Henry RUFFNER was born 11 Feb 1824; died 24 Nov 1908.

    Dr. married Laura J. KIRBY [Group Sheet]

Generation: 2

  1. 2.  David RUFFNER was born 18 Jun 1767, Page County, Virginia (son of Joseph RUFFNER and Anne HEISTANAD); died 1 Feb 1843, Kanawaka County, West Virginia.



    David — Anna BRUMBACK. Anna (daughter of Henry BRUMBACK and Ann KAUFFMAN) was born 11 Nov 1766. [Group Sheet]

  2. 3.  Anna BRUMBACK was born 11 Nov 1766 (daughter of Henry BRUMBACK and Ann KAUFFMAN).
    1. 1. Dr. Henry RUFFNER was born 16 Jan 1790, Page County, Virginia; died 17 Dec 1861, Lexington, Virginia.
    2. Ann E. RUFFNER was born 12 May 1792; died UNKNOWN.
    3. Susan B. RUFFNER was born 14 Dec 1794; died UNKNOWN.
    4. General Louis RUFFNER was born 1 Oct 1797; died 10 Nov 1883.

Generation: 3

  1. 4.  Joseph RUFFNER was born 25 Sep 1740, Page County, Virginia (son of Peter RUFFNER and Mary STEINMAN); died 23 Mar 1803, Charleston, West Virginia.


    Joseph Ruffner, oldest son of Peter and Mary, was born along the Hawksbill Creek in Virginia in 1740. He married Ann Heistand, a neighbor, who was described as tall and beautiful and with the German virtues. Joseph inherited the raven black hair of his mother, was above medium height, full of energy and on occasion, vehement, though usually natural and quiet. Joseph and Ann had eight children and they ultimately went to Kanawha County, Virginia to establish the West Virginia family of Ruffners.
    Joseph's 1200 acre farm lay above his father's land on both sides of the Hawksbill Creed, and included the north fork where the two branches met. Here his family and farm buildings were erected. A grist mill was known as Willow Grove Mills.
    Among other things he dealt in bear skins for the French Army. Skins of bear, deer, otter, beaver and raccoon, as well as other animal skins were an important item of trade. Flour, whiskey, butter, beeswax, dried fruitwood, flaxseed, etc. constituted outgoing domestic products.
    Fredericksburg was the chief market town. Joseph's conestoga wagon, covered with bear skins and drawn by six large horses was known for miles around,and from Spotsylvania to Fredericksburg. Just what freight was carried in this lumbering ship of the mountains we leave to your imagination. Salt was a valuable commodity. Pennybacker's iron furnace was near. Screws and nails were made in the blacksmith shops.
    Most things were made at home. Wagons, farm and domestic tools, implements and furniture, were made in the neighborhood, bedding and clothing in the house. Tan yards supplied leather. Coffee and tea had not yet taken the place of bean soup and potato soup for breakfast. There was mush and milk for supper and maple syrup provided sweetening. Herbs gave the women their medical supplies. Lead came from the mines and shotguns were made in the settlement.

    Joseph married Anne HEISTANAD 22 May 1764, Page County, Virginia. Anne (daughter of Henry HEISTAND) was born 15 Oct 1742, Frederick County, Virginia; died 29 Aug 1820, Charleston, West Virginia. [Group Sheet]

  2. 5.  Anne HEISTANAD was born 15 Oct 1742, Frederick County, Virginia (daughter of Henry HEISTAND); died 29 Aug 1820, Charleston, West Virginia.



    1. Esther RUFFNER was born 4 Sep 1765, Shenandoah County, Virginia; died 1783.
    2. 2. David RUFFNER was born 18 Jun 1767, Page County, Virginia; died 1 Feb 1843, Kanawaka County, West Virginia.
    3. Joseph RUFFNER was born 14 Feb 1769, Shenandoah County, Virginia; died 10 May 1837, Cincinnati, Ohio; was buried Cincinnati, Ohio.
    4. Tobias RUFFNER was born 22 Oct 1770, Virginia; died 17 Aug 1834, Kanawaka County, West Virginia.
    5. Samuel RUFFNER was born 26 Oct 1773, Shenandoah County, Virginia; died UNKNOWN.
    6. Eve Ruffner was born 29 Sep 1775, Shenandoah County, Virginia.
    7. Daniel RUFFNER was born 11 Nov 1779, Page County, Virginia; died 31 Jul 1865, Cincinnati, Ohio.
    8. Abraham RUFFNER was born 1 Oct 1781, Shenandoah County, Virginia; died UNKNOWN.

  3. 6.  Henry BRUMBACK was born 4 Feb 1739; died 1799, Rockingham County, Virginia.


    The following is a Bible record kept of Henry (2) by his son Henry (3).
    Henry Brumback was born September 1761, 1, Henry Brumback and Ann Kauffman
    entered into wedlock.
    The 17th day of August, 1762, a young daughter was born to us named Barbara,
    her sign is in the Cancer.
    The 9th day of September 17640 a young boy was born to us named Johannes,
    his sign is in the fishes.
    The 11tb day of November, 1766, a young daughter was born to us named Anna,
    her sign is in the fishes.
    The 5th day of March 1769, a young son was born to us, named Henry, his
    sign is in the Waterbearer.
    The 19th day of August, 1771, a young daughter was born to us, named Elizabeth,
    her sign is in the Archer.
    The 12th day of March, 1774, a young son was born to us named David, his
    sign is in the Fishes.
    The 3rd day of July, a young daughter was born to us named Susan. Her sign
    is in the Waterbearer.
    The 22nd of September, my wife died.
    The 17th day of September, 1779, 1 Henry Brumbacb, and Anna Strickler enter
    into wedlock.
    The 11th of February 1780, a young son was born to us named Joseph, his sign
    is in the Taurus.
    The 19tb of September 1782, a young daughter was born to us named Maria, her
    sign is in the Fishes.
    The 2nd of February a young son was born to us named Samuel.
    1789 is the year, a young son was born to u s named Daniel.
    The Bible Record of Henry, 3rd, generation, Brumbach "Brombacb".
    In 1794 the 27 of May, I, Henry Brumbacb, and Maxia Graff were married and entered into matrimony in the October the she was born into the year
    Anno 1795, the October there was born to us a young son, his name is Johannes,

    his constellation is the Taurus (der Stier), the ruling-planet is
    Anno 1797 the 23 March there was born to us a young daughter, her
    name is
    Sussana, her constellation is Aquarius (der Wasserman), the ruling
    is Saturn.
    Anno 1798 the 19 December, there was born to us a daughter, her
    name is
    Anna, her constellation is Taurus (der Stier), the ruling planet
    is Jupiter.
    Anno 1800 the 15 May, there was born to us a young daughter, her
    name is
    Baxbara, her constellation is Aquarius, the ruling planet for the
    year was
    the Sun.
    Anno 1802, the 22 July, there was born to us a young son, his name
    Samuel, his constellation is Taurus, (der Stier), the ruling
    planet for
    the year is Mercury.
    Anno 1804 December the 269 there was born to us a young son, his
    name is
    Daniel, his constellation is Scorpio, the ruling planet for the year
    Anno 1807 1brill (April) the 19, there was born to us a young
    daughter, her
    name is Eelisabet (Elizabeth), her constellation is Virgo (die
    for jungfrau).
    Anno 1809 Abrill (April) the 6, there was born to us a young son,
    his name
    is Jacob, his constellation is Capricorn (stiebock---the final "KII
    obliterated on the photographic copy).
    Anno 1810 October the 4, there was born to us a young son, his name
    Joseph, his constellation is Sagittarius (der schutz).
    Anno 1812 August the 20, there was born to us a young daughter,
    her name
    is Maria, her constellation is Aquarius.
    Inno 1814 Jenner (January) the 30, there was born to us a young
    her name is frene (pronounced as if spelled Frainay), her
    consteilation is
    Gemini (der zwiling--for Zwiling).
    The above records were copied from the Brumback history, pages 274
    & 278-




    Informant: Much of the above information was given by Firs. J Gill Grove, a descendant of Henry Grove and Maria Grove, Luray, Va.

    Henry married Ann KAUFFMAN 18 Sep 1761. Ann (daughter of Martin KAUFFMAN and Barbara STAUFFER) was born 1740; died 22 Sep 1778. [Group Sheet]

  4. 7.  Ann KAUFFMAN was born 1740 (daughter of Martin KAUFFMAN and Barbara STAUFFER); died 22 Sep 1778.
    1. Johannes BRUMBACK
    2. Henry BRUMBACK was born Sep 1761.
    3. Barbara BRUMBACK was born 17 Aug 1762.
    4. 3. Anna BRUMBACK was born 11 Nov 1766.

Generation: 4

  1. 8.  Peter RUFFNER was born 1713, Kingdom Of Hanover, Germany (son of Jakob RUFFNER); died 17 Jan 1778, Shenandoah County, Now Page County, Virginia; was buried Ruffner's Plantation, Shenandoah County, Now Page County, Virginia.


    The chief element and agency in the making of England. no doubt, was the settling on that Island of the Angles and the Saxons, both being branches of the great Germanic family whose Teutonic tongue was the parent of the present Anglo-Saxon, or English language. No family of the human race has displayed more patience, energy and tenacity, or achieved greater victories in arms, letters, science and art than that great people, now compacted in their original seats, and ramified over the civilized globe, though in many countries, as in England and this country, they are losing their homogeneity as they mingle by degrees with other races.

    The older subjects of these reminiscences were descendants of that great family, pure and unmixed when their ancestors emigrated from the Fatherland to this country.

    The first of the Kanawha family of Ruffners that came over the water was Peter Ruffner, a native of the Kingdom of Hanover, and of the Teutonic-German stock. He was the third son of a German Baron who owned large landed estates in Hanover. He spoke the high dutch language (Hoch Deutsch), and was a Protestant of the Martin Luther School. He attended an Agricultural College, but before he completed his course of studies at that school, he left the school UNKNOWN to his parents, and came to America, having been attracted hither by glowing descriptions of the country published in the German States. This was the first quarter of the 18thn century. He settled first in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania. Soon after settling there he married Miss Mary Steinman, the daughter of a wealthy German farmer there, who owned a large landed property in the Valley of Virginia. Steinman was a native of the Kingdom of Wurtemburg, in Germany—was of the Sclavonic German stock, speaking the Low Dutch (Platt Deutsch) language. He had been in this country some time. Having brought considerable means with him, he added largely to it by prudent investment in the lands which he managed successfully in farming and grazing, as Germans seldom fail to do. With the increment of means arising from his business, he purchased what was then called wild lands in the Valley of Virginia, lying along the Shenandoah River in Shenandoah County, (Now Page County) and on both sides of Hawksbill Creek, in that county. He gave to his son-in-law a large body of land situate on both branches of Hawksbill Creek, to which Peter Ruffner and Mary, his wife, removed, and on which they settled and lived many years. This was adjoining the town of Luray, now in Page County, Virginia. This Peter was 6 feet 3 inches in height, athletic and fine looking. He possessed a vigorous mind and great energy of character, and exercised a large influence in hiscounty. His wife was a mate well suited to him. They were industrious, frugal, successful, and added largely to their estate. Both lived to a good old age, and left their children, six in number, independent at their death. All of them engaged in the business of farming. Shenandoah County, at the time he came to it, contained a very considerable number of Sclavonic Germans, mostly from Pennsylvania, and some foreign Germans, or late immigrants, who all spoke Low Dutch. The children of this Peter and Mary Ruffner were born in the order named: Joseph, Benjamen, Reuben, Peter, Emanuel and Elizabeth.

    Joseph, the eldest, settled first at the junction of Little and Big Hawks-bill Creeks, in Shenandoah County, but afterwards, in the year of 1794, sold out his property and moved to the County of Kanawha.

    It is proper here to say that the foregoing geneological facts were condensed from a paper prepared July 4th, 1835, by W. S. Marye, who married Mary, the sixth of eleven children of Peter Ruffner, son of the first Peter we have mentioned. A copy of the paper was furnished the writer by Miss Annie M. Ruffner, an accomplished daughter of the late Joel Ruffner, of Charleston. The paper was prepared by W. S. Marye for his son, James T. Marye.

    Some other authorities say Peter Ruffner came from Switzerland with a single sister and settled in Lancaster County, Pa. That she married John Strickler, the father of Jacob, Joseph and others of that name in Shenandoah County, Virginia whose descendents are numerous in the Valley of Virginia.

    Will probated 28 May 1778. Shenandoah County, Va will book A. Page 152.
    Parish of Beckford, County of Dunmore, Wife: Mary Ruffner.
    Sons: Peter, Manuel, Joseph, Benjamin, & Ruben. Mentions son in law: Jacob Stover. Exors: Wife Mary and Son Joseph and Friend Benjamin Strickler.
    Witness: Edwin Young, Selby Foley, Christian Grove & Jacob Burner.
    Dated 15 Jan 1778. Proved: 28 May 1778.


    IN THE NAME OF GOD, Amen. 1, Peter Ruffner Senr, of the Parish of Beckford, in the County of Dunmore, being of sound mind and perfect memory thans to God for the same do make & ordain this my last will and Testament in the manner and form following, that is to say, first of all I recommend my soul in a Christianlike manner at the discretion of my Executors hereinafter mentioned and as to what worldly---------estate it hath pleased God to bless me with I dispose thereof in the manner (Viz).
    Imprimis my Will and Desire is that all my just debts and funeral charges be first Paid and satisfied. Item - I give and bequeath unto my son Peter Ruffner all that Tract of Parcell of land whereon I now live except the part that is surveyed to the Mill Tract to his and his heirs for ever my Wife Mary Ruffner thirds excepted he paying to the following-person the sums of money hereafter mentioned. That is to say One hundred and fifty pound to Jacob Stober, my son in law as the same is stated that is to say the first year after my Death he shall pay Twenty-five pounds and so at the same rate till the whold at Trenty-five pounds a year is paid and three hundred fifty pounds to be paid to my beloved wife Mary Ruffner in the manner following that is to say fifty pounds a year from my Death until the whole is paid to her, to be given to her and her heirs and at the Disposal of my Beloved wife Mary Ruffner at he Deceased so that my beloved wife pay unto my son Manuel Ruffner the sum of fifty pounds on the day of his marriage so that its One year after my Deceased......
    Item - I give unto my son Joseph Ruffner one shilling beside the lands already given
    ltem - I give unto my son Benjamin Ruffner One shilling besided the land already given
    Item - I give unto my son Ruben Ruffner one shilling beside the land already given Item - It's my will and desire that my son Manuel Ruffner shall have the mills and the tract of land joining the same with the Price that was surveyed of the Track that I now live on which I think was Twenty-five acres. The line is marked, I give and Bequeath all my Horses etc., that am now possessed with to my son Emanual Ruffner except the Blue Roan horse and white horse which I bequeath to my beloved wife Mary Ruffner all my moveable estate not yet
    mentioned, she paying all my Just Debts in During her Natural Life or widowhood and after her Deceased or Marriage the same or to equal to be devided among my children
    Last, I do hereby make constitute and appoint my loving wife, Mary Ruffner, Executrix and my loving son Joseph
    Ruffner, and my friend Benjamin Strickler Exors of this my last will and Testament hereby revoking disanoling and making void all other Wills by me heretofore made declaring and confirming this only to be my last will
    and Testament. In Testimony whereof! have hereunto set my hand and seal this 15th, January 1778.
    Peter P.R. Ruffner (Seal)

    Signed, sealed, published, and declared by the Testator to be his last will and Testament in the presence of:

    Edwin Young Jacob J.B. Burner
    Selby Foley Christian C. G. Groves
    Jacob (written in German)
    At a Court held for the County Shenando the 28th of May 1778. The last will and testament of Peter Ruffner Deceased was Presented.

    The Ruffners
    By Dr. Henry Ruffner
    Emigrated to America in 1732, while still a young man. He sojourned for seven years in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania. There he married Mary Steinman, the daughter of a wealthy German land-holder, who assigned to him a patent obtained from King George ll for a baronial estate in Virginia on the waters of the Shenandoah River, in what was then Frederick County, afterwards Shenandoah, now Page. Thither he came with his wife, and as been suggested, with live stock and other conveniences. He certainly brought either money or means of making money, as was proved by his rapid accumulation of additional property, his original patent covered a belt of land beginning at the mouth of Hawkbill Creek. A Mill Stream which passes close to Luray, and continuing up the creek including both branches for eight miles. His lands were afterwards extended four miles farther up the two branches of the creek, which greatly improved the character of his estate.
    Peter established his dwelling at the "Big Spring," now on the edge of Luray where he and .after him his son Peter, and .after him a grandson Jonas, lived, reared large families, and died. After whom came Forrer, and after him the widow Chapman whose heroic sons distinguished themselves in Mosby’s command.. At the time when Peter Ruffner came there was a small settlement of Germans in the neighborhood, among whom were Stover, Strickler, Roller, Heistand, Beidler, etc.
    It is quite certain that Peter Ruffner came from Switzerland, yet there is an important statement made by Wm. S. Marye which brings him from the Kingdom of Hanover in Germany. Marye, one of the Fredericksburg Maryes, and an educated man, came in 1794 to the German settlement and lived for a time with a Scotchman named Mundell, who was engaged in merchandising. In 1802 he married Mary Ruffner the daughter of peter the second, and soon came into possession of the family records and traditions. In 1835 Marye wrote a history of the Ruffner family which contains a number of statements not found elsewhere, but which does not contradict the prevailing family tradition except on the one point in locating the paternal home of the first peter in Hanover. Marye bore so high a reputation for probity that we may ascribe his error to inadvertence. With this remark I will quote from his narrative:
    "Peter Ruffner the elder is the first of the Ruffner family of whom we have any intelligence in this country. He was a native of the kingdom of Hanover in Germany; was of the Teutonic-German stock; was the third son of a German baron, who owned large landed estates in Hanover. He spoke the high Dutch language (Hoch-Deutsch) and was in religion a Protestant of the Martin Luther school.
    "he was at an agricultural college, and before he got through his studies (with other students), he left college without the knowledge of his parents, and came to this country, having been attracted hither by the then glowing descriptions of America published in the German States. On arriving in this country, he located in one of the interior counties of Pennsylvania (Lancaster county, I think it was), where he very soon thereafter became acquainted with and married Miss Mary Steinman, the daughter of a very wealthy German farmer there, who owned a large landed property in the valley of Virginia. Said Steinman was a native of the kingdom of Wurtemburg in Germany; was of the Slavonic-German stock; he spoke the low Dutch (Platt Deutsch) language; he emigrated some years previously to this country, with considerable means, and had made a considerable fortune by farming and grazing, and had invested much of his surplus funds in those valuable wild lands in the valley of Virginia, along the Shenandoah river, and on both branches of the Hawksbill Creek, in Shenandoah county.
    Steinman gave to Ruffner a large body of very valuable land, situated on both branches of the Hawksbill Creek, to which said Ruffner and his wife Mary removed, and settled on the plantation now owned by and on which Jonas Ruffner resides, on the Hawksbill Creek, adjoining the town of Luray, where he lived many years with his wife Mary, and by her he had the following children, viz:
    1._Joseph. 2._Benjamin. 3._Reuben. 4._Peter. 5._Emmanuel. 6._Elizabeth.
    The said Peter Ruffner was only about nineteen years old when he came to America. He was a tall, fine looking man, being 6 feet 3 inches, of strong mind and with great energy of character; was a man of mark and of much influence in his neighborhood and county. His wife was said to be possessed of equally good parts; and they were both well calculated to do well in the world. They were industrious, thriving and prosperous farmers for many years and acquired much .additional landed property. They lived to a good old age, and died and were buried on the plantation on which they had first settled, having raised all their children, and settled them on good farms near to them, as they respectively got married.
    At the time Peter Ruffner the elder migrated to and settled in Shenandoah, there was a considerable settlement there of Slavonic Germans, mostly from Pennsylvania, the stock being of that extraction of Germans, with some few foreign Germans, all who spoke the low Dutch (Platt-Deutsch) language. Indeed at that early day, that part of the valley of Virginia was almost exclusively settled by this class of Germans, and it was with that class of Germans that the said Peter Ruffner became identified and inter-married afterwards."
    Had Marye located the Ruffner barony in Switzerland his narrative would have harmonized with some known facts. I am creditably informed that Judge Drew of Kanawha, when a student at Heidelburg University made the acquaintance of a Baron Ruffner (also a student) from Switzerland, and that their acquaintance is still continued by correspondence. No doubt this name is but another form of Ruffner. In 1876 at the Philadelphia exposition a Ruffner from Bern, Switzerland, exhibited chemicals. From various quarters it is reported that the name is now common and influential in the region about Bern.
    But evidence is accumulating which indicates that neither Germany nor Switzerland was the original fatherland of the Ruffners; but that they originally came from Italy. A tradition to this effect exists among at least three lines of people bearing the name in America, who are not known to be related to each other, and in a book entitled "Noblesse Francaise," which I examined in the old Philadelphia library, is to be found the name of Ruffiniar. The same name with the exception of the final "r" occurs very often among the Latin people both ancient and modern. Ruffinianus was a roman rhetorician; Ruffinus was a son of Poppaca by her first marriage to Rufus Crispinus. In the Gallic war there was a general Ruffinus. A number of others might be mentioned. The radical name of them all was probably Rufus, red, so named from the color of the soil.
    But the etymology of the name is of less consequence to us than the doings of the people of the Hawksbill. The man who brought the name certainly had enterprise and good judgment, for as heretofore said, large as was his tract of land on the Hawksbill he largely and rapidly added to it. Beautiful though partial views of his possessions may be obtained from the car windows for several miles south of Luray, looking east toward the blue ridge. We have no detailed information as to Peter’s additions except as to the purchase from lord Fairfax of 196 acres of land on the Hawksbill in 1761. The original deed in a somewhat mutilated condition is now on deposit in the state museum at Charleston. The handwriting is quite legible, but parts of the document are gone including the signature. The antique style of the deed, I think, possesses interest enough to justify the making of the following quotations from it, to wit:
    "the Right Honorable Lord Fairfax, Baron of Cameron, in that part of great Britain called Scotland, proprietor of the Northern Neck of Virginia: to all whom this present writing shall come, sends greeting.
    Know ye that for good causes, for and in consideration of the composition to me paid, and for the annual rent hereinafter named, I have given, granted and confirmed, and do hereby give, grant and confirm to Peter Ruffner of Frederick county, a certain tract * * * adjoining other land of Ruffner* * * on the branches of the Hawksbill. * * * bounded as follows * * * to have and to hold * * * royal mines excepted * * * and a full third part of lead, copper, tin, coals, iron mine and iron ore.
    "said Ruffner shall pay yearly and every year on the first day of St. Michael the Archangel the free rent of one shilling sterling money for every fifty acres.
    "given at my office * * * the fifth day of may in the first day of his Majesty George the Third, 1761."
    At that time the market towns of the producers of the Shenandoah county were Fredericksburg and Alexandria. Peter Ruffner continued to live and prosper where he first settled for 49 years. His death occurred in 1788 at the age of 76 years. His wife lived 10 years longer, and died at 84. They left five children, four sons and one daughter.
    The big spring home place was inherited by Peter’s fourth son and namesake, whose daughter Mary became the wife of Marye. This Peter the second had eleven children, one of whom Jonas succeeded to the ownership of the homestead. He built the brick residence occupied by the Chapman family. He donated the site of Luray, and is jestingly reported to have said "the land is poor and much of it too steep to plough--so you may have it!" I mentioned Jonas particularly because all of his fourteen children except one went to Kanawha about 1818 though the most of them passed on farther west. One of the daughters, Rebecca, married Frank Ruffner, and another, Mary Ann, married John B. Davenport. Descendants of these two families still live in Kanawha.
    To return to the immediate family of the first Peter, his eldest son Joseph was the progenitor of all the Kanawha Ruffners except the few just mentioned; but I postpone the full account of him until my next number, in order that I may mention a few miscellaneous items.
    The celebrated Luray cave is so much a matter of public interest that I will mention some facts concerning it. The hill in which the cave is situated belonged in early days to the Ruffner Family. So far as I can learn the first discovery of a cave in the hill was made by one of the sons of Joseph Ruffner, who went out soon afterward to Kanawha, and became one of its most prominent citizens. This cave is entered near the top of the hill, and is not the same as the one now so much visited; though there is scarcely a doubt but they are connected. It was probably in 1793 or 1794 that Ruffner, then not grown, and a companion, chased a fox into a hole. Ruffner digged for him, and to his astonishment uncovered the mouth of a cave, the opening to which descended vertically into the earth a distance of perhaps 30 feet. The hole remained open, but was not explored immediately on account of the formidable look of the entrance. After a time, however, the cave was entered by a Ruffner. As to this point the testimonials are unanimous, but I have not been able to determine just which of the Ruffners it was. The best account we have of the attempt at exploration was published in the Shenandoah Herald in 1825. This account was copied in the Virginia Gazetteer, and in the Lexington, Virginia, Intelligence the same year, and has formed the basis of most of what has been said about it. In 1880 two college-bred gentlemen visited Luray, and published what they could gather in their Little book of travels under the names of "ego" and "alter." They were thoroughly trustworthy, and I will quote their account of the adventure, as follows:
    "A Mr. Ruffner who was nearly as much celebrated for deeds of sylvan prowess as the renowned putnam, in passing this cave some thirty years age, namely, in 1795, conceived the bold and hazardous design of entering it alone. He accordingly placed his rifle across the mouth to indicate, in case of accident to his friends in case they should happen to see it, that he was in the cave. He descended, but soon fell and put out his light, and as must have been expected, was soon bewildered and lost in its labyrinth of passages. It happened that some of his friends in passing the cave discovered his gun, and rightly concluding that he had gone into it, they procured lights and entered in search of him. They found and brought him out after he had been in for forty-eight hours. This brave fellow was among the pioneers who were foremost in exploring and settling our western frontier; and was at last killed by the Indians after have performed deeds of valor which would have done honor to the character of a hero."
    This cave was long known as "Ruffner’s cave," and was so put down on the old maps. I have a map now with the cave thus marked. One feature of the tradition is not mentioned by "ego" and "alter," namely, that Ruffner dropped a pine sapling into the vertical mouth of the cave, and used it as a ladder.
    With regard to the Ruffner who is above mentioned as the first who entered the cave it could not be denied, for he was not an Indian fighter, and was not killed by the Indians. The early Ruffners were Mennonites, an anti-war sect, and could not be expected to furnish many fighters; but schuricht in his history of the Germans in Virginia names a number of noted indian fighters among the early settlers, and among them "George Ruffner." But i have no other knowledge of him. In fact the first three generations of Ruffners were so prolific that there is no record in existence of all their names.
    So far as my information goes, I should incline to assign the early fighters to the family of Emmanuel, the youngest son of the first Peter. He had a large family and was himself a giant in size and strength. His arm is reported to have been as large as the leg of a common sized man. In 1805 he removed to Fairfield County, Ohio. Concerning his family history I have almost no accurate knowledge; but I always suspected that it was one of his sons who performed a remarkable feat, which was reported in the newspapers many, many years ago under the caption of "Ruffner against Crockett." In order that the story may not be wholly forgotten I will tell it here as I remember it.
    Ruffner, who lived on the bank of the Ohio, was roused from sleep one winter night by the violent barking of his dogs which were driving some animal into the river. Ruffner dashed down the bank, thinking the animal was probably a deer, and when he found that the dogs and their game had taken water, he plunged in after them. Ice was running freely in the river, but on he went, and when he reached the other side he found his dogs in fierce conflict with a large black wolf. But the wolf slashed the dogs so savagely as to clear the space around him, and there he stood ready to fight the master. Ruffner was in his night-clothes and without any sort of weapon, but he set the dogs on him again, and whilst they were scuffling in the edge of the water, he seized the wolf by the hind legs and tried to drown him, but failing in this he swung him high in the air, and brought his head down upon a rock, crushing his skull. Such a man as this would consider the exploring of a cave an easy venture.
    Peter Ruffner the elder had one son and a daughter who were content with their Hawksbill Farms, and never went west; but he had another son who possessed the adventurous spirit of the early Ruffners, and went off with his family to Kentucky.
    Peter Ruffner’s posterity now considerably exceed one thousand in number, a goodly increase in one hundred and sixty-five years.
    Lexington, Va., April 10, 1901

    The following material has been abstracted from a pamphlet which was published announcing the Ruffner Family Reunion which celebrated the bicentennial of the arrival of the Joseph and Ann (Heistand) Ruffner Family in the Kanawha River Valley of West Virginia. The Reunion was held in Charleston, West Virginia on June 3rd and 4th 1995.

    PETER RUFFNER COMES TO AMERICA --- The story of the Ruffner Family! in America has its roots in the emigration of so many Europeans to America in early days of the Eighteenth Century when economic and religious conditions were driving many a young person to seek their freedom and fortune in the West. Nineteen year old Peter Ruffner arrived in Philadelphia with his sister, Mary, in 1732. Speaking "High Dutch" the 6'3" tall young adventurer who came from the German Region of Switzerland, soon moved to the German speaking settlement of Lancaster, Pennsylvania. He lived there seven years before taking a bride, the twenty-five year old Mary, daughter of Joseph Steinman In that same year the couple emigrated to the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia to live on a land patent given as a wedding present by her father. There on the Hawksbill Creek at the Big Springs they built their log home where their children became the first generation Ruffners born in America. That area, now known as Luray,. Page County, Virginia was the first home of their eight children; Joseph, Benjamin, Catherine,. Peter, Jr., Reuben, Tobias, Elizabeth, and Emanuel.
    Peter the father died in 1778 and Mary in 1798. Little Catherine had died as a child and Tobias at age fifteen. They were all buried on the Ruffner’s homestead. The industrious farmer, Peter had planted in his children the success that comes from hard labor, a mark that these children would take with them as they in turn would begin the trek into the Northwest Territory and beyond At the age of forty one Reuben was the first to leave The Shenandoah Valley taking his wife Catherine and children to Kentucky before 1789. At the age of forty five , Joseph took his wife Ann and their children into the Kanawha Valley in 1795. Emanuel, at the age of forty six moved to Fairfield County, Ohio in 1803, along with his wife and their children. Benjamin and Peter Jr. chose to stay on the old homestead. Daughter Elizabeth married Jacob Stover and moved to Strasburg, Virginia.
    It would be the third and fourth generations that continued the move westward, as they too opened up new territory, planting their farms and commercial industry throughout Ohio, Kentucky, Illinois, Michigan, Colorado, and Arizona. Today there are descendants of Peter and Mary Ruffner in all fifty states of the Union, a Union whose split in 1860 tested the resolve of the Ruffner political loyalties between brothers and sisters who like so many families at the time chose to serve on opposing sides in that great conflict. The Civil War or also know as The War Between The States. In all stage of our Nation’s History and in all issues defining those stage , Ruffners were there. Peter, the father, was sixty two when the American Revolution began, and his support for that effort was carried on by his sons who began a long line of military service to the United States. A fine record of those Ruffner men and women who have served in the military is to be found in the family history published by Oliver and Doris Ruffner. Their Chronicle of the Ruffner Family well documents the many generations who have become successful across the country in Public Service. Education, the Law, Religion, and Commercial trade. The legacy of Peter and Mary Ruffner lives on in the descendants.
    1713 - Peter Ruffner born in Germany/Switzerland.
    1714 - Mary Steinman born in Pennsylvania daughter of Joseph Steinman.
    1732 - Nineteen year old Peter Ruffner arrives in America with his sister Mary Ruffner
    1734 - Orange County was formed, containing all of the Virginia Territory West of the Blue Ridge Mountains.
    1739 - Peter Ruffner married Mary Steinman in Lancaster, Pennsylvania and they migrate to the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia to homestead on the Hawksbill River Patent near Big Springs. Peter Ruffner sister, Mary, married Abraham Strickler.
    1740 - Joseph Ruffner is born to Peter and Mary Ruffner.
    1742 - Benjamin Ruffner, Sr. is born to Peter & Mary Ruffner at the Hawksbill Homestead.
    1744 - Catherine Ruffner is born to Peter & Mary Ruffner but dies at a young age
    1746 - Peter Ruffner ll is born at Big Spring on the Hawksbill.
    1748 - Reuben Ruffner is born to Peter & Mary on the Hawksbill.
    1752 - Tobias Ruffner is born to Peter & Mary Ruffner.
    1755 - Elizabeth Ruffner is born to Peter & Mary Ruffner. The Shawnee Indians attack the Draper’s Meadow Settlement in the Blue Ridge Mountains and take captive Mary (Draper) Ingles and her son Thomas, who was the first white child born west of the Alleghenies. After Mary escaped she told of seeing Indians gathering salt where Campbell Creek enters the Kanawha River. This became know as the “Salt Tale”.
    1757 - Emanuel Ruffner, last child of Peter & Mary Ruffner is born at Big Spring on the Hawksbill.
    1764 - Joseph Ruffner marries Ann Heistand.
    1767 - Fifteen year old Tobias Mary Ruffner dies at his parents home on the Hawksbill
    1770 - George Washington visits the mouth of the Kanawha River where it enters the Great Ohio River. Fort Savannah is built at a place that later became known as Lewisburg.
    1775 - The Battle of Lexington and Concord which begins the American Revolution in Massachusetts. The Continental Congress meets in Philadelphia Pennsylvania.
    1776 - Declaration of Independence from Great Britain adopted.
    1778 - Peter Ruffner dies at his home on the Hawksbill Creek at Big Spring.
    1781 - The British surrender at Yorktown, Virginia.
    1786 - The Virginia General Assembly adopts the Statute for Religious Freedom.
    1788 - Col. David Ruffner married Lydia Ann Brumbach. George Clendenin built a fort on the Kanawha River near the mouth of the Elk River.
    1789 - Reuben Ruffner takes his family to a new home in Kentucky. The Virginia Assembly establishes Kanawha County.
    1790 - Henry Ruffner is born to David and Ann Ruffner.
    1791 - George Clendenin and Daniel Boone are elected to the Virginia Legislature from Kanawha County.
    1794 - The Virginia General Assembly creates a town at the site and lands of Clendenin’s Fort and named it Charleston.
    1795 - Joseph & Ann Ruffner take their family to the Kanawha River Valley and live for a year at George Clendenin's Fort. Joseph bought land from Clendenin & Bullitt making him the largest landholder in Charleston.
    1796 - Colonel David Ruffner sells the last of his father’s farm on the Hawksbill and moves to Clendenin’s Fort where he and his family live for the next ten years.
    1797 - Lewis Ruffner is born to David & Ann Ruffner. The first white child to be born in the city of Charleston.
    1798 - Mary (Steinman) Ruffner dies at her home in the Shenandoah Valley. Joseph Ruffner is a delegate to Virginia General Assembly.
    1799 - David Ruffner is a delegate to Virginia General Assembly. He served a total of five terms.
    1803 - Joseph Ruffner dies at his home near Ruffner Hollow in n the Kanawha Valley. His brother, Emanuel Ruffner moves his family from Virginia to Fairfield County, Ohio.
    1806 - Benjamin Ruffner, Sr. died at his home on the Hawksbill Creek
    1808 - David & Tobias Ruffner bored the first salt well at Campbell Creek, Kanawha Valley.
    1811 - Peter Ruffner, Jr. dies at the old family homestead on Hawksbill Creek
    1815 - Daniel Ruffner builds Holly Grove Mansion at Ruffner Hollow.
    1817 - David & Tobias Ruffner discovered coal in the Kanawha Valley
    1819 - Henry Ruffner establishes the Kanawha Presbyterian church.
    1821 - General Lewis Ruffner is elected to the Virginia Genera] Assembly.
    1822 - Reuben Ruffner dies in Kentucky.
    1832 - Fire destroys the inside of Holly Grove Mansion, the home of Daniel Ruffner. David and Daniel Ruffner build their steam powered flour and saw mill.
    1834 - Augustus Ruffner builds his home, and calls it Cedar Grove.
    1837 - Joseph Ruffner II died at his home in Cincinnati, Ohio
    1839 - Daniel Ruffner is elected sheriff of Kanawha County.
    1843 - Colonel Davis Ruffner died at his home in Malden. Joel Ruffner and Richard Putney are elected Justices of the Peace.
    1847 - Dr. Henry Ruffner writes his famous "Ruffner Pamphlet” calling it the Emancipation of the Slaves.
    1848 - Dr. Henry Ruffner retires as President of Washington College in Lexington, Virginia and returned to Malden in the Kanawha Valley.
    1860 - The South secedes from the Union and the Civil War begins.
    1861 - Dr. Henry Ruffner died at Malden. The Confederate and Union Armies clash in the Kanawha Valley.
    1863 -West Virginia breaks away from Virginia, becoming a northern State and General Lewis Ruffner is elected to the West Virginia Legislature.
    1865 - Daniel Ruffner died. His son James inherited Holly Grove Mansion. The Civil War ended and many Ruffner sons return home, but others less fortunate did not.
    1995 - The Ruffner Family had a Reunion in Charleston, West Virginia to celebrate the Bicentennial and the arrival of Joseph and Ann (Heistand) Ruffner and their family to the beautiful Kanawha River Valley of West Virginia

    Peter married Mary STEINMAN 1739, Lancaster County, Pennsylvania. Mary (daughter of Joseph STEINMAN and Francia UNKNOWN) was born 1 Sep 1714, Lancaster County, Pennsylvania; died 1798, Page County, Virginia; was buried Ruffner's Plantation, Shenandoah County, Now Page County, Virginia. [Group Sheet]

  2. 9.  Mary STEINMAN was born 1 Sep 1714, Lancaster County, Pennsylvania (daughter of Joseph STEINMAN and Francia UNKNOWN); died 1798, Page County, Virginia; was buried Ruffner's Plantation, Shenandoah County, Now Page County, Virginia.


    Wm. S. Marye's letter to son:

    "Your mother (Mary Ruffner) was the most beautiful lady I think I have ever seen. I lived at Mundellsville where I courted and married her. Her father's place was only about 1 1/2 miles down the Hawksbill Creek from Mundellsville. I visited there for a long time with much pleasure to myself in my young days. I removed from Culpeper to the Shenandoah in 1794 at the age of 19 years. Your mother and I have had 15 children. When I left Culpeper I was a mere boy just out of the William and Mary College where I studied the languages, mathematics and other branches usual in College. Nothing was spoken in this part of the country but the German language, the low Dutch. I procured a quantity of German books of the very best autohros and very soon became the best German scholar in this region. I learned to speak, read and write the Hock Deutsch and the Platt Deutch (High and low Dutch) languages.

    _ ___ ____________ ____ ___ ___ ____ _____ _ ____
    There is a tradition in the Strickler family that Abraham married Peter Ruffner's only sister. Ruffner was the ancestor of the well known family who located in the Massanutten neighborhood in 1739. Some of the Ruffners became prominent in education. In 1746 Peter Ruffnough (Ruffner) qualified as administrator of the estate of Abraham Strickler, dec'd. This fact strengthens the tradition.

    __ ___ ______ _____ ____ ________ ______ ____ ________

    1. 4. Joseph RUFFNER was born 25 Sep 1740, Page County, Virginia; died 23 Mar 1803, Charleston, West Virginia.
    2. Benjamin RUFFNER was born 14 Aug 1742, Page County, Virginia; died 1806, Page County, Virginia; was buried On Ruffner Plantation, Page County, Virginia.
    3. Cahterine RUFFNER was born 13 May 1744, Fredrick (Page) County, Virginia; died 1826, Shenandoah (Page) County, Virginia.
    4. Peter RUFFNER was born 13 Dec 1746, Shenandoah County, Now Page County, Virginia; died 20 May 1811, Shenandoah County, Now Page County, Virginia.
    5. Reuben RUFFNER was born 20 Oct 1748, Page County, Virginia; died 1822, Page County, Virginia.
    6. Tobias RUFFNER was born 4 Aug 1752, Page County, Virginia; died 1767, Page County, Virginia.
    7. Elizabeth RUFFNER was born 4 Mar 1755, Shenandoah County, Virginia; died Bef 1816, Near Strasburg, Virginia.
    8. Emanuel RUFFNER was born 31 Mar 1757, Page County, Virginia; died 4 Jun 1848, Page County, Virginia.

  3. 10.  Henry HEISTAND was born 1726; died 1799.
    1. 5. Anne HEISTANAD was born 15 Oct 1742, Frederick County, Virginia; died 29 Aug 1820, Charleston, West Virginia.

  4. 14.  Martin KAUFFMAN (son of Michael KAUFMAN and Ann KNEISLEY); died 1749, Shenandoah County, Virginia.

    Martin — Barbara STAUFFER. [Group Sheet]

  5. 15.  Barbara STAUFFER
    1. Nancy KAUFFMAN died 1772; was buried Opposit Mouth Of Mill Creek, Page County, Virginia.
    2. David KAUFFMAN died 15 Jul 1804.
    3. Martin KAUFFMAN was born 1714, Page County, Virginia; died 1805.
    4. 7. Ann KAUFFMAN was born 1740; died 22 Sep 1778.