Tombstone Tuesday–Jacob and Regina Rueck

Jacob and Regina Rueck, Aurora Cemetery, Marion County, Oregon

This is the tombstone of Jacob and Regina (Gross) Rueck. This grave marker is located in Section C of Aurora Cemetery, Marion County, Oregon. The grave marker is inscribed: RUECK, Jacob, Dec. 24, 1828-Jan. 23, 1918, Father; Regina, July 22, 1833-Feb. 8, 1889, Mother.

I am not sure when this tombstone photo was taken. You can tell it is old by looking at the vehicles in the background. This is the only photograph that I have of Jacob and Regina’s tombstone and it came from my great-aunt Clara (Miller) Reef. Clara was Jacob and Regina’s granddaughter and was the youngest child of Jacob and Christine (Rueck) Miller. Christine lived with Clara for several years before she died.

Also buried in Section B of Aurora Cemetery are Carl Rueck (1872-1933), Jacob Rueck (1857-1935), Jacob L. Rueck (1868-1941), Regina Rueck (1870-1951). Carl and Jacob [Jr] were brothers and Jacob L. and Regina were husband and wife. Regina was also the sister of Carl and Jacob [Jr].

Jacob (1828-1918) and Regina (Gross) Rueck (1833-1889)

Jacob and Regina (Gross) Rueck and their immediate family immigrated to America from Württemberg about 1880. Their family consisted of Johann George (1856-1925, married Mary Clowser), Jacob Jr. (1857-1935), Christina (1858-1945, married Jacob Miller), Friedrich (1860-1824, married Mary Prollock), Catherine “Katie” (1866-1955, married Dietrich Harms), David (1868-1956), Regina (1870-1951, married Jacob Rueck), and Carl (1872-1933). Jacob Jr, David, and Carl never married. Christine lived in Ohio, Fred lived in Oklahoma and the rest lived in Oregon.

Jacob Rueck in Oregon

Jacob Rueck farm, Clackamas County, Oregon.

The story of the Jacob and Regina (Gross) Rueck family continues in Oregon. Jacob Rueck Sr. sold his farm in Van Wert County in 1884 and most of the family moved to Oregon.

Family members that moved to Oregon: Jacob and Regina, Johann George, Jacob Jr., Catherine “Katie”, David, Regina, and Carl. Fred moved on to Kansas and changed the spelling of his surname to Ruck. Christine stayed in Ohio.

I located Jacob Rueck Sr. and his children in Barlow, Clackamas County, enumerated in the 1900 US census. Regina passed away in 1889 and Jacob Sr. was living with three of his children. Jacob Sr. was listed as a widower. His date of birth was December 1828 and he was 71 years old. Others in the household were David (son), 31; Regina (daughter), 29; Carl (son), 27; Rosa (grand niece), 16; and Emma (grand niece), 14.

The 1900 census also tells us that Jacob, David, Regina, and Carl immigrated in 1880. All but daughter Regina were naturalized. All of the men were farmers and Jacob owned his farm with no mortgage. (1900 US census, Barlow, Clackamas, Roll 623_1345:3A, ED 79)

David, Carl, Jacob Jr, Jacob L, & Regna (Rueck) Rueck

Jacob Rueck Jr. was enumerated just four households away from Jacob Sr. in 1900. Jacob Jr. was single, age 43, born May 1857. According to this census he immigrated in 1881. He was naturalized and owned his farm with no mortgage. (1900 US census, Barlow, Clackamas, Roll 623_1345:3A, ED 79)

John George Rueck, another son, was living in Macksburgh, Clackamas, Oregon, in 1900.  Their family consisted of John G., 44, head; Mary M., 36, wife; and children Rachael, 7; Augusta, 5; and Isaac C., 3. John George was a farmer and owned his farm without a mortgage. (1900 US census, Macksburgh, Clackamas, Oregon, Roll T623_1345:20B, ED 86)

Catherine “Katie”, daughter, marred Dietrich Harmes about 1887 and they were also living in Macksburgh. They lived fairly close to her brother John George. In the Harmes household were “Detrich”, 49, head; Katie, 32, wife; children Alma, 12; Julia, 10; Waldene, 8; Grover, 7; Katie, 5; Lily, 3; and Herman, 10 months. Dietrich was born in Germany and immigrated in 1872. He was a farmer and owned his farm without a mortgage. (1900 US census, Macksburgh, Clackamas, Oregon, Roll T623_1345:19B, ED 86)

David (1868-1956) and Regina Rueck (1870-1957), brother & sister

Where is Clackamas County, Oregon, located and why did the Ruecks move there? I found some information about the area on the Clackamas County website. The county is in north central Oregon and is one of the counties that make up the Portland metropolitan area. The county has a lot of timberland and includes Mt. Hood and the Mt. Hood National Forest. Barlow is the smallest town in the county. The town of Canby is nearby and letters sent to Christine years ago were postmarked Canby. Most of Clackamas County is rural and some of Oregon’s richest farmland is in the area surrounding Canby.

Between 1883 and 1888 three railroads were constructed in Oregon which created a trade and a population boom. Many immigrants moved to Oregon at the end of the 19th century, period of Oregon’s industrial expansion. Many Germans sought the urban jobs but apparently the Ruecks were more interested in farming.

Who were the grand nieces living with Jacob Sr.? Check in next week to find out.

Tombstone Tuesday–Fred and Mary Ruck

Tombstone of Fred & Mary Ruck, Zion Cemetery, Orlando, Oklahoma. Photo courtesy of Joyce Layman.

This is the tombstone of Fred and Mary Ruck, located in Zion Cemetery, about 2½ miles west of Orlando, in Logan County, Oklahoma. The gravestone is inscribed: RUCK, Mary, Nov 4, 1861-Feb 23, 1956; Fred, Aug 5 1860-Apr 10, 1924.

Johann Friedrich “Fred” Rueck was the fourth child of my great-great-grandparents, Jacob and Regina (Gross) Rueck. He was also the brother of my great-grandmother, Christine (Rueck) Miller.  Mary was the daughter of Michael and Eva (Maurer) Prollock.

Fred changed the spelling of his surname from Rueck to Ruck sometime before 1900.

Fred Ruck’s Obituary:

Fred Ruck was born in Steinback, Württemberg, Germany, August 5, 1860. He died at his home near Orlando, Oklahoma, at 3 p.m. April 10th, 1924, age 63 years, 8 months and 5 days.

He came to America with his parents in 1880 and settled in Ohio. He moved to Kansas in 1884 and was united in marriage to Mary Prollock the same year. To this union was born seven children, two of these preceding him in death.

In 1891 the family moved to Oklahoma and settled on a farm near Orlando, where he made his home until he departed this life.

Mr. Ruck was converted under the labors of Bro. Nannings and remained a true believer in Jesus Christ throughout his life. He was always ready and willing to give a helping hand at all times.

He leaves to mourn his departure a wife and five children, namely, Mrs. Katie Wait of Sawyer, Frank Ruck of El Dorado, Kansas, Mrs. Lena Frey, Fred and Marie Ruck of Orlando, also 11 grandchildren, four brothers and three sisters and host of relatives and friends. He endured his suffering patiently until the death angel called to his eternal reward. Mr. Ruck will be greatly missed by his many friends, having lived in this community for 33 years. He was a loving husband, father and friend. (Orlando Clipper, 18 April 1924)

Mary (Prollock) Ruck’s obituary:

Rites for Mrs. Mary Ruck, 94, pioneer of the Orlando community, will be held at 2 p.m. Sunday in the United Evangelical Church at Orlando, Rev. E.A. Pauli officiate. Burial will be in Zion Cemetery, west of Orlando. Smith Funeral Home is in charge of the arrangements.

Mrs. Ruck died Thursday morning at the home of her daughter Mrs. Lena Fry in Mulhall. In addition to Mrs. Frey, she is survived by two sons, Frank Ruck of Eldorado, Kansas, and Fred Ruck of Orlando and one other daughter, Mrs. Marie Scott of Orlando, 12 grandchildren, 40 great-grandchildren, and two great-great-grandchildren. In 1883 she came to America and settled in Clay Center, Kansas. One year later she married Fred Ruck and they lived there until 1889, when they moved to Orlando, Oklahoma. (from an unidentified newspaper)

According to family information Fred and Mary knew each other in Germany and planned to marry each other later.

Fred & Mary (Prollock) Ruck, Frank & Katie.

Fred and Mary (Prollock) were living in Orlando, Logan County, Oklahoma, when they were enumerated in the 1900 census. Fred was 39 years of age and Mary 38. They were both born in Germany. At that time they had four children: Katie, 16; Frank, 14; Lena, 10; Fred, 6. Katie and Frank were born in Kansas while Lena and Fred were born in Oklahoma. This census shows that the couple had been married for sixteen years and that Fred immigrated in 1880 and was naturalized. Fred was a farmer who owned his farm without a mortgage. (1900 US census, Orlando, Logan, Oklahoma, T623_1339:6B, ED 144)

Fred and Mary had five children that lived to adulthood: Frank (1886-1965), Katie (1888-1947), Lena (1890-1975), Fred Jr (1893-1977), and Marie (1903-1982).

I have a copy of a letter written by Lena (Ruck) Dupy, granddaughter of Fred and Mary Ruck. She also lived in Oklahoma. The letter was written to my great-aunt Clara (Miller) Reef in 1995 and gives a little family history. I will share the letter sometime.

I want to thank my distant cousins Joyce Layman and Vic Keyes for giving me most of the above information as well as the tombstone photo. I recently met Joyce and Vic on-line.


Wild turkey on the move in our yard.

Gobble, gobble. This wild turkey walked through our yard on Memorial Day this year. Apparently he had his holidays a little mixed up. I wonder if he survived to Thanksgiving Day. His photo is  a little blurry because he was moving fairly quickly as he passed  through.

We had a domestic turkey yesterday for our Miller Thanksgiving Day dinner. However, it gave birth to a little pheasant breast. I guess you could call it a “TurSant”, the Miller version of a “TurDuckEn”. Turducken: a chicken inside a duck inside a turkey. Really! I’m not kidding. My boss actually had a Turducken for Thanksgiving a couple years ago.

My dad acquired the pheasant from Mark Kimmel. Mark shot several pheasants and gave one to my dad. My mom wasn’t sure how to cook this little game bird. She heard that pheasant meat is a little dry so I believe Aunt Kate suggested that she cook it inside the turkey. It turned out very well. It was not dry and it tasted just like turkey. Duh! It was cooked inside a turkey!

Turkey cooked with pheasant breast inside.

Thanks to my mom for the great Thanksgiving Day dinner with all the trimmings. She also makes the best pumpkin pie. The whole meal was simply scrumtrulescent. Thank you Jeff for that word.

I don’t remember much about our family Thanksgiving dinners when I was very young. Evidently the Millers used to get together on Thanksgiving. I found the following old newspaper clipping among some other clippings from Grandma Miller (Gertrude). The clipping was not dated but I estimate the year was either 1958 or 1959:


Mr. and Mrs. Carl F. Miller and daughter Ann of near Willshire, Ohio, were hosts to a family dinner on Thanksgiving Day.

Following the dinner the afternoon was spent in visiting.

The family circle was complete with the following present: Mr. and Mrs. Robert Werner, Roger, Gary, Linda and Phillip of Harmony, Pa.; Mr. and Mrs. Paul Linn, Judy, David, Jeanne and Debbie of Lima, Ohio; Mr. and Mrs. Herbert Miller and Karen; Mr. and Mrs. Norval Weitz, Ronnie, Gloria and Jack; Mr. and Mrs. Paul Eichlar [sic] and Eddie of Rockford, Ohio; Mr. and Mrs. Kenneth Miller of Hammond; Mr. and Mrs. LaVerne Miller, Jacalyn, Bradley and Douglas and the host family, Mr. and Mrs. Carl F. Miller and Ann.

Mr. and Mrs. Robert Werner and family remained for the week end. 

Undated clipping from unknown newspaper. (Thanksgiving c1958-59)

The article was probably from the Willshire Herald, now known as the Photo Star. Those little family news items newspapers used to print are great.

What I do remember about family get-togethers at Grandma and Grandpa Millers: There were a lot of us. There were card tables set up in every available room. The kids usually ate on the card tables in Grandma’s bedroom. There was a lot of good food.

I remember my mom hosting our Schumm side of the family for Thanksgiving several times. The holiday meals on that side of the family were not pot-luck. The hostess fixed the entire meal. That certainly sounds like a lot of work.

The Bennetts always have their Thanksgiving dinner on the Saturday before Thanksgiving. They combine the holiday dinner with an Ohio State football game, which always had been the big OSU/Michigan game. That rivalry game is now played on the Saturday after Thanksgiving. Go Bucks!

Each person in the Bennett family has their own special dishes that they take. I always take an Old Fashioned Cream Pie. My sister-in-law originally made this pie for the holidays but they now live out of state and are not able to attend. This pie turns out well for me so I have been entrusted with the task of bringing this Bennett family favorite. Also my favorite pie, by the way.

According to a recent article by Mikaela Conley of ABC, feeling thankful is good for your health. Thankfulness is linked to positive changes in the brain and body. When you feel thankful the brain releases dopamine, which has a positive effect on mood and emotional well-being.

We have a lot to be thankful for and we should always remember that. So keep thinking those thankful thoughts.

I hope everyone had a very nice Thanksgiving Day with family and friends. Now I think I’ll have another piece of pumpkin pie.

Tombstone Tuesday–Wavil J. and Clara C. Reef

Wavil J & Clara C Reef, Zion Lutheran Cemetery, Chattanooga, Ohio

This is the tombstone of Wavil J. and Clara C. Reef. The grave marker is located in row 10 of Zion Lutheran Cemetery, Chattanooga, Mercer County, Ohio. The inscription is: REEF, Clara C., 1899-1997, Wavil J., 1901-1964, Married Nov 25, 1925.

Clara was the youngest child of Jacob and Christine (Rueck) Miller. She was born 4 December 1899 in Blackcreek Township, Mercer County, Ohio. She was baptized at Zion Lutheran Church, Chattanooga, on 2 January 1900 and was christened Klara Ida Müller, according to Zion’s records.   She grew up on the Miller farm on Sipe Road and she was my great-aunt. She died 17 February 1997 in Mercer County.

Wavil J. “Johnny” Reef was born 13 June 1901 near Bryant in Jay County, Indiana. He was the son of Oliver and Margaret (Whitney) Reef. He died 6 June 1964 in Mercer County. Johnny and Clara married 24 November 1925 at Zion, Chattanooga.

Wavil "Johnny" Reef (1901-1964)

Their obituaries:

W.J. Reef Passes AwayWavel [sic] Jennings (John) Reef, 62, died suddenly Saturday evening at his home near Chattanooga. Although he had been in failing health since last March, his death was the result of a heart attack.

He was a farmer and an electrician but had been unable to work since March. He was a member of Zion Lutheran Church at Chattanooga.

Born June 13, 1901, near Bryant, Ind., his parents were the late Oliver and Margaret Whitney Reef. He was married in Mercer County 38 years ago to Clara Miller and she survives with one daughter, Mrs. I.D. (Cynthia) Hileman, R. 1, Willshire, two grandchildren, a brother, Harley Reef, Toledo, and two sisters, Mrs. Frank Copic, Toledo, and Mrs. Curney Lindsey, New Corydon, Ind.

Yager Funeral Home in Berne, Ind., has charge of arrangements and friends may call there until noon Tuesday, when the body will be removed to the church to lie in state until the time of the rites. Funeral services are set for 2 p.m. Tuesday in Zion Lutheran Church with pastor, the Rev. Arnold Green, officiating. (The Daily Standard, 8 June 1964, page 1)

Johnny Reef wiring a night light on the Miller farm.

Clara ReefClara Reef, 97, Shane Hill Nursing Home, died there at 2:50 a.m. Monday. She was born Dec. 4, 1899, in Mercer County, to Jacob and Christina (Rueck) Miller. In November 1925 she married Wavil “Johnny” Reef, who preceded her in death.

Survivors are a daughter, Cynthia Hileman, Decatur, Ind., and three grandchildren. She was preceded in death by three brothers, three sisters, a half-brother and a half-sister.

She was a homemaker and member of Zion Evangelical Lutheran Church, Chattanooga.

Services are 2 p.m. Wednesday at the church, the Rev. Theodore O. Dockter officiating. Burial is at the church cemetery. Calling is 4-7 p.m. Tuesday and 9-11:30 a.m. Wednesday at Yager-Kirchofer Funeral Home, Berne, Ind., and an hour prior to services at the church.  Contributions can be made to the church. (The Daily Standard, 17 Feb 1997, p.5A)

Clara (Miller) Reef (1899-1997)

I remember Johnny and Clara very well. They lived just down the road from where I grew up. When I was very little I used to run down to their house to see their daughter Cindy.

Johnny was the local electrician and he and my dad wired a lot of homes and barns in the area and put up many night lights. Johnny was quite a kidder and jokester. I remember that he would always give a chamber pot to a newly wedded couple as a wedding gift. At their wedding reception the couple would take the lid off the pot and blush and laugh at whatever was inside the pot. I wasn’t allowed to take a peek at what was inside because I guess I was too young. But I was always curious about the pot’s contents. I imagine it contained something like corn cobs. Hopefully nothing worse!

Johnny Reef & his niece Ruth joking around.

What I remember most about Clara were her cats. She had a lot of cats. There were cats of all colors, sizes and ages in the house as well as in the barnyard. Every stray cat in the area must have known they could take shelter at the Reef farm.

Johnny, Cindy & Clara on the Miller porch swing.

Clara’s mother, Christine (Rueck) Miller, stayed with the Reefs from about 1929 until she died in 1945. After Clara passed away Cindy gave me a stack of letters written to Christine from her family that had moved out west. Unfortunately, most of those letters were written in the old German script. I can read some German script in church records but I don’t know enough German to read whole letters. Maybe someday I will get them translated. However, a few of the letters were written in English and I was able to get some information from them.