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GEORGE W. RUCKMAN. – One of the men who have been in the front rank of progress and aiding the advancement of the interests of the county of Union, is mentined above, and it is right to remark that Mr. Ruckman has been a leader in several distinct ines of industry in the county, having made a record of success in each one that s enviable and gratifying, and it is a matter of compliment to the county that she is the possessor of one who has ability to manipulate in such worthy manner various industries, each one of which is sufficient achievement for a single individual to gain in order to receive the commendations of his fellows.
George W. was born on April 2, 1848, in Wapello, Iowa, being the son of William and Mary (Miller) Ruckman, natives, respectively, of Pennsylvania and Ohio, and his father wrought at the blacksmith forge together with farming. Our subject was educated in the district schools of Iowa and devoted himself to assisting his father on the farm until he was twenty three years of age. In 1871 he crossed the plains to Oregon, using teams for the journey from Ogden, Utah, west, and landing in Walla Walla, Washington, on June 18, 1871, and worked for two and one-half months on a farm there, then came to the Grande Ronde valley, arriving here on September 4, 1871. He at once took up a half section of school land near the Methodist church, south, two and one-half miles from his present place, and remained there for one year, breaking up the sod and doing general farming. He then sold out and removed to his present place, which is two miles east from Alicel. He at first bought two hundred acres and took upgeneral farming and stock raising. To this land he has added betimes until he owns six hundred and eighty acres of good land in one body, which is all under cultivation, producing beets, alfalfa and the cereals. He also owns eighty acres of woodland west of Summerville. Mr. Ruckman is to be complimented on the lead he has taken in raising sugar beets, having been in that industry for four years and now contracts two hundred and eighty acres of that saccharine vegetable to the sugar plant. Mr. Ruckman also takes agreat interest in fine stock, making a specialty of mules, having imported from Virginia the finest jack in the county. He raises about fifteen mules each year. His interest is as great in good horses, having a well bred Hambeltonian stallion, and raising some good roadsters and also working animals among the former, he produced one that was sold toSenator Slater. Mr. Ruckman bought five full blood shorthorn animals from J.C. Combs, of Missouri, and has a fine herd of cattle. He raises good Poland China and Berkshire hogs. His farm is most skillfully handled and his orchard is one of the best in the county. He has trees three and five years old, and they are all in bearing at the present time, having three acres, each acre supporting one hundred trees. During the years of 1884-5-6, Mr. Ruckman did a business in agricultural implements in Island City for Knapp, Burrell, & Company and in 1888, he took up the milling business in partnership with Henry Ruhl, the firm being known s the Summerville Milling Company, and in addition to that, they handled grain and bough and sold stock, shipping to Montana, Washington and other points. In conjunction withthis, they did a packing business. Mr. Ruckman travels much on the road in the interest of these enterprises.
The marriage of Mr. Ruckman an Miss Lucretia, daughter of Edward and Marguerette J. (McGuire) Neville, was celebrated on April 15, 1866, and they have become the parents of five children, as follows: William, farming in the valley; Jasper, a dentist at Union; Samuel, farming with father; Mary, wife of Dudley Peel; Hattie, going to school in Lagrande. Mrs. Ruckman’s parents were early emigrants to California and in 1871 they came to Union county and opened up the first farm on Sand Ridge. Mr. Ruckman has always been active in politics and the district has profited much by his wisdom in school affairs. He is a member of the Masons, and a charter member of the I.O.O.F. lodge in Summerville.