Search billions of records on Ancestry.com

Into Kentucky 1792-1797

This page was last updated on 26 March 2001 -- rak.

Ruggles families began arriving in northeastern Kentucky probably as early as 1792 and the migration was complete by 1798 at the latest, perhaps as early as 1796.  At least 7 Ruggles, perhaps as many as 10, plus at least 3 spouses and several children were involved.  The earliest Kentucky dates we have for the 8 are given below.  Related, or soon to be related families began arriving at least as early as 1789, some appearing on the first available Mason County tax list, that for 1790.

The 5 Ruggles males first appeared in the Mason County, Kentucky tax lists with personal property, e.g. a cow or two, a horse or two -- it was several years before any of them held real estate.  I read somewhere that a family was usually resident in a county for about one year prior to appearing on the tax list.  To appear on the list you had to reside in the county or, sometimes, at least own land there, and be 18 or more with your own household.  The tax assessor would report how many white, males 21 or over resided in your household -- they were "taxables".  I will place that number in braces, e.g. {2} to indicate 2 white males over 21 in the household.  The 5 females first appeared in county marriage records.  We have no personal records for these people.

The first "related" families to appear in Mason County were Conway and Plummer -- Miles W. Conway and Samuel Plummer were on the 1790 tax list.

Then on the 1791 tax list, Osborn, Parker and Wilson members showed up for the first time, joined by more Conways and Plummers.  But this Osborn family was not the one who married into our Ruggles -- according to cousin Harmon Orsborn, "our" Osborn/Orsborn family did not arrive in the US from Ireland until after 1796.

In 1792 these families were joined by John Hardin.  John was the only Hardin to be on a Mason Co tax list before 1806 and he appear only for two years: 1792 and 1793.

In 1793 John Luman shows up, along with John Ruglas (later Rugless, etc.) who thus was the first Ruggles to appear on a Mason Co. tax list.  He {1 white male over 21} is in the tax list; entry dated 17 September 1793.  He likely was in the county as early as 1792.  He continued in the tax lists in Mason County for 1794-97 (1798 list missing), in Fleming County for 1800, in Mason for 1801-06, and in Lewis County (which was then formed from Mason) for 1807-09.  He was listed in the Lewis County 1810 census and, moving north up into Ohio, never again in Kentucky so far as I have been able to find.  For information on John's land, click here: John Photos.

In 1794 Aaron Freeland (future pa-in-law of Thomas 70000 Ruggles) first shows up.  He remains fairly continuously in the Mason Co. tax lists until at least as late as 1809, being joined by son Jacob in 1807.

In 1795 William Viers first appears in the lists.

William Ruglass (later Rughles, etc) was next.  He {1} is in the tax list for 1796; entry dated 21 April.  So he likely was in the county at least as early as 1795.  He too continued in these lists in Mason for 1797-1802 (with 1798 missing), 1804 and 1806, and in Lewis County for 1807.  His widow, "Lucie" is listed in his stead in the Lewis list in 1809.  For information on William's land, click here: William Photos.

Next to appear were Michael Dean and Thomas Shain, as well as James, Thomas and Jonathan Ruglis (later Rugless, etc.).  They {1 each} all were in the 1799 tax list.  However, the 1798 tax lists no longer exist, so they might have been in the 1798 tax list and in the county as early as 1797.  Thomas' future father-in-law first appears in the 1795 tax list -- the Ruggles may have been with his party.

That certainly was the case for Jonathan since he married in Mason County late in 1797, and for James since he was Jonathan's bondsman.  Jonathan continued in these lists for several years: in Fleming County in 1800, in Mason 1801-06 and in Lewis 1807 into the 1820's.  He spent some time in Ohio in the 1820's and 30's, moving back to Lewis County in the 30's and staying on till he died in the 50's.  

Thomas 70000 remained in the Mason County lists from 1799 through 1807, was in the Lewis County lists for 1808-09, and then moved to Indiana. 

 James, having been bondsman for Jonathan's 1797 wedding and then in the 1799 Mason County tax list, almost immediately moved to a nearby county -- and he kept moving from county to county showing up on the tax lists I've found so far as follows: 1799 Mason, 1800 Montgomery, 1801 and 02 Fleming, 1804 both Montgomery and Mason, 1805 Montgomery, 1806 both Montgomery and Mason, 1810 and 11 Pendleton and Harrison County 1812.  Thereafter he moved to Greenup, back to Montgomery, back to Greenup, and to Carter -- all counties in Kentucky.  In the late 20's and early 30's he spent some time in Nicholas County, Virginia (now West Virginia).  He did get around!

According to James' daughter, Elizabeth Jane in the Hardesty book, p.125, James and his wife, Elizabeth married in Maryland, and then accompanied in 1796 her parents, Saville and Elizabeth (Ramsey) Harding, to Maysville, Kentucky, where Elizabeth Jane was born December 4, 1798.  The same source says she married Jonathan C. Friend (who came from Pendleton County, KY)  December 15, 1822, in Greenup Co, KY; the couple then moving to Braxton County, VA (now WV) on May 24, 1823.

The tax list data makes it evident that the Ruggles migration into northeastern Kentucky most likely was completed during the five years 1792-97.

John, William, and James, at least, are known to have arrived married with children.  From the ages of their known and likely children, they apparently married during the decade from 1783-93.  Thomas too may have had an earlier marriage during that decade, but definitely was married (perhaps a second time) in 1802 just across the Ohio River from Mason Co, KY, in Adams Co, OH.

Jonathan Ruggles first married on 29 November 1797 in Mason Co, KY.  I have two sources which say that John was his bondsman and two that say James was -- it could have been either since both, as we have seen from the tax list data referenced above, were likely in the county at that time.

Jean Ruggles was next to marry ... on 22 September 1798 in Mason Co, KY, to Thomas Plummer.  Jonathan, as a Justice of the Peace, swore that Jean was over 21 and free to marry.  He also acted as bondsman for her.  She surely was a very close relative.

Jonathan next was bondsman for Nancy Dean, daughter of Michael and Mary Dean, who married in 1801.  He also witnessed Nancy's parent's permission for her to marry.  Jonathan four years later was witness to the same couple's permission for their daughter Rebecca to marry in 1805, also in Mason Co.  It may well have been that Mary Dean was a Ruggles.  I will try to follow up on her to check that possibility.

Next, William's eldest son, James, married in Mason Co, KY on 13 March 1804 -- he was less than 21 and had to have his father's permission to marry.

Next Sarah Ruggles may have married  John McNaughton on 4 November 1804, but like Thomas two years before her,  across the Ohio River, this time in Scioto County.  However, there is some doubt that Sarah or this marriage ever happened.  See the "First Siblings" page.

Aaron Lewman married Martha Osburn, daughter of Jane Osburn, in 1805, also in Mason Co.  John Ruggles was bondsman.  At the same time, both John Ruggles and Thomas Plummer witnessed Aaron Lewman's father John's permission for him to marry.  This seems strong evidence for a family conncection and I will also try to track Aaron's mother to see if she may have been a Ruggles. 

Also in 1805, Elias Newkirk married Lydia Parker in Mason Co, KY ... Jonathan Ruggles was bondsman.  It may be that the mother of either Elias or Lydia was a Ruggles.  This should be researched.

All other Ruggles marriages in the area, i.e. in counties bordering on the Ohio River either in Kentucky or Ohio, either occurred later and/or were for persons known to be children of one of four of the first five males -- of John, William, James, or Jonathan.  The children of Thomas all married in Indiana.

Although we have not yet found census records relating to all ten of the early northeastern Kentucky Ruggles and potential Ruggles above-mentioned, all of the census records we so far have found tell the same story: all of them and all of their children born before 1795 are reported born in Maryland (usually) or Virginia (occasionally).  So far, I have found no documentary source provided before 1900 which suggests any other birth place of these Ruggles. 

It is clear from the differences between 1850 census reports and 1880 census reports, that by 1880 the Maryland-Virginia origins of these people were beginning to fade in the family.  In 1880 a few people who had reported themselves born in either Maryland or Virginia were being reported by their children as having been born in Kentucky.

Given this fading family memory of Maryland/Virginia, following the publication in 1897 of Henry Stoddard Ruggles' monumental history of the New England Ruggles, many people, including descendants of the early northeastern Kentucky Ruggles, naturally assumed that the early Kentucky Ruggles had come from New England stock.  So, although some have remembered their presumed Maryland/Virginia roots, members of various branches of early Kentucky Ruggles have reported privately or in local histories that their ancestors came from New England.  However, Henry Stoddard himself, in later life, and many others have looked for New England roots for these people.  So far no one has found any connection to New England which has any pre-1900 documentary support.  We found one potential pre-1900 bit of evidence!  But it came to nothing.

Project 2 is endeavoring to discover the roots of and the relationships between these early Kentucky Ruggles.  So far, we have produced little that is PROVEN.  But we are beginning to get a feel these people, and the beginning of an understanding of their roots and of their families.  Although much of what we have so far is the result of deduction and sometimes of outright speculation, it is exciting.  Folks who seemed to be little more than shadows are beginning to take form, to become real people -- our ancestors!

For more information go to: First Siblings?

To explore the origins of the early Kentucky Ruggles, click on them.

For lists of the first three generations of these people, go to: Gen List.