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submitted by  John W. Cox

This is some history of one of Jackson Countys' early settler families.

William Ruddick

William had his grant of 190 acres surveyed in 1774. This was situated on both sides of Gordon's Creek about 1 mile south of the present town of Galax, Virginia. These lands were most likely among those settled in 1772. Since the senior William was in poor health, the grant was claimed by his son, which was surveyed again on September 3, 1782 and on May 27, 1796. At the onset of the Revolutionary War, William enlisted with the company of Captain John Cox, but did not see any active service.

William was documented on December 5, 1777, as having refused to take the oath of allegiance. This he did for the same reason his father had. A few months later, he married a young woman by the name of Lydia. Unfortunately, her surname is not known, but she may have been a Hanks, Mendenhall, Ballard, Cox, or Hiatt. The marriage was not approved and he was disowned by New Garden MM on September 26, 1778. However, it was only a matter of time before membership was restored. It is interesting to note that from this point, the children of William and Lydia (with the exception of Nancy Ann), were not as actively involved in meetings as some of their cousins.

By 1781, the war had moved south, and William enlisted with Captain Flower Swift's Company of Quakers. Again, this militia probably did not see any active duty, and may have served more as a home guard. On October 10, 1789, William entered an additional 150 acres to his plantation. This parcel was surveyed again on May 31, 1796. William Ruddick increased his land holdings again on August 29, 1794, when he purchased 50 acres on the Muddy branch of Chestnut Creek. The entire plantation now consisted of 390 acres. As mentioned earlier, the Ruddicks were instrumental in establishing the Mt. Pleasant Meetinghouse. It was probably some time in the 1790's that the building was erected on the plantation of William Ruddick. In 1794, William is mentioned in records again in which the Grayson County Court allows him a claim for killing two old wolves. On September 25, 1797, William and his friends and neighbor, Joshua Hanks, sold a piece of land to the Quakers. This 7 acre parcel would include the meetinghouse and graveyard. While working on his barn the following summer, William died when he fell and broke his neck. It appears that Lydia stayed on the old place until she moved to Indiana with her family in the Spring of 1811. She settled with her family in that area of Harrison County which became Jackson County. Early in 1812, she appeared on a tax list, paying on 2 horses. The threat of Indian attack grew with each day, until many families were moving away, and the widow Ruddick decided to do the same. It was probably that summer, that Lydia, her son Thomas, and daughter Lydia returned toTennessee.

In 1815, they made their way back to Indiana Territory and Lydia went to live with one of her daughters. On September 16, 1816, she sold the remaining property in Virginia, the proceeds going to each of her children.

Solomon Ruddick

In the year 1811, Solomon moved with his family to Harrison (now Jackson) County, Indiana Territory. After numerous Indian attacks, his mother returned to Tennessee with some of the children. Solomon did not go with them and remained at the home of his brother Mordecai. On March 18, 1813, at the age of 16 or 17, he enlisted in John Royce's militia of Harrison County and also with Paddock's Regiment. That same day, his cousin William Ruddick was wounded by the Indians and about the same time, his other cousin of the same name was ambushed and shot. It is very possible that Solomon joined with Major John Tipton's forces at Vallonia on March 24th. Marching from there to a place nearly 30 miles up the White River, they engaged in a skirmish known as the "Battle of Tipton Island". Here, several Indians were killed, but there were no white casualties. Later, Solomon held the rank of Lieutenant in the 17th Regiment of Indiana Militia, which commission was recorded on April 16, 1817.

On October27, 1818, Solomon married Elizabeth Keith, the daughter of a local Baptist Minister. The couple settled on a choice piece of property along White River about1 1/2 miles northeast of Rockford. Over the years, they had acquired a few hundred acres in Redding Township and Solomon eventually established a general merchandise store in Rockford, an enterprise which grew successful through the years. In 1821, Solomon received an important building contract from his cousin William Ruddick. His bid to clear a portion of the Bethlehem Road from Bethlehem to Columbus was accepted and he was responsible for hiring the needed labor for the job. This road was required to be 48 feet wide and all timber under 18 inches in diameter was to be leveled to the ground. This was very difficult work and took quite some time to complete. Though Solomon was not so inclined to politics as his brothers, he served as Court Bailiff in 1823, 1829, and 1832.

After the death of Elizabeth's father in 1825, they purchased the Reverend's farm and worked the land for two years before selling the place to Peter Shephard. Solomon raised a considerable amount of pork and on March 14, 1828, he had his stock mark (ear cropping to identify hogs) registered at the courthouse. It was probably late that winter when Elizabeth died and Solomon remarried to a Margaret Fentress.

In the late 1830's Ruddick sold some of the interest in his store to Jacob Peter, a Swiss immigrant and to his nephew Isaac. On January 21, 1841, Solomon transferred the mortgage of 40 acres of land south of Reddington for the use of a school. Later that year, he gave up the remaining interest in the store to his partners and on December 6th, sold the rest of their land to brother-in-law Edward Fentress. At this time, Solomon and Peggy moved some miles east to Salt Creek Township in Jennings County of the same State. Here, they retired to a small farm where Peggy died about 1848. Solomon followed her in 1856, and all of his children eventually returned to Jackson County, at least for a time.

Mordecai Ruddick

He made occasional visits to his sister's home in Tennessee, and began courting Catherine Cox. The two were married at Lost Creek TN. Soon after this, they were joined by other members of the family on a trek north through Kentucky to Indiana Territory. Settlement was made that Spring or Summer in that portion of Harrison County which became Jackson County, northeast of present day Brownstown. In the Spring of 1812, Mordecai appeared on a tax list and paid on three horses. During this period, the settlers were in great danger of Indian attack and some of the family returned to Tennessee. But, Mordecai and Catherine chose to stay and he was commissioned a Captain with the 17th Regiment of Indiana Militia.

In the Summer of 1814, the couple moved to Jackson Township with their young son. On January 17, 1815, they purchased the 160 acre farm which would remain in the family for some time. Mordecai was a staunch Whig and soon became a prominent figure in that area and actively pursued local political offices. On December 7, 1816, Mordecai was appointed Clerk of Jackson Township. From August 9, 1819 to August 12, 1822, he served on the Jackson County Board of Commissioners. He also became a succesful farmer, accumulating some 600 acres.

Catherine died about the Fall of 1826, and Mordecai then remarried the following Spring to Elizabeth Marshall, whom he had met many years before in Tennessee. Mordecai was appointed Justice of the Peace in 1828, and served two years. He sat on the County Board again from August 1831 to August 1835, and was involved in the erection of the first permanent courthouse.