JAMES LAYTON RUFFNER. Among Greensburg's busy business men is James L. Ruffner, who represents the "Singer," Illinois and Domestic Sewing machine Companies in this part of Pennsylvania.
His grandfather, Simon Peter Ruffner, (I) of German descent, was among the very early settlers in Derry township, Westmoreland county, Pennsylvania. He died aged about sixty years. His wife was Jane Layton, who was of an Irish family at the village of Derry. The children born to Simon Peter and Jane (Layton) Ruffner were: Nancy, married Daniel Murray; John, married Catherine Geary; Sarah and Mary (twins); Sarah married Charles Larkins and Mary married Joseph Miller; James, of whom later.
II. James Ruffner (father), born September 9, 1835, in Derry township, died March, 1904, in same township. He was a prosperous farmer and at his death owned several big farms. He was in politics a Democrat, and belonged to the Roman Catholic church as did also his family. He served as supervisor of Derry township. He married, November 25, 1856, Elizabeth Bridge, born October 24, 1835, the daughter of John and Elizabeth (Stahl) Bridge, of German descent. She died suddenly of heart failure, June 30, 1904, and is buried beside her husband in the Catholic cemetery at Blairsville, Pennsylvania. Their children were: Catherine Jane, born August 20, 1857, married Albert Short; James Layton, born December 27, 1860, of whom later; Annie Elizabeth, born June 17, 1862, married Samuel Connor, of Derry township; John E., born December 26, 1864, married Zora Enfield; Mary, born September 2, 1866, married Charles F Ehalt, hotel proprietor at Greensburg, Pennsylvania; Elizabeth and Peter, died in infancy; Margaret and Agnes (twins), born June 9, 1872; Margaret, married William Kilgore, and Agnes married John W. Luther; Sarah Gertrude, born September 3, 1875, married Harry Fisher, of Derry township.
III. James L. Ruffner, born December 27, 1860, son of James and Elizabeth ( Bridge) Ruffner, III, received a common school education in Derry township, Westmoreland county, Pennsylvania and later attended the academy at Blairsville, Pennsylvania. After leaving the school room, full of laudable ambition, he engaged with the Singer Sewing Machine Company as salesman. First he was stationed at Greensburg, Pennsylvania, but after one year was sent to Uniontown, Pennsylvania, where he managed the agency for the well known company for a period of fifteen years. He then returned to Greensburg, where he has been located the past eight years. Besides his Singer sewing machine business he has been active in many other lines. Since 1902 he has been a wholesale agent for the Illinois Sewing Machine Company, whose factories at Rockford, Illinois. While never neglecting his duties in the role of wholesale and retail machine salesman, he has dealt in real estate and been connected with building and loan companies both here and in Sioux Falls, South Dakota. He was the manager for the Washington National Loan Association of Washington, District of Columbia, for three years. He also helped organize and build two large brewing plants, one at Hagerstown, Maryland, and one at Shire Oaks, Washington county, Pennsylvania, both of which became successful and which he has disposed of some time since. He has erected several residences and now owns the commodious one in which he lives at No.637 East Pittsburgh street, Greensburg, Pennsylvania. He also owns the Commercial Hotel property at Scottdale, Westmoreland county. During the winter of 1905-6 he went to Florida and there spent some two months, during which time he invested in a fine orange grove near DeLand, Volusia county, Florida. He also has in embryo the creation of a brewing plant at Jacksonville. Florida.
Politically Mr. Ruffner is an Independent Democrat, always supporting the best man, but everything being equal votes the Democratic ticket. Both Mr. and Mrs. Ruffner are members of the Greensburg Roman Catholic church. He married, June 2, 1887, Annie E. Ehalt, daughter of Jacob and Lydia Ehalt, of Greensburg. Their children are: Charles E., born February 29,1888; James Lawrence, born January 17, 1890, died aged one year and a half; Elizabeth Lydia, born July 29, 1893; Victor Leo, born July 23, 1895; a son and daughter (twins), born February 22, 1898, died in infancy; John Elmer, born February 21, 1899; Ralph Benedict, born August 22, 1901; Philip, born May 30, 1904, died June 14, 1904; Anthony Chrysostom James Regis, born October 31,1905.
Source: Page(s) 119 121, History of Westmoreland County, Volume 2, Pennsylvania by John N Boucher. New York, The Lewis Publishing Company, 1906.
Transcribed June 2001 by Nathan Zipfel for the Westmoreland County History Project
Contributed for use by the Westmoreland County Genealogy Project (http://www.pa-roots.com/westmoreland/)
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