Clarke Historical Library
Central Michigan University

Finding aid for
Charles F. Ruggles Business Records

Finding aid created by
Marian Matyn

Summary Information
Title: Charles F. Ruggles Business Records,
Creator: Ruggles, Charles F., 1846-1930.
Inclusive dates: 1856-1941, and undated
Extent: 15 cubic ft. (in 11 boxes, 43 Oversized volumes)
Abstract:
Business records of Ruggles' lumber, gas, oil, railroads, salt and real estate business interests. Most are accounts, although financial records, leases, legal contracts, court cases and testimonies are included as well as a few personal family materials.

Call number: MSS.
Language: The material is in English
Repository: Clarke Historical Library, Central Michigan University
250 East Preston Street
Mount Pleasant, MI 48859
Phone: 989-774-3352
Fax: 989-774-2160
Email: clarke@cmich.edu
Website: http://clarke.cmich.edu


Access and Use
Acquisition Information:

Acc# 2129

Access Restrictions:

Charles F. Ruggles Business Records are open for research.

Copyright:

Copyright is unknown.

Preferred Citation:

Charles F. Ruggles Business Records, Folder # , Box #, Clarke Historical Library, Central Michigan University


Arrangement

The collection is organized by format into papers and then oversized volumes. The papers and oversized volumes are in alphabetical and chronological order. The boxed volumes are in chronological order.


History

Biography:

Charles Forsythe Ruggles, the millionaire lumberman and salt king of Manistee, Michigan, was a dealer in real estate, including timber lands in Manistee and Amador County, California.

Born in Maine on March 3, 1846, and reared in Oshkosh, Wisconsin, he was the son of timber salesman, Daniel D. Ruggles. Charles finished his education at 18 and was employed with the Diamond Match Co. in Oshkosh. He went to Detroit, Michigan, on an industrial Spy” mission to determine the secret formula of the improved match tips. Charles discovered the answer by getting a watchman drunk, confiscating his keys, getting into the factory, and stealing some of the matches.

In 1866 Charles and his parents moved to Manistee. He bought tax-delinquent properties and sold them to invest in timber lands, lumber camps and mills, and other people’s land transactions. Around 1870 Charles entered the banking business dealing mainly in loans for the purchase of pine lands and logging stock. Accumulating wealth he diversified and acquired real estate in Michigan, Minnesota, Montana, and California.

In 1874, Ruggles invested in the thriving Buckley and Douglas Lumber Co. Edward Buckley was his brother-in-law, having married his sister Mary in 1869. She died in 1885. After a fit of anger Ruggles resigned from their partnership, later returning in 1890 to try to reclaim his two-fifths interests in the firm. His long and involved case was won in the courts after 25 years.

With the awarded $3,000,000, Ruggles and his business partner John Rademaker, established Ruggles and Rademaker Salt Company in 1923. In 1927 while having a well cleaned out, they struck a bed of salt with bromine, a chemical then in high demand for the manufacture of gasoline. They began manufacturing bromides and other chemicals, beginning the chemical industry in Manistee. Their differences and separation resulted in a celebrated legal suit in 1929 involving the sum of $5,000,000 and the sale of the company to the Morton Salt Company.

Ruggles bought into the Manistee and Northeastern Railroad, riding it occasionally like a tramp to avoid paying fares. An eccentric tightwad, he dressed poorly and looked shabby and unkept. He lived in a plain looking home in Manistee with his dog, Bobbie. Ruggles kept painstaking accounts of every household transaction and was known to push cars downhill and out of his garage to avoid starting them a moment earlier than absolutely necessary, thus saving gasoline. He was known to repeatedly argue with train conductors to avoid paying the last leg of a train ride to Manistee (35 cents) by getting another passenger to pay his way. Ruggles kept his possessions doubly locked in two sets of cabinets with different keys. His ledgers and files had other files to keep finances and debtors straight. In Manistee Ruggles was known as an Ebenezer Scrooge.

A supporter of temperance he built and maintained a free public drinking fountain and watering trough hoping it would lessen the desire for alcohol. Ruggles also built a public bathhouse, charging extra for towels. At one time he had made homemade sweets for children on New Year’s Day but stopped promptly when he learned some children were going through his line more than once.

Towards the latter period of his life, Ruggles was interested in legal reform and became a founding member of the American Judicature Society, to promote equal treatment for all in the courts.

Ruggles died from Bright’s Disease on August 21, 1930 at age 84. In his will he left 19 people, two of whom were relatives, and Mercy Hospital of Manistee a total of $2,710,000. When he died in Aug. 1930 Ruggles owned timber lands in Wexford, Kalkaska, and Manistee counties, Michigan, Minnesota, and California, and gas and oil leases in Manistee and Lake counties, Michigan. Also, Ruggles owned either completely or had a controlling interest in the following companies: his timber companies, Manistee and Northeastern Railroad, Amador Timber Company, Amador Central Railroad Company, Calveras Timber Company, and the South Carolina Lumber Company (Marion, South Carolina), and was associated numerous companies including: E. E. Jackson Lumber Company (Baltimore, Maryland), R. and R. Liquidations Company, Weed Lumber Company (based in California?), and McCloud River Lumber Company. He was buried with his parents in the family mausoleum in Oshkosh. (This information is from his obituary notices in the Manistee Advocate Weekly.)


Collection Scope and Content Note

The business records document Ruggles’ vast business interests including: lumber, gas, oil, railroads, and real estate. Most of the records are some form of accounts, payment information, leases, or legal contracts. Also included are numerous published court cases or trial testimonies of his lengthy legal case against Buckley and Douglas Lumber Company and other legal concerns. The collection provides a solid look at his complex business dealings and the shrewdness with which he amassed his wealth and made numerous enemies. The only personal information is some family photographs and his will.

Subject Terms

    Subjects:
    • Ruggles, Charles F., 1846-1930.
    • Buckley and Douglas Lumber Company.
    • Ruggles and Rademaker Salt Company.
    • Manistee and Northeastern Railroad Company.
    • Salt mines and mining--Michigan--Manistee.
    • Timber--California.
    • Timber--Michigan.
    • Timber--Minnesota.
    • Manistee (Mich.)--History.
    Contents List
       Container / Location    Title
     
    Charles F. Ruggles Business Records. [series]:
    Box   1 F   1
    Biographical Materials, 1924, 1936
    Box   1 F   2
    Family Photographs, undated
    Box   1 F   3
    Last Will and Testament, Related Correspondence, 1926, 1930
    Box   1 F   4
    Bank Statement and Receipts, January-May 1923
    Box   1 F   5
    Business Correspondence, 1906-1931
    Box   1 F   6
    Business Correspondence, 1943
    Box   1 F   7
    Business Papers, 1920s
    Box   1 F   8
    Business Papers, relating to lumber industry and other companies, 1914, undated
    Box   1 F   9
    Business Records, 1869-1872, 1911
    Box   1 F   10
    Miscellaneous Business Papers, relating to mineral rights, Department of Conservation, Maps, 1935-1944
    Box   1 F   11
    By-laws of South Carolina Lumber Company and (Board of Director) Meeting Minutes, 1910-1912
    Box   1 F   12
    Copies of Letters by Charles McPherson, trustee of Ruggles Estate, September 22-December 31, 1934
    Box   1 F   13
    Copies of Letters by Charles McPherson, trustee of Ruggles Estate, 1935
    Box   1 F   14
    Copies of Letters by Charles McPherson, trustee of Ruggles Estate, 1936
    Box   1 F   15
    Copies of Letters by Charles McPherson, trustee of Ruggles Estate, 1937
    Box   1 F   16
    Copies of Letters by Charles McPherson, trustee of Ruggles Estate, 1938
    Box   1 F   17
    Copies of Letters by Charles McPherson, trustee of Ruggles Estate, 1939
    Box   2 F   1
    Copies of Letters by Charles McPherson, trustee of Ruggles Estate, 1940
    Box   2 F   2
    Copies of Letters by Charles McPherson, trustee of Ruggles Estate, January 1-September 10, 1941
    Box   2 F   3
    Company Rules and Lists, 1889
    Box   2 F   4
    Court Reports and Insurance Documents (folder 1 of 2), 1936-1941
    Box   2 F   5
    Court Reports and Insurance Documents (folder 2 of 2), 1936-1941
    Box   2 F   6
    Cuttings and Considerations on Metric System, Insurance documents, circa 1917
    Box   2 F   7
    Indentures and Agreements, Amador Lumber Company, (folder 1 of 3), 1911
    Box   2 F   8
    Indentures and Agreements, Amador Lumber Company, (folder 2 of 3), 1911
    Box   2 F   9
    Indentures and Agreements, Amador Lumber Company, (folder 3 of 3), 1911
    Box   2 F   10
    Indentures and Agreements, Amador Lumber Company, 1912-1913
    Box   2 F   11
    Indentures and Agreements, Amador Lumber Company, 1914-1918
    Box   2 F   12
    Indentures and Agreements, Amador Lumber Company, 1919-1923
    Box   2 F   13
    Indentures and Agreements, Amador Lumber Company, 1927-1941
    Box   2 F   14
    Insurance Documents, circa 1917
    Box   2 F   15
    Land Certificates and Indentures, especially about Amador County, California, 1877-1889
    Box   2 F   16
    Land Certificates and Indentures, especially about Amador County, California, 1900-1909
    Box   3 F   1
    Lease Agreements, Geology Data and Maps, 1929
    Box   3 F   2
    (Oil and Gas) Lease Agreements, Maps, mostly 1929
    Box   3 F   3
    Legal Papers, 1856-1921
    Box   3 F   4
    Legal Papers, 1921-1937; Miscellaneous, undated, 1921-1937; undated
    Box   3 F   5
    Lumbering Reports, 1913
    Box   3 F   6
    Maps, especially of Manistee and Manistee County, Michigan, undated
    Box   3 F   7
    Surveyors Township and Range Books (See also Oversized Volumes (folder 1 of 4), 1900-1920s
    Box   3 F   8
    Surveyors Township and Range Books (See also Oversized Volumes (folder 2 of 4), 1900-1920s
    Box   3 F   9
    Surveyors Township and Range Books (See also Oversized Volumes (folder 3 of 4), 1900-1920s
    Box   3 F   10
    Surveyors Township and Range Books (See also Oversized Volumes (folder 4 of 4), 1900-1920s
    Box   3 F   11
    Tax Receipts, 1913-1915
    Box   4 F   1
    Published Court Cases, Mortgages, etc., U.S. Circuit Court of U.S. for Western District of Michigan, Southern Division, Charles F. Ruggles vs. Edward Buckley et al., (See also Oversized Volumes), 2 volumes, 1902
    Box   4 F   2
    Published Court Cases, Mortgages, etc., U.S. Circuit Court of U.S. for Western District of Michigan, Southern Division, Charles F. Ruggles vs. Edward Buckley et al., (See also Oversized Volumes), 4 volumes, 1905
    Box   5 F   1
    Published Court Cases, Mortgages, etc., U.S. Circuit Court of U.S. for Northern District of Illinois, Eastern Division, U.S. vs. Oberlin M. Carter, 4 volumes, circa 1905
    Box   5 F   2
    Published Court Cases, Mortgages, etc., U.S. Circuit Court of U.S. for Northern District of Illinois, Eastern Division, U.S. vs. Oberlin M. Carter, 2 volumes, circa 1905
    Box   6 F   1
    Published Court Cases, Mortgages, etc., U.S. Circuit Court of U.S. for Northern District of Illinois, Eastern Division, U.S. vs. Oberlin M. Carter, 2 volumes, circa 1905
    Box   7 F   1
    Published Court Cases, Mortgages, etc., U.S. Circuit Court of U.S. for Western District of Michigan, Southern Division, Charles F. Ruggles vs. Edward Buckley et al., 5 volumes, 1905
    Box   7 F   2
    Published Court Cases, Mortgages, etc., U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals for 6th Circuit, Charles F. Ruggles vs. Edward Buckley et al., Parts I-II of III, 2 volumes, 1907
    Box   7 F   3
    Published Court Cases, Mortgages, etc., U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals for 6th Circuit, Charles F. Ruggles vs. Edward Buckley et al., Parts III of III, 1 volume, 1907
    Box   8 F   1
    Published Court Cases, Mortgages, etc., No. 1637 U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals for 6th Circuit, Charles F. Ruggles vs. Edward Buckley et al., (see also Oversized Volumes), 2 volumes, 1907-1908
    Box   8 F   2
    Published Court Cases, Mortgages, etc., No. 1637 U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals for 6th Circuit, Charles F. Ruggles vs. Edward Buckley et al., (see also Oversized Volumes), 1 volume, 1907-1908
    Box   8 F   3
    Published Court Cases, Mortgages, etc., Trust Indenture. Wisconsin-Minnesota Light and Power Company to Harris Trust and Savings Bank, Trustee, Albert W. Harris, Co-trustee, 1914
    Box   8 F   4
    Published Court Cases, Mortgages, etc., First Mortgage Muscle Shoals Gas Company to Michigan Trust Company and Noyes L. Avery, trustees, March 1, 1921
    Box   9 F   1
    Published Court Cases, Mortgages, etc., Central Indiana Power Company to Union Trust Company Mortgage, July 1, 1922
    Box   9 F   2
    Published Court Cases, Mortgages, etc., Central Indiana Power Company with National Bank of the representative of Chicago, Trustee. Trust Indenture, Securing $2,000,000, July 1, 1922
    Box   9 F   3
    Published Court Cases, Mortgages, etc., Central Indiana Power Company with National Bank of the representative of Chicago, Trustee. Trust Indenture, Supplemental Trust Indenture, July 1, 1922
    Box   9 F   3
    Published Court Cases, Mortgages, etc., First Mortgage. Chippewa Power Company to National Shawmut Bank of Boston and Ralph W. Hill, Trustees, June 1, 1922
    Box   9 F   4
    Published Court Cases, Mortgages, etc., General and Refunding Mortgage. Wisconsin-Minnesota Light and Power Company to Continental and Commercial Trust and Savings Bank and William P. Kopf, Trustees, January 2, 1922
    Box   9 F   5
    Published Court Cases, Mortgages, etc., Indiana Electric Corporation to Union Trust Company and Rufus F. Chapin, Trustees, First Mortgage, January 1, 1922
    Box   9 F   6
    Published Court Cases, Mortgages, etc., Merchants Hotel and Light Company to Union Trust Company and Rufus F. Chapin, Trustee, First Mortgage, July 1, 1922
    Box   9 F   7
    Published Court Cases, Mortgages, etc., Public Service Company of Northern Illinois to Continental Commercial Trust and Savings Bank, Trustee, First Lien and Refunding Mortgage, June 1, 1922
    Box   9 F   8
    Published Court Cases, Mortgages, etc., Valparaiso Lighting Company to Union Trust Company and Rufus F. Chapin, Trustees, First Mortgage, October 1, 1922
    Box   10 F   1
    Published Court Cases, Mortgages, etc., Wabash Valley Electric Company to Union Trust Company and Rufus F. Chapin, Trustees, First Mortgage, May 1, 1923
    Box   10 F   2
    Published Court Cases, Mortgages, etc., Ionia Gas Company to Grand Rapids Trust Company, First Mortgage, June 2, 1923
    Box   10 F   3
    Published Court Cases, Mortgages, etc., Washington Gas and Coke Company to First Trust and Savings Bank and Melvin A. Traylor, Trustees, First Mortgage, September 11, 1925
    Box   10 F   4
    Published Court Cases, Mortgages, etc., Gas Contract between Panhandle Eastern Pipe Line Company to Detroit City Gas Company, August 31, 1935
    Box   10 F   5
    Published Court Cases, Mortgages, etc., State of Michigan. Supreme Court. Charles F. Ruggles vs. Edward Buckley et al., undated
    Box   10 F   6
    Published Court Cases, Mortgages, etc., U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, 6th Circuit. Charles F. Ruggles vs. Edward Buckley et al., 2 volumes, undated
    Box   10 F   7
    Published Court Cases, Mortgages, etc., U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, 6th Circuit. Nichols and Cox Lumber Company vs. U.S., undated
    Box   10 F   8
    Published Court Cases, Mortgages, etc., U.S. Circuit Court of U.S. for Western District of Michigan, Southern Division. Edward Buckley vs. Charles F. Ruggles, 2 volumes, undated
    Box   10 F   9
    Published Court Cases, Mortgages, etc., U.S. Circuit Court of U.S. for Western District of Michigan, Southern Division. Charles F. Ruggles vs. Edward Buckley et al., 2 volumes, undated
    Box   11 F   1
    Oversized Flat Box, Grand Rapids Affiliated Corporation to Grand Rapids Trust Company, Trust Indenture, October 1, 1925
    Box   11 F   2
    Oversized Flat Box, Berkey and Gay Furniture Company to Michigan Trust Company, Trustee, Deed of Trusts, May 15, 1926
    Box   11 F   3
    Oversized Flat Box, Calveras Timber Company to Michigan Trust Company, Detroit Trust Company and Geo. G. Thomson, Trustee, Trust Indenture, May 1, 1928
    Box   11 F   4
    Oversized Flat Box, Indenture. Northwest Public Service Company and Chase National Bank of the City of New York, Carl E. Buckley, Trustees, August 1, 1940
    V   1  
    Oversized Volume, Account Books, Charles F. Ruggles’ Private Expenses, 1869-1884
    V   2  
    Oversized Volume, Account Books, Charles F. Ruggles’ Private Expenses, 1891-1917
    V   3  
    Oversized Volume, Account Books, General, 1868-1870
    V   4  
    Oversized Volume, Account Books, General, 1869-1872
    V   5  
    Oversized Volume, Account Books, Collection Registers (of debts due), May 1925-November 1942
    V   6  
    Oversized Volume, Account Books, Collection Registers (of debts due), July 1924-May 1925
    V   7  
    Oversized Volume, Court Books, No. 1637 U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, 6th Circuit, Charles F. Ruggles vs. Edward Buckley et al., volumes I-II (2 large volumes), October 31, 1906
    V   8  
    Oversized Volume, Day Book, 1874-1875
    V   9  
    Oversized Volume, Day Book, 1875-1876
    V   10  
    Oversized Volume, Day Book, 1877-1879
    V   11  
    Oversized Volume, Day Book, 1879-1880
    V   12  
    Oversized Volume, Day Book, 1881-1886
    V   13  
    Oversized Volume, Day Book, 1883-1910
    V   14  
    Oversized Volume, Day Book (on spine - Edward Buckley, Minnesota), 1883-1919
    V   15  
    Oversized Volume, Day Book, 1886-1889
    V   16  
    Oversized Volume, Day Book, 1887-1893
    V   17  
    Oversized Volume, Day Book, 1893-1898
    V   18  
    Oversized Volume, Day Book, January 1899-December 1906
    V   19  
    Oversized Volume, Day Book, June 1910-August 1926
    V   20  
    Oversized Volume, General Act Ledger (list of legal actions, agreements), 1869-1870
    V   21  
    Oversized Volume, General Account Ledger, 1869-1873
    V   22  
    Oversized Volume, General Account Ledger, 1874-1879
    V   23  
    Oversized Volume, General Account Ledger, 1879-1900
    V   24  
    Oversized Volume, General Account Ledger, 1931-1938
    V   25  
    Oversized Volume, Index to Bills and Contracts (No. 1), undated
    V   26  
    Oversized Volume, Invoices, 1902-1910
    V   27  
    Oversized Volume, (California) Land Contracts, 1910-1934
    V   28  
    Oversized Volume, Land Ledgers, 1869-1878
    V   29  
    Oversized Volume, Land Ledgers, 1883-1902
    V   30  
    Oversized Volume, Land Ledgers, 1898-1929
    V   31  
    Oversized Volume, (Business) Letter (copy) Book, 1882-1891
    V   32  
    Oversized Volume, (Business) Letter (copy) Book, August 1909-October 1910
    V   33  
    Oversized Volume, (Business) Letter (copy) Book, July 1921-May 1923
    V   34  
    Oversized Volume, Plat Book of Minnesota Timber Lands (Surveyors Range and Township Book), undated
    V   35  
    Oversized Volume, Register of Deeds Records (copied information), 1876-1907
    V   36  
    Oversized Volume, Rememorative Books (chronological calendar of business notes), January 1914-June 1923
    V   37  
    Oversized Volume, Rememorative Books (chronological calendar of business notes), Septmeber 1906-December 1913
    V   38  
    Oversized Volume, Trial Balance Book, 1873-1884
    V   39  
    Oversized Volume, Trial Balance Book, 1885-1896
    V   40  
    Oversized Volume, Tax History Book (Lower Michigan), 1870-1889