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Joseph & Wilhelmine (Freiwald) Ruth

Joseph and Wilhelmine (Freiwald) Ruth

Joseph Ruth was a professional soldier in the German Army.  Friedrich Gustav was born 20 May 1847 when his father was stationed in Riesenburg, Pommern, East Prussia.  At the Family History Library, they said that this was a mistake because Riesenburg was in West Prussia, but I rebutted with, “He had written “Ost” for East Prussia in the Family Bible with his own hand!”  The librarian then said, “Just a minute.  Let me look something else up.”  He did and he said, “He was right!  For about three years Riesenburg was in East Prussia and 1847 was one of those years.”  His father was stationed on the edge of Prussia during these turbulent years.  The girl, Therese Johanne, was born 27 January, 1850, also in Riesenburg.  This was less than three years after F. Gustav, but she was born in West Prussia at that time.  She probably died young because the family in Germany knew nothing about her.  In the photo above, Wilhelmine holds her prayer book while Therese Johanne displays a floral ring, perhaps celebrating Easter or a spring festival.  Gustav stands proudly by his father, Joseph, decorated with his medals and ribbons.

Friedrich Gustav and Therese Johanne Ruth are two children of the Joseph Ruth family.  A German family letter said that there were two older brothers, Adolph, born about 1845, and Paul about 1847.  Both came to America.  But why are they not in these photos?  There were five sons and four daughters in the family, and three of the four girls died by the age of twenty, including Therese.  Besides the children already named, there were: Otto Karl, born 13 August 1858; Emma, 1860; Emil, 1862; Antonie, 1863; and Hedwig, 7 September 1865.  Hedwig later moved to Clintonville, Wisconsin by her brother F. Gustav.

Wilhelmine (Freiwald) Ruth

Wilhelmine (Freiwald, also spelled Freywald on some records) Ruth was born March 4, 1821 in Elbing, West Prussia.  She married Joseph Ruth about 1842.  She died 6 April 1872 in Dolitz, Pommern.  She had at least nine children.  They were born in various placed in Germany because they moved wherever Joseph was sent.  Her son, F. Gustav, loved her dearly and held her in very high regard.  Her photo shows her to be a very pretty lady, with her hair fixed in a very neat and typical style for her day.  At first glance it appears that she had her hair in a braid over her head, but on closer examination, it seems too ragged at the top to be a braid.  Perhaps it was a furry hat of some kind.  There are also two photos of her children that were born to her in Riesenburg.  It seems strange that the two older sons, Adolph and Paul were not included on these photos.  Perhaps they were in school or perhaps Gustav only had photos of of himself and his sister, Therese Johanne.  They were not only very close in age, but were probably very close friends, also.

Joseph Ruth

Joseph Ruth was the father of Friedrich Gustav Ruth.  He was a soldier in the German Army and was stationed in various places, so his children’s records are almost impossible to find without knowing the places of their births.  His three oldest sons all came to America, but the two oldest boys did not keep in touch with the family after they left Germany, so where in America is the question.  To date, they haven’t been found here.  F. Gustav was the third child, and we know his story.  He was not favorably impressed with his father’s life in the army, so when he came of age when he should have gone into the army, he ran away.  He got on a boat to America, but before it sailed, he heard that he was being paged.  He hid on the boat until long after it sailed and he knew for sure that he couldn’t be returned.  Evidentially the German Army discipline was not to his liking.  In America, he eventually got in touch with his next oldest brother in Germany and they stayed in touch with each other.  But running away from what his father would have considered his civic duty, certainly would have severed their relationship.