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Rufus Redding

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Rufus Redding

Posted: 18 Aug 2002 12:40PM GMT
Classification: Biography
Surnames: Redding, Nicholson, Foreman, Hamilton, King, Hart, Brown
From Biographical Memoirs of Huntington County, 1901, pages 726-728

Rufus Redding, the present trustee of Salamonie township, and a well known and successful farmer, now living in retirement from the operation of his farm, was born in the state of North Carolina and in the county of Wilkes on the 20th of July, 1849. His parents were John and Sarah (Nicholson) Redding, both of whom were natives of the same state. The Redding family were among the early emigrants from England, several of its members being true to the interests of the Colonials during the memorable struggle for independence. In the year 1853 the family removed from their native state and made a home in Rock Creek township, Huntington county. John Redding still living upon the identical farm then located and where he has resided for nearly half a century. He has reached the venerable age of eighty-five, having survived his life companion, who passed away some fifteen years since. He has been one of those industrious and untiring citizens whose efforts have not only resulted in the acquisition of a competency for themselves, but the entire community has been greatly benefited by his having lived therein. His contribution to the making of this section of the state was rather important from another standpoint than what he did in adding to its wealth. Fourteen children were reared under his roof; three by a former marriage, two being his wife's by an earlier marriage, and the remainder belonging to them jointly. Eight of the whole number are still living, six of the nine mentioned. All are residents of either Huntington or Wells counties; and, all being first-class citizens, the community has been the gainer by having such a family contributing to its growth and improvement.

The boyhood of Rufus was not dissimilar to that of the average youth of the neighborhood, attending beside the common school, the Roanoke Academy, for a time, with subsequent attendance at a private Normal School or Seminary at Markle, of which Simeon Lee was master. Here he became sufficiently advanced to pass examination, receiving a certificate to teach, and when but eighteen had charge of his first school in Salamonie township. This was followed by a term in his home district, the four subsequent terms being mainly in Salamonie. As is frequently the case, the attachment existing between teacher and pupil ripened into that tenderer emotion that becomes satisfied only by possession and life-long companionship. Attending the first school that he taught was a bright young lady, one of the "big girls," who, little thinking what was in the future for her, devoted her attention to her books, not having her mind occupied with thoughts of the master. Returning to the neighborhood and teaching other schools, he was afforded the the (sic) opportunity of renewing the friendship, which grew so rapidly into love, now that the restraint of teacher and pupil was removed, that they were united in marriage on the 9th of August, 1870. Miss Louise Foreman was the lady's name, the daughter of Obadiah and Sarah (Hamilton) Foreman, and was born in Clinton county, Ohio, being brought to this section when a child of four years. Their home was made four miles northeast of Warren, where she grew to maturity. Some years after her marriage her parents sold the old homestead, her mother making her home with this daughter until her death, in 1882. Her father subsequently went to Emporia, Kansas, where two of the children were living, and where his own death occurred, in 1889, at the age of eighty-two. One other daughter resides in Huntington county, she being Ella, the wife of J. W. King, owning and residing on the old homestead. Mr. Redding continued to teach for three winter terms after marriage, operating in the meantime her father's home place for two seasons, when he purchased ninety-one acres, assuming a debt of $2,200. The place was but slightly improved, the higher parts only being in cultivation, with but a log house and barn. It became necessary to drain the lower sections in order to bring the entire farm under cultivation, and this entailed a considerable additional expense, the demands for necessary improvements and the clearing off the indebtedness requiring the most persistent and arduous labor, coupled with the closest economy for a period of ten years. Finding himself free from the burden of debt he took advantage of the opportunity to supply the farm with larger and better buildings. While he built substantially and made them large enough for the demands of the place, he made no pretentions (sic) at ornamental design or elaborateness of finish. Desiring to so extend his operations that they would be commensurate with the necessities of an increasing family, he turned his attention to the securing of more land, finding himself the owner, in a short time, of one hundred and ninety-four acres in a body, part of which, however, lies in Rock Creek township, though the residence and the bulk of the farm is in Salamonie, about six miles to the northeast of Warren. His estate being specially well adapted to the production of corn he has devoted it largely to that cereal, the crops being converted in turn into pork, the principal source of income being from the sale of choice porkers. Realizing fully the advantages of well-bred stock over those of inferior quality, he has persistently endeavored to bring his stock up to a high standard, generally, breeding from thoroughbred animals. Being a close student he has devoted some consideration to those questions that most nearly affect the progress of the farmer, with the determination of a well grounded basis for every innovation in the established customs of his neighbors, adapting his own plans largely to those that have stood the test of time and experience, where farming is conducted on a scientific and systematic basis. The results of his business have been eminently satisfactory, the time coming, while still a young man, when he could retire from the more arduous labors of the direct management of the farm, devoting something of his time to the less laborious, though no less important, duties of a public official. He has ever held a working relation to the Republican party, being more specially interested in the selection of suitable men for those local offices whose relations are most closely in touch with the demands of every citizen. Being selected by his party as the candidate he made the race for trustee at recent election, the count of ballots showing him to stand at the head of his ticket, receiving thirty-five majority, where two years since the Democrats carried the township by eight. He at once qualified for the administration of the office and removed to the village, so that the duties could receive that attention their importance demanded. It is already apparent that no mistake was made in the selection, as the interest ever shown by this gentleman in all that pertains to the general advancement has amply proven his fitness for the oversight of such duties as fall the lot of a trustee. No citizen has been more closely in touch with the schools and the teachers; being one of the former teachers of the township he has retained the old interest, emphasized with the determination of affording his own children the best advantages the system of public education could afford. Whatever may be said in criticism of this state in other lines, a comparison with the systems of education in other states results in the highest praise for that of Indiana. The plan of giving the boys and girls of the country, as well as those in town, an opportunity to complete a certain course, receiving recognized honors at graduation, has done more than any other one thing to encourage pupils, teachers and patrons, and to illustrate the benefits enjoyed by the students of Indiana. The deep interest of Mr. Redding has never flagged, as indicated by the fact of all his children having completed the common school course, which has been supplemented by further training elsewhere. The township has nine schools supplied with competent teachers; all the buildings are of brick, one at least being pronounced by county school officials the best school-house in the county. The selection of teachers by the former trustee displayed good judgment; the present corps being deeply imbued with the demands of the times and working in harmony to the accomplishment of the grandest results. The new official has already entered into the spirit of their work, meeting them in the local institutes, harmonizing, and extending that encouragement to each which none but a recognized superior official can give.

The Redding family consists of five children, the eldest being Elise Linden, whose wife is Miss Minnie Hart, who with their two children, Claude Valdon and Charley H., reside near his father in the northern part of the village. He graduated from the Marion Normal, in the commercial course, and for some time has been identified with some of the mercantile interests of the town. The second is Cora L., wife of Harry Brown, who operates her father's farm. They have one child, Eldon Uberthin. John Leslie supplemented the common school with a course in the normals at Marion and Valparaiso and the University at Bloomington, and for some four terms was a successful teacher, becoming a student in the Indianapolis Medical College. Rufus Marion attended the normal at Valparaiso, served efficiently as a teacher for four terms, and is now completing a thorough education in the State University at Bloomington. The youngest, but not necessarily the least important, is Olive E., a student in the senior class of the Warren high school. Both Mr. Redding and wife are members of the Methodist church, in which he is serving as trustee and class-leader, every effort being to raise a family under Christian influences and to impress upon the youth of the community the true worth of unimpeachable character.

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