If you've ever taken Lake Road (US Route 6) from Lorain to Sandusky, then you've passed through the community of Ruggles Beach. What you may not know is the story behind the Ruggles name.
This article below (and accompanying photo and caption) tells a little bit of the story. It was written by Sarah Welker and appeared in the April 22, 1958 Lorain Journal.
CONFLICT – These two tombstones in a little cemetery west of Ruggles Beach
differ on the date of birth of Almon Ruggles, who made a remarkably accurate survey of
the Firelands in 1806 and took a section of land for his pay.
Tombstones Disagree on Ruggles' Birthday
By SARAH WELKER
VERMILION – When Almon Ruggles, who was later to be the first postmaster of Vermilion, completed his survey of the Firelands in 1806, he took for his pay a section of land on the shores of Lake Erie in Berlin Twp.
Ruggles was the fourth person employed to survey the area which was to include 500,000 acres as a grant for the "Sufferers" of Connecticut. Three persons before him had tried and failed. His survey, made carefully, and taking into consideration the irregular shoreline of Lake Erie was just 27 acres over the grant, which considering the implements with which the 1806 surveyors worked, and the other limitations of the day, was a truly remarkable survey.
That Ruggles was a man of vision cannot be denied. While he probably did not foresee the steady stream of trucks and cars that now roll over the old road, he picked for his place of residence land with a potential for development.
Two markers in the little cemetery on a knoll just west of Ruggles Beach mark the resting place of Almon Ruggles. On each the date of death is given as July 17, 1840; but on one the age is given as 68 years, 4 months and 24 days, while the other lists it as 69 years, 4 months, 25 days.
No matter which date is right, the people of the Firelands are still in the debt of the man who made the survey.
This past Saturday I decided to drive out to the Berlin Township Oak Bluff Cemetery (just west of Ruggles Beach) and see for myself what the markers look like. A helpful cemetery worker directed me to them.
You can still make out the Ruggles name pretty clearly, but little else, as both stones have weathered a bit. They also need a good cleaning.
I was actually pretty amazed that 170 years later, that the markers are still legible (assuming they were erected when he died). Here's hoping that some historic organization out that way gets involved and ensures that the markers are cleaned and preserved. It'd be nice to erect a sign to honor Almon Ruggles' memory as well.