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Veteran of US Civil War (1861-1865) and Early Pioneer-Hanston, Hanston Cemetery, Hodgeman County, KS

Sgt. Charles Ruff enlisted in Co. I 56th PA Infantry. He brought his family to Hodgeman County in 1879. He was appointed postmaster along the Star route from Larned to Ravanna (community of now-defunct Garfield County) and served for 37 years.

Charles Chester Ruff was born in Germany in 1845. At the age of eight, his parents came to America and settled in Pennsylvania.

During his service in the Civil War, Sgt. Ruff was present at some of the most noteworthy battles. Including, Antietam, Gettysburg, Appomattox and was at the surrender of General Robert E. Lee on April 9, 1865.

After the war, Charles returned to Pennsylvania and married Clementine Stevens. They were the parents of five children. After toiling in the coal mines, Charles was drawn by the posters advertising good and plentiful land in Kansas.

The family settled in Brown’s Grove (now Burdett) where Charles used his carpentry skills to build his home, other residences, and various other buildings. The Star route mail delivery began in Brown’s Grove went up Pawnee Valley through northern Hodgeman County and included post offices in Cowboy Pawnee Valley, Kidderville, and Cowland in old Buffalo County and Ravenna in Garfield County.

After living a full life, Charles died in 1927 at the age of 81. Catherine passed away ten years earlier. They share the same headstone in Hanston Cemetery.

Note: Clementine Montgomery Stevens was born in Scotland in 1845. At the age of five, her parents came to America and settled in Pennsylvania.

Note: Garfield County was established in 1887. Ravanna and Eminence were two towns that battled for the coveted county seat title. In 1892, the Kansas Supreme Court dissolved Garfield County because the county lines did not meet the required size. When the county was dissolved, it became part of Finney County. The ruins of the two towns are located on private property, but you can see crumbling limestone rocks that once were thriving businesses.

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