The Robinson Argus Citizen Sketches

Zalmon Ruddell was born in Dry Ridge, Grant County, Kentucky, February 9, 1847, and with his parents came to Crawford county in 1853. They located on a farm in Lamotte township some five miles northwest of Robinson. The land purchased by Mr. Ruddell comprised some 800 acres, and he at once inaugurated a system of improvements, in which young Zalmon evinced a considerable interest. Two years later the father, who had been a soldier in the war of 1812, died, leaving his widow with quite a family of children to support and bring up to the active duties of life. It was a work which she nobly did, dying only a few years ago, after the children living were all settled and doing well.

In January 1865 Mr. Ruddell enlisted in Co. C of the 155th Illinois Infantry for the term of one year, and served until the close of the war, when he was discharged. On returning from the army Mr. Ruddell went to work on the farm, continuing there until 1868, at which time he and his brother, J. D. Ruddell, having only had the advantage of the common schools of the country, entered the college at Merom, Ind., where they attended near four years.

In May 1872 they engaged in the drug business at Merom, and continued there until 1877, when they removed to Robinson, having purchased a drug store at this place. In 1878 they had met with such success in their business that they also engaged in the furniture and undertaking business, buying out a firm that had failed. Their energy and push soon made it for them a good and safe venture, in 1886 they engaged also in the hardware business, which they successfully managed until May, 1890, when they sold out that branch of the business.

In September of the same year they sold out their drug business, and the firm was dissolved. Zalmon buying the interest of his brother in the furniture and undertaking line. Up to the time of the sale of the drug and hardware business, and the dissolution of the partnership, the brothers had been partners in all their business transactions, and the separation only occurred because of the failing health of Mr. J. D. Ruddell, and the positive command of his physician that he must, for a time at least, retire from business.

In the following year Mr. Ruddell bought the furniture stock of Charles Stewart, and moved to his present location, occupying both the first and second stories of the building, which was 20x80 feet. In 1894 the building was enlarged to meet his increasing trade by the addition of fifty foot building in the rear, with two stories and a basement. This now gives Mr. Ruddell first and second floors of 20x130 feet each, and a basement of 20x45 feet. And yet there are times in the buying season when he is crowded for room, as was the occasion only a few weeks ago he had to store a car load of chairs outside his building. He has a wareroom outside this building for his undertaking supplies. Last week Mr. Ruddell opened up a branch house at Oblong, where he will also carry on the undertaking business in connection with the furniture trade. It will be under charge of Mr. George Petry, late one of our worthy citizens. He opens up there with an entire new stock in the Shire & Moody building, having a double room of 20x60 feet each and a second story of 20x45 feet.

The success of Mr. Ruddell in all his business ventures has been due to an observance of the principle upon which he first entered active life to deal honestly and fairly with all, to make a studied effort to please and satisfy his customers, to sell good goods, and to carry such a stock as the trade of the community demanded.