Mr. and Mrs. Leander Oscar Ruppe (Bob and Sally) were born on adjoining plantations near Spartanburg, South Carolina, he on January 15, 1859 and she on February 7, 1860. The Ruppe family and the Henderson family, Sally's family, were good friends. During the Civil War they lost track of each other as their plantations were destroyed and both families had to survive as best they could, hiding from the Union Army. They lost everything they had, including their slaves as they were freed by the Emancipation Proclamation. After the war the two families found each other and became reacquainted and helped each other get settled near where their old plantations had been. Many of their negroes came back and wanted to stay with these two families as they had been good to their slaves.
It was after these many years of hardships that Bob Ruppe and Sally Henderson became reacquainted, fell in love and were married in 1882. Their first home was near Cooper's Foundry, not far from Cowpens, South Carolina. Here their first two children, Edith Elizabeth and Alpha were born. Soon after Alpha's birth they moved to North Carolina.
Before moving to North Carolina they embraced the faith of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints (Mormons) and were baptized and confirmed on May 7, 1887. As it is well known, Mormons were hounded and persecuted, so their stay in North Carolina was short. Under the "threat of death", a Mr. Burgess and a Mr. Kellog and his son, missionaries to the Southern States, helped sneak the Ruppes and their two small daughters out of North Carolina on to a train to southern Utah where they first settled in Grass Valley. A son, Virgil Thomas, was born while here.
They later moved to the beautiful Pine Valley where another son George Samuel was born. Helived only eleven days as he and Sally both had pneumonia.
Bishop Snow suggested to the Ruppes and several of their neighbors that they move to WhiteRiver Valley in Nevada, so Bob and Sally with their three children migrated to White River Valley in 1899 where they lived first in Lund. It was a long arduous trip by wagon, driving the cattle, and walking most of the way. The families already living in Lund pitched in and helped the newcomers to get settled. Bob went to work for the other people, herding sheep, tending cattle and any other work that was to be done. Sally had her garden, cows and a few chickens. The three children started school and their last child was born in Lund, January 7, 1900.
When the "Homestead Act" was ratified the Ruppes homesteaded 160 acres which became known as "Nine Mile Ranch." They built a small cabin, corrals and fences, also put in a garden, a small orchard of apple and pear trees, and some currant and gooseberry bushes. Bob had his sheep, cattle, horses and a pig; while Sally cared for the chickens and garden. Bob also raised alfalfa, potatoes and grain.
They had no intention of raising rattlesnakes, jack rabbits, mice and coyotes, but it was a continuous fight with them. They could not keep cats as the coyotes got them. At that time there had been several rabid coyotes killed in the valley. One morning Bob went out of the door after breakfast and met one at the corner of the house. Bob slowly backed into the house, grabbed his rifle and put an end to the rabid coyote. It was burned. A shovel or a heavy stick kept near the door was always carried when out in the garden or fields because snakes liked to be where it was cool or damp.
Bob and Sally wanted their children to have a formal education as neither of them had had, so they moved to town during the winter months so the children could attend school. When they bought property in Preston the children were transferred to the Preston School.
Visitors were always welcome at the ranch. Sally being an excellent cook always gave them a marvelous meal of what she had. Her chicken and dumplings, corn bread, fresh vegetables and often a "Sweet Potato Pie" were enjoyed by friends, cowboys or anyone who stopped by. The dinner might be "Southern Cured Ham", mashed potatoes with "Red Eye" gravy, turnips or fried cabbage and cake or a fruit pie. Sally had cooked only on an open fireplace until she moved to Utah. Here she learned to use her skillet and dutch oven on a stove and to apply her wonderful Southern art.
Sally canned or dried apples and pears. She made jams and jellies from some of the currants and dried the rest. She also dried corn for use in winter.
Some summers the Ruppes would make the day long trip to Currant Creek to the ranch of Howard and Carrie Rutherford, who had a beautiful orchard, to spend a week. Carrie and Sally dried and canned fruit most of the time, and being good friends, they had many things to talk about, while Howard and Bob also spent the time working together and talking.
Some years, in the fall they would make an all day trip to Nine Mile Canyon to pick choke cherries and elder berries. Sally would make these into jam, jelly and wine. She also made wine of the flowers of dandelions for medicinal purposes. The dandelion leaves, young alfalfa, and red weed were also used for greens.
Bob built a small smoke house where he smoked pork and chickens for winter use. They also packed sausages in a five gallon crock, a layer of sausage and a layer of melted lard until the crock was full, then the crock was covered with a clean lard-soaked dish towel.
Sally, like most other pioneer women in the valley, made her own lye soap. She made her own lye from ashes. The soap was made from this lye and fat and grease she had saved for this purpose. Bacon fat was not used as it contained salt.
The Ruppes had learned many remedies for illness and pain in the South, but not all the herbs and plants needed were found here in the West, but they learned of others from the Indians who were their friends. Mrs. Lucy M. Bruno taught them many remedies. Some of the remedies were: mint or ginger tea for a cold coming on, strong black tea, vinegar and pepper for "Summer Complaint" in older people and scalded milk or weak black tea for children. Honey, vinegar and sugar for coughs or sore throat and salt instead of sugar for sore throats.
Bob always had a full beard. Many of the children called him Santa Claus which amused and gratified him. Many people, still living, remember calling him Santa Claus when they were children.
Sally and Bob were a contented couple, but one of their great desires was never granted. This was to return to the South to see and visit relatives and friends while they were still able, and while the ones in the South were still alive. Their families were not very happy with Bob and Sally (Sis) when they embraced the Mormon Chruch and migrated to Utah. Although Preston and the ranch were now "home" they still had memories of the South.
In 1939 Sally had a hard fall, seriously injuring herself. She was finally taken to her granddaughter's home in Ruth, Nevada for medical and personal care. Malinda G. Bowen took care of her grandmother until her death on September 25, 1939. She is buried in the family plot in Preston.
Bob became very despondent and gave up after Sally's death. Many times he said, "With Sis (he always called her Sis) gone, I have nothing to live for." Early in 1941 he became ill, would not go to a doctor, and passed away April 23, 1941. He is buried next to his "Beloved Sis" in Preston. At the time of their deaths two children, Edith and Lee, were living.
Edith Elizabeth, their oldest child was born October 18, 1884 near Cowpens, South Carolina. Leaving Preston and the ranch when very young she went to Berkeley, California and worked for the Bell Telephone Company. Here she met Col. William James Gregory. He was a Civil Engineer and was later doing a survey in White River Valley and other parts of Nevada. Edith returned home andthey were married and lived in Lund, Paranaghat Valley and finally in Las Vegas. Their children are: Bessie, born September 6, 1911 at Lund, married Daniel A. O'Keefe, lives in Reno, is a good artist, no children; Evelyn, born December 12, 1913 at Lund, married Clarence Leon Bruce, two children: Clarence C. (Bud) who passed away in 1965 (he served in the armed service during the Vietnam conflict), and Evelyn Claire (Mrs. Harry R. Niete, mother of Donald Ray Niete who was killed in an automobile accident in Preston in 1979); Melinda Catharine, born April 19, 1915, in Paranaghat Valley, married Ralph R. Bowen Jr., two children: Jean Patricia and Marilyn; James Monroe, born June 29, 1917 in upper Paranaghat Valley, married Elizabeth Beatrice Simpson who passed away after 35 years, married Iona Bernice Smith, no children, presently live in Preston (Jim served in Armed Service during World War II); Hal Oscar, born in Las Vegas, February 14, 1920, now lives in Reno, no children.
Alpha was born April 12, 1889 near Cowpens, South Carolina, was 10 years old when the family arrived in Lund. She passed away in Berkeley January 8, 1908 and was brought to Lund for burial.
Virgil Thomas was born in Grass Valley, Utah September 12, 1891. He married Thelma Jensen, daughter of James H. and Anne Behrmann Jensen. Virgil passed away February 9, 1937 and is interred in Preston. He served in the Armed Service during World War II. Thelma now lives in Burley, Idaho. They had no children.
George Samuel was born in Pine Valley, Utah, December 27, 1894 and died January 7, 1895.
Leander Oscar was born January 7, 1900 soon after the Ruppe family arrived in White River Valley. Lee never married and lived in Preston all his life. He passed away about 10 years after his father, Bob.
Bob and Sally lived a good clean life and were friends to all. They were missed, and are still missed very much by their grandchildren, especially Evelyn who now lives in their home in Preston.
Bob and Sally (Sis) have had 5 children, 5 grandchildren, 4 great grandchildren and 17 great great grandchildren (1980).
Written and submitted by:
Evelyn Gregory Bruce