Timothy Ruggles

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Timothy Dwight Ruggles
Timothy Ruggles.jpg
Speaker of the Massachusetts House of Representatives
In office
1762–1764
Preceded byJames Otis, Sr.
Succeeded bySamuel White
Member of the Massachusetts House of Representatives
for Hardwick[1]
In office
1754, 1757, 1761 – 1755, 1759, 1770
Chief Justice of the
Court of Common Pleas[3]
of the Province of Massachusetts Bay
In office
January 21,[2] 1762[3] – 1774[2]
Judge of the
Court of Common Pleas[3]
of the Province of Massachusetts Bay
In office
April 19, 1757[3][2] – 1774[2]
Personal details
BornOctober 20, 1711
Rochester, Massachusetts[4]
DiedAugust 4, 1795
Resting placeWilmot, Nova Scotia[5]
Spouse(s)Bathsheba Newcomb née Bourne
ChildrenMartha Ruggles (b. August 10, 1736),[6]
Timthy Ruggles (b. January 7, 1738-39),[6]
Bathsheba Ruggles,[6]
John Ruggles,[5]
Timothy Ruggles,[5]
Richard Ruggles.[5]
ResidenceWilmot, Nova Scotia[7]
Alma materHarvard
OccupationLawyer
Military service
AllegianceProvince of Massachusetts Bay
Branch/serviceMassachusetts militia

Timothy Dwight Ruggles[8] (October 20, 1711 – August 4, 1795) was an American colonial military leader, jurist and politician. He was a delegate to the Stamp Act Congress of 1765, and later a loyalist during the American Revolutionary War.

Early life[edit]

Ruggles was born on October 20, 1711 to Rev. Timothy Ruggles.[3] He was grandson of Capt. Samuel Ruggles of Roxbury and Martha Woodbridge, who was a granddaughter of Governor Thomas Dudley.

He graduated from Harvard in 1732; studied law, and established himself in practice in Rochester.[3] In 1735 he married Mrs. Bathsheba Newcomb, widow of William Newcomb and the daughter of the Hon. Melatiah Bourne of Sandwich, Massachusetts. He was a military officer during the French and Indian War, rising to the rank of brigadier general in 1758.

Stamp Act[edit]

He served multiple terms in the Massachusetts House of Representatives, and was its speaker from 1762 to 1764. He participated in the October 1765 Stamp Act Congress as a representative of the Massachusetts General Court, and was elected its president. Called to devise a common colonial response to the Parliament's 1765 Stamp Act, Ruggles refused to sign both the Declaration of Rights and Grievances sent by the Congress to King George III and the accompanying petitions sent to both Houses of Parliament. For this, he was publicly censured by the General Court.

He subsequently became one of the leading Tories of New England. He commanded the Loyal American Association and was a Mandamus Councillor appointed by General Gage in Boston. The Loyal American Association vowed to:

  • Not submit to rebellious assembly.
  • Enforce obedience to the King.
  • Defend each other if imperiled by unlawful assembly.
  • Repel force with force.
  • Use retaliation if any member or their property were injured.

Nova Scotia[edit]

From the outset of the American Revolutionary War in 1775, he stood with the loyalists, leaving Boston soon thereafter for Nova Scotia with the British troops and accompanied Lord Howe to Staten Island. His estates were confiscated and he was named in the Massachusetts Banishment Act. In 1779 he received a grant of 10,000 acres (40 km²) of land in Wilmot, Nova Scotia, where he settled.

Family & Later Years[edit]

Monument to Timothy Ruggles, Middleton Park, Middleton, Nova Scotia

Ruggles left his daughter, Bathsheba Spooner, behind in Massachusetts. On July 2, 1778 she became the first woman executed in the newly independent United States of America. She was hanged while 5 months pregnant for the crime of plotting, with a 17 year old Continental Army soldier with whom she was having an affair (and whose child she can be presumed to have been carrying), and two British soldiers (who had deserted the British Army) the death of her husband Joshua Spooner who was savagely beaten and dumped in a well.

Three of Ruggles' sons, Timothy, John, and Richard, followed him into exile and settled in Annapolis County, Nova Scotia but his three daughters and his wife did not. A grandson, also named Timothy Ruggles, was a political figure in Nova Scotia.[9]

Ruggles was bothered by a hernia in later years and in August 1795 on the occasion of a visit by guests while taking them on a tour of his garden he aggravated his poor health. Four days later he died and was buried on the eastward side of the Old Trinity Church, the church which he had been a major financial contributor in Middleton, Nova Scotia. A monument was later erected to his memory by his great grand-daughter, Eliza Bayard West.[9]

See also[edit]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ Paige, Lucius Robinson (1883), History of Hardwick, Massachusetts: With a Genealogical Register, Boston, MA: Houghton, Mifflin and Company, p. 312.
  2. ^ a b c d Paige, Lucius Robinson (1883), History of Hardwick, Massachusetts: With a Genealogical Register, Boston, MA: Houghton, Mifflin and Company, p. 313.
  3. ^ a b c d e f Stark, James Henry (1910), The Loyalists of Massachusetts and the Other Side of the American Revolution, Boston, MA: James H. Stark, p. 226.
  4. ^ Stark, James Henry (1910), The Loyalists of Massachusetts and the Other Side of the American Revolution, Boston, MA: James H. Stark), p. 226.
  5. ^ a b c d Stark, James Henry (1910), The Loyalists of Massachusetts and the Other Side of the American Revolution, Boston, MA: James H. Stark, p. 229.
  6. ^ a b c Calnek, William Arthur (1897), History of the county of Annapolis: Including old Port Royal and Acadia including: with memoirs of its representatives in the provincial parliament, and biographical and genealogical sketches of its early English settlers and their families, Toronto, ON: William Briggs, p. 592.
  7. ^ Calnek, William Arthur (1897), History of the county of Annapolis: Including old Port Royal and Acadia including: with memoirs of its representatives in the provincial parliament, and biographical and genealogical sketches of its early English settlers and their families, Toronto, ON: William Briggs, p. 590.
  8. ^ Wetmore, Donald (1983), Loyalists in Nova Scotia, Hantsport, Nova Scotia: Lancelot Press, p. 38.
  9. ^ a b McConnell, Brian. "'Resurgam' – The Motto of Nova Scotia Loyalist Brigadier General Timothy Ruggles" (PDF). United Empire Loyalists' Association of Canada.

Further reading[edit]

Political offices
Preceded by
James Otis, Sr.
Speaker of the Massachusetts House of Representatives
1762–1764
Succeeded by
Samuel White
Preceded by
Member of the Massachusetts House
for Hardwick
Succeeded by