Saturday, January 18, 2014

52 Ancestors: #2 - It Began with C.W. Ruth

Amy Johnson Crow from No Story Too Small blog issued a challenge. Come join the fun with 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks. An excellent way to share family history, write their story and maybe discover a cousin or two.

I will begin the challenge with one of my favorite subjects. My husband's grandfather, Christian Wismer Ruth.

Christian captured my imagination years ago. Wonderful stories have been shared about his dedication to his faith.

Then we have THE photograph. See why I was hooked? Such a gentle face.

It will sound strange, but I felt an instant connection from the start. The feeling grew even stronger while researching the life and times of C.W. Ruth.

C.W. was born September 1, 1865 in Bucks County, Pennsylvania. The oldest of four children, Christian described his family as being one of "godly heritage".

From "Enter His Rest Testimonies - Christian Wismer (C.W.) Ruth"we learn the following.

Christian was raised in the country, with little opportunity for higher education. At age 16 he became a printer's apprentice. This is where his life changed forever.

While working in a print shop, Christian met the son of a minister. This young man invited him to a camp meeting. As they say, "the rest was history!"

Christian Wismer Ruth, standing in middle, circa 1884-1885
"Heavenly Recruits"
courtesy Bible Fellowship Church On Line History Center

From "Supplement to the Ruth Genealogy" compiled by Warren R. Kriebel, second edition, published 1978 (which our family has in possession) we learn the following facts.

"This he began at the youthful age of 18 years, soon traveling with the Heavenly Recruits Association." 

The Holiness Christian church brought 2167 members into the 8000-member Union, mostly from Indiana, Illinois, Missouri, Oklahoma and Pennsylvania. The resulting denomination was renamed the International Holiness Church. This mini-denomination was actually founded before the Union (1882) by five people (3 men and 2 women) in Philadelphia as  the “Heavenly Recruit Association.” C. W. Ruth was their “Presiding Elder.”

During his time preaching in Indiana, he met and married Emma Josephine Springer. The couple eventually had six children, one dying at the tender age of five. 

While Christian travel the country preaching, Emma remained in Indiana, taking care of hearth and home.

By 1901 he had joined the Los Angeles Church of the Nazarene. There Christian became a rising star, eventually becoming associate pastor and assistant general superintendent.

Many years were spent traveling and preaching. The following was discovered in The Reading Eagle Newspaper from Google Newspapers.

"Sermon A Day For 41 Years"

"Revival services are in progress in the Holiness Christian Church on Washington street near Second, and there are daily sermons by Rev. C. W. Ruth, of Indianapolis. There were four at the altar asking for prayers.

Rev. Ruth has preached on an average of one sermon a day for 41 years, and never at any one time was without a place to preach, and has seen over 80,000 bow at an altar. His preaching over the Lord's Day was on repentance and heart purity."

Christian passed away on May 27, 1941 in Asbury, Kentucky. He took ill during the National Holiness Conference. Many noted figures wrote memorials and fond remembrances to their fellow pastor.

The following (in my possession) is from his life-long friend, Rev. Bud Robinson. The article was printed in the September, 1941 Call To Prayer. This was a bimonthly magazine from the Christian Holiness Association.

A Christian Gentleman and a Beautiful friend

I HAVE known and loved and labored with Brother C.W. Ruth for forty years. He was one among the most beautiful brothers with whom I have ever labored. We mad many trips across the continent together. He was a Christian gentleman of the first magnitude. He was a beautiful husband and a devoted father. Brother C. W. Ruth was the clearest and strongest second-blessing preacher on the American Continent. He was the most untiring worker in an altar service with whom I have ever labored. He leaves a good wife and five children to mourn his loss. I know of no man who can take his place on the platform as a holiness preacher. I have lost a most beautiful friend in the home going of Brother Ruth.

May the richest blessing of heaven rest upon the National Holiness Missionary Society.

At every turn my interest and fascination with Christian has grown. In many ways I feel I know him better than most of our living relatives.

I would like nothing better than to spend a day with this interesting gentleman. Do you have someone in the family tree who you have connected with in a special way? 


  1. C.W. Ruth seemed like a fascinating man. I agree with you that he has a very gentle face. Thank you for sharing him with us. :-)

    1. Yvette, thanks for taking the time to leave a comment. Yes, C.W. sure is fascinating. Hubby says I may be the leading authority on the subject! :)

  2. Lovely lovely story! It's so interesting how one particular ancestor draws us in, isn't it? My French 2nd great-grandmother has done that to me.

    1. Laura, hello and thank you for reading the post. Funny how we connect with some of our long lost ancestors! Must be something to do with the DNA? Have you written about your French 2nd great-grandmother? Would love the here "the rest of the story".