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THOMAS M. RUFF


The Rev. Thomas M. Ruff, pastor of the Baptist churches at Logan and at Monitor, West Virginia, came to this State from Alabama, but back of that he had gone to Alabama from the old red hills of middle Georgia. Georgia has no reason to be ashamed of the men who represent her in West Virginia, though they are not so numerous as those from the Carolinas or Virginia. Mr. Ruff was born in the old county town of Sparta, Hancock County, Ga., on March 10, 1867, which was only a short time after the war and the coming of freedom. His father, Mark Ruff, was a farmer after the order of his day in that part of Georgia, and was a deacon in the Baptist church. He was the son of John and Charity Strother. The maiden name of Mr. Ruff's mother was Amanda Hillsman, daughter of Kate and Bartlett Hillsman. The boy had the misfortune to lose his father at an early age and was reared by a white family. His boyhood and youth were filled with a plenty of hard work and what education he secured was in the short term public schools, which in that day and that part of the South were poor enough. Of course, in addition to this we must take into account his reading and study since he has entered the ministry, for he is largely a self-made man.

As a boy in his teens, young Ruff gave his heart to God and joined the Union Baptist Church. He continued to work in Georgia till he was grown to manhood, when he went to work in the mines of Alabama. He did not leave his religion behind but became active in the work of the church there. As the years went by the conviction grew on him that he ought to preach the Gospel, and so in 1910 he was licensed and in 1913 ordained by the Mt. Zion Baptist Church at Adamsville, Ala. His first regular pastorate was the New Salem Baptist Church, which he served two years. He also preached at Pratt two years. In 1917, he left Alabama for the coal fields of West Virginia and located at Logan the county seat of Logan County. He has been active in the ministry since coming to the State. He preached at Whitman for two years and Yolyn three years and a half, and two years and a half at Manbar. After accepting the pastorate of the St. Paul Baptist Church he found it necessary to build a new house of worship, which was readily done under his leadership. In 1922 he accepted the call of the church at Monitor and now gives two Sundays a month to that work. He is a member of the executive board of the Ministers and Deacon's Union. Since coming to Logan he has bought a lot and built a home, which is near his present church. Mr. Ruff has been a hard worker all his life. As a boy he had to contribute to the support of the younger children of the family and thus missed the opportunity for a college education.

On September 10, 1910, Mr. Ruff married Miss Stella Johnson, of Alexander City, Ala. They have no living children.

In politics, he is found in the ranks of the Republican party. His secret order affiliations are with the Masons, the Pythians and the Mosaic Templars. He believes the thing which his people need most of all is a spirit of unity and cooperation.


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