James Addison Ruby (1850-1889) & Melissa Jane Short (1857-1916)

James & Melissa are Todd’s great great grandparents, the parents of his great grandmother Laura May Ruby.

James Addison Ruby was born on July 1, 1850 in Illinois. His parents are Bonerges Franklin Ruby and Mary “Polly” Blakesly. Read about them here. James was the oldest of their 3 children, and he had older and younger half-siblings. Bonerges fought in the Civil War, as did his brothers Milbern J. Ruby, Addison Sparks Ruby, Valentine G. Ruby, Joseph H. Ruby. You can see Bonerges’ Find A Grave memorial here. Bonerges’ great grandfather Peter Ruby II fought in the Revolutionary War and his great great grandparents Peter Ruby I and Anna Catherine Vanderhoven immigrated from Switzerland.

RUBY Addison Sparks

I have a booklet titled “Genealogy of the Ruby Family” written in 1926 by Addison Sparks Ruby. Let me know if you’d like a copy and I’d be happy to email you scans of it.

(Photo: Title page of the booklet.)

October 2017 – A Ruby cousin shared with me that PDFs of the book History of the Rubi-Ruby Families of Switzerland and America by Jay and Ruth Ruby are available here. I haven’t had time yet to explore it but wanted to let other Ruby hunters know that it’s there. Thank you Linda Jones for this tip!

Melissa Jane Short was born in 1857. Her parents are Reuben Levi Short & Sarah Blakesley. She was the oldest of their 5 children. Rueben served in the Civil War. You can see his Find A Grave memorial here.

On the 1850 US Census, James was a baby under a year old. His father Bonerges was 28 and his mother Polly was 27. Their daughter Sarah was 6. They were farming in Edgar, Illinois. Bonerges’ brothers Asa and Valentine and his mother Susannah were living nearby.

On the 1860 US Census, the family had moved to Washington, Iowa. James was 11. His father Bonerges was 38, and his mother Mary Polly isn’t found. I don’t know if they divorced or if she died. Sister Sarah was 16, Amos was 8, and Bartholomew was 5.

Meanwhile, Melissa was 3 and lived with her family in Vermillion, Indiana. Her father Rueben was 20 and her mother Sarah was 21. Also in the home was her grandmother Susannah, age 63, and Susannah’s own daughter Susannah, age 11.

On the 1870 US Census, Melissa was 13 and for some reason was living with the James Beatty family in Lawrence County, Indiana. Her parents and siblings were still in Vermillion County, Indiana. James, listed as Adisan Ruby, also lived in Hett, Vermillion County, Indiana. He was 20 years old and worked as a farmhand. He lived close to Melissa’s parents and coincidentally he boarded in a home along with the young woman who would become his future wife’s step grandmother.

James and Melissa were married on May 30, 1872 in Edgar County, Illinois. Melissa was 14 years old and James was 22.

On the 1880 US Census, James was said to be 28 (he was 30) and Melissa was said to be 26 (she was 22). They had two children: Josephine, age 7; and Melvin, age 1. They were farming in Jefferson, Iowa.

They had 2 more children: Mettie in 1889 and Laura May in 1884. James died in 1889. His Find A Grave memorial is here.

RUBY Laura May RUBY Sarah Josephine SHORT Melissa Jane RUBY Harrison Melvin RUBY Mettie

Melissa Jane Short in center, with her children from her first marriage, Laura May Ruby, Sarah Josephine Ruby, Harrison Melvin Ruby, and Mettie Ruby.

Melissa married William H. Collins in 1892.

On the 1900 US Census, Melissa was said to be 47 (she was 43) and her husband William was 48. They farmed in Jefferson, Iowa. They’d been married 8 years and had three children: Etta, age 7; Goldie, age 6; Daisy, age 5. Also in the home was Laura May, age 15.

Melissa and William had two more children, daughter Olive in 1897 and son Hans in 1899. Both died in 1899.

On the 1910 US Census, Melissa was said to be 53 (and she really was!) and her husband William was 56. Their children in the home were Etta, age 18; Golda, age 16; Daisy, age 14. Melissa’s son from her first marriage, Melvin Perkins, age 32, also lived with them.

Melissa died on February 25, 1916 in Knowlton, Iowa. Her Find A Grave memorial is here.

The children of James Addison Ruby & Melissa Jane Short:

Sarah Josephine Ruby – Sarah was born on March 12, 1873 in Ringgold County, Iowa. She married Hans Larson on April 15, 1897 in Ringgold County, Iowa. Hans had been married and had 5 children. Sarah and Hans had 6 children. She died on April 14, 1915 in Ringgold County, Iowa. Her Find A Grave memorial is here.

Harrison Melvin Ruby – Melvin was born on January 7, 1879. He didn’t marry and was a laborer. He died in 1930. His Find A Grave memorial is here.

Mettie Ruby – Mettie was born in February of 1881. She married Henry Clay McConnell and they had a daughter. Mettie died in 1940. Her Find A Grave memorial is here. I posted a picture of Mettie here.

Laura May Ruby – Laura is Todd’s great grandmother. Read more about her here.

The children of Melissa Jane Short & William H. Collins:

Etta Belle Collins – Etta was born on December 16, 1891 in Ringgold County, Iowa. She married James Milo Nott on August 27, 1913 in Polk, Iowa. They had 6 children. She died November 3, 1954 in Seattle, Washington.

Golda Agnes Collins – Golda was born on September 21, 1893 in Diagonal, Iowa. She married Merle Fogelman on November 26, 1913 in Ringgold County, Iowa. They had 12 children. She died on April 24, 1955 in San Francisco, California.

Daisy Collins -Daisy was born in 1894. She married Jess Moore on November 28, 1912 in Ringgold County, Iowa. They had 6 children. Daisy gave birth to her last child in March of 1926 and died prior to the 1930 US Census.

Olive Gale Collins – Olive was born April 23, 1897 and died in July 1899. Her Find A Grave memorial is here.

Hans Alfred Collins – Hans was born on July 26, 1899 and died in August 1899. His Find A Grave memorial is here.

Oatis Nelty Perkins (1877-1954) & Laura May Ruby (1884-1936)

updated February 2019

PERKINS Oatis Nelty RUBY Laura Mae wedding Nov 29 1903

Oatis Nelty Perkins & Laura May Ruby on their wedding day in 1903.

Oatis & Laura are Todd’s great grandparents, the parents of his grandmother Inez Faye Perkins.

Oatis Nelty Perkins was born on January 29, 1877 in Prole, Warren County, Iowa. His parents were Martin VanBuren Perkins and Mary Alice Lamb. He was the 3rd of their 4 children, and had 2 younger half-siblings. Read more about their family here.

Laura May Ruby was born on December 15, 1884 in Knowlton, Iowa County, Iowa. Her parents were James Addison Ruby and Melissa Jane Short. She was the youngest of their 4 children. Read more about their family here.

On the 1880 US Census, Oatis was enumerated twice, so his family must have moved. They were recorded on July 1 and again on July 7th. Oatis was 3 years old, his father Martin was 34, and his mother Mary Alice was 24. Also in the home was Martin’s cousin Edward Perkins, age 17. They were farming in Jefferson, Warren County, Iowa.

In 1881, Oatis’ mother Mary died when he was just 4 years old. His father remarried and two half-siblings were born. In 1889, Laura’s father James died when she was just 5 years old. Her mother remarried and had 5 more children, but 2 of the children died in 1899.

On the 1900 US Census, Oatis was in Jones, Union County, Iowa. He was 23, single, and boarding with Jasper Yount’s family. Jasper was a carpenter, and Oatis was a farmer.

Meanwhile, Laura was 15 and lived in Jefferson, Ringgold County, Iowa with her mother and stepfather. Her mother Melissa was 47 and her stepfather William Collins, a farmer, was 48. Laura had three half-sisters living in the home: Etta, 7; Goldie, 6; Daisy, 5.

Oatis and Laura were married on November 26, 1903 in Knowlton, Iowa. They had daughter Alice in 1904, daughter Mettie in 1906, son Ray in 1907, and son Cecil in 1909.

On the 1910 US Census, Oatis and Laura lived in Jefferson, Iowa, and were farming. They’d been married 6 years and had 4 children. Oatis was 33 and Laura was 25. Their children: Alice, age 5; Mettie, age 3; Ray, age 2; and Cecil, age 10 months.

In 1911, Oatis’ half-sister Bertha died. They had daughter Bernice in 1911 and daughter Maisel in 1913. In 1915, Laura’s sister Sarah died. They had son Martin in 1915. In 1916, Laura’s mother Melissa died. They had daughter Vildren in 1917.

On September 12, 1918, Oatis filled out a World War I Draft Registration Card. He was indicated to be of medium height, with a slight build, light eyes, and light hair. He was physically disqualified. His occupation was junk dealer.

They had daughter Carmel in 1919.

On the 1920 US Census, Oatis was 42 and Laura was 35. They were farming in Jefferson, Iowa. Children in the home: Alice, age 15; Mettie, age 13; Ray, age 12; Cecil, age 10; Bernice, age 8; Laura, age 6; Martin, age 4; Vildren, age 2; Carmel Leta, age 8 months.

They had daughter Inez in 1921, son Addie in 1923, and daughter Goldie in 1925. Oatis’ father Martin died in 1924. Their daughter Bernice died in 1926.

On the 1930 US Census, Oatis was 42 and Laura was 45. They were still farming in Jefferson, Iowa. Children in the home: Cecil, age 20; Maisel, age 16; Martin, age 14; Vildren, age 12; Carmel, age 11; Inez, age 9; Addie, age 7; Goldie, age 4.

PERKINS Oatis Nelty RUBY Laura May

Oatis Nelty Perkins & Laura May Ruby in about 1931.

In 1930, Laura’s brother Harrison died. In 1933, Oatis’ brother Isaac died.

Laura died on January 11, 1936 in Knowlton, Iowa County, Iowa. She was 51 years old. Her Find A Grave memorial is here.

Otis in Perkins 009

Taken January 1, 1953, the day country music star Hank Williams died. Oatis Nelty Perkins is surrounded by grandchildren.

On the 1940 US Census, Oatis was 63 and widowed. Children at home were Martin, age 24 and working as farmer; Inez, age 19, working as a housekeeper in another home; and Goldie, age 14.

In 1948, Oatis’ half-brother Govia died.

Oatis died on February 23, 1954 in Knowlton, Iowa County, Iowa. He was 77 years old. His Find A Grave memorial is here.

The children of Oatis Nelty Perkins & Laura May Ruby:

Viola Alice Perkins – Alice was born on September 3, 1904 in Iowa. She married Noah Owen on July 18, 1925 in Des Moines, Iowa. They had 3 children. Noah died in 1936. Alice married Edgar Benton Snyder, who had served in World War I. He had been married twice but had no children. They had 2 children. Edgar died on August 8. 1972. Alice died November 17, 1979. She was 75 years old.

Mettie Maurine Perkins – Mettie was born on April 29, 1906 in Iowa. She married Ferrel Dewaine Chew on November 21, 1925 in Creston Iowa. They had 2 children, one who died as an infant. Ferrel died July 24, 1963. Mettie died on August 11, 1993 in Wilmington, Illinois. She was 87 years old. Her Find A Grave memorial is here.

Ray Reubin Perkins – Ray was born on July 4, 1907 in Ringgold County, Iowa. He married Fern May Blanchard on July 5, 1928 in Des Moines, Iowa. They had 2 children and farmed in Ringgold County. He died November 17, 1968 in Union County, Iowa. He was 61 years old. His Find A Grave memorial is here.

Cecil Clay Perkins – Clay was born on June 15, 1909 in Ringgold County, Iowa. He married Alvina Willows on March 4, 1933 in Worth, Missouri. On the 1940 US Census, they lived in Diagonal, Iowa and Clay worked as a laborer for the Works Progress Administration. They had 2 children. He died December 14, 1994 in Perry, Iowa. He was 85 years old. His Find A Grave memorial is here.

Bernice Nelta Perkins – Bernice was born on December 7, 1911 in Ringgold County, Iowa. She died when she was 14, on April 24, 1926. Her Find A Grave memorial is here.

Maisel Laura Perkins – Maisel was born on May 11, 1913 in Ringgold County, Iowa. She married Willis Raymond Russel on April 16, 1932 in Creston, Iowa, and they had 8 children. They farmed in Union County, Iowa. She died on June 14, 1956 in Des Moines, Iowa. She was 43 years old.

Martin Melvin Perkins – Martin was born on August 23, 1915 in Ringgold County, Iowa. He married Bonnie J. York, who had been married and had 4 children. They had 1 child together. He died on March 6, 1986 in Dallas Center, Iowa. He was 70 years old. His Find A Grave memorial is here.

Vildren Vernice Perkins – Vildren was born on June 9, 1917 in Ringgold County, Iowa. She married Glenn Woods on December 26, 1935 in Worth, Missouri. They had 4 children. She died on May 11, 2001 in Perry, Iowa. She was 83 years old. Her Find A Grave memorial is here.

Carmel Leta Perkins – Carmel was born on April 9, 1919 in Ringgold County, Iowa. She married Marvin Leroy Akers on January 24, 1938 in Nodaway County, Missouri. They had 4 children. She died on June 14, 1956 in Des Moines, Iowa. She was 82 years old. Her Find A Grave memorial is here.

Inez Faye Perkins – Inez was born January 31, 1921 in Knowlton, Ringgold County, Iowa. She married Howard William Reece on June 5, 1941 in Ringgold County, Iowa. They had 5 children. She died September 12, 2005 in Creston, Union County, Iowa. She was 84 years old. Read more about her here. Her Find A Grave memorial is here.

Addie Dean Perkins – Addie was born on March 21, 1923 in Ringgold County, Iowa. He married Mae Irene Henton and they had 2 children. He died on August 28, 1999 in Grimes, Iowa. He was 76 years old. His Find A Grave memorial is here.

Goldie Mae Perkins – Goldie was born on July 11, 1925 in Ringgold County, Iowa. She married Walter Blaine Herbel and they had 4 children. She died on December 3, 1989 in Iowa City, Iowa. She was 64 years old. Her Find A Grave memorial is here.