Charles Ruegnitz is the popular and efficient Treasurer of Clayton County, his place of abode being in Elkader. A leading Democrat, he was elected to his very important position on the Democratic ticket in the fall of 1885, and has been four times re-elected, which fact plainly shows the confidence which is reposed in him by the people.
Charles Ruegnitz, Sr., the father of our subject, was born in Germany, where he remained until the '60's, when he crossed the Atlantic and proceeded to Iowa, becoming a settler in Clayton County. His wife, Mary (Meder) Ruegnitz, whose birth also occurred in the Fatherland, died in Clayton County, where the family had located in 1864.
The subject of this narrative, like his parents, was born in Germany, his nativity taking place in Mecklenburg in 1849. He received a good education in his mother tongue and was sixteen years of age when he set sail for the United States. On taking up his abode in Clayton County in 1864, he commenced work at the cooper's trade which he had learned in Germany. In 1870 he went to Omaha, where for a time he was in the employ of the Union Pacific Railroad and worked on the Omaha bridge for one season. He then returned to Clayton County and took charge of a hoop factory in the town of Clayton, the proprietors of the concern which was known as the Northwestern Hoop Company having their headquarters in Chicago. In 1882 Mr. Ruegnitz embarked in the same line of business, becoming a manufacturer on his own account, and continued in that line at Clayton for three years, making a fair success of his enterprise.
Interested in several civic societies, Mr. Ruegnitz is a charter member of the Modern Woodmen of America in the Mystic Camp, at Elkader; he belongs to Clayton Lodge No. 143, A.O.U.W., of which he is also a charter member, and is identified with the Turners' society. He has always been active in the ranks of the Democratic party and has justified the trust which has been reposed in him in his capacity of County Treasurer, the duties of which he has filled to the satisfaction of all. In the fall of 1892 he was nominated for State Treasurer on the Democratic ticket but was defeated. These facts, however, show that he stands well in the estimation of his party, who have a number of times chosen hiim as their leader and he is probably one of the most popular men in Clayton County, where he numbers hosts of friends.
In 1872 the subject of this sketch married Miss Emma Venus, whose birth occurred in Clayton County, and she here recieved her education. Her father, Joseph Venus, one of the early settlers of Clayton County, was also one of the original founders of the German Colony at Communia, and was actively identifed with public and school affairs. His death occurred when he had reached the ripe old age of eighty years. Mr. and Mrs. Ruegnitz's union has been blessed by the birth of three children, two sons and a daughter, who are still living, their names being as follows: Frederick, Emma and Louis. The parents are faithful and consistent members of the Lutheran Church, in the teachings of which they have reared their children; they have given them the benefits of a good general education, thus fitting them for the duties of life. A man of sterling worth and strict integrity, our subject merits the success he has attained in life, having carved his own way and acquired his prominence by these characteristics.