I don’t remember seeing much of my great Aunt and Uncle Ruth and Herman Shepard when I was growing up. But I do remember some of the stories my mother would tell about Herman and his barn storming days, and how Grandma Dick use to like telling Ruth all about Herman’s old girlfriends. (Dick was kind of mean that way.)
Herman and Ruth never had any children of their own, and since I know lots about where Herman came from and his growing up years, but little about Ruth, other than she didn’t want Herman flying anymore when they were married, I thought I would improve that lack. (I have to say, she must have been a saint to put up with her mother-in-law Dick.)
Ruth Mae Kring was born the 1st of March in 1908, the daughter of Lowell Athelston Kring and Tressa Belle Hults, in Ohio. She grew up with two brothers and one sister: Ralph M., Vaughn A., and Esther. The family lived in Mifflin, Franklin County, Ohio where in 1930 her father was working as a welder for the Oxiste Company, and her mother raised the kids, as was typical of the times. Ruth, by 1930, was working as a sales clerk in a local department store.
Ruth and Herman were married in 1934 in Franklin, Ohio.
Ruth’s father Lowell’s parents, Andrew Kring and Mary Alma Kramer, were of German descent.
Andrew’s parents were Conrad Kring and Catherine Siedner (nothing is known about Catherine’s family).
Conrad was an Evangelical Church minister, and apparently made up his mind, at 12 years of age, that a life of ministry was calling to him. This ministry led the family to move around from Pennsylvania to Ohio to Kansas, and finally back to Ohio where they made their final stop. Andrew grew up with 11 siblings.
Conrad’s parents were George and Magdalena Fry Kring, of Bedford County, Pennsylvania.
George Kring was the FIRST generation Kring born in the United States. He made a living as a shoemaker, a farmer and a minister (George would use his barn on the Sabbath to minister to the people living close to their farm). When he was young George spent much of his time making boots, harnesses, and shoes for George Washington’s army, and helping his father work on the farm. George hated working indoors, he wanted to be outside enjoying nature’s bounty.
George had a great urge to join the fight during the revolution as a drummer, his father discouraged his dreams, no doubt preferring his son home safe with the family. So home George stayed. George’s second wife was Magdalena Fye, of whom their son Conrad was born.
Magdalena Fye was born in Saxony, Germany. Her parents (whose names we do not know) came to American when she was a young child. The political strife going on in their homeland at the time was great incentive to move somewhere else and make a better life for themselves and their children.
The original Kring emigrant was Johan Jost Kring. He came to America with his brother. They were from Haigler, which is now in Western Germany. As teenagers, they left Germany to avoid service in the Thirty Years War and went to the Netherlands for several years before immigrating to Philadelphia on the ship Two Brothers. They arrived in America on July 21, 1751. They settled in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania. John was also a cobbler.
I can not find much on Ruth’s mother’s side of the family, the Hults they are more elusive. It looks like Ruth’s great grandfather Henry Wells was born in England and came to America in 1850, when he was 15. He traveled on the ship Amazon with his mother, Sarah, and 6 siblings. Sarah was not with her husband (dead?), and never married after emigrating. She supported the family as a seamstress.
The Hults themselves appear to come from Illinois before moving to Ohio, where James W. Hults, Ruth’s grandfather was born. I do know that her maternal grandparents were James W. Hults and Cora Belle Wells. And a death record for James indicates that his parents were Milton Hults and Margaret Dempsey. (Dempsey is probably Irish.) One online tree indicates that the Hults line descends from the immigrant Benjamin Holsaert of the Netherlands born about 1675. There are no sources with this statement.
So, an admittedly cursory search into Ruth’s ancestral background. But it was a fun frolic up a different family tree.
We have lots of letters from Ruth and Herman that will be showing up in future posts, and I am looking forward to them giving more insight into Ruth and Herman’s lives.