Biography - DAVID RUDE
It is gratifying in this age to meet a man who has had the courage to face the battle of life with strong heart and steady hand and carve out for himself a competence, beginning at the very foot of the ladder and mounting to success when the whole world seemed against him and he had no capital with which to woo the fickle goddess of fortune.
Such has been the record of David Rude, who was born in Ashfield, Franklin county, Massachusetts, May 7, 1831, and at the tender age of thirteen took upon his young shoulders the task of a wage-earner, a task that has proved too much for many an older head. He is a son of Thaddeus and Betsie (Vincent) Rude, both natives of Massachusetts. The father was born in Franklin county, and was a son of Thaddeus, who was born at New Salem, that state. They were of Scotch-Irish lineage, and settled in the state of Connecticut, whence they emigrated to Massachusetts. Thaddeus Rude, Jr., was a farmer and married Betsie Vincent, who was born in Denis, Cape Cod, Massachusetts, and was of English descent. Her ancestors were among the early settlers of that state, and she was related to Miles Standish, the brave Puritan leader. The father died at Ashfield in 1833, in his thirtyninth year, leaving his widow with eight children to rear to adult years. They were Arial, who died in Massachusetts in 1837; Elizabeth. Thaddeus, Hannah, Alfred, Mary, David and Harriett. The mother did all in her power for her children, and was assisted by them when they arrived at years when their services would be of use to her. A number of the children came west to Illinois, and here the mother followed them, settling in Lamoille, this state, where she died in 1886, at the age of ninety-three years, conscious of a life well spent and a victorious struggle in behalf of her fatherless little ones.
David Rude remained on the farm until he was thirteen years of age, and was able to obtain but little literary education, attending school for about three years, some three months each winter. At the age of thirteen he started out as a peddler of notions, traveling through the country and small towns of Massachusetts with a pack on his back and selling notions and small wares. This was continued until he was eighteen, when he was married, and within a few weeks thereafter came west with his brother Thaddeus, who had married a sister of Mrs. David Rude and located at Lamoille on farm land. They remained there ten years and were joined there by the mother and brothers and sisters, except Alfred. In 1860 our subject moved to Lamoille, where he engaged in general merchandising, although he retained his interest in farm lands, and now owns some seven or eight hundred acres in Iowa. Three years later he purchased a furniture store in Mendota, Illinois, and in March, 1865, made this city his home. He sold the furniture store in 1868 and took the position of bookkeeper for his brother Thaddeus, who was in the grain business. In 1871 he purchased a hardware store, first being associated with L. R. Curtis and later with George Holland, who is still in the business with him. This has proved to be a paying investment and has prospered under the management of Mr. Rude until it is the leading store of its kind in Mendota. In all his business transactions he has met with success, and he has never been without money from the day he worked for Deacon Newton in Massachusetts for six months for the munificent sum of thirty dollars (!) until the present time.
On September 20, 1849, at the age of eighteen, he was united in marriage with Miss Philena Hall, of Hawley, Massachusetts. The ceremony was celebrated in Vermont by the famous Universalist minister, Hosea Ballou, and the happy life thus inaugurated lasted until January 11, 1888, when death claimed Mrs. Rude. November 29, 1888, Mr. Rude married Mary A. Whitney, a most estimable lady. Mr. Rude is not a member of any church, but contributes with a generous hand to the cause of religion, charity or education. He was formerly an Abolitionist, but has voted with the Republican party since he cast his first vote for Fremont. He was chiefly instrumental in establishing the electric-light plant in Mendota, and has become closely identified with the city from his long residence and public spirit, and is among the leading and most highly respected residents of the city.
Extracted by Norma Hass from Biographical and Genealogical Record of LaSalle County, Illinois published in 1900, volume 1, pages 246-247.