History of Samuel and Nancy Ruggles

Nancy Ruggles

Samuel Ruggles

The attached pictures are of Samuel and Nancy Ruggles painted by Samuel F.W. Morse in 1819 before they left on the 6-month journey from New England in October of 1819, landing at Kona in April of 1820. There were seven couples and 4 Hawaiians on board The Brig Thaddeus. When King Kamehameha II allowed the missionaries to stay, two couples were stationed in Kona, and the rest traveled on to Honolulu. The group leader Hiram Bingham, the printer Elisha Loomis and the Chamberlains stayed in Honolulu. Samuel Ruggles and Samuel Whitney traveled to Waimea in order to bring back the son of the King of Kauai, who had been in New England for several years, and to check out the possibility of starting a mission there.

They left their wives in Honolulu, both of whom were pregnant. The King, Kaumualii, was overjoyed at the return of his son, whom he thought was dead, and offered the missionaries land for a mission. The Samuels returned to Honolulu to get their wives, and then settled in Waimea about July 25, 1820. During the 3 years that Samuel Ruggles was on Kauai, he also attempted a missionary site at Hanapepe.

Samuel Whitney

Mercy Partridge Whitney

Sarah Ruggles was born to Samuel and Nancy December 23, 1820, in Waimea.

Samuel Ruggles was born March 9, 1795, the 9th child of Samuel Sr. and Huldah in Brookfield, CT. He was the brother of Lucia Ruggles Holman, wife of the missionary doctor. Nancy was born Nancy Trumbull Wells of East Windsor, CT. They married one month before leaving on the long journey.

Samuel and Nancy sent Sarah back to New England to be educated when she was seven years old. They didn’t see her again until 1834, when they returned to New England because of Samuel’s health. Sarah married Garry Peck (CT) in 1847, had 2 children. Sarah moved to Ft. Atkinson, WI, after the death of Garry, and there she married George Stafford. She, George, and her parents, the missionaries, are buried there. Samuel died in 1871 and Sarah in 1873.

Samuel and family went from Waimea to Hilo for the years 1824-1825, returning to Waimea 1825-1826. From there they went back to Hilo 1826-1828, ending their mission work at Kaawaloa in Kona, Samuel becoming pastor of the Kahikolu Church, returning to NE in 1834.

Model of the Brig Thaddeus