Memorable Manitobans: Herbert Bell Rugh (1879-1924)
Born at Cedar Rapids, Iowa on 16 May 1879, son of George S. Rugh (1856-1923), in 1898 he served with US forces in Cuba during the Spanish-American War, after which he trained at the Armor Institute of Technology in Chicago. He practiced as an architect in Chicago for four year before coming to Winnipeg in early 1904. He and his wife, Mae Lillian White (?-?) of Cedar Rapids, had a child in late 1906. They became members of the Winnipeg elite for, when Mrs. Rugh held an open house in May 1907, her visitors included such prominent Winnipeg families as Bawlf, Patterson, Pitblado, and Stovel.
In late 1911, he joined his architectural practice to the Montreal firm of Ross and MacFarlane, with him as manager of the firm’s Winnipeg office, located on the ninth floor of the Union Bank Building. In November 1912, his wife successfully petitioned the federal parliament for a divorce, citing her husband’s adultery.
A few months after the outbreak of the First World War, he enlisted in the Canadian Expeditionary Force. He went overseas from June 1915 to May 1919, serving as Captain of the 44th Battalion, as well as company commander and quartermaster. He served at La Coulette, Lens, Passchendaele, Somme, Vimy Ridge, and Ypres. His letters and sketches sent home were published locally. He was the only man of his battalion to return from the war unscathed, everyone else having been “killed or maimed.”
Returning home to Iowa in 1920, he married Alice Slocum (1893-1929) of Cedar Rapids with whom he had two children, George Rugh (c1922-1929) and Alice Rugh (c1924-1929). In July 1924, he was killed in an automobile accident a few miles east of Dubuque, Iowa. His widow took employment as an insurance agent. She and their two children were found dead of carbon monoxide poisoning in November 1929, shortly after the stock market crash.
Some of his architectural works in Manitoba included:
Classified ad, Manitoba Free Press, 28 July 1904, page 14.
“Syndicate to build a home,” Manitoba Free Press, 29 November 1905, page 11.
“The New Pulford Block,” Manitoba Free Press, 19 March 1906, page 3.
“Winnipeg’s progress has been substantial,” Manitoba Free Press, 21 November 1908, page 29.
Classified ad, Manitoba Free Press, 21 November 1912, page 18.
Divorce notice, Manitoba Free Press, 30 November 1912, page 2.
CEF attestation papers, Library and Archives Canada.
Rugh military record, Manitoba Free Press, 3 April 1920, page 6.
Obituary, Manitoba Free Press, 14 July 1924, page 6
“Three are victims of carbon monoxide gas: woman and two children die at Cedar Rapids; widow of former Winnipeg soldier,” Manitoba Free Press, 19 November 1929, page 1.
Crescentwood, A History by R. R. Rostecki, Winnipeg: Crescentwood Home Owners Association, 1993.
Linwood [Cedar Rapids] Cemetery Transcription, www.us-data.org/ia/linn/cemeteries/linnwoodcem.txt
This page was prepared by Gordon Goldsborough.
Page revised: 17 January 2023