Side A: Almon Ruggles (1771-1840) came to Ohio from Connecticut in 1805 and led survey teams that divided the Firelands section of the Connecticut Western Reserve into townships. The Firelands was territory granted to Connecticut residents whose property was destroyed by the British during the Revolutionary War. Ruggles purchased a lakeshore section of this surveyed land for one dollar per acre, which is now known as Ruggles Beach. After settling permanently in Ohio in 1810, he established a farm, built gristmills, and worked for different Connecticut land proprietors. Ruggles also served in the Ohio Senate, the Ohio House, and was briefly appointed as associate judge of Huron County. Upon his death, his ashes were buried on part of his property, now known as Oak Bluff Cemetery.
Side B: Shortly after Almon Ruggles settled here, the War of 1812 broke out between the United States and Great Britain. On September 10, 1813, British and American fleets fought the decisive Battle of Lake Erie. Sailors and marines killed on both sides were sewn into their hammocks and committed to the lake after the battle. Family lore holds that Ruggles discovered the body of a man in an American uniform washed ashore, and because Ruggles believed that the deceased man was killed in the battle, he “had the sailor buried with Christian ceremonies…and erected a headstone.” In 1935, the Martha Pitkan Chapter, Daughters of the American Revolution led efforts to replace the original headstone with a U.S. government-issue marker inscribed “Unknown U.S. Sailor 1813.” This unknown sailor remains interred in Oak Bluff Cemetery.