Two Reubens born about the same time in South Carolina. A surname that was interchangeably Roof, Ruff, Reuff, and Reiff, and sometimes Rough. (I will use Roof for the remainder of this article to simplify things; specifically Lexington Reuben Roof and Mississippi Reuben Roof).
When writing an article about my ancestor Simeon Godfrey Jacob Roof, my research quickly identified two Reuben Roofs. That is not an issue for me. What became a bump in the road was the number of family trees on-line mixing up the two Reubens. This article will hopefully separate and clarify the two men.
Both Roof families came from Hesse, Germany to mid-state South Carolina. The Roof families populated Lexington, Newberry, and Saluda Counties. Were they all related? Probably. It is more than likely that both Reubens descend from Johann Rueff (born 1690 in Germany; died 1718 in the Netherlands).
I’ve well researched my Lexington Reuben Roof and the line of descent is Johann Rueff (1690-1718) > Johann Sebastian Rueff (171501788) > Johan Melchoir Rueff 1750-1801 > Godfrey Roof 1770-1825 > Reuben Roof 1799-1885.
I’ve not well researched the Mississippi Reuben Roof line, but the line of descent appears to be Johann Rueff 1690-1718 > George Jacob Reuff 1718-1751 > Christian Reuff 1736-1797 > John Roof 1765-1819 > Reuben Roof 1805-1874.
My ancestor Lexington Reuben Roof was born ca. 1799 in Lexington County, South Carolina. His parents were Godfrey Roof (1770–1825) and Barbara Monts (1780–1812). My Lexington Reuben Roof married Jemimah Catherine Areheart (1800–1875) and they had the following children:
- Harriett Dratha Ruff (1824–1888)
- Simeon Godfrey Jacob Ruff (1827–1922)
- son Ruff (b. 1830)
- Martha Elizabeth Ruff (1833–1902)
- Rhoda A C Ruff (1838–1904)
- Jemima Catherine Ruff (1843–1868)
My Lexington Reuben Roof stayed in the county of his birth –Lexington — until his death. He was a shingle-maker (a real Roofer) in a family of carpenters. His nineteenth century presence is easy to follow as he was counted in census records 1830 to 1880.
Mississippi Reuben Roof was born in Newberry County, South Carolina on March 18, 1805 and he died in Noxubee County, Mississippi on April 19, 1874. His parents were John Ruff (1765–1819) and Frances Haynie (1767–1843). He was an attorney and Probate Judge. He moved to Macon, Noxubee County, Mississippi before 1845 and married Rebecca Longstreet (1824–1881). They had no children.
He was recorded in three census records in Mississippi (1850 to 1870), proving the existence of two separate Reuben Roofs, who may have been third cousins after all.