Your Silent Neighbor
by David K. Leff
Canton Town Historian
A lifelong resident of North Canton, Ruggles Case (1789-1881) was one of the town’s “most respected citizens,” wrote Sylvester Barbour in his 1908 book Reminiscences. Case was one of ten children.
Around 1820 he built a shop for blacksmithing in North Canton, a trade which he carried on for many decades. “I vividly remember,” Barbour wrote, “watching him many times shoeing horses and oxen I had ridden or driven there, a distance of three miles to be shod. In those days a blacksmith made his own shoes and nails, a work largely done at the time of shoeing, and which kept the bystanders dodging the particles of red hot iron flying about while the iron was being hammered into shape for use.” A relatively large man, late in life Case was permanently stooped and walked leaning forward from the many years spent bending over his work. Late in life he became bedridden.
Case was a “truly hard working, ‘solid citizen,’” descendant Ruth V. Gracy wrote in The Lure of the Litchfield Hills in the 1950s. He was a devout man and gave half the land for the North Canton church. On Sundays he is said to have attended church in Canton Centerin the morning, Washington Hill in the afternoon, and North Canton in the evening. He and his wife Cynthia had ten children.
Ruggles Case is buried in the North Canton Cemetery on Cherry Brook Road.
“Your Silent Neighbors” introduces readers to people out of Canton’s past. Readers are encouraged to visit these gravesites and pay their respects to the people who have helped make our community what it is today.