December 17, 1861: Henry Ruffner Died

Dec 17, 2014

In 1847, he published what today is commonly known as the Ruffner Pamphlet. In it, he argued that all slaves should be set free gradually over time. Unlike some abolitionists, his gradual emancipation theory wasn’t based on moral grounds. It was more of an economic and social theory.
Credit e-wv, The West Virginia Encyclopedia online. / e-WV

Henry Ruffner died in Malden on December 17, 1861, at the age of 71. He had been one of western Virginia’s most influential citizens. In 1819, at the age of only 29, Ruffner had organized the first Presbyterian denomination in the Kanawha Valley. Then, for nearly three decades, he had taught ancient languages at Washington College and served as the college’s president for 12 of those years.