Biography of Martin L. Ruetenik
Cuyahoga County, OH Biographies

MARTIN LUTHER RUETENIK, one of the most successful and scientific exponents of market gardening in his native city, is a representative of an old and honored Cleveland family. He is a son of the late Rev. Herman J. Ruetenik, D. D., LL. D., and Amelia C. (Martin) Ruetenik.

Rev. Herman Julius Ruetenik was born at Dernmerthin, a village to the north of the City of Berlin, Germany, on September 20, 1826, and his death occurred in the City of Cleveland, Ohio, February 22, 1914. His father was a minister in Germany, and for several generations in that country the family had given distinguished members to the professions, including the ministry of the State Church. Dr. Herman J. Ruetenik was given the advantages of the gymnasium in the City of Berlin and those of the great University of Halle. He was one of many cultured Germans who came to the United States in 1848, following the collapse of the German revolution, in which he had been at least a sympathizer. He landed in the port of New York City, and on the 17th of July, 1853, he was ordained a clergyman of the Reformed Church, at Easton, Pennsylvania. In the same year he came to Ohio as a missionary of his church, and after remaining for intervals in Toledo and Giffin, this state, he came to Cleveland and became pastor of the First Reformed Church. In 1887 he founded the Eighth Reformed Church, of which he was the revered and loved pastor many years. He was for a time a member of the faculty of Heidelberg College at Tiffin, and later he became the founder and president of old Calvin College, at Cleveland. He was one of the distinguished clergymen of the Reformed Church in the United States, was the author of many publications of religious order; he was the organizer of the Central Publishing Company, at Cleveland, which is still one of the important concerns here maintained under the auspices of the Reformed Church. He served as vice president of the general synod of the Reformed Church, and was not only an influential and honored member and clergyman of his church, one of high intellectuality and marked administrative ability, but he was also a citizen whose loyalty was shown in effective stewardship. At Easton, Pennsylvania, on the 11th of October, 1853, was solemnized his marriage to Miss Amelia Clara Martin, whose father was a manufacturer of fine musical instruments, and she died at the home in Cleveland, January 13, 1905, loved by all who had come within the sphere of her gentle and gracious influence.

Martin Luther Ruetenik was born in Cleveland on the 17th of May, 1868, and here was afforded the advantages of the public schools and of Calvin College. He left college in 1887 and engaged in market gardening on a modest scale, he having become the owner of the land which he utilized for this purpose, on Schaff Road, in the locality now known as Brooklyn Heights. During the intervening years he has continued a progressive and successful representative of this interesting line of productive enterprise, and has become one of the prominent and well known exponents of market gardening in the United States. In connection with his operations he now has about three and one half acres of ground devoted to vegetable growing under glass. His scientific methods have attracted the attention of leading representatives of this line of enterprise throughout the country, and he has introduced systems and methods that have been widely adopted. He was one of the pioneers, twenty years ago, in combating the celery blight, and was one of the first to use a spray for this purpose, the Bordeaux formula, which he employed at that time with much success, being now in general use by celery growers throughout the land. He was the first man to grow tomatoes under glass after the spring lettuce crop had been harvested, he having gained his idea of doing this work through the experimental station maintained at Wooster, Ohio. He was one of the first in this part of Ohio to adopt the plan of sharing profits with employes, a policy which he still holds. For six years Mr. Ruetenik was a member of the board of control of the Ohio Agricultural Experiment Station at Wooster, Ohio ; he served two terms as president of the Vegetable Growers' Association of America, was later a member of its official board and is still one of its influential members ; and for ten years he was president of the Cleveland Vegetable Growers' Association. He was president of the Lincoln Bank at the time when it was merged with the Pearl Street Savings & Trust Company, of which latter he is now vice president. Mr. Ruetenik had the distinction of being chosen the first mayor of Brooklyn Heights, and is serving in 1922 as a member of the board of education of this attractive suburban village. He and his wife are zealous communicants of the Eighth Reformed Church, founded by his father, and he is a member of its official board.

Mr. Ruetenik married Miss Kate Kleinhans, who was born at Youngstown, this state, a daughter of John and Marie (Rithmiller) Kleinhans. Mr. and Mrs. Ruetenik became the parents of four children, of whom the second, Louise, died at the age of five years. Howard, who is associated with his father, was married in June, 1922, to Miss Sadie Pretzer of Cleveland. The two younger children, Dorothea and Paul, remain at the parental home.

A History of Cuyahoga County
and the City of Cleveland
By: William R. Coates
The American Historical Society
Chicago and New York, 1924

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