Santa Cruz County History - People

Old Soldiers: Santa Cruz County Civil War Veterans
by Robert L. Nelson

TUFTS, RUFUS W (1840-1882)

Santa Cruz Sentinel (September 23, 1882)

Headstone of R W Tufts
R. W. Tufts
IOOF Cemetery in Santa Cruz


At eight o'clock Tuesday morning our people were thoroughly aroused from their wonted quiet by and explosion that shook the earth and swayed the buildings, the SENTINEL brick building moved as if struck by some restless force coming from the direction of the Powder Mills. In a moment the SENTINEL reporter was on the streets, and soon a cloud of smoke was seen rising from the Powder Mill flat. It was but a step and the crack of a whip and the fast horse of Wm. F. Burns was flying northward, passing trotting horses and excited pedestrians. On his arrival he learned from C. Eastman that Rufus W. Tufts was killed. The mill employees were dazed, stunned and demoralized. The accident had occurred at the single wheel mill, which was blown into a thousand fragments. Cause of explosion not known. Supposed to be knocking of clinkers with a copper pointer, which some laborers will not risk. Rufus had entered the mill to draw a charge, there being about one thousand pounds of best Government powder there, Rooney and Carr having gone up the track to the double wheel mill. Tufts was blown into atoms, the largest portion being his head which was a mere pulp and found some little distance from the mill. The damages are estimated at $4,000. The mill will be rebuilt in two months. Mr. Tufts was a quiet, sober, industrious man, and had worked for the Powder Co. sixteen years. He is the inventor of the Tufts water wheel, the first water wheel we introduced into our office to propel the SENTINEL machinery. He leaves a wife and three children in needy circumstances. His funeral, on Thursday last, was under the auspices of Wallace Post, he being a Veteran of the late war. The Congregational Church was well filled, Rev. Mr. Willett delivering an appropriate and touching funeral address.

GAR Tufts Proclamation

Whereas, Our beloved comrade, Rufus W. Tufts, has been suddenly removed from our midst by the hand of death:

Resolved, That in his untimely demise his family lose a kind and loving husband and father, W.H.L. Wallace Post a true and honored comrade, our community an upright and exemplary citizen, and our country one of her devoted heroes and defenders.

Resolved, That we, the members of W.H.L. Wallace Post, hereby tender sympathy in this the hour of their great sorrow and grief.

Resolved, That this Post, in respect for the honored memory of our deceased comrade, drape our charter and emblems in appropriate mourning, and the members of this Post their badges, for the period of thirty days.

Resolved, that a copy of these resolutions be tendered the family of deceased, printed in each of the county papers, and a copy thereof spread upon the minutes of our post.

Z.N. Goldlsby, Bart Burke, E. Spalsbury.........COMMITTEE

Santa Cruz Sentinel (October 7, 1882)

Powder Mill Payment

To Mrs. Rufus Tufts, whose husband was killed at the late Powder Mill accident, the California Powder Co., through Bernard Peyton, presented a $500.00 Check.

Santa Cruz Sentinel (October 14, 1882)

Tufts GAR Memorial

W.H.L. Wallace Post, G.A.R. held a memorial service on Wednesday evening last, out of respect for their deceased comrade Rufus W. Tufts. The ceremonies consisted of a reading of the record of deceased by Adjutant, Comrade Lincoln; appropriate selections of scripture by the Chaplain, Rev. Barber of Soquel, with responses thereto by comrades; an address by Z.N. Goldsby, the Post commander, and music by a choir under the direction of Comrade Werner. Mr. Goldsby’s address was a polished and sympathetic review of the life and service of Comrade Tufts, and the principles of the order, chief of which are Fraternity, Charity, and Loyalty. The thanks of the post and audience are due the choir for their excellent music rendered on that occasion.

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