Within the oral history of the Charles Rubley family is an undocumented assertion that 3 Rubley brothers came from Switzerland. One brother stayed East, one went West, and the Charles Rubley family went South. It is logical to assume that Charles Rubley had some contact with someone in America prior to immigrating, be that a brother, cousin, or friend. We know that his wife did not want to leave Switzerland. So it is likely that he had some contact/encouragement from someone already here that served as an inducement to immigrate.
In an attempt to document this piece of oral history, two other Rubley families were reviewed. Unfortunately no information was developed to support the theory of three brothers however it was not disproven either.
A summary of the two other families is being provided in hopes that additional research might reveal a connection, if one exists.
Henry and Louisa Rubley
When Charles and his family arrived in 1880, their first home was next door to Henry & Louise (Rubli) Rubley in town of Wawarsing, Ulster County, New York. The 1880 census indicates that Henry was born about 1842 in Switzerland of Swiss parents. His wife, Louisa, was from Prussia. They had 4 children at the time, all born in New York. As their oldest was 10 years old, it is implied that they had immigrated prior to 1870.
From a series of e-mail exchanges with descendants of Henry and a review of the census records, the following information has been developed.
Henry is believed to have come from the Alsace-Loraine region of France/Germany. (Note Alsace-Loraine extend approximately 125 miles north from the Swiss border. It is considered French but was controlled by Germany from 1871 to the end of WWI. Historically the language spoken is a form of German. Whether or not he was Swiss by birth and had simply move across the border to work is simply not known. It is know that in the mid-1800's there were significant problems within that entire region. Switzerland was in economic turmoil and the Alsace-Loraine region was the battle ground for a tug of war between France and Germany.)
The 1900 Census has the family still living in the same area of New York as in 1880. They have had 10 children, 8 of whom survived. The census shows that the entire family was born in New York as well as Henry and Louise's parents. This is believed to be a census error.
By 1916 the family had relocated to Bethel , Fairfield County, Connecticut. Henry & Louise along with several of their descendants are buried in the cemetery at Bethel.
There was a notable absence of contact between the two families.
While it maybe reasonable to assume the two families had some knowledge of one another prior to 1880, there is certainly no documentation to even begin to suggest that they might be brothers.
Mid-West Rubley Family
This term, mid-West is being used to describe another broad family of individuals with various names (Rubli, Rubly, Rubley, etc) that range from Pennsylvania to Iowa.
This family traces its roots back to the Westphalia region in the northern Germany. The family believes the name was originally Rubli (German) that was translated into Rubly (French).
In 1832 Christian Rubly and his family of 5 children immigrated from Alsace, France to Eastern Pennsylvania. The majority of the family stayed in Pennsylvania. The 1860 census has Christian, age 86, living with his son Joseph and his wife and 8 children in Clearfield County, Pennsylvania. Christian's birthplace was Germany and his son's France (Alsace, France). It was noted that Joseph apparently named his oldest daughter after his mother and the next oldest after his sister, Sophia.
Christian's youngest son, Frances, went West in 1855. Going by covered wagon, first to Indiana, then Chicago, and finally settling in the New Vienna, Iowa area. By 1880 Frances with his wife and 3 of their 10 children were living in Elk, Iowa. Frances' eldest son was Frank, born 1859 in Iowa. Frank was listed as a Peddler living with his parents in 1880. The 1910 census has Frank and his wife living in Clay, PA indicating that Christian's descendants moved freely between Pennsylvania and Iowa.
It is interesting to note that within the same family the name is spelled Rubley, Rubli, Rubly, Roopley, Rupley and Ruply.
The leading researcher for the Rubly Family of Iowa indicated that she did not believe that any connection in the 1800s between Charles Rubley and the Christian Rubly family. The Rubly family oral history contains no reference to another Rubley family.
Given the fact that this family immigrated almost 50 years before Charles & Elizabeth it is difficult to see any direct connection. Research by descendants of Christian Rubly has also failed to provide any documented connection between the families.
This effort has yielded nothing new concerning the Charles Rubley family. However the reference to Alsace-Loraine by both families coupled with some oral history within Charles' family leaves one to wonder about the true mixture of the Rubley blood (French, German, & Swiss). Perhaps the Rubli name has some German roots and perhaps ancestors of Charles and Elizabeth moved freely the 100 or so miles from central Alsace to central Switzerland.
This was a troubled region. Alsace-Loraine saw the Napoleonic Wars in the early 1800 only to be followed by the Franco-Prussia war of the mid-1800s. The Treaty of 1871 transferred Alsace-Loraine from French to German control. This resulted in a mass exodus of over 100,000 people.
In this setting it would not be difficult to envision a family with a multicultural background; German, French, and Swiss. And was the turmoil of the 1870s coupled with the Swiss economy a force behind the move to America?