The Founder - The Builder Cover
The Founder - The Builder
The Founder - The Builder

If Distinguished Ruritan Member (DRM) recognition had been given from Ruritan's beginning, then JJ Gwaltney would receive the DRM for founding the Holland Ruritan Club and also the DRM for founding Ruritan National. Beyond that, the recognition for going-forth to spread the Ruritan Idea and to successfully build Ruritan National belongs to the great "Ruritan Builder", Tom Downing. However the line has been crossed by attempting to define Tom Downing as the "Co-Founder" of Holland Club in 1928 and Ruritan National in 1930. None of this can be supported by facts, hence false. The premise of Gwaltney and Downing as Ruritan "Co-Founders" has developed into a very misleading arrangement. Without Downing, Gwaltney would have still founded "Ruritan". Without Gwaltney, there would be no Ruritan. In 1928 when the "Business, Professional Men and Farmers Group" was ) planned then became the first Ruritan Club, the term "Co-Founder" was never used because Ruritan had only one Founder, JJ Gwaltney. During 1928 as the J Ruritan Club of Holland grew into the very successful Club for fellowship and goodwill in the rural Holland community, the term "Co-Founder" was never used because Ruritan had only one Founder, JJ Gwaltney. In 1929 when Tom Downing joined the Holland Ruritan Club, and throughout his time as a member of the Club, the term "Co-Founder" was never used because Ruritan had only one Founder, JJ Gwaltney. In 1930 when JJ Gwaltney called the Ruritan Clubs together to organize the unifYing body for all Ruritan Clubs, Ruritan National, the term "Co-Founder" was never used because Ruritan and Ruritan National had only one Founder, JJ Gwaltney. Only after Gwaltney's teaching position in Holland was "eliminated" and he was removed from Ruritan in the move to Emporia Va without any connections to Holland, only in the distant years following this move was the term "Co-Founder" embraced by Tom Downing. The term Ruritan "Co-Founder" never existed while Gwaltney was in Ruritan because Ruritan had only one Founder, JJ Gwaltney. The term "Co-Founder" was miscoined years later to provide a greater importance of Tom Downing to Ruritan in spreading and Building 'the Ruritan Idea. If Downing had not been the great Missionary and "Ruritan Builder" in spreading the Ruritan Idea, he would not have any significant importance in Ruritan History. For spreading the Ruritan Idea on the national level, Tom Downing is the great "Ruritan Builder" and should be recognized as such, not a mislabeled Ruritan "Co-Founder". Without facts and evidence, history becomes legend. Without truth and knowledge, legend becomes myth. With time, myth becomes the new history. Such is the Ruritan "Co-Founder".

Read "The Organizer"

Latest News
Get Involved

Volunteer with us and help make a difference in your community!


Learn How

Home » About » History » The Founder - The Builder