Roxetta Landes Runk (1872-1949)

Father: Samuel G. Riggleman (1854-1945)
Mother: Sarah E. Landes (1853-1936)

Husband: Dr. George Runk (1878-1910). Married in Battle Creek Michigan in 1907. The funeral services were conducted in the Congregational Church by Eld. A. F. Robinson of Hastings, Nebr., assisted by Pastor A. A. Robertsan [sic]. So, he is probably burried in a cemetery in that town, located about 75 miles west of Lincoln.

Relation to Jesse and Christina Landes: Roxetta was their granddaughter.

Born at Brushy Run, WV, 1872.
Died at Takoma Park, MD, 1949

Buried in the George Washington Memorial Cemetery in Adelphi, MD: 6B, Lot 59, Site 3.

Her father and mother, Samuel and Sarah Riggleman, are buried nearby at 6B, Lot 59, Site 3(?).

One of the most interesting searches I have conducted was for the grave site of, Roxetta Landes Runk. What an interesting person! The niece of my great-great-grandfather (D.A. Landes), Roxetta was living in the household of Jesse and Christina Landes at Brushy Run until Jesse died in 1894. Born in 1872, at the age of 33 she was studying nursing in a 7th Day Adventist school in Battle Creek, MI, then married one of her classmates, Dr. George Runk.* George died shortly after their marriage; they had no children. In 1924 she went to Vienna, Austria to study medicine (ophthalmology and otolaryngology) -- most unusual for a woman in 1924! She came back to the USA in 1924 and moved to Washington, DC where she practiced and taught medicine at the Washington Sanitarium and Hospital in Takoma Park, MD until her death in1949. In addtion to working at the Sanitarium Hospital, Roxetta occasionally wrote articles for a Seventh Day Adventist Journal. She is buried in the George Washington Memorial Cemetery at Adelphi, MD. One of my sisters is named after her -- Roxetta Runk Landes. This is still a mystery to me because although my father knew about Roxetta, he had no memories of Jesse and Christina Landes.

Roxetta was born in 1872, out of wedlock and consequently never took the surname of her father, Samuel G. Riggleman. Although there is some evidence that maybe Jesse Landes (her grandfather) was actually her father. See obituary from the Columbia Union Visitor, June 9, 1949. The confusion is understandable because it was common at the time when a baby was born out of wedlock for the surname of the baby to be recorded as that of the grandfather. Of course, this is speculation on my part because there is no definitive evidence that either Samuel Riggleman or Jesse Landes was her real father, other than her mother married Samuel Riggleman about 8 years after Roxetta was born. Also, at the time of Roxetta's birth Samuel would have been 16 and Sarah would have been 18 -- unusual but not impossible. Also, both Samuel and Sarah Riggleman lived with Roxetta in her house at 301 Licoln Ave in Takoma Park, MD until their deaths. This is about a mile from the Washington Sanitarium and Hospital located at 7600 Carroll Ave in Takoma Park. Also, the Sligo Seventh Day Adventist Church where Roxetta as a memeber, is located adjacent to the campus of the Hospital and Washington Adventist University on Carroll Ave. The final bit of evidence is the 1940 census for 301 Lincoln Ave., Takoma Park, MD lists 2 people living at that address: R. L. Runk (age 60, head), and S. G. Riggleman (age 85, father. and retired gardener).

Roxetta is listed in the 1880 WV census for Pendleton Co, WV. There is no 1890 census (evidently the Washington, DC archives for that year were destroyed in a fire).

I have not been able to find any other official documents between 1880 and 1929 for either Roxetta or George Runk. Maryland census records for 1930 and 1940 have Roxetta listed as living at 301 Lincoln Ave, Takoma Park, MD, although the 1930 census has her listed as "Rosette" -- an understandable error. Today, there is no "301 Lincoln Ave" but the house that is no doubt hers is on the corner of Lincoln Ave and Carroll Ave (MD 195). House.

There were a total of 20 people living in her household in 1930, including her mother and father (Samuel and Sarah Riggleman). The others ranged in ages from 2 years old to 80. Could she have been running a boarding house?

By the 1940 census, only two people are listed at her home address at 301 Lincoln Ave, Takoma Park, MD: Roxetta and her father Samuel Riggleman. Samuel probably died in 1945 and Roxetta died in 1949.

My sister, Betty McCoy of Harrisonburg, VA. Stayed with Roxetta for a short while in her house in Takoma Park after she graduated from high school in 1947. Unfortunately for my sister, Roxetta proved to be too demanding on her time and social life so my sister didn't stay too long. My great aunt, Zella Landes of Riverton, WV was close to Roxetta and evidently lived with Roxetta for a time as her housekeeper on Lincoln Ave. in Takoma Park. One of Roxetta's uncles, Jesse Franklin Landes, moved to Manassas, VA area and is buried at the Cannon Branch Cemetery there. Cemetery. History. Stone. I have no evidence that they interacted in any way, but surely they did.

The Washington Adventist Hospital in Takoma Park, MD has no records for Roxetta's tenure while working there as a doctor in the 1930's - 1940's. Nor does the Washington Adventist University Library which is located on the same campus as the hospital, have any records, including yearbook records (I was hoping for a photo). The Sligo Creek Adventist Church, the church with which Roxetta was affiliated, is also located on the same campus as the hospital and university, but the church was locked and I was not able to convince the secretary of the church of my sincerity and intentions. Consequently no information was available regarding church records.

Roxetta probably had an influence on her aunt and uncle's ultimate conversion to the Seventh Day Adventist Church, because by 1917 D. A. and his family had converted to Seventh Day Adventism, and his diary entries have him attending "Sabbath School" on Saturday at the Dolly School House near their home in the Dolly Hills. Most of D. A. and Rebecca's children were practicing Seventh Day Adventists, however this did not evidently influence my grandfather, Charles Jasper and his children's family. My father, Willie Landes, and his brothers, Ralph, Frank, and Herbert were not Seventh Day Adventists. However, his sister Monna and C. J. Landes' wife (my grandmother), Freddie Landes were Seventh Day Adventists.

Evidently the address, 301 Lincoln Ave, Takoma Park, Md. no longer exists. At least I have not been able to find it listed anywhere on street maps, Google maps, or other online map apps. The location that is indicated on Google maps as 301 Lincoln Ave. is not correct; I have been there personally to check that out and the address 301 on Lincoln Ave simply does not exist. It could be that the house numbers on Lincoln Ave have been reassigned since 1950, but that is just a guess. In the meantime, here are some photos of Roxetta, and a photo of Samuel Riggleman standing beside what I believe to be the house on Lincoln Ave before he died in 1945.

Photo of Roxetta Landes Runk included in a newspaper obituary in 1949:

Other obituaries can be found here.

Photo of what I believe to be Roxetta about 1926 when she moved to Takoma Park, MD and started to work at the Washington Sanitarium and Hospital, and a photo of who I believe to be Samuel Riggleman shortly before his death in 1945:


*Note: Danial A. Landes writes in his 1907 diary on Dec. 31: Roxie Landes was married to a Dr. Rump [sic] at Keyser W. Va. about Sept. 3.

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Site last updated: September 1, 2018