John Ruggles Soper, a prosperous farmer and lumberman of Orland, Hancock County, was born in this town, December 28, 1822. His father, for whom he was named, was also a native of Orland. The grandfather, Justus Soper, who was born in Massachusetts, came to this locality as a pioneer, settling upon a tract of wild land in the neighborhood of “The Falls.” He occupied a log house until circumstances enabled him to build a frame dwelling. This latter was subsequently destroyed by fire, and the family forced once more to inhabit their primitive abode. Of industrious habits, he cleared a good farm from the wilderness, on which he resided for many years. He lived to be over eighty years old. He was among the minute-men organized for service in the War of 1812. The maiden name of his wife was Elizabeth Viles.
John R. Soper, father of the subject of this sketch, resided at home for some six years after his marriage. He then settled upon unimproved land, from which he cleared the farm now owned by his son. He kept considerable stock. The house which he built, and wherein he died at the age of seventy-six years, is still standing. He married Margaret Steele; and they reared three children —Elisha D., Margaret A., and John R. Elisha D., who is a farmer and carpenter of this town, married Maria Blaisdell. He has two children — Frank De Forest and Frances.
John Ruggles Soper began his education in the district schools, and subsequently attended Bucksport Academy. In his youth he assisted in carrying on the home farm. Later he engaged in the lumber business, which he has since conducted in connection with agriculture. After the death of his father he succeeded to the ownership of the homestead by purchasing the interests of the other heirs. His farm is under good cultivation, and he owns considerable wild land, which is well covered with timber.
Mr. Soper married Sophia Eaton, of Deer Isle. He has had three children, one of whom died in infancy. The survivors are: Annie, who is the wife of Eugene Gross, of Orland; and Dennis R., who married Emma Pickering, and has one child, Reynold E. Dennis R. resides on the homestead. Mrs. Soper, the mother, died January 1, 1891, aged fifty-one years.
Mr. Soper cast his first Presidential vote for James K. Polk in 1844, and is now independent in politics. He takes a lively interest in all matters relative to the progress of the town, and is a member of the local grange, Patrons of Husbandry.
Source: Biographical review: containing life sketches of leading citizens of Somerset, Piscataquis, Hancock, Washington, and Aroostook counties, Maine. Boston: Biographical Review Publishing Company, 1898.