Woman of the Century/Amanda Louise R. Dufour
AMANDA LOUISE RUTER DUFOUR. DUFOUR, Mrs. Amanda Louise Ruter, poet, born in Jeffersonville, Ind., 26th February, 1822. She is the oldest daughter of Rev. Calvin W. Ruter, a pioneer Indiana preacher, and his wife, Harriet De Haas Ruter. Mr. Ruter was of Vermont and Puritan ancestry, and Mrs. Ruter of Virginia and Huguenot ancestry. Both were persons of marked character. Mr. Ruter was stationed in Jeffersonville when Louise was born. In her childhood school privileges were limited, and with her naturally delicate organization and the burden of household duties which devolved upon her as the oldest of five children, her attendance at school was often irregular. She was fond of books and had free access to her father's limited library. In 1842 she became the wife of Oliver Dufour, a descendant of an illustrious Swiss family, who immigrated to the United States early in the century. Mr. Dufour was elected to the Indiana Legislature in 1853, and in the same year received an appointment to a government position in Washington, to which place he removed with his family. He was a prominent member of the Independent Order of Odd Fellows, having been Grand Master of the State of Indiana, Grand Representative from that State and also from the District of Columbia for eight consecutive years. He died in November, 1891. Mrs. Dufour composed verses when too young to wield a pen, or even to read. Her peculiarly sensitive temperament long kept her talents from being appreciated. Having no confidence in her own abilities, she shrank from criticism. She is fond of writing for children, and has published many poems adapted to their comprehension. In 1848 Hon. Joseph A. Wright, then governor of the State, sent from Indiana, for the Washington monument, a block of marble, on which was inscribed the motto: "No North, No South, Nothing but the Union." This incident suggested to Mrs. Dufour her poem entitled "The Ark of the Union." It was first published in the Washington "Union," and was afterward, without her knowledge, set to music. Some months before the death of the scientist, Baron Von Humboldt, Mrs. Dufour wrote a a poem on his distinction as "King of Science." An American in Berlin read the poem to the great man, who was then upon his death-bed, and it so pleased the Baron that he sent Mrs. Dufour the following message: "Tell that talented American lady, Mrs. Dufour, that I deem that poem the highest compliment that was ever paid to me by any person or from any clime." She has contributed to the "Ladies' Repository," the "Masonic Review," the "School Day Visitor," the "Republican," of Springfield, Ohio, the Louisville "Journal," whose editor was the talented author and poet, George D. Prentice, and the Louisville "Democrat."