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John Alfred Rutherford
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Birth: Jan. 31, 1799
Tennessee, USA
Death: Jan. 2, 1887
Lamar County
Texas, USA

From inscription, 'John Alfred Rutherford and wife Jane Kennedy, arrived in Red River County, TX. from Franklin County, TN. on 19 Dec 1835. Appointed surveyor of Red River County in 1837 and Lamar County in 1840. Elected first Chief Justice of Lamar County in 1840 by Congress of the Republic. Surveyed the location of the county seat. Helped establish Presbyterian Christian and Female Academy in Paris and taught first school in Honey Grove. Opposed the Civil War but lost sons, Milton and Jackson in the conflict. A believer in peace, reform and improvement of the human race.'

From an undated newspaper clipping believed to be from the HONEY GROVE SIGNAL-CITIZEN: 'Letter to the Editor: The following is a letter from Mrs. Margaret Beville Kuhlmann, which was received too late to appear in the July 6th issue as she requested. John A. Rutherford-- John A. Rutherford, the first educator in Honey Grove, arrived in Red River County Texas from Franklin County Tennessee on Dec. 19, 1835, the same year that Sam Houston and David Crockett arrived in Texas. They were here before Texas fought her way from under the yoke of Mexico. Rutherford, more than an ordinary man of those days, became prominent in Lamar County. His life, with the exception of Military service, was patterned from that of his grandfather General Griffith Rutherford of North Carolina. S. A. as he in his biographical history of North Carolina, Vol. II, wrote: 'The most important man to evolve during our revolutionary struggle in North Carolina was General Griffith Rutherford.' He was born 1721 in Ireland, educated in New Jersey and was in North Carolina as early as 1753 as a surveyor.' Superior Court minutes of Rowan County North Carolina, February 1770 records Griffith Rutherford as the Chief Justice of the court.

In the legislature 1771, he presented a bill for establishing bonding and endowing Queens College in Charlotte, N. Carolina, the first college erected in N. Carolina. In April 1775, Provincial Congress met and Griffith Rutherford was a member of that most valuable Congress which framed the first civil constitution. The legislature meeting 1784-1785 records the following bills presented by Griffith Rutherford; 1. Bill emitting one hundred thousand dollars currency, bill passed. House resolved Rutherford be Superintendent of the Press for printing. 2. Bill to prevent selling goods for hard money and to prevent the depreciation of paper currency, bill passed. 3. Bill requiring that manners be taught in the schools, bill passed. 4. Bill to regulate the decorum of its members, bill passed. During 1779 while Griffith Rutherford was fighting the battles of his country he was honored by having a county named for him and the town of Rutherford, N.C. Later a county in Tennessee was named for him also.

In 1792 he exchanged all his lands in N. Carolina for lands in the Cumberland region which afterwards became middle Tennessee. Ten men were nominated for the Legislature Council of Tennessee by the people. Those names were sent to George Washington who selected five. Griffith Rutherford was among the five commissioned by Washington at the City of Philadelphia, June 3, 1794.

He was appointed a member of the Legislature Council for the government of the territory of the United States south of the river Ohio. He was unanimously elected by the other members to be president of the council.

Newton Rutherford, the eight child of Griffith Rutherford... [a piece from the article is missing] A. W. Neville in his backward glances, published in the Paris morning new has written:

'Lamar County was created from Red River County, December 17, 1840 and the following day the Congress of Texas elected John A. Rutherford Chief Justice of the new county for a four year term. He received 31 votes to 13 for William M. Crisp.'

'The diary kept by Rutherford is one of the most human of all word pictures I have ever seen - It is an invaluable document. His daily records shows that he kept up with what was going on in the country and to some extent in the world.'

History of Lamar County, A.W. Neville records the following: 'John A. Rutherford surveyed for the location of the town of Paris. He was a member of the three man committee that established the first Female Academy and the First Presbyterian Church in Paris. He was forever interested in educational facilities. He never lost interest in his plan for improving the children and adults in reading, grammar, spelling and arithmetic. He believed in education and did what he could to foster it. He had mastered a system of shorthand which he used in recording events in his diary. He had an excellent collection of books for the times. He was very exacting keeping account of all financial transaction money loaned and notes taken or paid. John Rutherford was a free thinker, one who put no man between him and his God. To do good was his religion, as he said, Doing duty always gives peace of conscience.

He signed a Temperance Pledge in 1832 in Franklin County. He never drank nor smoked. His home was headquarters for all who came to the section. His purse was open to those who were in need. He received land grants that included approximately five thousand acres of land. Three thousand acres was located on Red River. He accumulated additional properties.

The Rutherford survey is located along Highway 82 beginning at the grayland ridge just east of Petty.

His granddaughter, Mrs. Joe Beville (Andy Lottie Rutherford) the daughter of Newton Franklin Rutherford now lives in her fathers home which was built in 1874 on Highway 82 near Petty. His grandson, Joe Whitley is a math instructor in Honey Grove High School.

Reference in the Diary he kept from 1870-1883 were to those who were friends or business associates in Honey Grove: W. A. Provine, Mat Wilson, Thomas Baird, Mrs. Anna B. Shelton, Robert Scott, Capt. A. A. Rutherford, Jack Woods, Benson , Dan McKee, Dr. Scott Feilding Rutherford and Yarborough to who he reported the land value of his property in Fannin County, for taxes to the amount of $1962.50. He reports that on 7th May, 1866 at 6 o'clock p.m. a dreadful tornado struck Honey Grove. Rudolph's Mart, Wilson's and Sloan's houses are down, Mrs. Bakers and mine are unroofed. Perhaps 15 or 20 Chimneys down. It main track in Honey Grove was about 60 or 70 yards wide from about south 25 degrees west to north 25 degrees east, surveyors terms, one of the most interesting extracts from his diary concerning our present day space exploration reads 'I guess all planets will be inhabited by intellectual beings. Each planet will be the home for its denizens but they will possess great powers of locomotion and will visit any part of the universe. I look for the denizens of Jupiter or any other planet to visit the earth and the mode of travel, how it will be improved. Perhaps I shall be able to make a circle of the earth in 24 hours. who will limit the powers of nature or of God-' This was his thinking during the horse and buggy days, 'Young men have vision, old men have dreams.' by Mrs. Margaret Beville Kuhlmann written June 30, 1973.' 
Family links: 
  Amanda Rutherford Stephens (1827 - 1925)*
  Newton Franklin Rutherford (1843 - 1903)*
*Calculated relationship
Forest Hill Cemetery
Lamar County
Texas, USA
Created by: Carole Curry
Record added: Aug 22, 2006
Find A Grave Memorial# 15470145
John Alfred Rutherford
Added by: Carole Curry
John Alfred Rutherford
Added by: Carole Curry
John Alfred Rutherford
Added by: Carole Curry
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As written in Judge John A. Rutherford's diary, my great great Grandfather, Felix Logan and his son's Wade and Jefferson (my great grandfather) were Rutherford's slaves/sharcroppers. From what little I can find due to slavery issues, I believe that the Ru...(Read more)
- Kim Logan
 Added: Feb. 12, 2009

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