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 John Rutherford, Sr

John Rutherford, Sr

Death 9 May 1841 (aged 85)
Burial Bridgewater, Burke County, North Carolina, USA
Memorial ID 112607705 · View Source
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Native of Bedford County, Virginia

"John Rutherford Sr. of Bridgewater, married Nancy Susannah Ballew, by whom he had five children, two sons and three daughters (being) John, Robert, Nancy, Celia, and Jane." This list should also include his other sons; Joseph Harvey Rutherford and William Rutherford.

Joseph Harvey Rutherford

William Rutherford

"Bridgewater" was the name given to the plantation of John Rutherford, Sr. (1755-1841) and his son, John Rutherford, Jr. (1809-1889). Their plantation was on the Catawba River near the mouth of Muddy Creek. The name "Bridgewater" came from Francis Egerton, 3rd Duke of Bridgewater (1736-1803). Francis Egerton was a famous designer of canals, one of which was called the Bridgewater Canal. This canal linked his mines in Worsley, England with Manchester and Liverpool. He was a friend of John Rutherford Sr. and Peter Rust (1762-1828), who moved their families "to this place of many waters" in 1781. The Rutherford family had come from Scotland and the Rust's were originally from Suffolk, England, however both families were natives of Bedford County, Virginia. Peter Rust was married to Elizabeth Ballew sister of John Rutherford Sr's wife, Susannah Ballew Rutherford. Peter and Elizabeth Rust had a daughter Cynthia who married a John Rutherford Walker in the early 1800's. They had a son John Rutherford Walker Jr. b. 30 Dec 1829.

The Rutherford, Beard, Rust and Ballew families came from Campbell County which was settled in 1736 and incorporated in 1782. It was formed from Bedford County, the county was named after Revolutionary War hero, General William Campbell who won fame in the 1780 Battle of King's Mountain. In 1784 Jeremiah Rust donated fifty acres of his land to establish Rustburg as the county seat. Jeremiah Rust was the brother of Peter Rust who came with the Rutherfords and Ballews to Burke County, NC. Peter Rust was married to Elizabeth Ballew. Elizabeth Ballew Rust was the sister of John Rutherford Sr's wife, Susannah Ballew Rutherford - founders of Bridgewater, NC.. Originally inhabited by the Monacan Indians and visited by explorers as early as 1670, the earliest settlement in Campbell County was established in about 1736 at Hat Creek by a group of Scots-Irish pioneers from Pennsylvania.

Description: 500 acres on the waters of Haw River beginning at white oak along Isham Guntir's line at James Copeland's corner and turning along Copeland's line North 263 poles to a pine in George Herndon's line then west along his line 28 poles to a [...] at his corner then South along a line between him and William Saunders 10 poles to a [...] then West 243 poles to a pool then South 162 poles to a hicory in John Rutherford's line then East along said line 13 poles to a white oak at Gunters Corner to the North 57 degrees 102 poles to a pine then North 45 degrees East ten poles to a stake then East 38 poles to the first station . LDS Film # 0259406 - Book C, p. 75 - Grant No.274 - Grantor: State of NC - Grantee: Richard Kennon - Amount: 50 shillings per 100 acres - Recorded: 1 Apr 1780

The 1790 Burke Census reflects James Rutherford with 2 slaves; John Rutherford with 2 slaves; and William Rutherford with 5 slaves. In 1800, David Rutherford with 2 slaves; and John Rutherford with 0 slaves. By 1860, John Rutherford Jr. had acquired a large number of slaves in Burke City, NC.

John Rutherford listed as a Juror and Grand Juror Burke NC numerous times 1791-1803, Bill of sale for one Negro wench and one Negro child from Joseph Wolfork to John 1792. Burke 1815 tax list shows John Sr in Kibler's Company with sundry tracts on Catawba River and Muddy Creek--2000 acres worth $7000 with 12 black polls. He entered 50 acres between his own line and Mrs Mason 4 Apr 1834. John's land joined Philip Anthony on Reedy Branch 1865/70 (This would be John Jr)

Joseph Ballew, 320a on S side of Catawba River, "where he now lives" Oct 5, 1778 [Burke County Land Records, #792 pg 265] When surveyed, only 250a were available, so Joseph did not get the full acreage. William Ballew and Peter Rust were chain carriers. The grant was not issued until 28 Oct 1782. This is now Rutherford College, about a mile upstream (west of) the location of Brian Connelly, who was on the north side of the Catawba River.

Last will and testament of Robert Ballew, dec'd, proved by John Rutherford; 27 July 1801 Deed from Ruth (Rush) Hodge to Robert Ballew for 200a, Proved by Thomas Ballew, Recorded July 1811. [Burke County Court Records 1792-1843]

1832 October - Peter Ballew security on a sheriff's bond, Peter took oath as sheriff; Jesse Connelly overseer of road from Morganton to Asheville from Rutherford Bridge to marked Spanish or Chestnut Oak on the west end of ___ Mountain; Hands of Thomas Ballew, Andrew Hunter and sons, Israel Simmons, David M. Galliard, Rowlin Duncan, Wm Stallcup, John Rutherford Jr, etc. to work road. [Burke County Court Records 1792-1843]

John Rutherford is found in Burke NC census 1790, 1800, 1810, 1820, appears to be in son John Jr HH 1830/1840. I believe he is the John Rutherford between 1840/50 in Burke NC. Burke Heritage book published 1981 has a sketch about John Jr. It says he was the only son of John Rutherford Sr and Nancy Susannah Ballew Rutherford both of Bedford Co., VA. John Rutherford Jr was b. 18 Oct 1789. There were also 3 daughters in this family--Cecila, Jane and Nancy. The family lived in a very large house on Muddy Creek at Bridgewater, Burke County NC. All six of them are buried in a family cemetery near the house which burned a good many years ago. None of the girls ever married. See William and Joseph above.

from the Burke County Heritage Book:

It was about 1651 that Col. William Ballou (Ballew) Sr., veteran English military officer, received grants from the king for his services and settled in Bedford County, Virginia. Rice Merideth Ballew and Bennett Ballew were sons of Col. William Ballew. They later left Virginia and settled in North Carolina. Bennett was killed by the Indians.

Rice Merideth was the father of William Ballew Jr., who married Elizabeth Connelly in 1773. They had 15 children. As stated above, the first William Ballou came from England and settled in Virginia. From Virginia they came to North Carolina, first to Rowan County and then to Burke County. Allair's Diary credits William, Jr. as being in the second company of Burke County in 1790. Susannah, sister of William Ballew, Jr., born in 1757, married John Rutherford of Bridgewater.

John Rutherford Sr's two older sons who lived in Natchez, Mississippi:

---------------15. Joseph Harvey Rutherford
Born July 5th, 1792 Burke County, NC
Died April 16, 1816 in Natchez, MS
findagrave #18774574

---------------15. William Rutherford
Born July 23, 1784 Burke County, NC
Died September 26, 1816 in Natchez, MS
findagrave #18774588

Family Members






  • Maintained by: Gary Rutherford Harding
  • Originally Created by: Barbara Campbell
  • Added: 20 Jun 2013
  • Find A Grave Memorial 112607705
  • Find A Grave, database and images ( : accessed ), memorial page for John Rutherford, Sr (5 Oct 1755–9 May 1841), Find A Grave Memorial no. 112607705, citing Rutherford Family Cemetery, Bridgewater, Burke County, North Carolina, USA ; Maintained by Gary Rutherford Harding (contributor 47505477) .