Griffith Rutherford

Griffith Rutherford

Revolutionary War Officer
Born 1721

Griffith Rutherford was an officer in the American Revolutionary War, a political leader in North Carolina, and an important figure in the early history of the Southwest Territory and the state of Tennessee. During the French and Indian War, Rutherford became a captain of a local British colonial militia. He continued serving in the militia until the start of the revolution in 1775, at which time he enlisted in the North Carolina militia as a colonel.… Read More

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Learn about the memorable moments in the evolution of Griffith Rutherford.


1721 Birth Little is known about Griffith Rutherford's early life. Born in Ireland in either 1721 or 1731 to John Rutherford, who was of Ulster Scots descent, and Elizabeth (née Griffin), who was of Welsh descent, he appears clearly in records after his immigration to Philadelphia at the age of eighteen. … Read More


1753 32 Years Old 1 More Event
Originally from Ireland, Rutherford immigrated with his parents to Philadelphia, Pennsylvania Colony, at the age of eighteen. In 1753 he moved to Rowan County, in the Province of North Carolina, where he married Elizabeth Graham. … Read More
1760 39 Years Old Rutherford began his extensive military career in 1760 during the French and Indian War. … Read More


1769 48 Years Old Between 1769 and 1771, he embraced the cause against the rebels during the Regulator Movement, commanding a local militia which participated in the Battle of Alamance (May 16, 1771). … Read More


1775 54 Years Old Rutherford entered the war in 1775 as a colonel in the North Carolina militia following his appointment to the Rowan County Committee of Safety. … Read More
1776 55 Years Old Rutherford represented Rowan County at the Fourth Provincial Congress in Halifax from April 4 to May 14, 1776, during which he helped develop and write the North Carolina Constitution and was promoted to brigadier general of the Salisbury District. … Read More
1778 57 Years Old British strategists viewed the Southern colonies, especially lightly populated Georgia, as the most vulnerable of all. Despite early victories won by the Patriots at Charleston and other settlements, the South became the focus of English attack starting in 1778. … Read More
1779 58 Years Old Rutherford was elected to North Carolina's senate during the War in 1779 and continued to serve in this position until 1789. … Read More


…  After being exchanged in 1781, Rutherford participated in several other campaigns, including further attacks on the Chickamauga faction of the Cherokee.
1782 61 Years Old After Wilmington, Rutherford again fought the Chickamauga in the west in 1782. … Read More
1783 62 Years Old Rutherford ran unsuccessfully for governor in 1783. … Read More
1788 67 Years Old At a Constitutional Convention held at Hillsborough, North Carolina in 1788, he had reservations about the Constitution—as did other anti-federalists at the meeting. … Read More
1792 71 Years Old With his family and eight slaves Rutherford relocated to this area, in what is today Sumner County, Tennessee, in September 1792. … Read More
1794 73 Years Old Rutherford was an advocate of the anti-federalist movement and was appointed President of the Legislative Council of the Southwest Territory in 1794.
1805 84 Years Old 1 More Event
Rutherford retired to Sumner County, Tennessee, where he died on August 10, 1805, at the age of 84.
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