RUTLEDGE, John

1739–1800

Biography

RUTLEDGE, John, (brother of Edward Rutledge and father of John Rutledge, Jr.), a Delegate from South Carolina; born in Christ Church Parish, S.C., in 1739; pursued classical studies; studied law in Charleston and later at the Middle Temple in London; returned to Charleston, S.C., and commenced practice in 1761; elected to the provincial assembly in 1762; attorney general pro tempore in 1764 and 1765; delegate to the Stamp Act Congress at New York City in 1765; continued the practice of law; Member of the Continental Congress 1774-1775; served as president and commander in chief of South Carolina 1776-1778 and as governor 1779-1782; again a Member of the Continental Congress in 1782 and 1783; elected one of the state chancellors in 1784; delegate to the Constitutional Convention in 1787 and signed the Constitution; member of the state ratification convention in 1788; received the electoral vote of South Carolina for vice president in 1789; Associate Justice of the United States Supreme Court 1789-1791; elected chief justice of South Carolina in 1790 and served until 1795, when he resigned; nominated in 1795 to be Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of the United States and presided at the August term, but the Senate on December 15, 1795, refused to confirm him; died in Charleston, S.C., July 23, 1800; interment in St. Michael's Churchyard.

View Record in the Biographical Directory of the U.S. Congress

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External Research Collections

Duke University
Rare Book, Manuscript, and Special Collections Library

Durham, NC
Papers: 1762-1776, 7 items. The papers of John Rutledge chiefly contain legal documents, four of which relate to the case of Hetherington and Kynoch v. Lynn, and an affidavit in the case of Thompson v. Fludd. Also included is a letter, 1776, from William Arther, Ralph Humphreys, and Jacob Richmon, the Committee of Safety for Saxe Gotha district, South Carolina, to John Rutledge, Sr. (1739-1800), Revolutionary statesman, concerning barrels of flour that Charles Cantry has offered to the public service.

College of Charleston Libraries
Special Collections

Charleston, SC
Papers: In the Collection of Miscellaneous Manuscripts, 1733-1895, 0.3 linear foot. Other authors include John Rutledge. An inventory is available in the repository and online.

Francis Marion University
James A. Rogers Library

Florence, SC
Papers: In the Johnstone Family Papers, 1753-1989, 2 boxes. Correspondents include John Rutledge.

Library of Congress
Manuscript Division

Washington, DC
Microfilm: 1761-1786, 1 microfilm reel. Account book of John Rutledge, 1761-1786.
Papers: 1778, 2 letters. Letters of John Rutledge, 1778.

The Morgan Library
Department of Literary and Historical Manuscripts

New York, NY
Papers: 1776, 1 item. A letter from John Rutledge to Governor Patrick Henry written on September 3, 1776.
Papers: 1780, 1 item. A letter from John Rutledge to Governor Caswell written on February 25, 1780.
Papers: 1781, 1 item. A letter from John Rutledge to General Nathanael Greene written on January 23, 1781. In the letter, John Rutledge mentions the activities of the Tories.
Papers: 1781, 1 item. A letter from John Rutledge to General Nathanael written on November 11, 1781. In the letter, John Rutledge writes concerning a Hand-Bill of Cornwallis's Surrender.
Papers: 1788, 1 item. A letter from John Rutledge in the third person to William Drayton written on August 4, 1788. In the letter, John Rutledge writes that he will be unable to attend the Court of Chancery.

Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission

Scranton, PA
Papers: In the Mrs. James Lewis Hook Autograph Collection, 1752-1810, 22 items. Other authors include John Rutledge. A finding aid is available in the repository.
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Bibliography / Further Reading

Barry, Richard H. Mr. Rutledge of South Carolina. 1942. Reprint. Freeport, N.Y.: Books for Libraries Press, 1971.

Flanders, Henry. The Lives and Times of the Chief Justices of the Supreme Court of the United States. Philadelphia: Lippincott, Grambo, 1855-58.

Hartley, Cecil B. Heroes and Patriots of the South; Comprising Lives of General Francis Marion, General William Moultrie, General Andrew Pickens, and Governor John Rutledge. With sketches of other distinguished heroes and patriots who served in the Revolutionary War in the Southern States. With engravings from original designs, by G. G. White. Philadelphia: G. G. Evans, 1860.

Haw, James. John & Edward Rutledge of South Carolina. Athens: University of Georgia Press, 1997.

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