The Encyclopedia Americana (1920)/Rutledge, John

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RUTLEDGE, John, American jurist: brother of Edward Rutledge (q.v.): b. Charleston, S. C., 1739; d. there, 23 July 1800. He studied law in England, returned to Charleston in 1761 and there established himself in law practice. From the outset of his career he was an ardent opponent of the oppressive laws governing the colonies and as delegate to the congress at New York in 1765 openly advocated the united resistance of the colonies. In 1774 he was a member of the South Carolina convention which carried a resolution that South Carolina should be represented in the Continental Congress. He served as delegate to the Congress of 1775 and in 1776 was chairman of the committee that framed the South Carolina constitution, was elected president of the State government and commander-in-chief of the militia. When the British forces arrived off Cape Fear he fortified Charleston and prevented the invasion of the State. He resigned his office in 1778 through dissatisfaction with changes in the constitution, but was recalled in the following year and invested with dictatorial authority. He at once set about preparations for defense and held the city until 1780. He then joined the forces of General Greene and upon the recapture of Charleston resumed his duties as governor. In 1782 he was elected to the Continental Congress, was re-elected in 1783 and in 1784 became chancellor of South Carolina. He was a member of the convention which framed the Constitution of the United States in 1787. He became chief justice of his State in 1791 and in 1795 was appointed chief justice of the Supreme Court. His mind failed in the following year and he held no further public office.

Americana 1920 Rutledge John.jpg
Copyright by C. E. Anderson, Sec'y, 1901


Chief Justice of the United States Supreme Court, 1795