RUTLEDGE, Edward (1749-1800)

RUTLEDGE, EDWARD, (brother of John Rutledge and uncle of John Rutledge, Jr.), a Delegate from South Carolina; born in Christ Church Parish, S.C., November 23, 1749; completed preparatory studies; studied law at the Middle Temple in London; returned to South Carolina; was admitted to the bar and commenced practice in 1773; Member of the Continental Congress 1774-1776; a signer of the Declaration of Independence; was a delegate to the first provincial congress in 1775 and to the second provincial congress 1775-1776; appointed a member of the first board of war in June 1776; member of the general assembly in 1778; elected a Member of the Continental Congress in 1779 but did not take his seat; captain in the Charleston Battalion of Artillery in the Militia of South Carolina in the Revolution; taken prisoner when the British captured Charleston May 12, 1780, imprisoned at St. Augustine until July 1781, when he was exchanged; member of the state house of representatives in 1782, 1786, 1788, and 1792; member of the state constitutional convention in 1790 and was author of the act abolishing the law of primogeniture in 1791; was tendered the appointment of Associate Justice of the United States Supreme Court in 1794 by President Washington, but did not accept; elected governor of South Carolina and served from December 6, 1798, until his death in Charleston, S.C., January 23, 1800; interment in St. Philip's Churchyard.

Duke University
Rare Book, Manuscript, and Special Collections Library
Durham, NC
Papers: 1790-1820, 8 items.
The papers of Edward Rutledge contain a letter from him to Phineas Miller, written in 1790, concerning his crops and the extraction of oil from cottonseeds for the purpose of lighting street lamps, and Edward Rutledge also discusses land matters, and a proposed trip by General Charles Cotesworth Pinckney to visit George Washington and to decide on the location of a fort. Also included in the papers are legal documents relating to the estates of George Evans, 1794, of Henry Middleton, Edward Rutledge, 1802; and a deed, 1820, of Mary Rutledge, second wife of Edward Rutledge.


Library of Congress
Manuscript Division
Washington, DC
Papers: In the Miscellaneous Manuscripts Collection, ca. 1788-1797, 2 items.
Letters of Edward Rutledge, 1788-1797.

Papers: In the Henry A. Willard II Collection, ca. 1743-1888, 625 items.
Subjects include Edward Rutledge. A finding aid is available in the library.


Library of Virginia
Archives Branch
Richmond, VA
Papers: In the Hunter-Hitchcock-Coit Families Papers, 1765-1925. 0.9 cubic foot.
Other authors include Edward Rutledge. An inventory is available in the repository.


The Morgan Library
Department of Literary and Historical Manuscripts
New York, NY
Papers: 1788, 1 item.
A letter from Edward Rutledge to an unidentified recipient written on May 5, 1788.

Papers: 1798, 1 item.
A letter from Edward Rutledge to an unidentified recipient written on December 28, 1798.

Papers: 1799, 1 item.
A letter from Edward Rutledge to an unidentified recipient written on November 30, 1799. A document signed by Edward Rutledge while her served as Governor of South Carolina.


Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission
Scranton, PA
Papers: In the Mrs. James Lewis Hook Autograph Collection, 1752-1810, 22 items.
Other authors include Edward Rutledge. A finding aid is available in the repository.


The Rosenbach Museum & Library
Philadelphia, PA
Papers: 1774, 1 item.
A complaint filed in the South Carolina Court of Common Pleas which is filled out in the hand of Edward Rutledge, and signed by him as the plaintiff's attorney. The complaint is dated January 4, 1774 and filed against John Clayton. The complaint orders sheriffs to bring John Clayton to court to defend himself in a suit for a debt of eight thousand pounds. The form is also signed by Thomas Knox Gordon, Chief Justice of South Carolina.

Papers: 1776, 4 pages.
A letter from Edward Rutledge to Robert Morris written in August 1776. In the letter, Edward Rutledge writes concerning military personnel matters and the delay in writing the Articles of Confederation, for which Edward Rutledge favors a separate convention.

Papers: ca. 1789, 3 pages.
A letter from Edward Rutledge to George Washington written around 1789. In the letter, Edward Rutledge congratulates George Washington on his election to the presidency.

Papers: 1795, 1 item.
A letter from Edward Rutledge to his daughter written on March 18, 1795.

Papers: 1798, 1 item.
A speech by Governor Edward Rutledge to the South Carolina Legislature written in December 1798 after his re-election as governor. In the speech, Edward Rutledge warns of the dangerous situation in Europe and the necessity of preparations for war.

Papers: In the Signers of the Declaration of Independence Autograph Collection, 1756-1818, 56 items.
Other authors include Edward Rutledge.


South Carolina Historical Society
Charleston, SC
Papers: In the Huger Family Papers, 1795-1897, 0.25 linear foot.
Correspondents include Edward Rutledge.


University of Virginia
The Albert and Shirley Small Special Collections Library
Charlottesville, VA
Papers: 1796, 1 item.
A letter from Thomas Jefferson to Edward Rutledge written on December 27, 1796. In the letter, Thomas Jefferson asks Edward Rutledge for 20 bushels of cowpeas, gives instructions on shipping to Charles Johnston & Co., Richmond and payment through John Barnes of Philadelphia, and discusses improvements he has made on the Lieth machine for threshing wheat in Virginia and rice in South Carolina. Thomas Jefferson continues with a discussion of how much unmerited abuse and praise he has suffered in public service, his wish for retirement, the outcome of the election of 1796 which he knows John Adams will win adding "I know well that no man will ever bring out of that office the reputation which carries him into it. the honeymoon would be as short in that case as in any other, & it's moment of extasy [sic]would be ransomed by years of torment & hatred." He predicts he will live in peace while John Adams will be shipwrecked in the gathering storm, but nevertheless urges Edward Rutledge to continue in national public office for "there is no bankrupt law in heaven by which you may get off with shillings in the pound, with rendering to a single state what you owed to the whole confederacy."

Papers: In the Gilmer Speed Adams Papers, 1651-1879, 30 items.
Persons represented include Edward Rutledge.

Papers: In the Albert H. Small Declaration of Independence Collection, n.d. and 1776, 2 items.
A letter from Edward Rutledge to Nathanael Greene written on October 22, 1776. In the letter, Edward Rutledge informs Nathanael Greene that the Board of War has ordered 200,000 cartridges he requested be sent to him immediately. He notes that the Board has many such requests and wishes that Washington could "procure such Supplies of Ammunition as he may want, from the Eastern States, there being very little in this City, from whence alone every Demand to the Southward of Hudson's River must be answer'd [sic]." He adds that orders about salt purchases have been given and Greene shall hear about them as soon as possible, and concludes with wishes for his "Success & Honour [sic]." An undated engraving of Edward Rutledge accompanies the letter.

  • Haw, James. John & Edward Rutledge of South Carolina. Athens: University of Georgia Press, 1997.
  • Salley, Alexander Samuel. Delegates to the Continental Congress from South Carolina, 1774-1789. Columbia, S.C.: Printed for the Commission by the State Company, 1927.