Which Rutherfords owned slaves or were indentured, owned or sold?
So far, the Rutherford lines we descend from have not shown to be slaveholders, but there defintely were some Rutherford families that were.
Over the years we have known non-white Rutherford families who lived in Milwaukee where we used to live, (we are white), but since we do not know their full American family history, we don't yet know if we are related.
Recently, I learned of The Beyond Kin Project. Visit their site to learn more about how to join them. Included on this page will be information related to people with the name Rutherford, as well as Rutherford Counties which are spread across America. Slaves occasionally took their "new" surnames from their slaveholder or the locations they resided in when gaining their freedom.
While doing my own research for our Rutherfords, primarily in Virginia and West Virginia, I frequently come across newspaper articles or postings that reference slaves, either for sale or who were being sought as runaways. I have always found those postings to be interesting from a historical perspective as well as being a sad commentary on humanity. This family history is important and should not be buried or glossed over, but instead should be brought into the light.
Just as my Jewish ancestors fled or endured progroms and the Holocaust, there are Rutherfords who have either been slaves or had been sent to America as indentured servants, (a euphemism used in some cases for slavery).
Some are offended by the comparison of any non-slave to slavery, but the Dictionary.com definition of indentured servant is pretty clear, and other classes of people were forced to work without pay and under conditions as poor or brutal as slaves were. Physical or sexual abuse was common, trying to run away was met with similar consequences and the law was not on their side.
Orphans were often treated no better than slaves, as they were "lent" to an extended family member or even strangers to help work farms in exchange for food and board, which in too many cases also led to severe physical and/or sexual abuse. The laws used to control the indentured were not much better than those used to maintain slavery; the one important difference was that at least they were usually counted as people instead of property, but that also means they may not have been documented.
I am posting some links &/or copies of articles that may be of interest to those researching Rutherford slaves or slaveholders. My intent is never to abuse copyrights, so links will be cited and attributed the best I can, but I also want to show enough information to be useful to those who read this section. If anyone who owns these articles feels I've misused the info, please advise your ownership or connection to them, and email your request for removal or a change to the citations, as necessary.
See a few to the right, with links to the sites they are on. Occasionally links change, so please report any broken ones.
These are some others that may help you if you are interested or are researching your family history:
If you find any history of Rutherford-related slaves or slave-owners we can add to this section, please email me so I can add them. If your family has slave history you'd like to document somewhere online, even if not Rutherford-related, please send me the information you'd like to see posted here, with proper attributions if any apply.
CLICK to Visit the Virginia Museum of History and Culture - Unknown No Longer: A Database of Virginia Slave Names
Slavery in Rutherford County, TN - Slave Records
Rutherford County Negress, Caroline Green, Dies at Age of 117. Others mentioned in article are son Anderson Green, niece Sallie Liles, and husband Jack Eaves sold away to Mississippi, never to return.