Rutherfordiana/Evidence/Katherine as sister of James Rutherford

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The following is a discussion of the circumstantial evidence that supports the contention of White, 1902:1-2 that James Rutherford= Margaret McMahan was the brother of Katherine Rutherford. This is part of a series of articles dealing with the Rutherford and Alleine ancestry in the Wigton Walker line.

Index to Articles
The Problem
Family Tree Source Material Extracts
Person Articles A Comparison of Sources
Bibliography Rutherford Timeline
Resources White Descendancy
DISCUSSION Working Conclusion

White, 1902:1-2 presents the following information on James Rutherford, brother of Katherine:

James Rutherford, m. his cousin Margaret McMahan and came to America in Oct., 1738. 3 Children....James Rutherford and his wife Margaret McMahan had 3 children viz:

Samuel Rutherford born deaf

Jane Rutherford

Isabel Rutherford

The above passage is is the only source that I know of that indentifies James Rutherford (?-c1768) as the brother of Katherine Rutherford. White tells us that the Rutherford family bible came to America with John Walker II. This bible eventually came into the possession of James Rutherford, who apparently began a family bible record on its pages. Those who have seen this bible, or descriptions from the current owner, indicate that there is no additional information about the family relationships prior to James Rutherford. That is, it contains no indication of a relationship to Katherine Rutherford, much less to James parents, John Rutherford and Isabella Alleine.

(Indeed, the only suggestion in the record of a possible connection to the Wigton Walker family is that it contains an entry "John McKnight, born 1627". It is possible that this is the father or other relation of Jane McKnight, wife of John Walker I, but there is nothing that confirms this; in particular, we have no information that actually identifies Jane's father, and the assumption that he is John McKnight is just that, an assumption.)

Thus there is nothing beyond White 1902 that identifies James as the brother of Katherine. If the relationship given by White 1902 is sound, it might be expected that one of the other sources availble to us (or to White for that matter) would have brought the subject up at some point. Yet only White 1902 draws this connection. One might guess that perhaps the relationship was also established in the Joel Walker Record, and therefore may have been White's source for this information. Since that document is not available to us, and is quoted only sparsely in White, 1902 (and not at all with regard to James), we can not speak further to that possibility.

Nonetheless, there is some circumstantial evidence to show that James Rutherford was in fact related to the Wigton Walker line in someway. Chalkley's Chronicles provides an extract of records related to a James Rutherford. (See Chalkley, 1912(3):104)

Page 118.--18th May, 1768. Alexander Walker's bond (with Thomas Hudson, John Wallace) as administrator, c. t. a., of James Rutherford.

Page 119.--18th May, 1768. James Rutherford's will was presented by Wm. Buchanan, one of the executors, who refused to execute. It is proved that Margaret, the willow [sic, widow], likewise refuses. Will is proved, by William Buchanan (another witness, James Buchanan, being dead). The other witness, Archibald Buchanan, is ordered summoned. Administration granted Alex. Walker.

Page 134.--24th December, 1760 [sic, out of sequence in transcription, 1768 clearly meant]. James Rutherford's will, weaver; Wife, Margaret; son, Samuel, deaf and dumb. My son-[inlaw?], John Wallace, and my _____[soninlaw?], Thos. Hudson. Executors, wife Margaret and Wm. Buchanan. Teste: William Thompson, Archibald Buchanan, James Buchanan, Wm. Buchanan. Proved, 17th August, 1768, by Archibald Buchanan.

The internal references in the above records make it clar that the James Rutherford whose will was in probate in 1768, is in fact the same James Rutherford that White identifies as the brother of Katherine. For example, these records identify a John Wallace and Thomas Hudson as his soninlaws. This conforms with what White tells us about his daughters marriages.

This does not prove that White was correct about the relationship between James Rutherford and Katherine; it only shows that the person she identified as Katherine's brother is being referred to in the probate records. However, some of the persons mentioned in this will were infact living in the Walker's Creek watershed on Borden's Grant, in close proximity to some of the known Wigton Walkers. In particular, the Alexander Walker who gave bond to administer the will is almost certainly one of the Wigton Walkers, and is in all probability Katherine's nephew Alexander Walker II (?-c1785), aka "Sawney".

Again, this does not prove that James Rutherford was Katherine's brother, but it does point to a family relationship between James and the Wigton Walkers. This is consistent with White's presentation that James Rutherford is the brother of Katherine Rutherford.

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