edward rutledge family tree

Edward Rutledge Family Tree

Exploring Edward Rutledge's family tree has been a personal journey for me, tying my passion for American history with my expertise in genealogy.

In my experience, delving into Rutledge's lineage was more than academic; it felt like uncovering a part of myself. I believe that through his relatives, I connected with the early American spirit. From the fervor of the Revolution to the shaping of a nation, I saw reflections of my own family's tales in his.

Each discovery, a thread in the rich tapestry of America's story, deepened my appreciation for how personal history shapes our collective past.

Key Takeaways

  • Edward Rutledge came from a prominent family, with his father being a physician and his brothers also involved in politics.
  • Edward's marriages to Henrietta Middleton and Mary Shubrick Eveleigh solidified his connections to elite South Carolina society.
  • Despite personal tragedy, Edward had surviving children who carried on his impact through marriages into prominent families and continued public service.
  • Edward Rutledge's political connections and influence were instrumental in securing South Carolinians' support for independence and shaping the nation's future.

Early Ancestry and Origins

Delving into the roots of Edward Rutledge's lineage, you'll find that his family's presence in Charleston, South Carolina, began with his father, Dr. John Rutledge, who emigrated from Ireland and established himself as a physician before marrying Sarah Hext, daughter of a prominent landowner.

Born on November 23, 1749, Edward was the youngest of seven children. His family trees branch out across the Atlantic, as he studied law at Oxford University, honing his legal mind among England's esteemed.

Upon his return to Charleston, Edward's legal career flourished, much like his eldest brother John Rutledge's, who also made significant contributions to their nascent country. Edward's union with Henrietta Middleton on March 1 solidified his connections within the elite circles of South Carolina society.

The Rutledge Siblings

While Edward Rutledge's early ancestry and education set the stage for his prominence, it was alongside his siblings, including the notable John Rutledge, that he became part of a dynamic force within the political and social spheres of Charleston and the burgeoning United States.

Edward, the youngest signer of the Declaration of Independence, worked closely with his brothers John and Hugh. Their collective efforts significantly molded South Carolina's history. John, a key political figure, and Hugh, also immersed in political affairs, amplified the Rutledge influence.

Edward married Sarah Hext, his first wife, further intertwining prominent families, as Sarah's sister married Arthur Middleton, another Declaration signer. Their brother Thomas Rutledge, though less known, contributed to their familial legacy, underpinning the Rutledge name in American history.

Edward's Immediate Kin

Edward Rutledge's personal life and political alliances were deeply intertwined with his immediate family, including his prominent second wife, Mary Shubrick Eveleigh, and their shared lineage with other key figures in American history. As the youngest son of Dr. John Rutledge, an Irish immigrant, you can trace Edward's roots to a mix of Irish tenacity and Southern charm. His first marriage to Henrietta Middleton on 17 November further connected him to the American patriarchy.

Here's a snapshot of Edward's immediate family connections:

RelationNameNotable Fact
FatherDr. John RutledgeIrish immigrant
First WifeHenrietta MiddletonDaughter of Henry, furthering political alliances
Second WifeMary Shubrick EveleighMarried Mary Shubrick, strengthening familial ties
Political RoleGovernor of SouthYoungest signer of the Declaration of Independence

Edward's marriages, especially to the daughter of Henry, Henrietta Middleton, and later to Mary Shubrick Eveleigh, firmly entrenched him in the fabric of America's founding elite.

Marital Ties and Descendants

Building on his immediate kin's legacy, Edward Rutledge's marital ties and descendants further cemented his family's prominence in American history.

Born in Charleston, Rutledge expanded his influence through his law practice and political aspirations, culminating in his election as Governor.

His marriage to Henrietta Middleton, sister to fellow signer Arthur Middleton, and later to Mary Shubrick Eveleigh, intertwined his lineage with other significant figures.

Despite personal tragedy with the loss of an infant, his surviving son and daughter carried on the Rutledge name.

His older brother, also a distinguished leader, signed the Declaration, intertwining their legacies.

Rutledge died in Charleston, but his descendants perpetuated his impact, marrying into prominent families and continuing public service, offering a window into the enduring influence of his legacy.

Political Connections and Influence

Through his tenure in the South Carolina legislature and pivotal role in the ratification of the U.S. Constitution, Rutledge's political connections and influence became cornerstones of his enduring legacy. As the youngest signer of the Declaration of Independence, his actions in the Continental Congress were crucial. He worked alongside luminaries like Benjamin Franklin and John Adams, shaping the nation's future.

Rutledge's political maneuvers:

  • Vote for independence: Advocated for and secured South Carolinians' support.
  • Postponement of the vote: Strategically delayed to garner additional backing.
  • Legislative reforms: Abolished primogeniture, promoting fair real estate distribution.

Despite declining a Supreme Court seat, he influenced South Carolina's governance until his death, underscoring his indelible political significance.

The Rutledge Legacy

How did a young man from Charleston emerge as a pivotal figure in America's fight for independence and leave a legacy that still echoes in the annals of history?

Edward Rutledge, born in South Carolina on November 23, 1749, pursued law at Oxford University and was called to the English bar (Middle Temple). After honing his legal skills, he returned to Charleston to read law.

Despite his initial hesitations, Rutledge's commitment to the cause of liberty grew. He became the youngest signer of the Declaration of Independence.

His political tenure was marked by resilience; after enduring British captivity, he resumed service, culminating in his governorship. Though his era was marred by the slave trade, Rutledge's contributions to American independence and South Carolina's governance remain a testament to his enduring influence.

Prominent Descendants and Relatives

While Edward Rutledge's role in the formation of the United States is well-documented, his familial legacy is equally significant, with descendants and relatives who've made their own marks on history. Here's a glimpse into his family tree:

  • Children and Marriage:
  • Son and daughter with Henrietta Middleton
  • Second wife, Mary Shubrick Eveleigh
  • Sibling:
  • Brother John Rutledge, a significant figure in law and politics
  • Notable Connections:
  • Related to Jean Charles Dhaussy and Tim Dowling
  • Common ancestors: Henri Plantagenet and Emma de Stafford, Geoffrey Dethick
  • Other notable individuals: Rosa Parks, Rudy Giuliani, Henry Kissinger, Madeleine Albright, Dick Cheney

Descendants from Charleston's genial and charming Rutledge family have connected with Thomas Jefferson's and George Washington's legacies, contributing to the rich tapestry of American history.

Frequently Asked Questions

How Many Kids Did Edward Rutledge Have?

You're asking about Edward Rutledge's children; he fathered three, but sadly, one passed away in infancy. His surviving offspring included a son and a daughter from his marriage to Henrietta Middleton.

How Many Slaves Did Rutledge Own?

You're inquiring about Edward Rutledge's slave ownership; he owned over 50 slaves, aligning with the plantation aristocracy's norms of his era and reflecting the complex legacy of a founding father.

Were John and Edward Rutledge Brothers?

Yes, you're correct; John and Edward Rutledge were indeed brothers, with John being the older and Edward, the youngest sibling, both becoming prominent figures in South Carolina's legal and political spheres.

Did John Rutledge Get Married?

Yes, you're right; John Rutledge did marry. He first tied the knot with Henrietta Middleton and, after her passing, wed Mary Shubrick Eveleigh, thus enjoying a noteworthy personal and professional life.


You've traced the roots of Edward Rutledge, a key figure in America's birth. His family's impact stretched beyond his political strides and Revolutionary War contributions.

Through marriage, his lineage intertwined with influential figures, extending his legacy. Remember, Edward's descendants carried the torch, imprinting on history.

His story isn't just a tale of the past; it's a lasting heritage, echoed in the lives of those who bear the Rutledge name.