Obituary of James M. Rutland
April 22, 1874

The Fairfield Herald published this obituary for James M. Rutland in 1874, praising his "honesty and sturdy independence of character."


Judge James M. Rutland died in Winnsboro, on the morning of the 17th of April, at the age of sixty years. Judge Rutland was one of the most prominent and highly respected citizens of Fairfield County. He was born in the Horse branch neighborhood, and lived on his father’s farm, attending schools at intervals until he had acquired the elements of an education. He then taught school two years, after which he entered the store of Mr. David Aiken, as clerk. After serving some time in this capacity, he attended Mt. Zion School and prepared himself for the Virginia University, at which place he graduated in the law school. Returning to Winnsboro he was appointed Magistrate. After some years, he entered upon his profession as a lawyer. He was genial in his disposition and made many friends. His honesty and sturdy independence of character, however, made him uncompromising in his ideas and principles. He was generally in the minority in politics, and for this reason held no public office before the war. When South Carolina seceded, Judge Rutland was one of the few men in the State who proclaimed themselves Unionists; and though his position was condemned, his boldness and consistency commanded the esteem of his personal friends though political enemies. When reconstruction came, Judge Rutland was a member of the reconstruction convention, and was elected Senator in the first Radical Legislature. For this he was ostracized by many of his former associates. He was elected judge, and despite the prejudice against him as a member of the party, he performed his duty so faithfully as to fully regain the high position he had previously held in the confidence of the honest citizens of the State. When his judicial term expired he retired to private life, disgusted with the party that he had labored vainly to make respectable, and in unmeasured terms denounced the villainy and corruption of the administration.

For some time past, Judge Rutland has been in feeble health. Seven paralytic stro[k]es shattered his constitution, and the last one carried him off after a day’s illness. He will be buried in Lancaster. Thus has passed away an honest and upright man. Peace to his ashes.


The Fairfield Herald, 22 April 1874.