Richard H.L. Rutherford

                 Goodspeed 1890


Dr. Richard H.L. Rutherford, physician, Hollywood, Ark. Archibald Hamilton
Rutherford, the father of the subject of this sketch, was born in Smith
County, Tenn., on the 14th of November, 1811, and died in Grant County,
Ark., on the 9th day of December 1888, at the age of seventy-seven years
and twenty-five days. He came of sturdy Scotch ancestry, whose emigration
to this country was prior to the Revolutionary War. The family settled in
Goochland County, Va., in 1747, and a number of its members still reside
around the ancestral home in the Old Dominion. In 1805 his father, William
B. Rutherford moved with his family to Smith County, Tenn., and there he
received his final summons. He died in 1825. His wife, whose maiden name
was Margaret M. Parrish, survived him a number of years and died in 1854,
at the advanced age of eighty-four years. Archibald H. Rutherford was
reared to the arduous duties of the farm, and received such educational
advantages as the schools of that day afforded. In 1831 he came to
Arkansas, wither his brother Samuel had preceded him in the year 1817,
resided a year in Little Rock, and then moved to Clark County, where he
lived for seven years. While there he engaged in merchandising, and at the
same time studied law. In 1833 he was elected county judge of Clark County,
and in 1835 he was elected clerk of the circuit court, and re-elected to
the same office in 1836. One year later he was elected a member of the
Legislature of the State, to fill an unexpired term, and was re-elected in
1838 and again in 1840. He was admitted to the bar in 1838 and in 1841 was
appointed deputy clerk of the United States court at Little Rock, which
position he held until 1845. Mr. Rutherford was one of the Democratic
leaders, and the Democratic organ for the State was the Arkansas Banner. He
was selected by his party to control it, and he edited it with marked
ability and force during 1845 and 1846. In 1847 he went with his brother,
S.M. Rutherford, superintendent of Indian affairs, Southwestern Territory,
to the Territory, and remained there until the fall of 1849, when he
returned to Fort Smith, Ark., where he engaged in the practice of law with
Ben T. Duval until 1855. In December of the previous year he was elected
treasurer of the State of Arkansas, which position he held until 1857. In
1856 he was appointed by Gov. Conway, superintendent and instructor of the
State penitentiary, also private secretary to the governor, and during a
portion of the latter's term, he was also acting secretary of the State. In
1858 he was appointed clerk of the district and circuit courts of the
United States for the Eastern District of Arkansas, which office he
resigned in 1860. He was a State's Democrat of the Calhoun school, and
warmly and ably advocated the election of Breckinridge to the presidency in
the memorable contest preceding the (Civil) war. At this time he was
engaged in writing for the Arkansas True Democrat, a paper in which he had
an interest, and at that time the ablest and most influential journal in
the Southwest, outside of New Orleans, and which had an immense
circulation. He took a firm and decided stand for Southern rights and State
sovereignty, and was an inveterate foe of Northern aggression. In 1861 he
was appointed Confederate States receiver for the Eastern District of
Arkansas, an office of great responsibility and trust, which he held until
the death of the Confederacy. During the (Civil) war he removed his family
to Texas, but remained himself the greater portion of the time in Arkansas
in discharge of his duties as a pubic functionary. He had two sons in the
Confederate army, one a surgeon and the other a member of the celebrated
"Woodruff's Battery." After the war he had little to do with politics in
an active way, but gave his attention principally to farming. He was twice
married; his first wife died in 1838, leaving two children, both of whom
are now living: Dr. R.H.L. Rutherford (subject of this sketch) and Mrs.
M.E. Rowland, of Alexander, Ark. His second marriage was to Miss Mary
Lewis, who died in November, 1854, leaving four children, two of whom are
living: E.P Rutherford, of Clarksville, Tex., and C.L. who was residing
with his father at the time of the latter's death. The character of Mr.
Rutherford was above reproach, and he was a man who would "feel a stain
upon his personal honor like a wound." His whole life was an
exemplification of the purest and most exalted principles. He was faithful
to every trust, and devotion to duty was his watchword. He lived and died
a sincere and active member of the Christian Church, with which he had been
connected for fifty-four years. He was a good man, in the fullest sense of
the word, a kind father, a loving husband and a true friend. Dr. R.H.L.
Rutherford, the subject of this sketch was reared and trained by that good
man, his father, and it is but natural that he should inherit some of the
predominant characteristics of that gentleman. He was born in Clark County,
Ark., on the 30th day of April, 1838, and in 1874 was married to Miss Mary
E. Stell, a native of Pike County, Ark., born on the 30th day of April,
1858, and the daughter of Armstrong A. and Emily Wingfield Stell. To the
Doctor and wife were born five children, four now living: Charles H.,
William C., Vernal L. and Stell. Dr. Rutherford received his scholastic
training during a three years' course at that well-known and justly famous
site of learning, "The Cumberland University of Lebanon, Tennessee," "The
St. Andrews," a superior Catholic college located where he then lived at
Fort Smith, Ark., (which city, although on the Indian Nation's border-line,
was then one of the most prosperous and promising, as it is now one of the
greater of the principal cities in Arkansas), and he concluded the laying
of his general literary foundation, upon which was to be builded his future
achievements, in the collegiate department of "The Arkansas College," of
Fayetteville, Ark., under the splendid tutelage of Prof. Robert Graham, its
then president (who was pronouncedly one amongst the most erudite,
progressive and successful educators, whose labors ever shed luster upon
and gave caste to any Southern academy of learning), graduating at that
college in 1856. Thus grounded, and thus superbly equipped as a scholar,
the natural bent of mind and the studious habits of our subject impelled
him, when in the eighteenth year of his age, to select as a field for his
future achievements the profession of medicine, and after four years of
unremitting application in the effort to explore in all their ramifications
the occult minutiae of "the healing art," when he had attended in 1859 and
1860 the lectures and courses at the Medical College of Nashville, Tenn.,
he then obtained, with distinction, his deserved diploma from that
unsurpassed temple of Galenic wisdom. Thence returning to his "native
heath," his abilities as a physician and surgeon, as well as his energies
as a man, were at once called into play, and a large well-paying practice
for one of his age and experience forthwith followed, as surely and as
naturally as effect follows the cause, for he was a born doctor, and the
true physician, like the real poet, can not be made unless there be
underlying native aptitude. As indicative of the proficiency in his
profession which Dr. Rutherford had attained at the time of the
commencement of the late (Civil) war which immediately followed the early
manipulation by him of the "scalpel," it might be mentioned here, that
when in 1862 from headquarters of the National Southern Government, an
order emanated for the establishment of "medical boards" in all Southern
States, to be composed of the ablest, most eminent doctors in all that
profession whose duty it should be, thoroughly and rigidly to examine (and
license such as were found qualified only) all surgeons throughout the
Southern States, whilst hundreds compelled to undergo such examinations,
which were as rigid, exhaustive and merciless as medical knowledge and
professional pride and duty could formulate - while hundreds at the hands
of that "State Board of Examining Physicians," of which in Arkansas the
eminent Dr. P.O. Hooper, at Little Rock, was the capable president, utterly
failed to meet its approval, and very many supposed capable practitioners
were peremptorily denied the right to ply their vocation, Dr. Rutherford
then, not only easily withstood this crucial ordeal, but with honors, was
assigned to an exalted and a most responsible position in the hospital
department of the Confederate army, which position throughout the entire
war he maintained uninterruptedly, with great advantage to the country, and
indeed, with such unqualified approval by the Government, that there can be
no doubt, he could, without effort on his part to do so, have retained the
position permanently in the regular army, had Southern arms triumphed in
that struggle. At the disintegration of the Confederate forces, the Doctor
returned to his native State; and, continuing as he has since done in the
active practice of his learned profession, is now known to be, and is
confessedly one of the most eminent and successful physicians in this
section of country. In connection with his practice, the Doctor is also
engaged in farming, owning as he does, some 200 acres of good land, of
which about forty acres are under cultivation. Nor should we fail to
mention, before concluding this sketch, that the Doctor inherited from his
talented father the happy faculty of expressing his thoughts with ease and
elegance in written composition; and he has frequently contributed to
numerous journals in his locality entertaining and instructive articles on
the various subjects which from time to time have claimed his attention and
engaged his thought. Although seemingly unconscious of the fact, it is
nevertheless true, that he is a most agreeable writer, and upon occasion
can wield a trenchant and caustic pen, his command of the language being
especially ample and noticeable, and his style forceful. Mrs. Rutherford is
a member of the Methodist Episcopal Church, South. In politics the Doctor
is "a chip off the old block" also, and while not a member of any church,
his stanch and rigid ideas of strict morality, and his natural amiableness
of disposition, as common repute has it of him, justifies us in concluding
this article with the assertion that he is at heart, a good man.

Biographical and Historical Memoirs of Southern Arkansas, The Goodspeed
Publising Company: Chicago, Nashville and St. Louis), 1890, Clark County,
page 163-165.

Update 03.19.01              David Kelley 1997                 BIO-0119.HTM