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Rutherford Family History & Ancestry

Family Crest Motto: NEC SORTE NEC FATO (Neither by chance or fate)

Let me share the captivating history of your family, the Rutherfords, a narrative woven with legend and valor. The lands of Rutherford, nestled near Maxton in Roxburghshire, hold two enchanting tales of origin. One recounts how a man named Ruther guided a Scottish king across an obscure ford in the River Tweed, securing victory against the Northumbrians. Another lore recounts an English army’s ill-fated decision to abandon their strong position and cross the Tweed to confront a Scottish force. The result was a resounding Scottish triumph and the naming of the place Rue the Ford, commemorating the English defeat. Whether rooted in fact or fable, the Rutherfords emerged as a formidable force, defending their lands and venturing into Northumberland to claim rich spoils. The historical trail is illuminated by Robert de Rutherford, a witness to a charter under David I circa 1140.

In the annals of time, Sir Richard Rutherford stands as a favored figure of Robert III, a presence who witnessed a 1390 charter in support of William, steward of Minto’s lands. As history unfurls, the main lineage yielded to other hands, and the lands of Rutherford transitioned to the domain of Traquair. Yet, the name Rutherford remained an emblem of respect in the Borders. Thomas Rutherford, the renowned Black Laird of Edgerston, etched his legacy through audacious raids on the English. His pinnacle achievement transpired at the Battle of the Red Swire at Carterfell in July 1575, where negotiations transmuted into a fierce battle between English and Scots forces. Throughout the tumultuous years of the War of the Three Kingdoms, the Lairds of Edgerston stood resolute for Charles I, with Rutherford sustaining grave injuries at the Battle of Dunbar and his troop enduring significant losses.

The saga further unfolds with Lieutenant General Andrew Rutherford of the Rutherfords of Chatto and Hunthill, who ascended to nobility as Lord Rutherford in 1661. As the Governor of Tangier in Morocco in 1663, he met his fate in battle in 1664. While the title ‘Lord Rutherford’ waned, the name’s prominence did not. Andrew Rutherford, representing Leith from 1839 to 1851, exemplified dedication as the Lord Advocate, ultimately earning the esteemed title of ‘Lord Rutherford’ on the judicial bench.

Among the constellation of Rutherfords, shines the luminary Ernest Rutherford, a scientific pioneer who unlocked the mystery of the alpha particle and pioneered the nuclear theory of atomic structure, setting the stage for twentieth-century nuclear physics. His brilliance was recognized through knighthood in 1914 and appointment to the Order of Merit in 1925, an illustrious legacy that endures beyond his passing in 1937. As you reflect upon your heritage, celebrate the resolute spirit and remarkable achievements that define your family, the Rutherfords.

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Family Crest Motto: NEC SORTE NEC FATO (Neither by chance or fate)

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