George William Rutledge: From Dedham, Massachusetts to Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

For Week 4 of Amy Johnson Crow‘s #52 Ancestors challenge, the suggestion is to write about someone we’d like to invite to dinner. The person who came to mind is my 2nd-great grandfather, George William Rutledge.

While I would like to know more about most of my ancestors, and I’m sure many of them would have great stories to tell, it was George that came to mind today. Like most Americans, I have numerous family members who uprooted their lives in other countries to immigrate here. As I showed in my post earlier this week, though, many of my ancestors apparently did not move great distances once they arrived in the United States. George was one of the exceptions.

GeorgeRutledgeMap
Regions of residence of George William Rutledge (red markers) throughout his lifetime (1856-1930).

Born in 1856 in Dedham, Norfolk County, Massachusetts to Irish immigrant parents Patrick and Hannah, George appears to have been one of many first-generation Americans born in his town at the time (33 out of 42 of the births listed on the same page of the Dedham birth registry had at least one parent born in Ireland or Germany).1 Patrick, Hannah, and their growing family stayed in Dedham until the late 1860s, and then moved to New Jersey – they were in the Township of Belleville in Essex County by the 1870 census.2

At the time of the 1880 census, George was 23 years old; while his parents and ten younger siblings were still in in New Jersey,3 George moved just over the New York state line to Ramapo, Rockland County, where he was a boarder working in a shoddy mill. Notably, just three households away was Mary Henion, a 17-year old living with her parents, also working in a shoddy mill, apparently George’s future wife.4

1880census_GeorgeRutledge
Excerpt from 1880 census showing George Rutledge and Mary Henion as neighbors in Ramapo, Rockland County, New York.4

By the 1900 census, George and Mary had married and moved to Philadelphia, Philadelphia County, Pennsylvania, and they had 2 children living (out of 7 born).5

Mary (Henion) Rutledge died in 1904, and George remarried, staying in the Philadelphia region until his death in 1930.6

Perhaps George’s life wasn’t strange compared to others around him, but I would still love to hear more about his childhood in Massachusetts with his newly-American parents, their large family’s trek southward to New Jersey, George’s move on his own to New York (where he met his wife), and his and Mary’s journey to Philadelphia for their new life together. What made them all move? Why those places? How did life where he started compare with where he ended up?

It seems like someone who went through all of that probably had some stories to tell and could make a fun dinner guest. And I wouldn’t say no to getting a DNA cheek swab from him, either.

See here for more in-depth analysis of the sources referenced.


  1. Town and City Clerks of Massachusetts, “Massachusetts Town and Vital Records, 1620-1988,” database with images, Ancestry (https://search.ancestry.com : accessed 25 June 2017), entry for Geo Wm Rullege [Rutledge], 16 August 1856 birth.
  2. 1860 U.S. Census, Norfolk County, Massachusetts, population schedule, Mill village Post Office, p. 88 (penned), dwelling 2685, family 2685, Patrick Rutledge [Rutledge] household; accessed in “1860 United States Federal Census,” database with images, Ancestry (https://search.ancestry.com : 22 June 2017); citing NARA microfilm publication M653, roll 515. 1865 Massachusetts state census, Norfolk County, pop. sch., Town of Dedham, dwell. 105, fam. 123, Patrick Rutledge household; accessed in “Massachusetts, State Census, 1865,” database with images, Ancestry (https://search.ancestry.com : 25 June 2017). 1870 U.S. Census, Essex County, New Jersey, pop. sch., Franklin Post Office, pp. 22-23 (penned), dwell. 145, fam. 159, Patrick Rutledge household; accessed in “1870 United States Federal Census,” database with images, Ancestry (https://search.ancestry.com : 22 June 2017); citing NARA microfilm publication M593, roll 860.
  3. 1880 U.S. Census, Passaic County, New Jersey, pop. sch., City of Passaic, enumeration district (ED) 143, p. 37 (penned), dwell. 223, fam. 338, Patrick Rutledge household; accessed in “1880 United States Federal Census,” database with images, Ancestry (https://search.ancestry.com : 25 June 2017); citing NARA microfilm publication T9, roll 794.
  4. 1880 U.S. Census, Rockland County, New York, pop. sch., Town of Ramapo, ED 143, p. 25 (penned), dwellings 215 and 218, families 226 and 229, George Rutledge in Patrick Donnelly household and Mary Henion in William Henion household; accessed in “1880 United States Federal Census,” database with images, Ancestry (https://search.ancestry.com : 22 June 2017); citing NARA microfilm publication T9, roll 924.
  5. 1900 U.S. Census, Philadelphia County, Pennsylvania, pop. sch., Philadelphia Ward 19, ED 365, p. 15A (penned), dwell. 285, fam. 288, George Rutledge household; accessed in “1900 United States Federal Census,” database with images, Ancestry (https://search.ancestry.com : 19 June 2017); citing NARA microfilm publication T623, roll 1460.
  6. City of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, Return of a Death no. 7075 (1904), Mary F. Rutledge; accessed in “Pennsylvania, Philadelphia City Death Certificates, 1803-1915,” database with images, FamilySearch, (https://www.familysearch.org : 16 January 2018). 1910 U.S. Census, Montgomery County, Pennsylvania, pop. sch., Bridgeport Borough Ward 2, ED 64, p. 8A (penned), dwell. 136, fam. 136, George Rutledge household; accessed in “1910 United States Federal Census,” database with images, Ancestry (https://search.ancestry.com : 19 June 2017); citing NARA microfilm publication T624, roll 1377. 1920 U.S. Census, Philadelphia County, Pennsylvania, pop. sch., Philadelphia City Ward 38, ED 1361, p. 1A (penned), dwell. 7, fam. 7, W George Rutledge household; accessed in “1920 United States Federal Census,” database with images, Ancestry (https://search.ancestry.com : 24 June 2017); citing NARA microfilm publication T625, roll 1636. 1930 U.S. Census, Camden County, New Jersey, pop. sch., Clementon Borough, ED 4-92, p. 1B (penned), dwell. 23, fam. 23, George W Rutledge household; accessed in “1930 United States Federal Census,” database with images, Ancestry (https://search.ancestry.com : 24 June 2017); citing NARA microfilm publication T626, roll 1323. Ancestry, Find A Grave, database with images (http://www.findagrave.com : accessed 25 June 2017), memorial 56840909, George W Rutledge (1855[1856]-1930), New Cathedral Cemetery, Philadelphia, Philadelphia County, Pennsylvania; gravestone photograph by Mike Bell.

 

2 thoughts on “George William Rutledge: From Dedham, Massachusetts to Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Add yours

    1. Thanks! When I’m reading someone else’s writing, I do like to see where they how they came up with their information – so I’m making an effort to include the details. I also find it can be a helpful reference for myself!

      Liked by 1 person

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