Griffith Rutherford was born in Ireland in 1720. Soon after his birth his parents took voyage to America. Unfortunately, both of his parents died at sea, and Griffith arrived in America a homeless orphan. It is thought that he lived with a cousin in Virginia until about the age of nineteen, when he went to North Carolina.
In North Carolina he distinguished himself as an Indian fighter, a member of the North Carolina legislature and later the Senate, and as a brigadier general in the Revolutionary War. He was captured by Loyalists and sent to prison in St. Augustine, Florida. He remained there for about a year in a dungeon and almost died of poor sanitation and lack of food.
Following the Revolutionary War, Griffith was one of the commissioners who surveyed military land grants in Tennessee. Intrigued with the region’s potential, he sold his property in North Carolina and moved to Sumner County, Tennessee, where he lived until his death in 1805.
Among the honors bestowed upon this famous general was the presentation of a silver snuff box by George Washington in recognition of his military service. Two counties have been named in honor of Rutherford, one in North Carolina and the other in Tennessee. A monument to the general, dedicated in 1946, is located at Murfreesboro, the county seat of Rutherford.
C. C. Sims, A History of Rutherford County (1947)