Title: Army Corporal, Civil War
Death Date: February 23, 1896
Plot Location: Section 201, Lot 23
Hugh’s father was Hugh, his mother was Isabella, and after the Irish couple married and moved to Philadelphia they had at least nine children. Only one lived past 65 years old. Before the South rebelled, the junior Hugh was a carter, or a driver of a horse-drawn cart.
He and his younger brother Joseph enlisted on September 18, 1861 in Company I of the 88th Pennsylvania Volunteer Infantry. There was another Rutherford in the same company, John Calvin Rutherford, who joined that same day, but whether or not he was a cousin or any relation is unknown. Hugh and Joseph had a brother named John but he didn’t serve during the war.
Hugh became a corporal at some point during his three-year term. His regiment’s first major clash with “Johnny Rebel” was his brother’s first and only fight. Joseph died at the Second Battle of Bull Run on August 30, 1862. Hugh had little time to grieve both Joseph’s loss and the Union defeat. The Confederates were emboldened by their success and moved north into Maryland. The Battle of Antietam took place September 17, where Hugh’s company lost two more men.
As cold weather ushered in a lull in fighting, Hugh was given a furlough that was bittersweet. He had a chance to mourn his brother’s loss with his family, but he also took the opportunity to get married. Elizabeth Huhn joined hands and hearts with him at Ninth Presbyterian Church in Philadelphia on November 24. She would then have to endure the news of battles that involved the 88th at Fredericksburg, Chancellorsville, and Gettysburg and she was relieved to learn that Corporal Rutherford survived them all.
After the Battles of Spotsylvania Court House and Cold Harbor in 1864, Hugh’s three years of service was over. They raised five children, the last one being named Joseph in honor of the fallen soldier.
The city directory tracked his occupations over the years. The family lived for most of the 1870s in the Manayunk neighborhood where Hugh’s job was a papermaker. During the next two decades, home was south of Rittenhouse Square and closer to his parents and siblings. He worked either as a laborer or stoker, but whether he was stoking a furnace at an industrial site or on a locomotive wasn’t mentioned.
Hugh’s cause of death was described as “cancer of the face,” most likely a deadly form of skin cancer called melanoma. At least six Rutherford family members are also here at Mount Moriah.
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