THE RUTHERFORD SAGA


John BAIRD married Sophia RUTHERFORD. The date is unknown but must have been about 1808.

Sophia was born about 1781 and died 01 Nov 1875 in Jedburgh, aged 94 years.

According to her death certificate Sophia was illegitimate and only the name of her father was shown – Rutherford AINSLIE, Proprietor of Houses.

For many years this was a total mystery, as no Rutherford AINSLIE appeared in the church registers – birth, death or marriage.
Furthermore how was it that Sophia was a RUTHERFORD when her parent was an AINSLIE, illegitimate or not.
The mystery ended the day I put “Rutherford Ainslie” into Google and the screen filled with references.
Now, much research later I know, and although the story is somewhat scandalous, I feel very sorry for Rutherford AINSLIE. 

Rutherford AINSLIE was born John RUTHERFORD, the son of Thomas RUTHERFORD and Ann AINSLIE.
Thomas was a Doctor of Medicine in Jedburgh and lived at Samieston, near Jedburgh. He was also the son of Andrew RUTHERFORD who was an
Apocathery and Chirurgeon in Jedburgh.
In the proceedings of a divorce case (details below) Thomas was also described as having been at one time Factor for the Marquis of Lothian for lands
around Jedburgh.
Thomas RUTHERFORD was born 07 Feb 1715, Jedburgh ROX and died 11 Aug 1773, Jedburgh ROX
Ann AINSLIE was probably born 03 Aug 1726, Jedburgh ROX the daughter of John AINSLIE and Jean RUTHERFORD. She died 24 Sep 1786, Jedburgh ROX.

Thomas and Ann had 8 children, all born in Jedburgh ROX

Andrew                        born 16 Jan 1750
Jane                            born 16 Sep 1751
Anne Elizabeth             born 04 Apr 1753
John                            born 01 Aug 1754         died 03 Nov 1799, Jedburgh ROX
Mary                            born 08 May 1756
Alison                          born 23 Oct 1757
George                        born 09 May 1759        died 19 Nov 1828, Glasgow LKS                                 marr. Elizabeth BLACK, 20 Dec 1789, Glasgow LKS
Williamina                   born 09 Mar 1761         died             1838, Berwick upon Tweed NBL             marr. John CLUNIE, 05 Mar 1787, Jedburgh ROX

In May 1786 a William AINSLIE died and was buried in Melbury Osmond DOR. From his will (and other records) it has been established that he had married
Mary HOLTON on 17 Apr 1736 at Holborn LND. According to their marriage licence William was born about 1702 and Mary in 1701. Mary died in 1757.
William AINSLIE had property in Bath SOM and one of the beneficiaries in his will was John RUTHERFORD, his nephew. John was required to add AINSLIE to
his name and Royal Assent was given for this. It was reported in several newspapers. John inherited property in Bath and became known as John Rutherford AINSLIE.

In about 1797 a divorce case commenced – WAUGH v BALLANTYNE. Thomas WAUGH and Jean BALLANTYNE lived in Jedburgh and Thomas sought to divorce his wife
because she was allegedly having a relationship with someone else – John Rutherford AINSLIE. The divorce case lasted about 4 years and it is from the proceedings
of this case that we know so much about Mr AINSLIE.

Thomas WAUGH claimed that his wife was having an affair with John Rutherford AINSLIE and although John never appeared in the case other persons did whose
testimonies give some idea of what John was like. How true the allegations of the affair were I know not and care not, it is rather scandalous and more than likely
has some truth in it. If you are delving into the past of your family you have to be prepared for anything, so I don’t let it worry me if it is true.

Briefly, the following facts emerged in the divorce case about John:

He was known for chasing after women, sometimes married.
He had numerous illegitimate children, both in Scotland and England.
He had periods of madness, perhaps he was a manic depressive, and spent time in a private madhouse at Stonedyke head, near Edinburgh MLN.
Alcohol didn’t help when he was in one of his unbalanced periods.

In the end, on 03 Nov 1799, John committed suicide – he was found in the fields with a gun beside him, as was reported in the divorce case.
By this time he was bankrupt or near bankrupt, having had to sell property to pay his debts. He had been quite comfortably off a decade earlier.

 

Excerpt from the WAUGH v BALLANTYNE case



… Mr Ainslie has had a number of natural children & the witness has heard that he has natural children in England as well as Scotland…never heard of Mr

Rutherford Ainslie’s having natural children by Ladies or woman in a good situation of life and the only two natural children of Mr Ainslie which the witness

has seen were by mothers in a low situation of life.


James Marshall, Writer in Edinburgh ..depones that after Mr Rutherford Ainslie left Stonedykehead in spring 1798 he came to reside for some weeks in the

deponents immediate neighbourhood at Stockbridge… he appeared to the deponent to be perfectly well and sound in his understanding. That the deponent

who has frequently seen him when he considered him as deranged and at these periods the deponent observed a degree of cleverness and acuteness

about him superior to what he displayed when the deponent considered him in sound state. ..That the deponent was present for a considerable time during

Mr Rutherford Ainslie’s trial and was also in his company that evening after the trial was closed..That the deponent saw him a few days after at

Stonedykehead ..That the deponent was very intimately acquainted with Mr Ainslie and knows or believes that he had several natural children. That he

believes Mr Ainslie might occasionally like a wench…Mr Rutherford Ainslie was much addicted to liquor and was frequently intoxicated

 

Deacon William Balmer, wright in Jedburgh…Mr Ainslie always talked rationally and sensibly. Depones that at the time the deponent worked at Mr Ainslie’s

house he was not fallen into his habit of drinking which the deponent understands he has since fallen into. Interrogated if Mr Ainslie had the character of

being much given to women Depones that the deponent understands Mr Ainslie had several bastards and is reputed in the town of Jedburgh to be given to

women….That at this period (when he was doing wright work) Mr Ainslie talked of going to Berwick to Sea Bathery for the benefit of his health. Interrogated

whether any of Mr Rutherford’s natural children were by ladies or if their mothers were women of low degree Depones that as far as the deponent is

informed the mothers of Mr Ainslie’s children were of the latter description and he knew two of the women by sight.

 

Alexander Simpson, one of the tellers of the Royal Bank..is acquainted with Mr Rutherford Ainslie and is married to his cousin German. …Mr Ainslie was in

Edinburgh in Sprint 1794. ..appearance of a person in a state of constant intoxication. …Mr Ainslie called frequently at the bank in the forenoon in the time of

publick business and behaved in such a ridiculous manner by laughing and talking about matters improper to be introduced in a publick office such as his

amours….that in consequence of his behaviours and of his spending a great deal of money the deponent was induced to write to his brother Mr George

Rutherford at Glasgow requesting him to come to town and get Mr Ainslie in consequence of the deponents having communicated to Mr Geo.

Rutherford this gentleman came to town …and in consequence …Mr Ainslie was sent to a private mad house at Stonedyke head…Depones that in the

month of September 1797 and subsequent to the 24th of that month Mr Ainslie was brought to Edinr. in a state of derangement & again conveyed to Stonedyke

head where he remained about three quarters of a year….the cast and turn of Mr Ainslie’s conduct and conversation were similar. That this cast consisted

chiefly in vanity and supposing himself a great man. That in May 1794 he talked of raising Regiments & at other periods before deponed to he discoursed in

the same manner & likewise boasted of his riches and talked of buying land…in July 1796 Mr Ainslie had a carriage of his own in which he went about &

particularly to the Races with ladies of pleasure notoriously known as such & the deponent thinks that Mr Ainslie was then apprehended in the house of one

of these ladies and confined as before mentioned. Depones that the deponent has heard Mr Ainslie boats of favours from women of Character but he never

mentioned their names

 

Other witnesses also described John’s erratic behaviour which included ordering a dinner for 60 people at Alnwick when he knew only about 2 people.

He also ordered a chaise and four horses and “when it arrived he caused the horse to be removed and the people to draw him out of town” (Newcastle).

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


Underlined names indicate my line of descent.

Surnames only underlined (in yellow) are persons who are referred to elsewhere in the page.

Abbreviations:
DOR = Dorset, LND = London, NBL = Northumberland, SOM = Somerset
MLN = Midlothian, ROX = Roxburgh


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This page was created on 13 May 2010 .

© 1998-2010 Robert D Blair.