Elizabeth Grimke Rutledge
Wife of John Rutledge, Signer of the Declaration of Independence
1741 – 1792 A.D.
John Rutledge married Elizabeth Grimke in 1763, just two years after he was admitted to the bar in Charleston. “It was a union,” says his biographer, “from which he derived unalloyed happiness. He was passionately attached to his wife; and her death, which occurred in 1792, was the source of most poignant grief and…one of the occurring causes of the malady which clouded the evening of his life.”
Mrs. Rutledge left eight children, two daughters and six sons. The eldest daughter became the wife of Francis Kinloch and the other was married to Henry Laurens.
The mother of Governor Rutledge seems to have been better known than his wife. She was Miss Sarah Hert, or Hext (the National Cyclopaedia gives it Hext but Sanderson spells it Hert), and was “married at fourteen, a mother at fifteen, and a widow with seven children at twenty-six.”
Her husband, Dr. John Rutledge, came to Charleston from England in 1735, and established a practice almost immediately. She was an heiress and an orphan when she was married. Her first born was John Rutledge, afterward Governor, and her youngest child was Col. Edward Rutledge, the statesman and signer of the Declaration. She was a woman of strong character, very patriotic, independent, and of more than ordinary intellect. The British occupied Charleston compelled her to remove from her country residence, and confined her within the city limits, on the ground that “from such a character much is to be apprehended.”
Reference: The Pioneer Mothers of America: A Record of the More Notable Women of the Early Days of the Country, and Particularly of the Colonial and Revolutionary Periods by Harry Clinton Green and Mary Wolcott Green, A.B. Third Volume, Published by G.P. Putnam’s Sons.