rutherford

 Dr. Hiram Rutherford: Abolitionist Doctor
(1815-1900) Hiram was the only northerner in this drama, from an abolitionist family no less.  His father had taken in runaway slaves on the Underground Railroad in Pennsylvania.  Rutherford did his part for the cause by helping organize and fund the Bryant's defense against Matson.  He told how he tried to hire Abraham Lincoln to represent him in the Matson affair, but Lincoln had already been approached by the other side.  Rutherford was gravely disappointed that Lincoln, who he believed opposed slavery, did not stand with the slaves on this issue.  The doctor had arrived in Oakland in 1840 after graduating from Jefferson Medical College in Philadelphia and spending a couple of years in practice near Harrisburg.  He felt that his education set him apart from the other doctors, and in fact, it helped insulate him from the negative impact Ashmore felt in his business for helping the Bryants.  Hiram prospered on the prairie in his practice, purchasing land, and helping build the Oakland community.  He married his first wife, Lucinda in Pennsylvania then brought her to Illinois.  They had one son before Lucinda died in 1845.  Rutherford met his second wife during the Matson Slave Trial, Harriet Hutcherson of Springfield, the cousin of the Coles County sheriff.  They married in 1848 and would have nine children and raised two African-American children in his home.  It is through his writings that we know much about the trial and life on the prairie in the 1800s.
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