JASPER NEWTON RUTLEDGE is now living retired in Petersburg, but in former years was actively identified with agricultural pursuits and his enterprise and untiring labor brought to him the capital that now enables him to enjoy a well earned rest. He was born in Menard county about four miles north of Petersburg on the 26th of March, 1837, his parents being William and Susanna (Cameron) Rutledge. He was an own cousin of Ann Rutledge, who was Abraham Lincoln's first love. His parents were natives of North Carolina and were married in Kentucky, whence they came to Menard county, Illinois, about 1820. Here the father secured a tract of land and engaged in farming for many years, but in February, 1856, sold his property and afterward lived retired until his death. He was one of the honored pioneer settlers of this section of the state, having journeyed by wagon from Kentucky and taken up his abode in central Illinois when this was a wild and unsettled district. He bore his full share in the work of reclaiming the county for the uses of civilization and in laying the foundation for its present progress and prosperity. He died in 1864 when about seventy-four years of age, his birth having occurred in 1790, and his wife, who was born in 1792, passed away in 1885 at the advanced age of ninety-three years.
Jasper N. Rutledge, reared upon the old home farm in Menard county, acquired his education in the subscription schools, but his advantages in that direction were somewhat meager, owing to the condition of the school system at that time and also because his services were needed upon the home farm. He was the thirteenth child and the youngest in his father's family and he assisted in the work of the home farm until 1856. During the two succeeding years he was engaged in teaming between Springfield and Petersburg, after which he returned to the farm and has since made it his home. For many years his time and energies were devoted untiringly to the work of plowing, planting and harvesting. He raised good crops, kept in touch with the advanced methods of agriculture and carried on his work long progressive lines that resulted in bringing to him a handsome competence. He was also engaged in the livery business for three years, but in recent years he has put aside the active duties of a business career and is now enjoying the fruits of his former toil.
On the 19th of June, 1856, Mr. Rutledge was united in marriage to Miss Martha J. Clary, a daughter of Robert and Arrena (Elmore) Clary, both of whom were natives of Illinois. Her father was prominent and influential in public affairs and his fellow townsmen, recognizing his worth and ability, called him to serve in the position of sheriff and county commissioner. He was married September 27, 1838, to Arrena Elmore, who died October 15, 1841, and on the 22d of June, 1843, he wedded Mary Jane Cox, who died November 5, 1876. His death occurred October 13, 1878.
The home of Mr. and Mrs. Rutledge was blessed with five children: William Robert, who was born February 12, 1859, and died September 13, 1862; Edward Newton, who was born August 14, 1861, and died February 24, 1863; Mary S., who was born August 2, 1863, and is the wife of Charles L. Terhune; Charles Thomas, who was born September 2, 1868, and died November 2, 1869; and Anna J., who was born November 22, 1871, and is the wife of Pearl Thompson.
The parents are consistent members of the Cumberland Presbyterian church and Mr. Rutledge exercises his right of franchise in support of the men and measures of the Democracy. Upon the party ticket he has been called to public office, having been elected county treasurer in December, 1886, while on the 19th of November, 1898, he was chosen for the position of county sheriff. He discharged his public duties with the same promptness and fidelity that characterized his business affairs and his private interests. Fraternally he is connected with the Knights of Pythias lodge at Petersburg and in the county where his entire life has been passed he has a wide and favorable acquaintance, winning the warm regard of many by reason of his reliability in all life's relations.