Rutherford, Joseph (1866-1935)

Primitive Methodist Magazine 1918

Transcription of obituary published in the Minutes of Conference

JOSEPH RUTHERFORD: born at Wearhead in 1866. He sprang from sturdy dales-folk, and early showed their characteristic independence of thought and judgment. In 1903 he was accepted as a special Candidate by the Primitive Methodist Church, and spent the thirty-two years of his ministry in seven circuits. A great reader and a deep thinker, he developed a fine gift of exposition. He sought out and assisted likely students wherever he went. He was a prince among preachers, and all who heard felt that they had been made partakers of his spiritual life. 

In June 1934 he was laid aside by serious illness, bravely borne, and though he was able to resume his work for a time, his strength gradually failed and he died on April 3, 1935, at the age of sixty-nine.


Joseph was born in 1866 at Wearhead, Co. Durham, to parents John, a lead miner (1871), and Jane.

Census returns identify the following occupations for James before he entered the ministry.

  • 1881 waste ore washer (lead)
  • 1891 clerk for county council
  • 1901 clerk in metal foundry

He married Mary Jane Charlton (1864-1907) in early 1894 in the Hexham Registration District, Northumberland.

He married Janet Hilda Henderson (1885-1975) in the summer of 1910 in the North Bierley Registration District, Yorkshire. Birth records identify five children.

  • Frank (1911-1993) – a librarian (1939)   
  • Phylliss (1913-2005) – married John S Martin, clerk in holy orders (1939), in 1937
  • Janet (1915-1979) – a school mistress 91939); married Francis Fletcher in 1955      
  • Ralph (1917-1919)  
  • Ethel Joyce (1919-1970) – married Werner Schloss in 1943  

Joseph died on 3 April 1935 at Sunderland, Co. Durham.


  • 1903 Brampton
  • 1907 Shotley Bridge
  • 1911 Crook
  • 1918 Eston
  • 1922 Spennymoor
  • 1927 Chester le Street
  • 1930 Houghton le Spring


Methodist Minutes 1935/210

W Leary, Directory of Primitive Methodist Ministers and their Circuits, 1990

Census Returns and Births, Marriages & Deaths Registers

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