Rutherford, William Gladstone (1881-1949)

Transcription of Obituary in Minutes of Methodist Conference

Born at Carlisle in 1881. He received his training at Hartley College and entered the Ministry in 1903. After a period in Yorkshire, his circuits ranged from the West of England to the Midlands, with terms in London and the Isle of Man.

Full of energy, he gave himself without reserve, and always counted it a privilege to help some struggling society. At Rotherhithe during the First World War he faced a difficult situation with courage and cheerfulness, and brought renewed vitality to the circuit. During his ministry at Bulwell he suffered a severe bereavement in the early death of his wife, being left with three boys, but his faith shone out in the darkness, and bravely he went on with his work, helped by the untiring devotion of his two sisters.

He was a most brotherly and unselfish man, with a marked gift for making friends. Whilst at Anstey he had a serious breakdown in health, and for a time became blind, which led to his early superannuation in 1935, after completing thirty-two years in the ministry.

With fortitude and cheerfulness he faced this heavy affliction. Although after a time he partially recovered his sight, he was unable to resume his active ministry, but found joy in taking services as his health permitted.

Out of his own experience he was able to minister comfort to many and to commend with assured conviction his Saviour.

Suddenly he passed away at Bournemouth on the 9th November 1949, in the sixty- eighth year of his age and the forty-seventh of his ministry. One of his sons is in the Ministry of the United Church of Canada.

©Trustees for Methodist Church Purposes 1950


William was born in 1881 at Carlisle, Cumberland, to parents Thomas Venus Rutherford, a boot dealer(1891), and Mary Athley.

William worked as a shoe-shop manager before entering the ministry.

He married Emily Elizabeth Farrington (1878-1925) on 4 September 1907 at Alice St PM Chapel, Wakefield, Yorkshire. Census and Birth records identify three children.

  • Samuel (1909-2002) – a schoolmaster
  • Mark (1910-1983) – a schoolmaster (French) (1939)
  • Thomas Venus (b1913)

William died on 9 November 1949 at Bournemouth.


  • Hartley
  • 1903 York I
  • 1905 Rotherham I
  • 1908 Clayton West
  • 1911 Dartmouth
  • 1913 Basingstoke
  • 1916 Rotherhythe
  • 1922 Ramsey
  • 1923 Exmouth
  • 1925 Nottingham VI
  • 1928 Burton on Trent
  • 1931 Bath
  • 1933 Leicester
  • 1936 Leicester (S)


Methodist Minutes 1950/131

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

Census Returns and Births, Marriages & Deaths Registers

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