Dr. Hiram Rutherford (1815-1900), born in Dauphin County, Pa., practiced medicine in Independence (now Oakland), Ill., beginning in Dec. 1840. In 1847 Rutherford was involved in the famous Matson slave case, notable because the plaintiff, Kentucky slave owner Gen. Robert Matson, retained Abraham Lincoln. Matson sued the defendants, Rutherford and Gideon Ashmore, for housing his runaway slaves. Rutherford's home, built in Oakland in 1847, is on the National Register of Historic Places.
This collection contains scrapbooks, ledgers, notebooks, correspondence, clippings, and other materials that document Rutherford's education and medical practice. The correspondence, of which the Library has transcripts, describes Rutherford's practice and cultural aspects of the region, and is written mainly to John J. Bowman of Elizabethville, Pa. The collection also contains a manuscript copy of Rutherford's "Jonas Bragg: a Personal Sketch." Bragg (d. 1863) was a farmer, horse dealer, trader, and hotel operator in Vermilion County, Ill.
G. J. Koons donated the transcripts of the correspondence to the Illinois Historical Survey in 1912. Harriet Crawford donated the remainder of the collection to the Library in 1977.