Manuscript Group 484, Rutherfurd-Ely Family Papers, 1777-1947 (Bulk dates: 1836-1899)

Archive Documents, Manuscripts, Maps, & Photographs

Manuscript Group 484, Rutherfurd-Ely Family
Papers, 1777-1947 (Bulk dates: 1836-1899), 0.25 linear feet / 1 small box
Call Number: MG 484


Deeds, survey maps, wills, and other documents pertaining to Ely-Rutherfurd family lands in Vernon Township, Sussex County.  Includes letters of Edward A. Day, Henry B. DeKay, Daniel Kissam, and John Rutherfurd (1810-1872).

Gift of Mrs. Alfred Ely.

Biographical Note:

John Rutherfurd (1810-1871), the son of Robert and Sabina Rutherfurd, was born in Westchester County, New York on July 21, 1810.  Due to his parents’ separation, he grew up at the house of his grandfather John Rutherfurd (1760-1840), along the Passaic River in New Jersey.  He graduated from Rutgers College in 1829, was admitted to the bar in 1837, practiced law for about two years, and then left his law practice to manage his family’s estates.  John Rutherfurd was founder, president, director, and planner for a number of various railroads, including the Warwick, Pequest Valley, Midland, Tuckertown, and Sussex Railroads.  He was also president of the Board of Proprietors of East New Jersey, president of the New Jersey Coal Company, and president of The New Jersey Historical Society.

He married Charlotte Livingston on August 15, 1855, with whom he had five children: John, Helena, Livingston, Arthur Elliott, and Morris.  John Rutherfurd died November 21, 1871 in Newark, New Jersey.

On June 17, 1880, Helena Rutherfurd, the daughter of Charlotte and John Rutherfurd married Alfred Ely (II), the son of Lucy Cooley and Alfred Brewster Ely.  Alfred Ely (II) was born on August 6, 1852 in Newton, Massachusetts.  He graduated from Amherst College in 1874 and then attended the University of Berlin and Columbia University Law School, where he graduated in 1879.  He set up a law firm in New York City with Giraud Agar and Louis M. Fulton, called Agar, Ely & Fulton.

Alfred and Helena lived in New York City, but owned a country estate called Meadowbrook Farm in Sussex County, New Jersey.  Helena Ely was an expert gardener and published a series of books on that topic.  She and her husband had two children together: Helena Rutherfurd Ely and Alfred Ely (III).

Alfred Ely (II) died on August 1, 1914, in Vernon, New Jersey.  Helena Ely remarried in 1916 to Benjamin T. Fairchild.  She died a few years later on May 18, 1920.

See Rutherfurd-Ely Family Tree.


Ely Family File, New Jersey Historical Society.

Newark Directory, 1881, 1882.

Swords, Robert S. “Memoir of the Life and Character of John Rutherford, Late President of the New Jersey Historical Society,” New Jersey Historical Society Proceedings, Second Series, Volume 2, pgs. 197-204.

Rutherfurd, Livingston. Family Records and Events: Compiled Principally From the Original Manuscripts in the Rutherfurd Collection. (DeVinne Press: New York, 1894), pgs. 244-246.

Provenance Note:

The Rutherfurd-Ely Collection was the gift of Mrs. Alfred Ely (probably Virginia Ely), date unknown.

Scope and Content Note:

These papers consist mainly of deeds, mortgages, bonds, and wills of the Rutherfurd and Ely families, dating from 1777-1947, with bulk dates of 1836-1899.  The majority of the documents relate to John and Charlotte L. Rutherfurd, their children and grandchildren and track the passing of land between family members.  The papers also contain receipts, maps of Rutherfurd properties, and business correspondence regarding money from land deals or bonds.

Related Collections:

Manuscript Group 308, Estate of John Rutherfurd (1760-1840) Records
Manuscript Group 398, Rutherfurd Family Papers
Manuscript Group 869, John Rutherfurd (1810-1871) Account book

Folder List:

Folder Title Dates
1 Will and estate settlement of Charlotte L. Rutherfurd 1894-1914
  Estate settlement of John Rutherfurd (1810-1871)  
2 Wills of Helena Rutherfurd Ely Fairchild 1913-1922
3 Wills of Alfred Ely (II) 1882-1913
Deeds, Bonds, Mortgages (and other documents relating)  
4 Legal contracts (deed, bond, mortgages) between Thomas B. and Thomas B. De Kay and Daniel Kissam, Jr. 1836-1838
5 Bond between John Rutherfurd (1810-1871) and the Commissioners of the Sinking Fund of New Jersey (April 6, 1868) and other papers regarding the bond 1868-1912
6 Bond and mortgage between John Rutherfurd (1810-1871) and the Commissioners of the Sinking Fund of New Jersey (March 7, 1870) and other papers regarding them 1870-1898
7 Deeds – John Rutherfurd (1810-1871) 1854-1865
8 Deeds – Helena Rutherfurd Ely (Fairchild) 1880-1899
9 Deeds – Various Rutherfurds and Elys:  
  Thomas B. and Sarah E. DeKay to Mary and Louisa M. Rutherfurd (and copy) 1853
  Henry B. DeKay to Alfred Ely (II) 1880
  Livingston Rutherfurd to H.R.E. Meade 1922
  Helena Rutherfurd Ely Meade to Alfred Ely (III) (with three copies) 1937
10 Boundary agreements on Wawayanda Mountain (Sussex County, New Jersey) 1926, 1947
11 Maps:  
  Of Charlotte L. Rutherfurd’s lands in Vernon Township, north and west of Double Pond 1876
  Of lands in Wawayanda Mountain, Vernon Township 1917
12 Financial/Legal records – Various:  
  Bond: James Parker and Walter Rutherfurd to William Livingston August 21, 1777
  Receipt: John Rutherfurd (1810-1871) May 3, 1853
  Receipt: Alfred Ely (II) May 22, 1882
  Check: Alfred Ely October 14, 1912
  Receipt: Alfred Ely October 17, 1912
  Receipt Alfred Ely October 17, 1912
13 Financial/Legal correspondence – regarding deeds, mortgages, bonds 1854-1899
14 Notes on documents n.d.

Rutherfurd-Ely Family Tree: Individuals in the collection are in bold.

Walter Rutherfurd (1723-1804) = Catherine Alexander Parker (1727-1801)
| (three children)

John Rutherfurd = Helena Morris |
John Rutherfurd
Mary Rutherfurd (1784-1863)
Catherine Rutherfurd
Helena Rutherfurd
Louisa M. Rutherfurd (1792-1857)
Anna Rutherfurd
Susanna Rutherfurd
Robert Walter Rutherfurd = Sabina Morris
|(five children)

Charlotte Livingston (1825-1894) = John Rutherfurd (1810-1871)

John Rutherfurd (died young)
Livingston Rutherfurd (1861-1940)
Arthur Elliot Rutherfurd
Morris Rutherfurd (1865-1944 )= Sara Christie
Helena Rutherfurd (1858-1920) = (1) Alfred Ely (II) (1852-1914)

(2) Benjamin T. Fairchild


Alfred Ely (III) (b.1918?) = Virginia Hughes Cliffe
Helena Rutherfurd Ely (b.1881) = Richard Worsam Meade

Processed by Kim Charlton, November 1999 as part of the “Farm to City” project funded by a grant from the National Historical Publications and Records Commission.

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