1729 – Born on the 17th of September, into a large family at or near Charleston, South Carolina.
1760 – He was admitted to English practice. But, almost at once, he sailed back to Charleston to begin a fruitful legal career and to amass a fortune in plantations and slaves.
1761 – Became politically active.
1764 – He temporarily held the post of provincial attorney general.
1765 – He, who hoped to ensure continued self-government for the colonies, sought to avoid severance from the British and maintained a restrained stance.
1774 – He was sent to the First Continental Congress, where he pursued a moderate course.
1776 – He served on the committee of safety and took part in the writing of the state constitution.
1778 – He also became president of the lower house of the legislature.
– The conservative Rutledge, disapproving of democratic revisions in the state constitution, resigned his position.
1780 – By which time the legislature had adjourned, Charleston was besieged.
1781 – Aided by Gen. Nathanael Greene and a new Continental Army force, he reestablished the government.
1782-1783 – He was a delegate to the Continental Congress.
1784 – He next sat on the state chancery court and again in the lower house of the legislature.
1789 – He was a Presidential elector and Washington then appointed him as Associate Justice of the U.S. Supreme Court, but for some reason he apparently served only a short time.
1791 – He became chief justice of the South Carolina supreme court. Four years later, Washington again appointed him to the U.S. Supreme Court, this time as Chief Justice to replace John Jay.
1792 – He had suffered from since the death of his wife, caused the Federalist-dominated Senate to reject his appointment and end his public career.
1800 – Died on the 18th of July at the age of 60 and was interred at St. Michael’s Episcopal Church in Charleston.