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Name: RUTHERFOORD, Ernest Darley

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Birth Date: 17.12.1874 Dublin

Death Date: 7.4.1946 Punda Milia, Makuyu

First Date: 1904

Last Date: 1946

Profession: With his partner Randall Swift, he was a pioneer of the Kenya Sisal Industry. Shortly after their arrival they acquired land at Punda Milia, and became interested in growing sisal, but by 1906 had only about a dozen plants

Area: Punda Milia

Married: Mabel Elizabeth Rochfort Wade née Craven b. 17 Aug 1888 Texas, d. 1975 East Harling, Norfolk, Dep. Vice-Pres. of EAWL, Makuyu (dau of John Craven)

Children: Olivia (15 Dec 1915 Punda Milia-1975); Alison (Kelly) (2 July 1918 Punda Milia-25 Mar 2006 Nottingham); Joan (Goodhart) (12 July 1919 Nairobi-2015); Olivia (1915-11 Dec 1975 Bradle Wareham, Dorset); Elizabeth (1921)

Book Reference: Gillett, HBEA, Cuckoo, KFA, Permanent Way, Seventy, Joelson, Cranworth, Manual, KAD, Red 25, Red 31, Hut, Curtis, Playne, Drumkey, Red 22, Land, Pioneers, AJ, Gazette, North, EAHB 1907, SKP, Barnes, Leader14, Foster, Red Book 1912

General Information:

Their enterprising methods resulted in an encouraging increase in the number of plants they then worked with; the industry was already established in GEA but neither bulbs nor suckers were available legally from that source. A very keen tennis player and winner of many trophies.
HBEA - In 1912 they had about 960 acres of sisal under cultivation.
KFA - By 1908 Messrs Randall Swift and Ernest Rutherfoord, sisal pioneers, were well established on 6000 acres at Punda Milia, below Fort Hall and the rich Kikuyu country. These two gay and energetic young Irishmen, who had been brewers together at Mortlake and remained friends and partners for 60 years, came to EA in 1904 with Campbell Hausberg, who, with Sir Halford Mackinder, had been the first to climb Mt. Kenya in 1897.'   (more pp. 11-12) ...…
Later on they bought a bicycle, which they shared. To get to Nairobi, Mr Swift would start on foot at daybreak and Mr Rutherfoord some hours later, on the bicycle. When he caught up his partner they changed places; Mr Swift, going on ahead, left his machine by the pathside about 15 miles farther on and continued on foot; and so it went on until they reached the capital. Once Ernest Rutherfoord rode the push-bike in by himself and brought back a pulley-wheel weighing 30 lb. on his back against a strong head-wind, all in the day. Later still, they imported a large steam-driven tractor, with a maximum speed of 4 miles an hour, which broke all the bridges it traversed, and with which they hauled goods on contract between Nairobi and Fort Hall to strengthen their frail exchequer. "We were very poor", Randall Swift wrote of those days, "but very happy".
Cranworth - 1906 - between Fort Hall and Nairobi we stayed with 2 remarkable young settlers, Messrs. Swift and Rutherfoord, at their farm at Pundamilia. They were pioneers in the truest and best sense ......... for 2 years had been experimenting as to what was the most likely line in which to make good .... They lived rough ..... by Jove they worked! ........ It is good to think that the War spared them and that they still carry on, happy and respected. These two struck us as the right sort of neighbours to have ........ (3rd partner Campbell B. Hausberg) who also remains a tower of strength to the sisal industry at the present day.
Curtis - p. 57 - 'Makuyu' from 'The Story of Punda Milia' by Randall Swift. ' .......... One of the feats of strength and endurance which I remember Ernest did was to ride a push bike from Punda Milia into Nairobi and bring back a pulley wheel weighing 30 lbs. tied on to his back, with a strong head wind against him on the return journey. This was all in one day - a journey of 46 miles each way. His native name was Kijana, meaning very young, so one day, just to impress the boys, he carried a sack of maize on his back and also one under each arm and walked a few yards with them. The old headman remarked, 'Oh, when he grows up he'll be very strong' ....….
Playne - Punda Melia - An important point in favour of the Fort Hall District of BEA is that, owing to the regularity of the seasons, 2 crops of everything, except groundnuts, can be reaped. This fact has been taken full advantage of by Messrs T.R. Swift and E.D. Rutherfoord, who came from England in 1904 and settled at Punda Melia, 14 miles from Fort Hall and 45 miles from Nairobi. The 6000 acre farm has a river frontage of two and a half miles and there are water holes of permanent water for one and a half miles, while there are also about 500 acres of timber for fuel and boma-building purposes. ........ The partners do all the work on the farm without any other European help. Mr Swift takes a keen interest in racing, and is well known as a local jockey.
Land - 1908 - C.B. Hauseburg, T.R. Swift, E.D. Rutherford and J.E. Cowen - Grazing, 4000 acres, Thara River, 19-4-04, Registered 19-2-08
Land 1909 - B. Hausberg, J.E. Cowen, T.R. Swift and E.D. Rutherford - Grazing and agricultural, 2000 acres - Fort Hall District - 25/8/08 - Leasehold for 99 years from 1/3/09 - Registered 28/10/09
Pioneers - Sisal Ltd. - A.B. Johansen - 1932 (wettest year on record) - During the week the floods were at their worst, Mrs Rutherfoord chose to have her fifth daughter. The other four had all been born on the farm with the help of a midwife, a friend of the family called Mrs Scott, who later founded the Bydand Nursing Home in Nairobi. This time she got as far as Thika all right, by train, but after that the car laid on to meet her had to be pulled by oxen through the mud, and she had to wade a flooded river bounding the estate. Despite all these adventures she arrived on time and so did the baby.
Agricultural Journal - Brands Allotted and Registered, September 1908 - Swift and Rutherford, Punda Milia - Fort Hall J1H Gazette - 7/4/15 - Liable for Jury service, Fort Hall - E.D. Rutherford, Punda Milia, Chania Bridge
SKP - 1938 - Society of Kenya Pioneers - over 30 years in Colony - arrived Mar 1904 - Punda Milia
Barnes - Thika Anglican Cemetery - Ernest Darley Rutherfoord, died 7 Apr 1946, aged 71, Punda Malia 1904-1946
Red Book 1912 - E.D. Rutherford [sic] - Kyambu
Gazette - 29/10/1919 - Register of Voters - Ukamba Area - Ernest Darley Rutherfoord - Planter, Punda Milia, Fort Hall and Mabel Rutherfoord - Married woman, Punda Milia, Fort Hall
Red Book 1919 - Thika District Association - President - G.D. Rutherford ?
Gazette 6 Dec 1938 Ukamba Voters List with Mabel Elizabeth
Gazette 31 May 1938 probate for Helen Anna Rutherfoord who d. Thika 21 May 1938

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