Rufus Putnam, an American pioneer, cousin of Gen. Israel Putnam, born in Sutton, Mass., April 9, 1738, died in Marietta, O., May 1, 1824. In 1757 he enlisted in the war against the French, and in 1760 was made ensign. He afterward worked as a farmer and millwright, and in 1773 went on an expedition to the newly created government of West Florida. In 1775 he entered the continental army as lieutenant colonel, in 1776 was appointed engineer with the rank of colonel, and in 1777 commanded a regiment in the Massachusetts line. He constructed the fortifications at West Point, and in January, 1783, was commissioned brigadier general. He removed to Rutland in 1782, and for several years was a member of the legislature and employed in government surveys. After a visit to the Ohio country he called and presided over a convention that met in Boston on March 1, 1786, and formed the Ohio company, of which he was made a director. The company bought 1,500,000 acres of government land, and Putnam landed at the mouth of the Muskingum on April 7, 1788, and laid out the city of Marietta, the first permanent settlement in Ohio. In 1790 he was appointed judge over the territory N. W. of the Ohio, and in 1796 surveyor general of United States lands.
In May, 1792, he had been appointed a brigadier general in the United States army, and commissioned to make a treaty with the tribes on the Wabash, In 1803 Jefferson removed him from the surveyorship, and in the same year he was a member of the convention which framed the Ohio state constitution.