Putnam, Rufus, 1738–1824, American Revolutionary general, one of the founders of the Ohio Company of Associates, b. Sutton, Mass.; cousin of Israel Putnam. In the French and Indian War he joined (1757) the army and saw action around Lake Champlain. In the American Revolution, Putnam was an engineering officer at Boston, New York, and West Point; he also served as a field officer, most notably under Horatio Gates in the Saratoga campaign (1777) and under Anthony Wayne at Stony Point (1779). He was made a brigadier general in 1783, after the war's end. In 1786 he, with other veterans, formed the Ohio Company of Associates. Putnam helped the passage of the Ordinance of 1787, and in 1788 he and Manasseh Cutler supervised the building of Marietta, Ohio. Putnam was appointed (1790) judge of the Northwest Territory and later was (1796–1803) U.S. surveyor general.
See his memoirs, ed. by R. Buell (1903).
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