Sunday, December 7, 2014

Then & Now - The Cutler Lot

One of my favorite resources on the early history of the Cemetery is Henry Churchill's 1858 Guide Through The Rural Cemetery Containing Illustrations of All The Principal Monuments, Tombs, Etc.; The History of Its Formation; The Rules and Regulations For Its Preservation, Etc. With A Steel Engraved Plan of The Grounds.  The title is quite self-explanatory and the book itself deserves a future post of its own.  The last several pages include the aforementioned "principal monuments," some of which no longer exist and some of which are greatly altered.

One such engraving which caught my attention was the lot of T.R. Cutler.  It shows a simple shaft with what appears to be a bit of carved drapery atop.  There is a little evergreen tree beside it and the whole is enclosed with a variety of ironwork;  a chain with tassels stretches between low stone posts, an arched arbor or trellis frames the monument, and there is a marvelous little gate with a spiral design. 

A search of the Cemetery's burial records placed in one of my favorite sections to explore these days; that secluded little hollow between Consecration Lake and Ravine Side Way (see the previous post on Solomon Van Rensselaer and Correspondence of The Boston Traveller). 

The Cutler lot has changed greatly since the engraving above was published.  Like many lots in the Cemetery, it has long since lost its iron adornments.  As expected, the arched trellis and that lovely spiral gate are gone.  The marble shaft lies flat on the ground, but small boundary markers with the letter C help to identify the lot.  The inscription is not visible and there are thick patches of green moss growing on the stone, though one can still see the carved drapery.  The evergreen in the engraving is also gone and a twiggy bush is growing wild beside the topped stone.

This lot was the property of Timothy Rockwood Cutler.  The first burial here was of Rebecca Hillman. Cutler.  She died on December 23, 1853 at the age of twenty-six.  She was the first wife of the lot owner.  The second burial was that of Timothy R. Cutler, whose trade was listed in the city directories as "millinery and bonnet bleaching" at 536 Broadway.  The son of Martin Cutler and Sophia Rockwood, he was born in Holliston Massachusetts on May 3, 1822 and died in Brooklyn on April 4, 1891.  His second wife, Mary, was Rebecca's sister.  She died at the age of sixty-eight on December 17, 1897 and was the final burial recorded for this lot.  

The 1880 census indicates that Timothy and Mary H. Cutler had three sons residing at home;  William (age twenty, a clerk on a boat), John H. (age eighteen, a store clerk), and Timothy (age seventeen, a student).  The household also included a twenty-eight year old Irish-born servant named Laura Shaunessey.  By his first wife, Timothy R. Cutler had at least one child, a daughter named Ida.  

Newspaper clippings also note that Mr. Cutler was a member of the Albany Burgesses Corps, a private military company founded by Captain Thomas Bayeux in 1833.

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