Friday, September 1, 2023

52 Ancestors - Week 495: #944 William Cutter (1650-1723) of Cambridge, Massachusetts

William Cutter (1650-1723) is  #944 on my Ahnentafel List, my 7th great-grandfather, who married  #945 Rebecca Rolfe (1662-1751) in about 1679 in Cambridge, Massachusetts.

I am descended through:

*  their son #472 Richard Cutter (1682-1756) who married #473 Mercy Kelsey (1698-1760) in 1722.
*  their son #236 William Cutter (1722-1780) who married #237 Mary Kent (1726-????) in 1744.
*  their son #118 Stephen Cutter (1745-1823) who married #119 Tabitha Randolph (1752-1841) in 1769.
*  their daughter #59 Sarah Cutter (1785-1878) who married #58 William Knapp (1775-1856) in 1804.
*  their daughter #29 Sarah G. Knapp (1818-1904) who married David Auble (1817-1894) in 1844
*  their son #14 Charles Auble (1849-1916) who married #15 Georgianna Kemp (1868-1952) in 1898. 
*  their daughter #7 Emily Kemp Auble (1899-1977) who married #6 Lyle Lawrence Carringer (1891-1976) in 1918.
* their daughter, #3 Betty Virginia Carringer (1919-2002) who married #2 Frederick Walton Seaver (1911-1983) in 1942.
*  their son, #1 Randall J. Seaver (1943-....)


1)  PERSON (with source citations as indicated in brackets):

*  Name:                       William Cutter[1–6]

*  Sex:                           Male

*  Father:                       Richard Cutter (1621-1693)
*  Mother:                     Elizabeth --?-- (1620-1662)

2)  INDIVIDUAL EVENTS (with source citations as indicated in brackets):

*  Birth:                         22 February 1649/50, Cambridge, Middlesex, Massachusetts, United States[1–2,6]

*  Will:                          1 June 1722 (age 73), will written; Cambridge, Middlesex, Massachusetts, United States[4]

*  Death:                       1 April 1723 (age 74), Cambridge, Middlesex, Massachusetts, United States[1,5–6]
*  Burial:                       after 1 April 1723 (after age 74), Old Burying Ground, Cambridge, Middlesex, Massachusetts, United States[1,6]

*  Probate:                    29 April 1723 (age 74), will proved; Cambridge, Middlesex, Massachusetts, United States[4]

3)  SHARED EVENTS (with source citations as indicated in brackets):

*  Spouse 1:                  Rebecca Rolfe (1662-1751)
*  Marriage 1:               about 1679 (about age 30), Cambridge, Middlesex, Massachusetts, United States[1,3]

*  Child 1:                     Elizabeth Cutter 1680-1748
*  Child 2:                     Richard Cutter 1682-1756
*  Child 3:                     Mary Cutter 1685-1685
*  Child 4:                     Hannah Cutter 1688-1764
*  Child 5:                     John Cutter 1690-1776
*  Child 6:                     Rebeccah Cutter 1693-1718
*  Child 7:                     William Cutter 1697-1756
*  Child 8:                     Samuel Cutter 1700-1737
*  Child 9:                     Sarah Cutter 1702-1788
*  Child 10:                   Ammi Ruhamah Cutter 1705-1746

4)  NOTES (with source citations as indicated in brackets):    

William Cutter was born 22 February 1649/50 in Cambridge, Massachusetts Bay, the son of Richard and Elizabeth (--?--) Cutter[1-2,6].  

William Cutter married Rebecca Rolfe before 1681 in Cambridge[3].  She was the daughter of John and Mary (Scullard) Rolfe of Cambridge, and originally from Newbury, Mass.  They had ten children, all recorded in the Cambridge town records[1]:

*  Elizabeth Cutter (1660-1748), married 1705 John Harrington (1684-1750).
*  Richard Cutter (1682-1756), married (1) 1706 Mary Pike (1687-1721); (2) 1722 Mercy Kelsey (1698-1760).
*  Mary Cutter (1685-1685).
*  Hannah Cutter (1688-1764), married 1708 Ephraim Winship (1688-1757).
*  John Cutter (1690-1776), married 1709 Lydia Harrington (1690-1755).
*  Rebeccah Cutter (1693-1718), married 1711 Joseph Adams (1687-1774).
*  William Cutter (1697-1756), married 1724 Anna Rice (1683-1753).
*  Samuel Cutter (1700-1737), married 1720 Ann Harrington (1703-1777).
*  Sarah Cutter (1702-1788), married 1722 Ebenezer Cutter (1698-1750)
*  Ammi Ruhanah Cutter (1705-1746), married 1738 Dorothy Bradbury (1706-1776).

William and Rebecca were admitted to the Cambridge church on 28 July 1700.  A cherished relic, the family Bible, bears evidence of frequent use[1].

His residence was in that part of Cambridge which became the district of Menotomy, and on the banks of the stream flowing from Lexington into the Mystic River.  On the occasion of John Rolfe's decease, on 1 October 1681 he received an acre of land.  On 10 April 1684, he purchased of John Rolfe, Jr. four additional acres on which he built the house, afterwards his son John's.  This land was the "west corner" of the Rolfe's homestead, and with the purchase William had "liberty to build a dam for the convenience of the mill" near his house, together with "the half part of a sawmill" on Sergeant Francis Whitmore's estate.  He dwelt in the house until he sold it for 60 pounds to his son, John, on 9 April 1717, with 10 acres of land "adjoyning the place called the 'Rocks', and lying on both sides of the mill brook."[1]

He removed to the comfortable, old-fashioned two story house, which was probably built by John Rolfe in about 1671, which is remembered by the descendants of William Cutter as the family mansion.  It was purchased in 1844 by Albert Winn Esq., and demolished thereafter. While undergoing demolition, a fireplace beam was removed from the chimney, inscribed 1671[1].

William was a carpenter or housewright by profession, and somewhat of a husbandman, and dealt in real estate, as the multitude of deeds and other documents bear evidence.  He did not confine his land speculations to his immediate neighborhood, but sometimes extended his operations to other localities, and in several instances, gave mortgages.  He appears to also have been a miller and carried on the mill business erected on the stream near his house[1].

William Cutter was respectably affluent.  His will and inventory are curious and interesting documents.  The former exhibits good sense and paternal care;  the latter minutely enumerates the pecuniary value of his "moveable estate."  Choice passages of scripture, inscribed in his handwriting on the fly leaves of the family Bible, reveal his general religious sentiments[1]

William Cutter died 1 April 1723 in Cambridge at age 73[1,5-6].  He was buried beside his parents at Old Cambridge, where his gravestone reads[6]
"Here lyes ye Body of Mr. William Cutter; who decd April ye 1st 1723 in ye 74th year of his age."  
William's widow, Rebecca, married John Whitmore, Senior, a Deacon and highly trustworthy citizen of Medford, on 3 June 1724.  She gave 6 pounds towards defraying the expense of communion utensils for Menotomy church in 1739, and died 23 November 1751, in her 90th year.  Deacon Whitmore died 22 February 1739-40, aged 84 years.

The will of William Cutter mentions his dear and loving wife Rebeckah, four sons Richard, John, William and Samuel Cutter, youngest son Ammi Ruhamah Cutter, daughter Elizabeth Harrington, daughter Hannah Winshipp, son-in-law Joseph Adams (husband of daughter Rebeckah, now deceased), and daughter Sarah Cutter.  The will was written 1 June 1722, and was proved 29 April 1723.  Wife Rebeckah and sons Richard, John, William and Samuel Cutter were named executors.  The debts and legacies totaled 799 pounds, 11 shillings, two pence.  The moveable estate totaled 224 pounds, 3 shillings 8 pence[4].
In the Name of God Amen this first day of June in the year 1722, I William Cutter of Cambridge in the county of Mid'x in the provence of the Massachusetts Bay in New England yeoman, being of Perfect mind and memory, Praise be to Almighty God, Do make and Ordain this my Last Will and Testament in manner and form as followeth. First and Principally I do commend my Soul into the hands of God Almighty, hoping throgh the Merritts death and passion of My Saviour Jesus Christ to Obtain full and free pardon of all my sins And to inherit Eternall Life, and my Body I commit to the earth to be Buried at the Decresion of my Executors hereafter mentioned. And as touching my Temporal Estate which almighty God has bestowed on me, I Give and Depose as followeth. First, that all my Just Debts and funerall Charges be paid and discharged. 

Item I Give to my dear and loving Wife Rebeckah Cutter the full improvement of a third part of my lands, and the Est end of my now Dwelling house during her Natural Life, and a third part of my moveable Estate to be at her own despose for ever.

Item My will is that my four sons, Richard Cutter, John Cutter, William Cutter and Samuel Cutter have all my home lands lying both in Cambridge and Charlstown to be Divided equally amongst them according to quantity and quallity, and what I have given by a deed of Gift unto my son Richard shall be accounted as part of his proportion of land, and I give to my son Richard my Barns and I give him my dwelling house after the decease of my wife, and my will is that my lands shall be so divided as shall be made commodious and convenient to their houses, and that my son William Shall Choose his house lot in my land Lying in the Bounds of Charlstown and adjoyning to my home place. And that all my Other lands uplands and meadows lying in Charlstown Cambridge and Lexington be divided into four parts to each of my above sd sons thir equal part of quantity and quality. All which I Give to my above sd Sons and to their heirs and assigns for ever they paying the Leagacies hereafter mentioned and performing the things. Item my will is that my house-plot Lying in Cambridge that I bought of Cousin Chamney shall be to my youngest Son, viz.: Ammi Ruhamah Cutter (which with the Learning I bestow on him Shall be the full of his portion) which sd house-plot I give to him and his heirs and assigns forever, and my Will is that my Executors hereafter Named shall provide and at thir equal Cost aford suitable maintenance for the bringing up my son Ammi Ruhamah through the Schools of learning until he take his Second Degree in the Colledge, and afford or give to him so many Books as shall be thought necessary by the president or fellows of the Colledge, and I give him a young horse fit for riding when he has commenced Master of the value thirof out of personall Estate. 

And I Give to my Son William Cutter that part of sd meadow which I bought of my brother Ephriam Cutter, and the other three acres more or less which was my Fathers to be Divided between my other three Sons, viz. Richard, John and Samuel; there equal part. And my Will is that my Mills now standing on my homested together with all the previledges and apurtenances and utencils therto belonging be divided as followeth. I confirm unto my Son John Cutter the fourth part which I conveyed unto him by a deed, and it is my will that the other three quarters be divided between my other three sons to each a equal quarter, viz. Richard, William and Samuel Item I Give to my Daughter Elizabeth Herington Forty Shillings. And I give unto her Children Fourty eight Pounds to be divided Equally amoungst them, and paid by my Executors to each wone as he or she shall come of age, which with what I have formerly Given Shall be the full of her and her heirs portion.

Item I Give to my Daughter Hannah Winshipp fifty pounds to be paid at two payments – twentty pounds within a year after my Decease, and thirtty pounds more within three year after my Decease which with what I gave her formerly is her portion.

Item I Give to my Son in Law Joseph Adams twenty pounds to be paid by my Executors within two years after My decease, and I Give to his Children born of my Daughter Rebackah (his first wife now deceased) Thirtty pounds to be equally divided and paid to them as they come of age - by my Executors – which with what I formerly have given shall be the full of thir portion.

Item I Give to my Daughter Sarah Cutter Eighty Pounds, to be paid by Executors, Twenty Pounds to be paid at her Marriing and Sixty Pounds more within five years after my decease which shall be her and her heirs full portion.

And my will is that in the divisions of my Sons Lands they Shall have a due respect for each others conveniency, and if any of my sons shall see cause to sell any of thir land they shall give the refusall therof to their brethren and any such Son neglecting so to do shall forfit such land or the value therof.

And my Will is that if any of my Children or of my Sons in Law Shall Enter into a cause of law to brake and make Void this my Last Will and Testament they or any of them Shall Hierby forfit all right to any of my Estate, and that my body be decently buried in the Buriing place in Cambridge. And I Do Nominate my dear and loving wife Executrix and my sons Richard Cutter, John Cutter, William Cutter and Samuel Cutter Executors of this my last will and Testam't and do hereby disannull Revoke and make void all other and former Wills and Testaments by me made heretofore. In Witness hereof I the sd William Cutter have set to my hand and seal the day and year above written being the Eight'th year of the Reign of our sovereign Lord Gorge by the grace of God of Great Britain France and Ireland King &c.

Signed Sealed and Declared
in presents of us
Jno Bordman   } sworn                                                                           William Cutter 
Simon Holden } in the country service, but 1 other 2 swore also
John Smith      } sworn
                                          April 29 1723
                   Present the widow and all the Children (Sons)
                   herein named Except Richard (the Eldest Son)
                   John Herington (who married Eliza) a Daughter
                   and Jn'o. Will'm & Sam'l Consent their mother shall receve
                   her Thirds in ther moveables without any Deductions,   
                   the ???? ??????????


1. Dr. Benjamin Cutter, The History of the Cutter Family of New England  (Boston, Mass. : 1871), pages 21-22, #3 William Cutter family sketch.

2. Thomas W. Baldwin (compiler), Vital Records of Cambridge, Massachusetts to the Year 1850 (Boston, Mass. : New England Historic Genealogical Society, 1915), Births, page 181, William Cutter entry, 22 February 1649.

3. "U.S. New England Marriages Prior to 1700," indexed database with digital images,  (, page 201, William Cutter and Rebecca Rolfe marriage entry, Cambridge, before 1681; Original data from Torrey, Clarence A., New England Marriages Prior to 1700 (Baltimore, MD : Genealogical Publishing Co., 2004).

4. "Middlesex County, MA: Probate Papers, 1648-1871," digital images, American Ancestors ( :, accessed 19 December 2014), Case File 5,669 (13 pages), William Cutter of Cambridge, 1723; original records in Middlesex County, Massachusetts Probate Court, Cambridge, Mass.

5. Thomas W. Baldwin (compiler), Vital Records of Cambridge, Massachusetts to the Year 1850, Deaths, page 521, William Cutter entry, 1 April 1723.

6. Find A Grave, indexed database and digital image,  (, Old Burying Ground (Cambridge, Mass.), William Cutter (1649-1723) memorial # 59133787.


NOTE:  Amy Johnson Crow suggested a weekly blog theme of "52 Ancestors" in her blog post 
 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks on the No Story Too Small blog in 2014.  I have extended this theme in 2023 to 520 Ancestors in 520 Weeks.

Copyright (c) 2023, Randall J. Seaver

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