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Cutts, Richard D. (1771-1845) | Maine Maritime Museum Manuscript Collection Online Catalog

Name: Cutts, Richard D. (1771-1845)

Historical Note:

Richard D. Cutts, son of Thomas Cutts Sr. and Elzabeth Scammon, was born on June 28, 1771 in Cutts Island, Saco, Maine to Thomas Cutts Sr. (b. 1736-b. 1821) and Elizabeth Scammon (b. 1745-d. 1803). He married Anna Paine (b.1759-d?) the sister of President Madison’s wife, Dolly Madison. They had children Richard  (b. 1810-d. 1815), Dolly Payne Madison (b1811-d1838), James Madison (b. 1805-d. 1863), Mary Estrell Elizabeth (b1814-d?), Richard Dominicus (b. 1817-d. 1883), Thomas (b. 1806-d. 1838) and Walter Coles (b. 1808-lost at sea).1

Richard graduated Harvard in 1790, studied law and engaged extensively in navigation and commercial pursuits. He was elected as a Democrat to Congress, 1810-1813 and represented the state of Massachusetts as a U. S. Representative from 1799 to 1800. Later he was appointed as Superintendent General of Military Supplies, 1813-1817 and Second Comptroller of the U. S. Treasury 1817-1829.2

He operated the family shipping business out of Saco with his father and brothers: Foxwell, Dominicus and Thomas Jr.,. The father made him a partner in the family business along with his brothers.Richard was a shipmaster as well. He voyaged on the Mercury (Ship) in 1796 to Charleston, South Carolina with lumber, then to Cowes with rice and then to St. Ubes, Portugal with salt.4 He kept records of his expenses on the Mercury (Ship) in account books when at Charleston, Cowes and Hamburg. Seamen accounts and wages were kept by him as well.5 He had a vested interest in the family vessels as he owned one quarter of the ship Plumper with his father (Thomas Sr.) and brother (Thomas Jr.)6 and one-third of the Mercury (Ship) with his father.7

He died in Washington D. C. on April 7, 1845. Richard was initially buried at St. John’s Graveyard, but was reinterred in 1857 at Oak Hill Cemetery in Georgetown, D.C. His wife died in 1832 and is buried at the same location.8


1. How, Cecil Hampden Cutts. Genealogy of the Cutts Family in America. Albany, New York:  Joel Munsell’s Sons, 1892. Ebook.

2. “A Guide to the Papers of Richard Cutts, 1753-1886.” On-line source. http://ead.lib.virginia.edu/vivaead/published/uva-sc/viu01995.document. 3 October 2012.

3. Emery, George Addison. Colonel Thomas Cutts, Saco’s Most Eminent Citizen in the Country’s Early Days. Saco Maine: 1917. Ebook.

4. MS-320. Folder 1. Letter “Copy” Book.

5. MS-320. Folder 3. Account book, 1796-1797.

6. United States Government Printing Office. Congressional Serial Set. Vol. 147 Washington: Government Printing Office, 1916. Ebook.

7. William, Greg. “The French Assault on American Shipping, 1793-1813: A History an Comprehensive Record of Marine Losses.” North Carolina: MacFarland and Co., 2009.  Ebook.

8. “Cutts, Richard, (1771-1845).” Biographical Directory of the United States. On-line source. http://bioguide.congress.gov/scripts/biodisplay.pl?index=C001033. 3 October 2012.

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