My blog has been changed to make it more appealing for those who have New England ancestors and want to see the area through photos. Things I’ll include are typical white New England churches, libraries showing their genealogical collection, historical societies, cemeteries, war memorials, in general, anything to do with history.

For four years I’ve blogged mostly about my personal genealogy in New England (Connecticut, Massachusetts, Vermont, and New Hampshire), New York, New Jersey, Michigan, Illinois, Wisconsin, and the Eastern Townships of Quebec, Canada. I still will, can’t forget my own roots.

Please check out the labels on the right side for articles. The header tabs at the top are a work in progress.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Dr. Manasseh Cutler - A minister, doctor, statesman, botanist and ancestor

Manasseh Cutler was probably the most accomplished of all my ancestors.
Pastor at Hamilton Congregational Church for 52 years.
This is where he lived in Hamilton, Massachusetts. His church is next door, and the cemetery is across the street.

From Wikipedia you can read about Manasseh Cutler
Dedicated to the Memory of

Born at Killingly, Conn. May 13, 1742
Graduate of Yale College 1765
Ordained at Ipswich Hamlet Now Hamilton
September 11, 1771
During his Pastorate Hamilton was set
off from Ipswich and incorporated as
the town of Hamilton in 1793.
He chose the name Hamilton in honor of
the statesman he so much admired.
Interested in the drawing of the
ordinance of 1787 and the formation
of the Ohio Company.
Died at Hamilton July 28, 1823 and
was buried in the Hamilton Cemetery
opposite the church in which he
practiced fifty two years.

The Ordinance of 1787, and Dr. Manasseh Cutler was written by William Frederick Poole in 1876.  This little 52 page book is a downloadable Google book  The Ordinance of 1787.  Imagine my surprise when I noted that my 2nd great-grandfather wrote a book about my 4th great-grandfather, and they aren't even related!  Small world.

It is very interesting that the Daughters of the American Revolution (DAR) is the only place where I have seen his name misspelled!  They spell it as Manassah Cutler, everywhere else it is Manasseh.  Pitty the poor researcher trying to locate Manasseh in the DAR records.

For those of you who may want to read more, I selected certain passages from: From: Essex Institute Historical Collections, (Salem, MA: 1859+). Vol. XC (April 1954) No. 2. Pgs. 111-122. "Reverand Manasseh Cutler, LL.D., 1742-1825 His Career as a Botanist" by Mrs. William Darrach and Mrs. Ernest G. Vietor.

Pg. 112. Cutler kept a journal, a daily record of his personal affairs, from 1765 to the year of his death in 1823. Nine years only of this journal are missing. It may have been lost in 1812 when a fire in his study destroyed many of his valuable papers.

Pg. 113. Cutler felt that the wild plants of the New England states were too little known and believed that much could be learned from the Indians about the medicinal value of these plants. His later research along these lines resulted in an article in the first volume of the Memoirs of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. In this same volume appear two other articles of his, one on meteorology and another on astronomy.

Pg. 115. One is puzzled how it was possible for him to keep so many glittering balls in the air at one and the same time, theology, the law, medicine, astronomy, meteorology, chaplain in the War for Independence, pastor of a Congregational church, headmaster of a private boarding school, a representative to Congress and last but not least, his contributions to botanical research. His versatility and what he accomplished during his eight-one years is nothing short of amazing.

Pg. 116. The American Academy of Arts and Sciences was incorporated on May 4, 1780. At its first meeting in the Philosophy Chambers in the University of Cambridge, Dr. Cutler was elected a Fellow. He faithfully attended the meetings which alternated between Boston and Cambridge.

July 3, 1780. Visited the sick. Saw Saturn's rings through my glass.' One cannot help wondering whether his scientific instruments, constant travelling by chaise or on horseback and the many specimen plants he purchased for his garden and herbarium may not have been one reason why it was difficult to provide for his family. Eventually he had eight children whom he scarcely mentions in his diary.

Pg. 117. In 1782, Dr. Cutler established a private boarding school which he conducted for about a quarter of a century.

Pg. 118. Throughout his life he was close to the most cultured and conspicuous men of his day, men who shared his intense interest in science, religion and politics, and he corresponded with scientists and statesmen both in the United States and abroad.

Pg. 120. Cutler continued on to Philadelphia where he was graciously received and dine and wined. He took tea with Benjamin Franklin.

Meanwhile he presented his plans for the settling of Ohio, and, thanks to his powers of persuasion, his sagacity and great ability, the act was unanimously passed.

Pg. 121. He was given an LL.D. degree at Yale in 1789, doubtless in recognition of his service to his country as well as for his scientific attainment.

Serving as a legislator from 1801 to 1805, he boarded with friends in Washington. He describes frequent trips to Mount Vernon to call upon Mrs. Washington who had become a disconsolate widow. The years in Washington were busy ones, but he found time to carry on his botanical interests and to keep in close touch with the distinguished scientists and famous men of the day.

Pg. 122. He died in his eight-second year having been a botanist, lawyer, parson, doctor, school teacher, merchant, chaplain in the Army and a legislator!