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Cutts, Thomas, Sr. (1736-1821) | Maine Maritime Museum Manuscript Collection Online Catalog

Name: Cutts, Thomas, Sr. (1736-1821)

Historical Note:

Thomas Cutts Sr. was born on April 5, 1736 in Kittery, Maine to Richard Cutts (b. 1693-d. 1790) and Eunice Curtis (b. 1698-d. 1795). He married Elizabeth Scammon (b. 1744-d. 1803) on August 24, 1762. They had children Mary (b. 1763-d. 1796), Foxwell (b. 1765-d. 1816), Elizabeth (b. 1766-d. 1810), Thomas (b. 1769-d. 1839), Richard D. (b. 1771-d. 1845), Sarah (b. 1774-d. 1845), Dominicus (b. 1778-d. 1844) and Eunice (b. 1782-1852).1

Thomas Cutts Sr. was originally from Kittery, Maine where he was a clerk for William Pepperill.2 In 1758, he relocated to Saco, Maine with $100 his father gave him. He opened a small shop in a room in a residence with this money. Profits from his store allowed him to buy up portions of what was known to be Cutts Island (now Factory Island). This island was in the middle of the Saco River.2 Thomas Sr. bought this land (known as Indian Island, Great Lot) from William P. Sparhawk the nephew to William Pepperell for $2000.3, 4 He built a small house for himself on the island where he lived for twenty years and operated a general merchandizing store from the residence.2 The Saco region was a great resource for fishing, lumbering, shipbuilding and sawmilling. Cutts invested in timber lands, milling, shipbuilding, navigation and was heavily involved in the lumber trade with the West Indies with proceeds from his business.Moreover, he  built bridges, ferries, factories, warehouses and wharfs. In particular, he along with his four sons and some Saco men started Proprietor’s Wharf.4 Thomas Cutts constructed a large two-story mansion on the island in 1782. This a gambrel roofed house was built on a hill where he could keep a watchful eye on his vessels in the harbor.1

He owned a large number of vessels. In particular, he owned five eighths of the ship Plumper along with his sons, Richard Cutts (one quarter) and Thomas Cutts Jr. (one eighth). The Plumper (Ship) was seized by the French frigate Insurgent on January 11, 1799 when on a commercial voyage to Surinam, Captain Daniel Deshon as master. The vessel was later released on January 22, 1799 by decree of the tribunal of commerce and prizes.5 Captains Solomon Coit, Seth Storer and Samuel Hartley were some other masters of his vessels.6

Thomas Cutts Sr. was also the founder of the Saco Bank and Saco Iron Works, Selectman, town Treasurer, Representative to the General Court, Councilor of Massachusetts and a Revolutionary War officer.He was assigned 1st Lieutenant of Scammon’s Massachusetts Regiment from May to December 1775 and Captain of the Massachusetts Militia, 1776-1779.1

He died on January 10, 1821. His estate was estimated at about $100,000.2 The house was listed at $6000 and the island at $30,000.  He also owned two sawmills, a treble grist mill and various mechanic shops and residences. Thomas Sr. owned land in Saco, Biddeford, Hollis, Buxton and Scarborough as well as ten shares of the Saco Boom and pews in the meeting house. His son Dominicus, eventually, sold off the family property to Bostonians.4


1. ancestry.com

2. Ridlon Sr., G. T. Saco Valley Settlements and Families: Historical, Biographical, Genealogical, Traditional and Legendary. Rutland, VT: Charles E. Tuttle Company, 1969.

3. “Downtown Saco History.” On-line source. wwww.sacomaine.org. 2 October 2012.  

4. Fairfield, Roy P. Sands, Spindles and Steeples. Portland, Maine: House of Falmouth, 1956.

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

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

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