Monday, January 6, 2014

Edward Cutts House

The Edward Cutts House stands on Cutts’ Hill on the northeast corner of Maplewood Avenue and Cutts Street.

Edward Cutts, a wealthy Portsmouth merchant, married Mary Carter in 1796, and over the next decade, they had seven children. Unfortunately, only three of their offspring survived into adulthood. 

The first two, Mary (July 1797) and Samuel (August 1798), lived barely a month. Their third child, Anna Holyoke Cutts (May 1799), died before her sixth birthday. Another Mary, born in April 1801, lived to the ripe old age of eighty-one. Their next son, Hampden Cutts (August 1803), grew up, married, and lived seventy-one years. Their sixth child was Edward Holyoke Cutts (June 1804), who did not survive a year, and their last child, Anna Holyoke Cutts (May 1807), lived less than twenty-three years. 

The Cutts built this house and moved in with their surviving offspring around the year 1810. Edward lived here until his death in 1824.

Hampden Cutts owned the property until 1833, at which time he moved to Vermont for the rest of his life. Hampden attended Philips Exeter Academy and graduated from Harvard in 1823. He studied law with Jeremiah Mason and edited the Portsmouth newspaper, Signs of the Times. His wife was Mary Pepperrell Sparhawk Jarvis, and they had nine children together, although five of THEIR children also died before reaching adulthood.

Afterwards, the house was sold out of the family.

Edward was the son of Captain Samuel Cutts and Anna Holyoke Cutts. Captain Cutts was a prosperous merchant and ship owner at the time of the Revolutionary war. A Portsmouth patriot, he was a member of the New Hampshire Assembly and helped create the New Hampshire Declaration of Independence in 1776. 

Paul Revere, before his more famous ride, rode to Portsmouth on December 13, 1774, with a message for Captain Cutts warning that a British military force was on its way to Newcastle to occupy Fort William and Mary (now known as Fort Constitution). 

This led to the first armed confrontation of the war on the following night when Portsmouth patriots, possibly including Samuel Cutts, seized the fort and spirited away one hundred barrels of gunpowder. The following night, they confiscated all of the fort’s light artillery.

This grand mansion atop a tiered hill looks quite similar to its appearance when the photograph above appeared in C. S. Gurney's 1902 book, Portsmouth . . . Historic and Picturesque.

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