CUTLER, Manasseh

1742–1823

Biography

CUTLER, Manasseh, a Representative from Massachusetts; born in Killingly, Conn., May 13, 1742; was prepared for college by private teacher and was graduated from Yale College in 1765; taught school in Dedham, Mass., for a short time; engaged in the whaling business at Edgartown, Martha's Vineyard, Mass.; studied law; was admitted to the bar in 1767 but did not practice; studied theology, and was licensed to preach in 1770; ordained to the ministry by the Congregational Society at Hamilton, Mass., September 11, 1771; appointed chaplain of Colonel Francis' regiment September 5, 1776, and of General Titcomb's brigade in 1778; began the study of medicine the same year and became a skilled physician; taught navigation; held in esteem for his knowledge of botany and astronomy; one of the projectors of the Ohio Company in 1787, formed for the purpose of colonizing the new Territory; drafted the Ordinance of 1787; appointed judge of the United States Court for Ohio in 1795 by President Washington, but declined; member of the State house of representatives in 1800; elected as a Federalist to the Seventh and Eighth Congresses (March 4, 1801-March 3, 1805); was not a candidate for renomination in 1804; engaged in literary pursuits; died in Hamilton, Mass., July 28, 1823; interment in Main Street Cemetery.

View Record in the Biographical Directory of the U.S. Congress

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External Research Collections

Northwestern University Library

Evanston, IL
Papers: ca. 1762-1820, approximately 10,000 items. The collection contains 30 volumes of Manasseh Cutler's diaries (1765-1809), 4 volumes of his travel journals (1784-1788), 22 volumes of Cutler's sermons (1768-1820), and assorted writings, among which are his astronomical papers (1781-1805), and miscellaneous family papers. In addition, the collection contains extensive documentation of the activities of the Ohio and Scioto Companies, which include financial records for both companies, meetings minutes and miscellaneous papers, as well as correspondence of Cutler's associate Rufus Putnam, an officer of the Ohio Company. Cutler's correspondents include Winthrop Sargent, Jeremy Belknap, and Putnam. A container list is available in the library.

American Philosophical Society Library

Philadelphia, PA
Microfilm: 1777-1790, 1 microfilm reel. These are letters from Jeremy Belknap, Aaron Dexter, Ezra Stile, Samuel Vaughan, Jr., and others to Manasseh Cutler. There are also drafts of some of Cutler's letters.
Papers: 1787-1806, 14 items. These letters concern botany and zoology in the U.S., England, and on the Continent, and mention contemporary figures as well as the American Philosophical Society.

Boston Public Library

Boston, MA
Papers: 3 items.

George Washington University
Special Collections, Gelman Library

Washington, DC
Papers: 1802, 1 item. A letter from Manasseh Cutler to Jedediah Morse written on December 15, 1802. In the letter, Manasseh Cutler writes about the opening of Congress, and asks Morse to forward a religious pamphlet. He also speaks disparagingly of writings of Thomas Paine.

Harvard University
Gray Herbarium and Arnold Arboretum Combined Libraries

Cambridge, MA
Papers: In the Manasseh Cutler Botanical Papers, 1782-1808, 12 notebooks and miscellaneous items. The collection consists of eight notebooks containing Manasseh Cutler's observations of plants and four notebooks of extracts from a variety of publications and the letters of Jonathan Stokes. Also includes a few letters, a botanical paper, and notes. Cutler's botanical paper, 1785, entitled "An Account of Some of the Vegetable Productions Naturally Growing in this part of America, Botanically Arranged", was published in the Memoirs of AAAS (1785); and is extensively annotated by ? Dandridge (possibly William Dandridge Peck) and Israel Thorndike. Most of the notes are in Latin. Notes on plants were apparently intended as an expansion of this paper. An unpublished finding aid is available in the repository.

Indiana Historical Society

Indianapolis, IN
Papers: In the Northwest Territory Collection, 1721-1838, 4 boxes. Other authors include Manasseh Cutler. A finding aid is available in the repository.

Library of Congress
Manuscript Division

Washington, DC
Papers: 1762, 1 item. A typescript copy of a commonplace-book kept by Manasseh Cutler as a student at Yale College, New Haven, Conn.
Papers: In the Winthrop Sargent Papers, 1776-1865, 1.75 cubic feet. Other authors include Manasseh Cutler.

Lloyd Library and Museum

Cincinnati, OH
Papers: 1806, 1 item. A letter from C.S. Rafinesque to Manasseh Cutler written on May 20, 1806. In the letter, C.S. Rafinesque confirms sending, requesting receipt of and reciprocate in kind of plants.

Massachusetts Historical Society

Boston, MA
Papers: 1712-1886, 1 box. A small collection of papers of Manasseh Cutler. Cutler's papers include deeds to lands in Ipswich and Hamilton, Mass., legal papers, a small amount of correspondence, a manuscript almanac for the year 1764, and a small notebook containing a classification of animals. Also included is some correspondence of Cutler's son Temple Cutler, mostly in regard to the Ohio Company. Also, a few manuscript reports of the Ohio Company in the 1830s, and the estate inventory of Rufus Putnam Cutler.

New-York Historical Society

New York, NY
Papers: 8 items on personal business matters (1787-1797) and 3 letters (February 21, 1803; July 29, 1807; July 29, 1817). Finding aid in repository.

Newberry Library
Edward E. Ayer Manuscript Collection

Chicago, IL
Papers: In the Ohio Company (1786-1795) Records, ca. 1787-1800, 35 items. Correspondents include Manasseh Cutler.

Ohio Historical Society

Columbus, OH
Papers: 1781, 1 item. A letter from Manasseh Cutler to Professor Williams, written on January 18, 1781, relating to a petition sent to the (Ohio?) corporation.
Papers: 1803-1871, 11 items. Scattered papers, 1803-1871, of the Cutler family including a petition of thanks to Charles Cutler, Ames, O., from his pupils; the marriage license of Mary Cutler, Warren, O., and Gulliver Dean, Athens Co., O., a biographical sketch of Manasseh Cutler, Hamilton, O.; and letters of Manasseh Cutler, Ephraim Cutler, Constitution, O., and J(ohn?) Smith, Potsdam, Ohio.

Ohio University
Alden Library Archives and Special Collections

Athens, OH
Papers: 1776-1822, 1.5 linear feet. The papers of Manasseh Cutler contain botanical notebooks, manuscripts, and printed matter. An inventory is available in the repository.

Peabody Essex Museum

Salem, MA
Papers: 1783-1837. 1 envelope. Correspondence, meteorological diaries (1783-1837), scientific notebooks. Seven letters (1803-1805) tell of Louisiana Purchase and other congressional business and describe the impeachment trial of Justice Samuel Chase.
Papers: Correspondence in the Nathan Read papers, 1709-1914. 3 feet (7 boxes). Finding aid in repository.

Western Reserve Historical Society

Cleveland, OH
Papers: 1787-1807, 2 volumes. Journals describing Manasseh Cutler's trips to New York and Philadelphia (1787) to negotiate a contract with Congress for the purchase of lands for the Ohio Company, and to the future site of Marietta, Ohio (1788) to visit the Ohio Company purchase there. Included in the second volume is a journal of Rev. Joseph Badger (1803-07).
Papers: In the May Family Papers, 6.25 linear feet. Other authors include Manasseh Cutler. A register is available in the library.
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Bibliography / Further Reading

Brown, Robert E. Manasseh Cutler and the settlement of Ohio, 1788, by Robert Elliott Brown. An address delivered at the Union Sesquicentennial Memorial Service in the First Congregational Church, Marietta, Ohio, April 10, 1938. Marietta, Ohio: The Marietta College Press, 1938.

Cutler, Manasseh. An account of some of the vegetable productions, naturally growing in this part of America. Cincinnati, Ohio: J.U. & C.G. Lloyd, 1903.

------. Description of Ohio, by Manasseh Cutler. An explanation of the map which delineates that part of the federal lands comprehend between Pennsylvania west line, the rivers Ohio and Scioto, and Lake Erie; confirmed to the United States by sundry tribes of Indians, in the treaties of 1784 and 1786, and now ready for settlement. Salem: Printed by Dabney and Cushing, 1787. Reprint, [Boston: Directors of the Old South Work, 1896].

------. A discourse, delivered in Salem. [N. p.], 1813.

------. An explanation of the map of Federal lands. [S]alem, [Mass.]: Printed by Dabney and Cushing, 1787. Reprint, Ann Arbor, [Mich.]: University Microfilms, [1966].

------. A map of the Federal Territory from the western boundary of Pennsylvania to the Scioto River laid down from the latest informations and divided into townships and fractional parts of townships agreeably to the ordinance of the honle. Congress passed in May 1785. [Salem: N.p., 1788].

------. Ohio in 1788. A description of the soil, productions, etc., of that portion of the United States situated between Pennsylvania, the rivers Ohio and Scioto and Lake Erie. Tr. from the French, with notes and introduction, by John Henry James. Columbus, Ohio: A. H. Smythe, 1888.

------. A sermon, delivered at Hamilton, on the day of the national fast, April 25, 1799, appointed by the President of the United States of America. Salem: Printed by Joshua Cushing, 1799.

Cutler, W.P., and J.P. Cutler. Life Journals and Correspondence of Rev. Manasseh Cutler. 2 vols. Cincinnati: R. Clarke & Co., 1888. Reprint, Athens, Ohio: Ohio University Press, 1987.

Newcomer, Lee Nathaniel. "Manasseh Cutler's Writings: A Note on Editorial Practice." Mississippi Valley Historical Review 47 (June 1960): 88-101.

Phillips, Philip Lee. The first map and description of Ohio, 1787, by Manasseh Cutler. A bibliographical account, with reprint of the "Explanation," by P. Lee Phillips. Washington: W.H. Lowdermilk & Company, 1918.

Poole, William Frederick. The Ordinance of 1787, and Dr. Manasseh Cutler as an agent in its formation. Cambridge, Mass.: Welch, Bigelow, and Co., 1876.

Potts, Louis W. "Manasseh Cutler, Lobbyist." Ohio History 96 (Summer/Autumn 1987): 101-23.

Wadsworth, Benjamin. The pious dead blessed. A discourse delivered July 30, 1823, in Hamilton, at the interment of the Rev. Manasseh Cutler, LL.D. who died July 28, 1823, in the 81st year of his age, and 52d of his ministry. Andover, [Mass.]: Printed by Flagg and Gould, 1823.

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