Week 21: #52 Ancestors – At the Cemetery
By Eilene Lyon
Many of my farming ancestors led stable, quiet lives that can be hard to document. But some relatives had a flamboyant existence. One of these was my 2nd great-granduncle, George Albert Cutting, brother of my ancestor Arthur N. Cutting. George’s travels spanned the continent, he married three times, and he eschewed farming to be a jeweler and optician.
George and Nora married in 1878.3 They had two sons together, the first dying as an infant. They buried this unnamed child with George’s grandfather, Jonas Cutting, in Winona, Minnesota.4 George, Nora and their son, Clyde, continued living in Winona until about 1900.
The events of 1899 or 1900 are unclear. Nora moved to La Crosse, Wisconsin. There, she gave George’s name to the census taker in 1900, though he was not living with her.5 The city directory lists her as his widow.6
George, however, was actually in Sonora, California, living with a much-younger woman named “May.”7 Her given name was actually Inez L. Ascott, but she went by the nickname “Mae.” She and George apparently met in Winona and ran off to California together. I’ve been unable to locate a marriage record for them.
George and Inez lived in Sacramento for a couple years, where George took up the optical trade, then moved to Portland, Oregon. The couple appears to have been happy together until Inez died in 1907 at the age of 34.8
It was this occasion that led George to purchase a lot in the River View Cemetery in Portland. He paid $150 for the lot, which contains six separate burial plots.9 The cemetery is one of the finest in the country, established by Portland’s founding fathers and occupying a beautiful, wooded hillside overlooking the Willamette River.
George did not mourn long before marrying a third time. In 1908, George was 52 years old when he wed 25-year-old widow, Bertha (Munson) Sergeant.10 Bertha lost her first husband, Bert Sergeant, after less than a year of marriage. Bert was a veteran of the Spanish-American War and died of meningitis after returning to the Philippines in 1905 for unknown reasons.11
George and Bertha moved back and forth between Portland and San Joaquin County, California, over the next eight years. They had a son, George Bert Cutting, in 1910. Tragically, young George died at the age of two.12 They brought his body to River View in Portland for burial, but never placed a monument on his grave.
Notices in the Portland newspaper hint that shortly after they married, George and Bertha struggled financially. Perhaps it was the strain of losing a child, or maybe the lack of money, but George and Bertha divorced about 1915 or 1916.
Late in life, his health failing, George moved to Sacramento to live with ex-wife Nora and son Clyde. He died there February 7, 1928.13 Clyde never married nor had children, so George left no descendants.
The mystery is what happened to the burial plots at River View, and why isn’t George buried there? My investigation revealed that George was cremated in Sacramento and his remains were shipped to Portland. The trail ends there – no one knows who received the shipment on the Portland end.
Three of the six cemetery plots are occupied: Baby George, Inez Cutting, and Bertha’s sister, Martha Munson. The three remaining plots have sat vacant for over a century, but thanks to this research, have now been claimed (for later use) by living relatives of Uncle George.
Feature image: River View Cemetery, Portland, Oregon. (E. Lyon 2013)
- Census records reveal that George’s younger sister, Mary Elizabeth Cutting, was born in Minnesota in 1866, giving an approximate date for the family’s move. ↩
- Eleonora Hutchinson. Year: 1860; Census Place: Hesper, Winneshiek, Iowa; Page: 872 – via Ancestry.com. AND Nora Hutchinson. Year: 1870; Census Place: Hesper, Winneshiek, Iowa; Roll: M593_426; Page: 186B – via Ancestry.com. ↩
- Geo. A. Cutting and Nora Hutchinson. Ancestry.com. Iowa, U.S., Select Marriages Index, 1758-1996 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2014. ↩
- Personal visit to Woodlawn Cemetery in Winona, Minnesota, on Sept. 30, 2012. ↩
- Nora V. Cutting. Year: 1900; Census Place: La Crosse Ward 14, La Crosse, Wisconsin; Page: 7; Enumeration District: 0081; FHL microfilm: 1241795 – via Ancestry.com. ↩
- Mrs. Nora Cutting. La Crosse, Wisconsin City Directory, 1900. U.S., City Directories, 1822-1995 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2011. ↩
- George Cutting. Year: 1900; Census Place: Sonora, Tuolumne, California; Page: 1; Enumeration District: 0124; FHL microfilm: 1240116 – via Ancestry.com. ↩
- “Inzell” Cutting death notice. Morning Oregonian. (Portland, OR) June 6, 1907. ↩
- River View Cemetery Assn. to George A. Cutting. The Oregon daily journal. (Portland, OR) July 8, 1907. ↩
- State of Oregon. Oregon, Marriage Indexes, 1906-1924, 1946-2008. Portland, OR, USA: Oregon Health Division, Center for Health Statistics. Oregon, U.S., Marriage Indexes, 1906-2009 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc, 2000. ↩
- Bert O. Sergeant. Ancestry.com. U.S., Army, Register of Enlistments, 1798-1914>1904 Jul – 1905 Dec>L-Z>image 402 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations Inc, 2007. ↩
- River View Cemetery burial permit No. 6397 for George Bert Cutting. Signed by George A. Cutting on July 31, 1912. Contains both birth and death information. ↩
- George Albert Cutting death notice. Sacramento Bee, February 8, 1928, p. 5. AND George A. Cutting. California, U.S., Death Index, 1905-1939 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2013. ↩