Where He Landed

Week 7: #52 Ancestors – Landed

By Eilene Lyon

Great-granduncle Ward Arthur Cutting sure landed quite a few trout in this feature image. The only information on the label is his name. My guess is it was taken in Oregon about 1940. Ward must have been a sporting kind of guy, as I also have these photos of him, probably from the early 1930s in South Dakota, where he is holding a handgun.

Ward A. Cutting holding the handgun. The other man is his first cousin, G. Verne Butler. (Courtesy of W. Halse)

Ward Cutting was born in Dexter Township, Codington County, South Dakota, on December 13, 1893. When he was six, his parents, Arthur N. and Alice A. (Fawcett) Cutting, moved the family to Beaverton, Oregon. Ward’s older brother, Clifford, and younger brother, Harold, also made the move. Ward’s sister, Mabel P. (Cutting) Halse, remained in South Dakota.

Ward (right) and his younger brother, Harold, about 1897. (Courtesy of N. Ingram)

The advent of World War I landed Ward a stint in the Navy. He enlisted July 30, 1917 in the Naval Coast Defense Reserve. At the time, he had an address in San Francisco, but was working at Camp #7 in El Portal, Mariposa County, as a “stationary engineer” for the Yosemite Lumber Co. I don’t believe Ward attended college, but his obituary mentions his taking extension classes from Harvard.

Because Ward was a private pilot, he landed (and took off) many times. He was involved in early airmail efforts. Then he had a decades-long career with the Civil Aeronautics Administration (precursor to the FAA), culminating in a position as chief of airways communications in Portland, Oregon, a position that landed a lot of other planes! He retired in 1958.

Eleanor Caldwell and Ward Cutting, date unknown. (Courtesy of N. Ingram)

Ward married Eleanor M. Caldwell in 1923, and they had three children: Donald E. Cutting (born in North Platte, Nebraska), Muriel E. Cutting, and Elaine A. Cutting. He took an interest in family history, and did a little research long before computers and the internet came around. He mentioned meeting some distant relations, but the information about them does not jibe with my tree. (Rabbit hole alert!)

Elaine, Muriel, Donald, Eleanor and Ward Cutting, about 1938. (Courtesy of N. Ingram)

I never met Uncle Ward, but he sounds like an adventurous, intelligent man—much like his father and his grandfather before him.

In 1966, bronchopneumonia landed Ward in the Portland Sanitarium. Combined with the effects of his long-term suffering with ALS (Lou Gehrig’s disease), it landed him, at the last, in the Willamette National Cemetery.

Feature image: Ward Cutting with his trout catch c. 1940 (Courtesy of W. Halse)


Ward Arthur Cutting. Oregon, U.S., State Deaths, 1864-1968> Multnomah-Tillamook> 1966> image 740. https://www.ancestry.com/search/collections/61675/

Ward A. Cutting. Obituary. The Oregonian (Portland, OR), November 16, 1966, p. 44.

Letter from Ward A. Cutting to unknown recipient, dated March 30, 1955, collection of N. Ingram.

“Awards Presented” Medford Mail Tribune (Medford, OR), October 17, 1954 p. 5 – via Newspapers.com.

Ward Arthur Cutting. U.S., World War I Draft Registration Cards, 1917-1918> California> Mariposa County> ALL> Draft Card C> image 84. https://www.ancestry.com/search/collections/6482/

31 thoughts on “Where He Landed

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    1. Thank you, Frank. I’ve had some communication with that branch of the family, but never really learned much about Ward. Someday I’ll take a closer look at his notes. I don’t think he managed to learn much.

      Liked by 1 person

  1. Interesting how your research differs – hmm. I like the picture of Ward with his younger brother. The vintage clothing always is interesting to see – a very clear picture taken in 1897. The picture of the family with the gleeful girls is fun to see as most vintage pictures, the people seem so solemn. Donald looks like a smile is there at the antics of Elaine and Muriel.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Ward didn’t have the research advantage. I do wonder about these people he met though. I know that sometimes travelers would look in local phone books for people with the same last name and make assumptions they were related.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. That’s interesting – so assuming they were related did not necessarily make it so. But perhaps people knew more about their kin, not like today, where everyone does not know about their extended families, especially in the case of divorced/remarried/step children, etc. family members, unless they explore their roots.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. It remains to be seen how these will turn out. A little bit of both back then. I always thought it odd that Zane Grey know about his distant cousin, Cordelia Ransom, and would visit her. (He’s like my 4th cousin 4 times removed.) It’s not like they had any sort of close connection, so why that came about is a mystery to me.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. I love how you worked “landed” into so many aspects of his life, using all the different possible meanings. Except perhaps for the one intended—being a landowner? Great post.

    Liked by 1 person

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