Cutting Oral II

In the Spring of 1718 Leonard Cutting of Great Yarmouth in England, fled for America. He was then 23 years old. He first worked on a plantation in Virginia, and then on an estate in New Jersey. He had a good education, having attended. Both Eton and Cambridge. Later he became a classical tutor in New York, at what was then Kings College, now Columbia University. Finally, having taken orders, he became the Rector of St. George's Church in Hempstead, Long Island.

William Bayard Cutting is a descendent of Leonard Cutting.

William Bayard Cutting's grandfather, Robert Cutting and Robert Fulton were partners in a ferry business, and married the Livingston sisters. Mr. Cutting also had large interests in railroads and had inherited the fortune made by his father in trade with Europe and East and West Indies.

William Bayard Cutting and Fulton Cutting were brought up by their maternal grandparents. Their mother had died while they were children and their father lived in France.

William Bayard Cutting was born In Manhattan in 1850, graduated from college in 1869, received his Masters degree and was admitted to the New York Bar in 1872. Five years later he married Olivia Peyton Murray, and they had four children.

When William Bayard Cutting was 25 his grandfather turned over his business interests to him, largely in Railroads. At 28 he became President of the St. Louis, Altoona and Terre Haute railroads and later became Director of the Southern Pacific, and opened up some of the railroads in Florida. His private railroad car Included, a sitting room, with bunks, master bedroom, a drawing room, kitchen and an observation car which was equipped with a waiter, porter and a cook. William Bayard cutting developed a large tract of land in South Brooklyn, the digging of the Ambrose channel, and opening up New York end Brooklyn harbors to large shipping interests.

Cutting purchased large slum areas and built decent, cheap housing on the East River. His tenements had the first indoor plumbing for toilets. Mr. Cutting was trustee of the Children's Aid Society and made large gifts to public charities. He became President of the New York Chamber of Commerce, was one of the founders of the Zoological Society, he became one of the founders of' the Metropolitan Museum and the New York Public Library. He was Trustee of Columbia University and helped found and finance the Metropolitan Opera Company.

In 1885 William Bayard Cutting built a golf course on his estate, believed to be the first private golf course in the United States. The Golf course was 2.5 miles long and had 3 water towers. 14,000 feet of water pipes were laid - all done without machinery - quite a project.

The Annex to the mansion was built in 1890 and contained a billiard room, a small organ, a gaming room and guest rooms.

Much entertaining was done in the area on these Country Estates during the 1880 and 90’s. Dinner parties with guests from New York staying for the weekend, participating in tennis and croquet parties, canoeing, fishing, riding, driving and sailing. One of the activities for guests was to show them around the model dairy with its herd of Jersey cows. No horse was allowed to work on Sundays, so a formal visit to the stables was made on Sunday afternoon. The carriage house floor would be decorated with colored sands, red, yellow, blue and green, with braided straw over the passages behind the horses' stalls. The splendor of the carriages, the suppleness of the leather and the brightness of the bits would be acclaimed upon.

Grooms were everywhere. When the coaches were used the groom sat on the coach beside the coachman, and sprang to the ground before the carriage stopped to open the door. They stood with folded arms before heads of stationary horses.

The grooms galloped 30 yards behind the children when horse back riding. Carriages, dogcarts, buggies, four horse coaches, Victoria’s and broughams, as well as farm wagons were forced off the roads by autos. Until 1930, even after the coachmen and innumerable grooms were given up, the staff consisted of 14, a housekeeper, 2 butlers, 2 footmen, a parlor maid, 3 in the kitchen 2 housemaids, 2 chauffeurs, a laundress and a night watchman.

Mr. Cutting died in 1912. Mrs. Cutting died in 1949 at the age of 94. The Cutting Estate consisted of 1,000 acres, portions of which were sold before Mrs. Cutting's death. The Cutting Arboretum was opened to the public in 1954 and consists of 690 acres.