Richard Cutts

Richard Cutts (June 28, 1771 – April 7, 1845) was an American merchant and politician. A Democratic-Republican, he was most notable for his service as Second Comptroller of the United States Treasury from 1817 to 1829 and a United States Representative from Massachusetts from 1801 to 1813.

Richard Cutts
Richard Cutts - Gilbert Stuart.png
portrait by Gilbert Stuart
Second Comptroller of the United States Treasury
In office
March 6, 1817 – March 21, 1829
Preceded byNone (position created)
Succeeded byIsaac Hill
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Massachusetts's 14th district
In office
March 4, 1801 – March 3, 1813
Preceded byGeorge Thatcher
Succeeded byCyrus King
Personal details
Born(1771-06-28)June 28, 1771
Pepperellborough, Massachusetts Bay, British America (now Saco, Maine)
DiedApril 7, 1845(1845-04-07) (aged 73)
Washington, D.C., U.S.
Political partyDemocratic-Republican
Spouse(s)Anna Payne (m. 1804-1832, her death)
RelationsJames Madison (brother-in-law)
Dolley Madison (sister-in-law)
James M. Cutts (grandson)
Adèle Cutts Douglas (granddaughter)
Children7 (including Mary Cutts)
Alma materHarvard University

Early lifeEdit

Cutts was born Cutts Island on June 28, 1771.[1] The island was near the town of Pepperellborough in Massachusetts Bay's Province of Maine (modern-day Saco, Maine).[1] The fifth of eight children born to Thomas Cutts and Elizabeth Scammon Cutts,[2] he attended the rural schools of Maine and Phillips Academy, Andover.[3] He graduated from Harvard University in 1790, then traveled extensively in Europe.[1] Cutts' father was a shipbuilder and merchant who traded in lumber and other cargoes at ports in several Caribbean islands.[4] Cutts studied law, but rather than pursuing a legal career, he also became a successful trader and merchant.[5]

Political careerEdit

A Democratic-Republican, Cutts served in the Massachusetts House of Representatives in 1799 and 1800.[1] In 1800 he was elected to the Seventh U.S. Congress.[1] He was reelected five times and served from March 4, 1801 to March 3, 1813.[1] He was an unsuccessful candidate for reelection in 1812 to the Thirteenth Congress.[1]

During the War of 1812, Cutts was appointed as the federal superintendent general of military supplies, and he served from 1813 to 1817.[1] In 1817, he was appointed Second Comptroller of the Treasury, the first individual to hold this post.[6] He served until March 21, 1829, and was succeeded by Isaac Hill.[6]

Death and burialEdit

In retirement, Cutts was a resident of Washington, D.C.[7] He died in Washington on April 7, 1845.[7] Cutts was buried at St. John's Graveyard, and in 1857 he was reinterred at Oak Hill Cemetery.[7]


In 1804, Cutts married Anna Payne, whose sister Dolley Madison was the wife of President James Madison.[1] They were the parents of seven children, five sons and two daughters:[8]

  • James Madison (1805-1863)
  • Thomas (1806-1838)
  • Walter Coles (b. 1808, d. after 1833)
  • Richard (1810-1815)
  • Dorthea (Dolley) Payne Madison (1811-1838)
  • Mary Estelle Elizabeth (1814-1856)
  • Richard Dominicus (1817-1883)

Cutts' daughter Mary was close to Dolley Madison and wrote two memoirs about her.[9] Cutts' grandson James M. Cutts was a member of the Union Army during the American Civil War and a recipient of the Medal of Honor.[10] His granddaughter Adèle Cutts Douglas was the second wife of Senator Stephen A. Douglas.[11]


  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i New England Historic, Genealogical Society (July 1848). "Obituary, Richard Cutts". The New England Historical and Genealogical Register. Boston, MA: Samuel G. Drake. pp. 277–278 – via Google Books.
  2. ^ Howard, Cecil Hampden Cutts (1892). Genealogy of the Cutts Family in America. Albany, NY: Joel Munsell's Sons. pp. 44–45 – via Google Books.
  3. ^ Carpenter, Charles C. (1903). Biographical Catalogue of the Trustees, Teachers and Students of Phillips Academy, Andover, Mass., 1778-1830. Andover, MA: Andover Press. p. 29 – via Google Books.
  4. ^ Caldwell, Bill. Rivers of Fortune. Camden, ME: Down East Books. pp. 145–146. ISBN 978-1-4617-4545-7 – via Google Books.
  5. ^ Lossing, Benson John, ed. (1872). The American Historical Record. I. Philadelphia, PA: Chase & Town. p. 35 – via Google Books.
  6. ^ a b Gilkeson, Benjamin F.; Kern, Josiah Quincy (1893). Digest of Decisions of the Second Comptroller of the Treasury. III. Washington, DC: US Government Printing Office. p. 410 – via Google Books.
  7. ^ a b c U.S. Congress Joint Committee on Printing (1928). Biographical Directory of the American Congress. 1774-1927. Washington, DC: US Government Printing Office. p. 874 – via Google Books.
  8. ^ Clark, Allen Culling (1914). Life and Letters of Dolly Madison. Washington, DC: W. F. Roberts Company. p. 501 – via Google Books.
  9. ^ Leibiger, Stuart (2014). "The Queen of America: Mary Cutts's Life of Dolley Madison. Edited by Catherine Allgor . Charlottesville: University of Virginia Press, 2012. 240 pp". Presidential Studies Quarterly. 44 (2): 376–377. doi:10.1111/psq.12125. ISSN 1741-5705.
  10. ^ "Union Veteran Dead: Col. J. Madison Cutts a Victim of Disease". The Evening Star. Washington, DC. February 25, 1903 – via
  11. ^ James, Edward T., ed. (1971). Notable American Women, 1607-1950: A Biographical Dictionary. I. Cambridge, MA: Radcliffe College. pp. 509–510. ISBN 978-0-674-62734-5 – via Google Books.

External linksEdit

U.S. House of Representatives
Preceded by
George Thatcher
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Massachusetts's 14th congressional district

Succeeded by
Cyrus King