Thomas Cutts

Thomas Cutts was born in Kittery, in 1736. Historical materials paint a picture of Cutts’ well-to-do youth: a “lordly” domain on an island in the Piscataqua River, ghis sisters riding side saddle, each with her own horse, Sunday soirees by invitation only, a staff of dairy maids and a pleasure boat!  The ninth of ten children, Thomas could not expect to inherit this degree of wealth.  At the age of twenty-two, backed with a hundred dollars on loan from his father, he settled in Saco, quickly repaying that debt.  Recognizing the important location of what would become Cutts Island, in the middle of the Saco River between two growing towns, he began to buy up land, securing a small piece in 1759, only a year after he arrived in town.  He built a house and store on the southwest end of the island. Construction of a bridge from Saco to the island ensured success: passage across the island was the shortest way between the two cities.

In 1762 Thomas married Elizabeth Scammon.  He was 26; she was just 17.  They took up residence in that small house, and lived there for the next 20 years. In 1782 he erected a large, gambrel roofed two-storey mansion on the hill on Cutts Island.  From his home he could survey his ships in harbor and his other enterprises, which were numerous      He did do a fabulous job of making money.  He bought vast tracts of land.  He was a founder of the Saco Bank.  He formed the Saco Iron Works Company that made huge quantities of nails.  He was a Selectman, Town Treasurer, a Representative to the General Court, Councillor of Massachusetts and a Revolutionary War officer.  He donated a Paul Revere bell to the First Parish Meeting House when it was constructed in 1806. When Thomas died in 1821 he left a vast estate.

The portrait John Brewster, Jr. painted of him was done in 1795 when Cutts was at the height of his career.  It is one of only two known full-sized, full-length portraits that Brewster painted.