Biography of Fletcher A. Cutler
Humboldt County, CA Biographies





FLETCHER A. CUTLER. - Until his removal a few years ago to San Francisco, Judge Cutler made his home at Eureka, and he still retains important interests in Humboldt county, the scene of his early life and of the successes which marked the beginning of his brilliant career at the bar. He is now practicing with ex Governor Gillett, as the junior member of a partnership established over ten years ago. His experience on the bench was obtained as judge of the Superior court of Del Norte county. Paternally and maternally Judge Cutler may be proud of the part his immediate ancestors have had in the history of Eureka. His father was a business man of the town for many years after his settlement here, in 1869. His mother was the first public school teacher here.

The Cutler family is one of long standing in this country, the emigrant ancestor, Puritious Cutler, having come from England and settled in Massachusetts during the early Colonial period. It was represented on the Colonial side during the Revolutionary war, and a number of the name have been known for distinguished military service, political prominence and professional attainments. Thomas Cutler, the Judge's father, was born March 29, 1829, on a farm in the town of Killingly, Conn., and grew up there. He came to California with the first rush of settlers after the discovery of gold, making the voyage around the Horn on the George Washington, which landed him at San Francisco in August, 1849. So far as known, only one of his fellow passengers on the voyage outlived him. Proceeding immediately to Mokelumne Hill, in Calaveras county, he began, mining, and had more than average success there and at his later locations, Chinese Camp and Copperopolis, also engaging in merchandising. In 1869 he removed to Eureka, in Humboldt county, where he was in business as a merchant for over a quarter of a century following, until his retirement in the year 1896. For several years he served as collector of the port of Eureka, and he was honored with various other positions of trust in his adopted city, where his high character and ability received deserved recognition. From the time he took up his residence here he was active in its business and public life, taking a prominent part in the administration of the local government, and by his conspicuous efficiency and public spirited conservation of the welfare of his fellow citizens won so high a place in their esteem that his name will be permanently enrolled among those who established its institutions upon a sound basis. Though he began life without capital other than his abilities he accumulated a comfortable competence and did well by his family, in all of the relations of life so conducting himself that he was considered one of the worthiest citizens of his generation, to which he was widely known. In 1901 he moved to Oakland, Cal., hoping that his failing health would benefit by the change, but though he had been a strong man in his prime he did not rally, and he died June 30, 1902. He was buried in Mountain View cemetery, Oakland, with Masonic rites, the services being conducted by Live Oak Lodge, F. & A. M., and a committee representing the Society of California Pioneers, of which he was a member. He had been a charter member of George Washington Lodge, F. & A. M., of Chinese Camp, Cal. Mr. Cutler married Sarah L. Buck, a native of Watertown, Maine, who came alone to California when a young woman and soon afterward located at Eureka, where she was the first public school teacher. She afterwards joined her brother at Chinese Camp, and taught there for a few terms, until her marriage. Some years later she returned to Eureka with her husband and family, and for a time had a class of private pupils, whom she instructed with her sons in her own home. Of the four children born to Mr. and Mrs. Cutler, Thomas B. became connected with the Del Norte County Bank at Crescent City, Cal.; Fletcher A. is mentioned below; Maude became the wife of H. T. Compton, of Stockton, Cal.; Mary completed the family. Mrs. Cutler continued to reside at Oakland after her husband's death, retaining in her old age the charm of manner and attractive personality for which she is remembered by many old friends at Eureka.

Fletcher A. Cutler was born May 4, 1863, at Chinese Camp, Tuolumne county, Cal., and being but six years old when the family settled at Eureka has little recollection of his earliest home. He acquired his preparatory education under the direct tuition of his accomplished mother, subsequently studied for a time in the preparatory department of the State University at Berkeley, and completed the course at the boys' high school in San Francisco, from which he was graduated. Returning to Eureka, he soon afterwards received appointment as under sheriff of Humboldt county during the administration of Sheriff T. M. Brown, and during the five years of his service in that position devoted his spare time to reading law. At the end of that period he entered the law office of his uncle, S. M. Buck, at Eureka, to carry on his preparation for the legal profession systematically, and he was admitted to the bar in the year 1887. He was at once admitted to partnership with the uncle mentioned, with whom he was associated until his appointment by Governor Budd, some ten years later, to fill a vacancy on the bench of the Superior court in Del Norte county. After four years' service on the bench Judge Cutler returned to Humboldt county in January, 1903, and resumed the practice of law at Eureka in partnership with Hon. J. N. Gillett, who was then representing the district in Congress and has since been honored with the governorship. Gillett and Cutler, by the individual and collective value of their services, have attained position among the foremost attorneys in the state. Mr. Cutler moved to San Francisco when he felt that he could handle his legal work better with his headquarters in the metropolis, and has an office at Room 617, No. 525 Market street. The firm has included among its clients the Bank of Eureka, the Santa Fe Railway Company, the Northern California, San Francisco & Northwestern and Freshwater Railway Companies, and other concerns of notable importance, and the list of all those who.have felt their legal affairs safe in the care of Gillett & Cutler contains the names of some heavily capitalized organizations who could not afford to risk engaging anything but the best talent.

Judge Cutler had hardly reached his prime when he found himself occupying a leading position at the bar of his state. Yet his reputation has been founded on so solid a foundation that time has strengthened it and tests have left it unshaken. The thorough training he received at home set a high standard for his later studies, and he has maintained it through all his years of practice, giving his best to every case, as if all his personal interests depended thereon. His honorable nature and high principles would make it impossible for him to slight the details of anything he undertakes, and though he is noted for his familiarity with the law, and the judicial sense which enables him to see the applicability of the statutes to whatever work he may have in hand, he never neglects to give special attention to each case, with results which justify his methods. His success in presenting cases in court is so indisputably attained by careful and exhaustive preparation and logical arrangement, that his power as a pleader and cleverness in making the most of his arguments seem spontaneous. Judge Cutler has always been admired for his strict observation of the best ethics of the profession, his consideration for his fellow practitioners, and the avoidance of tactics unworthy a man of his undoubted skill.

Judge Cutler was always considered one of the public spirited citizens of Eureka, ready to do his share in promoting her advancement along every line, and his interest has not ceased since his removal, though his opportunities for practical assistance are not so great. He still has important property holdings in the city and county, where he has made a number of profitable investments. At one time he owned a sixth interest in the eighty acre tract upon which the depot and yards of the Eel River Railroad were established (some years ago that company was merged with the Atchison, Topeka & Santa Fe), and he has also acquired valuable redwood timber lands.

Outside of his judicial duties before mentioned, the only public position Judge Cutler has held was that of postmaster at Eureka, to which he was appointed by President Cleveland. He served from 1893 to 1897. His political support has always been given to the Democratic party. Socially he is a member of the Knights of Pythias and Masons, belonging to Lincoln Lodge No. 34, K. P.; Crescent Lodge No. 43, F. & A. M., of Crescent City, Cal.; Humboldt Chapter No. 52, R. A. M.; and Eureka Commandery No. 35, K. T. He was a member of the Humboldt Club, and prominent in Humboldt Parlor No. 14, Native Sons of the Golden West, at Eureka, also serving as grand trustee of the grand parlor.

On February 2, 1887, Mr. Cutler was married to Miss Eicula M. Warner, who was born in Nevada, daughter of Capt. Charles C. and Lucie (Kent) Warner. One daughter has been born to them, Lucie.

From:
History of Humboldt County, California
With a Biographical Sketches
History by Leigh H. Irving
Historic Record Company
Los Angeles, California 1915


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