Saturday, December 2, 2017

Parkhurst Ward Cutler (1848-1930)

Portrait from the Biographical Review of Hancock County, Illinois, 1907.

  A longtime resident of Hancock County, Illinois, Parkhurst Ward Cutler pledged allegiance to the Democratic party for a good majority of his life, until joining the Prohibition party in the mid-1880s. A Prohibition candidate for the Illinois State Board of Equalization (as well as several local offices), Cutler would also receive that party's nomination for U.S. Representative from Illinois' 14th congressional district in 1912. The son of Nathan and Hannah (Ward) Cutler, Parkhurst Ward Cutler was born in Fulton County, Illinois on February 27, 1847. The Cutler family resettled in Hancock County when their son was but five years old, and young Parkhurst would attend the "common schools" in the area, as well as working the family farm and briefly studying at the Central College in Pella, Iowa
   After attaining maturity, Cutler purchased 120 acres of land near Carthage, Illinois and established himself as a farmer and stock-raiser. He would subsequently purchase additional property to expand his fields and would be later acknowledged as "probably the most extensive stock feeder in Carthage township, usually shipping about two hundred fat cattle per year." Cutler's prominence in stock-raising saw him be the first farmer to introduce Hereford cattle to Carthage township, and also exhibited his stock at several fairs during his life.
   Parkhurst Cutler married on his twenty-fourth birthday in 1871 to Fannie Gage Barker (1838-1933). The couple's marriage extended nearly sixty years and their union would see the births of two sons, Nathan Barker (1873-1953) and Ward Augustus (1875-1953). 
   An adherent of the Democratic party until the mid-1880s, Cutler switched political allegiance to the Prohibition party in 1884, becoming a "stalwart champion of the cause of temperance." A candidate of that party for several local political offices, Cutler made his first run for state office in 1900, becoming a candidate for the Illinois State Board of Equalization from the 15th district. On election day he received just 878 votes, well behind Republican candidate John Cruttenden's winning total of 24, 510. In 1912 Cutler returned to politics, receiving the Prohibition nomination for U.S. Representative from his state's 14th congressional district. As one of four candidates that year, Cutler garnered a meager 680 votes that November, losing out to Democratic candidate Clyde Tavenner's winning vote of 17, 024
   A former director of the Harmony Mutual Fire Insurance Company and a longtime Baptist church member, Parkhurst W. Cutler continued to reside in Carthage, Illinois until his death at age 82 on May 3, 1930. His widow Fannie followed him to the grave three years later at age 94, and both were interred at the Moss Ridge Cemetery in Carthage.

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