William Bayard Cutting

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William Bayard Cutting
Born (1850-01-12)January 12, 1850
New York City, U.S.[1]
Died March 1, 1912(1912-03-01) (aged 62)
Nationality American
Alma mater Columbia College, 1869, 1871[1]
Occupation Attorney, financier, real estate developer, sugar beet refiner
Spouse(s) Olivia Peyton Murray
(m. 1877; his death 1912)
Children William Bayard Cutting
Justine Bayard Cutting
Bronson M. Cutting
Olivia M. Cutting
Parent(s) Fulton Cutting
Elise Justine Bayard
Relatives Robert Fulton Cutting (brother)
Robert Cutting (grandfather)
Robert Bayard (grandfather)

William Bayard Cutting (January 12, 1850 – March 1, 1912),[1] a member of New York's merchant aristocracy, was an attorney, financier, real estate developer, sugar beet refiner and philanthropist. Cutting and his brother Fulton started the sugar beet industry in the United States in 1888. He was a builder of railroads, operated the ferries of New York City, and developed part of the south Brooklyn waterfront, Red Hook.

Early life[edit]

He was born to Fulton Cutting (1816–1875) and Elise Justine Bayard (1823–1852), and was the brother of financier Robert Fulton Cutting (1852–1934). His grandfather, Robert Cutting, was Robert Fulton's partner. Cutting and Fulton were brothers-in-law who had married Livingston sisters. Cutting ancestors included members from the Bayard, Schuyler and Van Cortlandt families of Colonial New York. [2]


Cutting trained at Columbia College, as a lawyer, in which capacity he assisted his grandfather, Robert Bayard, in the management of his railroad company. In addition, W. Bayard Cutting continued to operate the ferry system of New York City and the city of Brooklyn.

He was an outdoorsman and a gardener of great ability.

His Long Island estate along the west bank of the Connetquot River, purchased from George L. Lorillard in 1884, and the country house called "Westbrook" which he built there, are now the Bayard Cutting Arboretum,[3][4] in Great River, New York.

In 1895, Cutting and his brother laid out a golf course at Westbrook, known to be the first private golf course in the United States.[5]

Society life[edit]

Cutting was a member of the famous Jekyll Island Club (a.k.a. The Millionaires Club) on Jekyll Island, Georgia. He was also a founding member of the good government organization, the City Club of New York.[1] Cutting also was one of the founders of the New York Metropolitan Opera. [6]

Personal life[edit]

On April 26, 1877, he married Olivia Peyton Murray (1855–1949), the daughter of Bronson Murray of Murray Hill, New York. They had four children:

  • William Bayard Cutting (1878–1910), who was secretary to the U.S. embassy to the Court of St. James's. He married 30 April 1901, Lady Sybil Marjorie Cuffe, daughter of Hamilton John Agmondesham Cuffe, 5th Earl of Desart and Lady Margaret Joan Lascelles.[7] She was the mother of Iris Origo, the Marchesa Origo, the author of many books.
  • Justine Bayard Cutting (1879–1975), who married George Cabot Ward in 1901. She developed the Ward Method of music education as a way to teach sight-singing to children in Catholic schools in order to promote Gregorian chant.
  • Bronson Murray Cutting (1888–1935),[8] a U.S. Senator from New Mexico who was killed in an airplane crash.[9]
  • Olivia M. Cutting (1892–1963), who married Henry James, a Pulitzer Prize winner and the son of psychologist William James, in 1917.[10]

Cutting died of acute indigestion while on a train coming back from El Paso, Texas.[1]


  1. ^ a b c d e "W.B. CUTTING DIES ON TRAIN". The New York Times. 2 Mar 1912. p. 1. Retrieved February 18, 2013. 
  2. ^ Columbia University Quarterly Volume 14, 1912, Page 286
  3. ^ Wealthy New York Businessmen Tid-bits, The History Box
  4. ^ “Centre Island Revisited”, A History of the Gardens of the Ambassador's Residence, British Embassy, Washington, May 2, 2014.
  5. ^ Lynn Beebe Weaver (September 1973). "National Register of Historic Places Registration: Bayard Cutting Estate". New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation. Retrieved 2010-02-20.  See also: "Accompanying six photos". 
  6. ^ Combe, Pierre. Justine Ward and Solesmes. 1987, page 416.
  7. ^ The Peerage.com
  8. ^ Cutting, Bronson Murray, Biographical Directory of the United States Congress
  9. ^ Lowitt, Richard. Bronson M. Cutting: Progressive Politician (University of New Mexico Press, 1992).

External links[edit]