And then there were dinosaurs

One of the wonders of doing my family history has been the contributions made by others to my research. I have received a number of really great contacts, and help from my blog readers. It has been awesome. I thought that I would share one of the stories coming from my research and someone else’s research coming together.
To start with, I will recap my Cutler family tree as it relates to this story.

and then there were

William Henry Cutler, the brother to my Great-great-great grandmother Mary Cutler, was married to Emily Taylor, and they had twelve children. But being a man who clearly could multi-task, he also had two children with Roberta McKenzie Watson. One of them was William Edmond Cutler, who was born 23 July 1878 in London. His brother was Henry Clarence Cutler, who was born in 1880.

(I should mention that with this family, this was not the first illegitimate birth- it seems like a bit of a tradition)

I found out about William Edmond from Andrew in England, who was most interested in William’s paleontological work, he found me through this blog, using the key words of Louisa Freak Cutler (WE’s grandmother).

Image from Tyrell Museum of Paleotology
Image from Tyrell Museum of Paleotology

While a David Spalding’s Into the Dinosaur’ Graveyard, says that William moved to Canada as a child, from evidence I have been able to turn up, and Andrew has, he actually moved to Canada as an adult. The 1921 Census says he came here in 1897 (age 19). He made his living as a palaeontologist in the badlands. He was actually quite known in the dinosaur industry of the time, and collected bones which now are in the collections of the Tyrell Museum of Palaeontology, and the Natural History Museum in London, among others.

See: article 1
article 2

When the First World War began, he took time off his dinosaur quests, and enlisted in the Canadian Expeditionary Force, serving at Ypres, where he was wounded. He survived the First World War, and returned to Alberta to resume his digging.

Service record from Library and Archives Canada
Service record from Library and Archives Canada

Around 1921 he returned to the UK and was hired by the Natural History Museum to search for dinosaurs in Africa. Off he went, with his assistant Louis Leakey, to Tanginyika in 1924. Cutler died there of ‘Blackwater fever.’

What I have found in the historical Record:

1891 Census living at 23 Notting Hill in Kensington with his brother Clarence H Cutler, both listed as sons presumably of the man living at 22 Notting Hill, who is listed as “head” James WH Avery. Visitor listed in 23 Notting Hill called John NJ Watson, age 45.
1900 From New York to Liverpool, William E Cutler, Rancher.
1909-10 Electoral Roll for North Division, Maitland Park- 11690 Cutler, William Edmund, 2 Thurlow Terrace.
1910 – April 29, Empress of Ireland from St John to Liverpool, William Cutler, English age 32, tourist.
1919- Nominal Roll of men to be discharged in Canada, William Cutler. Arrive St John.
1921 Census living in Macleod, Alberta, as a lodger in the household of Harry Nash, came to Canada in 1897, lists his job as forest ranger, and earned 372$ in the last 12 months.
1924 Arrival at Liverpool from New York, William Edmund Cutler, Geologist, address care of Director of British Museum of Natural History, London, Canadian.

I had an interesting talk with Andrew about WE Cutler, and of course his relationship with the family. He and his brother were baptized as Cutlers, so were acknowledged by their father, if not raised by him. Also it is interesting to note that WE’s brother Henry named his son after his father. Not much is really known, and it is not certain that he knew his Aunt Mary Paulin in British Columbia when he moved to Canada. Or did he? It is possible, and would certainly have been a useful contact to have.

Cutler appears to have had an education, although it is not clear where or to what level he achieved. One of his jobs was with the University of Manitoba, but not sure what his qualifications were. The Badlands of Alberta were literally the Wild West, and many people of great and dubious qualifications were there digging up bones for the world’s museums and collectors. That WE Cutler is still known among these circles means he was not bad at what he did.

What is really cool is that there is a dinosaur named after him, the ‘Scolosaurus Cutleri.’

Scolosaurus Cutleri
Scolosaurus Cutleri

There is so much more to learn! I know that there is a planned biography underway on WE Cutler, which I am looking forward to. The more I learn about the Cutler family, the more fascinated I become.

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