Chapter 10: Samuel McCutcheon’s Son David (1816-1905):

David McCUTCHEON (3) (Samuel-2; Samuel-1) was born in Sloanstown, Donaghadee, County Down, Northern Ireland on the 25th December 1816 and he died on the 19th of October 1905 in Mulmur, Ontario.  He was buried at the Christ Church Anglican Cemetery.  He married Mary Ellen HICKS (1st June 1830 – 2nd September 1911) in 1851 in Marysburgh Township, ON.   Mary’s parents were John Hicks and Hannah Elizabeth Hyneman.  ☺☺


Pictured is a partial view of David’s headstone, obscured by Henry McKee’s headstone in foreground. Henry McKee was his daughter, Charlotte’s, father-in-law.


In 1851, at the age of 34 years, David married Mary Ellen Hicks.  Mary Ellen was the  grand-daughter of Edward HICKS, a United Empire Loyalist who fled to Canada,  settling in the now very historic Marysburgh Township, Prince Edward County,  Upper Canada.  It is probable that the large tracts of land her grand-father and his brothers received were granted for payment of their service fighting on the side of the Empire Loyalists that led to the formation of a large Hick’s settlement in Marysburgh.  See Edward’s story following at the end of David’s narrative.

In 1850, the first council of the Township of Mulmur consisted of 5 men, of whom David McCutcheon was one. (Page 8; Mulmur: the Story of a Township). They were the first local politicians assigned to a municipal office in this township and the first  meeting was held on the 21st January 1851.

These 5 councillors were destined to play a major part in the governing process of the municipality for decades.  Some of the early decisions made were: crafting the bylaws, fixation and collection of taxes, overseeing and constructing the highways,  provisioning for the schools, erecting public buildings, and promoting the building of a railroad to the community.

The first “job titles” held by these first councilmen were: Fenceviewer, Pound Keeper,  Overseer of Highways, Assessor/Collector, and Treasurer.

One of the first bylaws passed by this newly formed council was to fix the legal height of a fence at 5 feet 6 inches.  Another bylaw passed was bylaw number 6 in 1851; it fixed the total amount to be raised by taxation as 40 pounds, 6 shillings, 9 pence.

David McCutcheon, who lived on the west half of Lot 13, Concession 1, E.H.S., served on the first 4 councils.  After an absence of 3 years, he was elected again in 1858; out in 1859, he came back in 1860 and continued to occupy a seat at the Mulmur Council Board, without a break, until 1875.  It is doubtful if anyone has ever since equalled Mr. McCutcheon’s twenty years’ service on this township’s council.  One hundred years later, David still held the record.

At the time, elections were all open vote and the rate payers who wanted to vote came to a central location.  The first nine years the elections were held at Gallagher’s farm house, for which he was paid 3 pounds 15 shillings.  This posed many problems, as the roads were rough and un-opened, hills needed to be cut, trees and brush cut, bridges built across streams and rivers, swamps traversed with causeways.

These hardy pioneers made the trek on rough trails through the untamed bush to vote.

At the time, ratepayers were required by law to do 2, 3 or 4 days statute labour for the  community to build or repair roads.  Without this system in place, the advancement of the settlement would have been greatly impeded.

For instance, in April 1854, council approved the sum of 1 pound 15 shillings paid to John Hicks (Mary Ellen Hick’s father) to build a bridge on Center Road.

Another major issue to be decided by these councillors was the funding of schools and to provide good reading material for the residents.  Their first decision came on the 12th September 1853 to allot funds of ½ penny per round of assessment on the resident poll to buy books for the schools of Mulmur.

In 1855, they allotted 40 pounds to build a town hall.

The Township was divided into 5 wards and in January 1860, the first election for councillors for these wards resulted in David McCutcheon being elected as councillor for Ward 3.  By 1867, the system changed to “Vote by the People” and the councillors came to be called “Reeves”.

One of the issues that had to be dealt with by the councillors in the early years was the  taverns.  Or rather the licencing of them.  In the early days, prior to 1850, the taverns  served a real need to the weary traveller arriving in the back country, looking for land, quite often on foot or travelling behind a team of oxen.   Man and beast needed  housing for the night, good food for both; cheap, strong whiskey was made available and plentiful to these travelling pioneers.  This resulted in much drunken revelry at the taverns along the route, to which the services of both the local sheriff and the local doctor were quite often required.

David’s father and his brother were only two of the many McCutcheons who owned and operated these early “Traveller’s Rest Inns”. Others were cousins Margaret and Ellen McCutcheon in Erin; cousin John McCutcheon in Badjeros, ON. to name a few.

Because of this continual merriment, a strong temperance movement began and one of the first orders of business, in 1856, was to begin licencing these taverns.  The first tavern was licenced in 1856 in Mulmur, increasing rapidly, so that by 1873, there were 8 licenced hotels in Mulmur:  the Mansfield Hotel; the Stanton Hotel; the Queens Hotel; the Prince of Wales Hotel; the Farmers Inn; the Union Hotel; the Simcoe Hotel; the Mulmur Hotel.

The control of the Inns also facilitated the need for a Board of Health which didn’t happen during David’s tenure.  That came later in approximately 1885.

By 1899, a bylaw was passed prohibiting the sale of liquor in these taverns.  This bylaw was squashed on appeal shortly thereafter.  Lack of liquor in the taverns was not good for business.

Towards the latter part of his service to the community, the population of the municipality was growing and there arose the need to open more polling stations and create further counties.  In 1875, the present county of Dufferin came into being.  And  that was the last year of David’s term on council as a Reeve.

David’s impact on the creation of the municipal district of Mulmur, Dufferin and the  electoral process was monumental.  From the bogs of Donaghadee thousands of miles away to the wilderness of Dufferin, he led a long, productive, political and industrious life.  He left his mark.

 Shelburne Economist – 21st July 1887:

Fire: the stone dwelling house of David McCutcheon was destroyed by fire Friday morning, last. Origin is not known. It started in the veranda in front of the house about four in the morning. Nearly all the contents were saved.  It was insured for $1,000.

Shelburne Free Press – 28th July 1887: 

Mr. Dave McCutcheon’s large stone residence, north of Whitfield was destroyed by fire one day last week.  The origin of the fire is a mystery and if it had started two hours earlier the inmates of the house might have been burnt to death.  As far as we can learn the fire was discovered about four o’clock in the morning when some of the inmates got up.  At that time, the building was on fire in two distinct places, the floor of the veranda and the roof of the back kitchen.  Most of the bedding was secured from the upper storey but none of the furniture was got out.  Some of the furniture on the ground floor was also burnt.  The building, being of stone, some of the walls may be used again. The premises were insured for $1,000. It is supposed that the building was set on fire.

Later the same year: The Sawing Bee Society met at Dave McCutcheon’s and sawed a large pile of wood. A fashionable dance was held in the evening in the palatial home which Mr. McCutcheon has refitted.

NOTE:     The Sawing Society was a charitable society.

Shelburne Free Press – 29th December 1887:

Dave McCutcheon had a Christening party when four grandchildren were baptized by the Rev. Mr. Carroll.  Baptized Friday, 23rd December 1887. The names if the children:

  1. Edith Irene McCutcheon – born 4th August 1887.
  2. Mary Ellen (Dolly) McCutcheon – born 1st July 1887.
  3. Albert Edward McKee  – born 24thAugust 1887.
  4. Gordon Douglas Hector Milborn McCutcheon – born June 1887.

Shelburne News Paper: 

It was reported that David McCutcheon was seriously hurt, when he fell from the loft in the barn December 1889.

Shelburne Free Press of 26th October 1905:

One of the best known and oldest pioneers of Dufferin County died at his home on Thursday of last week in his eighty-ninth year. The deceased came to Mono with his parents eighty-two years ago and settled on Lot 26 on the Centre Road.  The old homestead is one of the historic spots in Mono Township. The father of the deceased and later his brother Charles kept a hotel in connection with the farm.  It was the only stopping place between Mono Mills and Hall’s Corner, two concessions east of Shelburne, the primitive roadway running diagonally across the Township from Mono Mills at the southeast corner to Hall’s Hotel at the northwest corner of the Township. Orangeville and Shelburne were not in existence and the number of settlers in Mono would not exceed a baker’s dozen. The accommodation furnished at those hotels in bygone days was no doubt meagre but it was highly appreciated by the early settlers in their travels to locate land in the counties of Simcoe and Grey.  The McCutcheon homestead in Mono remained in possession of the family for eighty years until it was sold two years ago by William C. McCutcheon prior to his starting a livery business in Beeton.

David McCutcheon, the subject of this sketch, moved to Mulmur in 1840 and settled on the farm where he died. In 1850, he married Mary Ellen Hicks, who survives him. The result of this marriage was a family of five daughters and two sons.  Mrs. Peter Laidlaw, one of the daughters died at Fargo, Dakota, some years ago and is buried there [Hannah Mccutcheon].   Another daughter, Mrs. Thomas McKee is buried in the family plot at Whitfield [Charlotte McCutcheon].  The surviving members of the family are Mrs. Samuel McCutcheon, Shelburne, Mrs. John McKee of Everett, Washington, Mrs. James Noble of Gainsborough, Northwest Territories.  The two sons, David McCutcheon and Samuel D. McCutcheon reside in Mulmur, the former on the old homestead at Whitfield.

Mr. McCutcheon took an active interest in municipal matters and was a member of Mulmur Council for twenty-one years, but not in succession.  He retired several times but his friends would insist and bring him out again.  If we mistake not, the deceased was the only survivor of the first municipal council elected nearly fifty-five years ago.

Twenty-five years ago he became afflicted with cataracts on his eyes and for the last twenty-four years he had been totally blind.  Some years ago he made up his mind to have his eyes operated on but, being in poor health, the specialist feared that he would not survive the operation and it was not done.

The above picture came from the family photo album of David and Mary’s Great-Great Grand daughter, Donna York. Notice his right eye.

During his long career, both in public and in private life, he enjoyed he esteem and respect of the entire community. He was a man whose word was as good as his bond.

The funeral was held on Friday to the Whitfield Cemetery and although the weather was very unfavourable, a large number turned out to show the respect for one whom everyone respected. The Rev. W. J. Ecclestone conducted the services at the grave and preached the funeral sermon in Christ Church, Whitfield on Sunday, last.

NOTE:   In the 1861 Census, the David McCutcheon / Mary Ellen Hicks family and the Henry McKee / Charlotte McKee family are listed on the same page between lines 36-50.  The same is true for the 1871 Census.  Both families are listed on the same page, between line numbers 83 to 85.

The HICKS Story:

 Excerpts from the History of the Settlement of Upper Canada:


SOURCE: “History of the Settlement of Upper Canada”: Author William Canniff:

Toronto; Dudley and Burns, Printers, Victoria Hall, 1869.

Page 104:

“Edward Hicks, who settled in Marysburgh, was placed in prison with his father.  His father was taken out and hanged before his window upon an apple tree, (a piece of refined cruelty worthy a rebel cause).  This aroused Edward to a state of desperation, who with manacled hands paced his cell.  To carry out his intention, he feigned illness, and frequently required the guard to accompany him to the outer yard.  At night fall he went out accompanied by the guard. Watching the opportunity, he drew up his hands and struck a furious blow upon the head of the soldier with his hand-cuffs, which laid the man prostrate.  Edward darted away to a stream which ran near-by, and across which was a mill-dam and a slide.  He rushed under this slide, and before a cry was raised, he concealed himself under the sheet of water.  He could hear the din and tumult, as search was everywhere made through the night.  Cold, wet, benumbed, hungry and hand-cuffed, he remained in his hiding place until the following night, thirty-six hours, when he crept out and escaped to the woods.  After nine days of fasting he reached the British army. Edward Hicks did not forget the death of his father.  He “fought the rebels in nine battles afterward, and still owes them grudge”.

Joseph, Joshua and Edward, belonged to Butler’s Rangers, and saw no little service. They were from Philadelphia, and left considerable property.  They had granted them a large tract of land west of Niagara, where sprung up Hicks’ settlement.  Joseph Hicks afterwards settled on lot six, Marysburgh, west of the Rock. (Ashley.)

Edward Hicks is represented as having been a very powerful man, often  performing remarkable feats of strength, such as lifting barrels of flour and  pork to his shoulders, and such like.  He  went to Boston in 1778, in the character of a spy, and was detected by the Americans,  and taken prisoner.  He represented  himself as a young man searching for his mother, who had removed to that  section of the country; but it is supposed that his captors considered him as  rather too smart looking a young man to be lost in any enterprise, he being of  fine build, standing good six feet, and possessing an intelligent countenance,  and at his trial, condemned him as a spy to be dealt with accordingly. – (Ashley.)”


  • Charlotte McCUTCHEON (4).                              “A” following.  ♥
  • Emily Mary McCUTCHEON (4).                           “B” following.
  • Samuel David McCUTCHEON (4).                      “C” following. ☺☺
  • Sarah McCUTCHEON (4).                                   “D” following.  ♥
  • Hannah McCUTCHEON (4).                                “E” following.
  • William McCUTCHEON (4) (David-3; Samuel-2; Samuel-1) was born on the 4th March 1862 and he died on the 21st March 1862 In Mulmur, ON.
  • David McCUTCHEON (4).                                    “F” following.
  • Mary Jane McCUTCHEON (4).                            “G” following.
  • William McCUTCHEON (4) (David-3; Samuel-2; Samuel-1) was born in Mulmur, Ontario on the 15th May 1868. He died on the 10th June 1868. He was buried at Christ Church Anglican Cemetery.
  • Margaret Matilda McCUTCHEON (4).  Was born on the 19th April 1869 and she died on the 15th February 1870 in Mulmur Township, Dufferin County.  She was buried at Christ Church Anglican Cemetery.

♥          Siblings married siblings:          Of both of these families mentioned, 2 brothers, Thomas and John McKEE, married two sisters, Charlotte and Sarah McCUTCHEON. 

☺☺      Lived to be a nonagenarian or more.


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