This headstone is a fascinating story regarding embezzlement and injustice in Early American history.
The tombstone reads:
Wife of Calvin Cutter, M.D.
Murdered by the Baptist ministry and Baptist Churches as follows:
September 28, 1838, age 33.
She was accused of lying in a
Church meeting by the Rev. D.D. Pratt and Deacon Albert-Adams –
Was condemned by the church unheard.
She was reduced to poverty by Deacon William Wallace.
When an expert council was asked of the Milford Baptist Church, by
The advice of their committee, George Raymond, Calvin Averill and Andrew Hutchinson,
They voted not to receive any communication upon the subject:
The Rev. Mark Carpenter said he thought as the good old Deacon Pearson said,
“We have got Cutter down and it is best to keep him down.”
The intentional and malicious destruction of her character and happiness,
As above described, destroyed her life. Her last words upon the subject
were, “Tell the truth and the iniquity will come out.”
The background storyline is fleshed out further in David K. Lesser’s Antiquarian Book Catalogue:
“Dr. Cutter underwrote the building of a new Baptist church; the minister embezzled the funds and Cutter was left holding the bag. When he attempted to bring the matter before the church, he knocked heads with “the Baptist Inquisition.” The pastor and council refused him a public hearing, proclaimed Cutter and his wife liars, and threw them out of the congregation.
“They have represented our characters as very bad,” Cutter writes. “They have made many slanderous nods, shakes of the head, winks, and bold ascertains.” Weakened by the attacks, Mrs. Cutter’s health failed and she died. In the added slip, Cutter presents the resolution passed at a “large meeting of the citizens of Nashua and Nashville” which unanimously declared that the Baptist church and society had acted immorally. “The charges against the Baptist Church and Society are cheating, lying, keeping false church records, condemning persons unheard, destroying the character and life of Caroline H. Cutter.
Dr. Cutter [1807-1872] eventually gave up his local practice and began to travel as a medical lecturer; he later wrote a popular textbook, ‘Cutter’s Physiology‘.”
The Peter Pauper Press. Comic Old Epitaphs From The Very Best Old Graveyards