Mary Cutler Paulin(e)

Mary Cutler Paulin (1836-1921)

Mary Cutler was born the 26th of December 1836 in Kew, England, the youngest child of John Cutler and his wife Louisa Freak.  At the time of her birth, her father John was described as a gentleman, and had started to assume control of the Windsor and Eton Waterworks, a family business he had inherited from his uncle William Henry Cutler.  Louisa had four full siblings, Elizabeth, Fanny, Louisa and William Henry Cutler, and a half-brother Edward Francis Meynell Cutler. Mary grew up in Camberwell, Surrey, Kew and Esher Kent, before moving to St Pancras in London.   Mary was literate, signing her marriage certificate in a sure hand.  There is no indication if she received any formal education, nor what level of literacy she had.

Not much is known about Mary’s childhood.  I would appear that sometime following her birth her parents separated, and her older siblings were in the custody of her father, who then moved temporarily to Eton.  John Cutler died in 1843, when Mary was 7 years old. In her father’s will her mother was given sole custody of Mary, while her siblings are compelled to live with her father’s sister Elizabeth Cutler Bennison, with financial penalties if they were seen to live near or associate with her mother.  Her mother had moved to Esher, Kent by 1848, and had an illegitimate son, Edward, who was baptised there.

In September 1860, at the age of 24, Mary had her first child, Louisa Mary, with Frederick Paulin.  It is unclear how Mary met Frederick, a native of Henley-on-Thames.  Louisa was registered as Louisa Cutler with her father listed as Frederick Cutler.  Her full name at registration was Louisa Mary Paulin Cutler. It is probable that the couple lived with Mary’s mother while in London.  Mary and Frederick married in February 1861, seven months before the birth of their second son Frederick.  They were married at St Pancras, in London, and appear to have moved soon after to the Henley-on-Thames area.  They were enumerated in the 1861 census in Remenham, Berkshire, living with Mary’s mother and her half brother.  By 1871 they family, including Louisa, had moved into Henley-on-Thames, Oxfordshire, as neighbours to Frederick’s parents.

Between 1860 and 1879 Mary and her husband Frederick had thirteen children: Louisa (1860), Frederick (1861), George (1863), Ernest (1864), Herbert (1866), Bessie (1868), Amy (1869), Florence (1871), Violet (1873), Sarah (1874), Marion (1875), John (1877) and Nellie (1879).  All of her children survived infancy and into adulthood.  There is no indication that there were other births.

The family moved to Peckham, near London in 1874 when Frederick Paulin purchased the Anchor Brewery there.  A number of her mother’s family lived in the Peckham-Camberwell area, and her mother moved with the family.  Louisa Freak died later that year, leaving her daughter a fairly decent financial legacy.  This came at a time when Frederick was finding his Peckham venture was not as successful as hoped.  This probably was the family’s salvation. After Frederick declared bankruptcy, the family moved to the West Midlands, living in Dudley, then Prince’s End, Gospel End and Acock’s Green.

In 1884 two of her sons, Frederick and George emigrated to Canada, settling in Victoria, British Columbia.  They were followed by Herbert, Ernest and his wife Emma in 1886.  The rest of the family with the exception of her daughter Louisa, emigrated in 1888.  Mary, Frederick and the younger children moved into the historic Tod House in Oak Bay, just outside of Victoria in 1890, where they stayed until her husband died in 1918.  Mary then moved in with her daughter, Amy and her husband Charles Frederick Gardiner.  It is there she died on the 7th of August 1921, only a week after her son George died.



Birth Certificates

1851-1881 UK Census

1891-1921 Canadian Census

Last Will and Testament of Louisa Cutler, dated 1868

Last Will and Testament of John Cutler, dated 1841

Baptism, marriage – UK

Death certificate – BC Archives

“Old Homes and Families” by JK Nesbitt, Victoria Colonist, 13 June 1948

“Mrs Pauline died Last Night”, Victoria Daily Times, 8 August 1921




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