The gravestone of Caroline Cutter in Elm Street Cemetery of Milford really stands out. Unlike the typical remembrances, her gravestone points fingers. This white rectangular slab contains not sentiments of loss, but a bold message penned by her husband, Dr. Calvin Cutter.
Was Caroline Cutter Murdered?
Instead of words of love or sorrow, the stone reads a sharp claim: the Baptist Ministry and Baptist Churches “murdered” Caroline. Her epitaph spans an unusually lengthy 150 words, all etched with deliberate intent by her husband.
Dr. Cutter lists the Baptists he claims falsely labeled her a liar, conspired against her, and forced her into poverty.
The epitaph ends with a direct statement, blaming these individuals for destroying Caroline’s life.
Caroline H., Wife of Calvin Cutter, M.D. Murdered by the Baptist Ministry and Baptist Churches As follows: Sep’t. 28, 1838; aged 33 She was accused of lying in 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 exparte 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 on the subject. The Rev. Mark Carpenter said he thought as the good old Deacon said, “We’ve got Cutter down and it’s 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”
Behind the Bold Words
But there’s more to this story. Rumors suggest Caroline was still alive when this gravestone took its place. This fact casts the act as less of mourning and more of a public spectacle.
The root of this controversy? Dr. Cutter’s contentious behavior. He pressured church members to finance another church’s construction, leading to their eventual expulsion.
While Dr. Cutter was the cause, Caroline endured the public shame.
A Tribute Nearby
A large boulder sits next to Caroline’s controversial stone, dedicated to the Cutters’ daughter, Carrie. This cenotaph, overshadowing Caroline’s gravestone, celebrates Carrie’s brave contributions during the Civil War. Recognized as the “first female to serve her country in the Civil War,” she cared for sick soldiers, dying at age 20.
Caroline Cutter Leaves a Legacy in Stone
Caroline Cutter’s gravestone is a departure from the norm, reflecting a family’s internal strife and their need for public vindication. Beside it, Carrie’s tribute speaks of dedication and sacrifice. These two markers tell stories of two legacies: one of conflict and another of service.
As visitors walk Elm Street Cemetery, Caroline’s gravestone prompts them to reflect. Epitaphs can reveal much about the living as they do the dead. They make us question memory, legacy, and the tales we tell when we’re gone.