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William "Big Bill" McCutchen
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Birth: 1816
Davidson County
Tennessee, USA
Death: Apr. 17, 1895
San Jose
Santa Clara County
California, USA

The following was posted on Roots Web by J. Craven (Ancestors of L.M. Bell) & Pat Thomas (Pat Thomas Gedcom).

William, known as "Big Bill," was the son of James & Elizabeth (Deane) McCutchen.

His first marriage was to Amanda Henderson. Their children were: Harriett, John Edmonson, Thomas H., M., Laura, & Edward Johnson. After Amanda died he married Ruth Reeves in Santa Clara Co, CA, on Aug. 6, 1860.

William McCutchen our third Sheriff was a large man, standing well over six feet tall. He was born in Davidson County, Tennessee in 1816. Sometime prior to 1836 the McCutchen family moved to Missouri, where William met his wife Amanda Henderson.

In early 1845 they had a daughter, Harriett. In the Spring of 1846 the McCutchens loaded their valuables into a wagon and headed west for California. They made it far as Fort Bridger in Wyoming when either their wagon or oxen gave out. Several days later they thought their fortunes had changed for the better when a new train of twenty wagons rumbled into the fort.

After a day's rest and a restocking of provisions the Captain of the wagon train invited the McCutchens to join their party west. The McCutchens then became part of western history, for they had just joined the ill-fated Donner Party.

During the trip westward, William and another member of the party, C.T. Stanton left the main group and headed for Sutter's Fort. Once at Sutter's Fort the two were to secure provisions and return to the wagon train. Unfortunately, by the time McCutchen and Stanton reached the fort, William had become extremely sick and wasn't able to make the return trip. The second relief trip, which included McCutchen, found what was left of the "Snow shoe party" that was making their way out of the mountains.

Amanda was part of this group, but Harriett was not. She had died back at Donner Lake on February 2nd, and was buried inside one of the makeshift cabins.

William and Amanda first settled in Sonoma, later moving to San Jose. By 1852 the McCutchens had three children - James, John and Thomas. In the September election of 1853, William won the Sheriff job by 113 votes over S.O. Houghton. He took office October 3,1853.

Sheriff McCutchen and Peter Minor, an Alderman of San Jose, failed to rest on the Sabbath. Preferring to test their equestrian skills they had a horse race through the streets of San Jose. The Sheriff won the race by a half a neck. The prize, a bottle of whisky. Unfortunately the City Marshal didn't seem to appreciate horse racing through his streets and arrested both the Sheriff and Alderman. The next morning they were arraigned before Mayor Houghton and were fined $10 each.

Amanda died in 1857 at the age of 35. She died of complications while giving birth to their fourth son, Edward Johnson McCutchen.

Edward eventually became a prominent attorney in a San Francisco law firm that still bears his name, McCutchen, Doyle, Brown and Enersen. William lived to the age of 79
years, dying after suffering a stroke on April 17,1895. He was buried at the Oak Hill Cemetery in San Jose."

The following is from FindAGrave member, Jack Saunders (#47104193), on August 15, 2014.

"His and Amanda's kids, all seven of them. James William married one of my grandfather's aunts. Because he changed the spelling of his surname no Donner Party researcher that I've seen has ever figured out that he survived well after 1852. Only James William (4 kids) and Mary Ellen (5 kids) had biological offspring. Edward married a woman with a daughter that he adopted.

HARRIETT ELEANOR MCCUTCHEN, b. Abt. 1845, MO, USA; d. 02 Feb 1847, near Truckee (now Donner) Lake, Nevada County, CA, USA.

JAMES WILLIAM MCCUTCHEN/MCCUTCHAN, b. 13 Mar 1848, San Jose, Santa Clara County, CA, USA; d. 19 Feb 1911, Bellingham, Whatcom County, WA, USA.

JOHN EDMONSON MCCUTCHEN, b. Nov 1849, San Jose, Santa Clara County, CA, USA; d. 13 Dec 1923, Sacramento Hospital, Sacramento, Sacramento County, CA, USA.

THOMAS H. MCCUTCHEN, b. Abt. 1850, San Jose, Santa Clara County, CA, USA; d. 10 Jun 1878, on the stage road betwen Winnemucca and Camp McDermit, Humboldt County, NV, USA.

MARY ELLEN MCCUTCHEN, b. Abt. 1853, San Jose, Santa Clara County, CA, USA; d. 14 Apr 1927, Socorro, Socorro County, NM, USA.

LAURA B. MCCUTCHEN, b. Abt. 1855, San Jose, Santa Clara County, CA, USA; d. Aft. Sep 1911, USA.

EDWARD JOHNSON MCCUTCHEN, b. 10 Nov 1857, San Jose, Santa Clara County, CA, USA; d. 22 Jun 1933, Palo Alto, Santa Clara County, CA, USA."
Family links: 
  Amanda M. Henderson McCutchen (1822 - 1857)*
  Harriett Eleanor McCutchen (____ - 1847)*
  James William McCutchan (1848 - 1911)*
*Calculated relationship
Oak Hill Memorial Park
San Jose
Santa Clara County
California, USA
Created by: Virginia Brown
Record added: Nov 04, 2009
Find A Grave Memorial# 43922658
William Big Bill McCutchen
Added by: Linda
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- Virginia Brown
 Added: Aug. 14, 2014

- Old Coot
 Added: May. 13, 2014
Thank you for your courage and fortitude, May you Rest in Peace.
- Carolyn McKee
 Added: Mar. 23, 2013
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