was born January 11, 1744/45. Very shortly after her birth, her
father, Dominicus Scamman caught a fever, probably typhus, after joining
an expedition to Nova Scotia. Dominicus and his two brothers all
died, but not before passing the illness on to his young wife, Rebecca,
who also died, leaving two very young orphaned children.
Dominicus, Jr. and Elizabeth grew up in the care of their maternal
grandmother, Madame Ladd. In August of 1762, at just eighteen,
Elizabeth married Thomas Cutts, well on his way to a career as a very
successful merchant. Children followed in rapid succession: Mary
in 1763; Foxwell (who also appears in a Brewster portrait) in 1765;
Elizabeth in 1766; Thomas in 1769; Richard in 1771; Sarah in 1774;
Dominicus in 1778; and finally, Eunice in 1782. Happily, (and
unusually for the time,) it appears that all of her children outlived
Elizabeth except one, Mary, who died in 1796.
Brewster painted his
full length, full sized portraits of Elizabeth in 1796, when she was
fifty-one years old. Portraits this large speak of success in life
and a certain willingness to put that success on display. We see a
well-dressed woman, her skirt gathered to impressive fullness and no
doubt held that way with several voluminous petticoats. As
befitting a lady of her position and age, her hair is modestly covered
in a ruffled cap. She wears a white pelerine, (an oversized,
removable collar,) its wide, handmade lace adding an elegant touch.
In her hands she holds an object, possibly a snuff box--or could it be a
portrait miniature of Mary, recently dead?
When Elizabeth died in 1803, she already had a number of grandchildren.
Altogether her eight children would go on to have forty-seven children
of their own! Beyond those many descendants, few of whom still
live in the Saco area, nothing remains to tell us of Elizabeth, her work
, and her life except this portrait.