Wednesday, November 14, 2012


In October of 2011, I discovered on the Internet that my 2nd great grandfather, Aaron M. CUTLER, died in the Civil War and that there was a book about him entitled Away Amongst Strangers: The Civil War Letters and Family Histories of Aaron M. Cutler, Battery A, First New York Light Artillery and Stephen Tillinghast Spaulding, Company G, 140th New York Volunteer Infantry, Army of the Potomac by Richard W. Roth. Of course, I wanted to obtain a copy of this book, so I headed to WorldCat ( and typed in the book’s name. I discovered that the book was available in three locations: The Library of Congress, the New York State Historical Association in Cooperstown, New York, and Harvard University. I clicked the “Ask a Librarian” icon to the right of the Library of Congress entry. Up popped an e-mail form where you can submit your question. I asked how I could obtain a copy Away Amongst Strangers and explained that I live in Michigan.

Gettysburg Diorama

To my surprise the next morning I had an e-mail from the Library of Congress with the author’s address and telephone number.  I called Richard Roth’s number and left a message on his voice mail. Shortly afterwards I received a call from him. It turns out that our grandparents were siblings so we are second cousins.  He had moved to Pennsylvania when he was young while I grew up in New York.  He said he would mail me the book right away.  Technology and communication were at their best that week. I was so impressed with the ease of use of WorldCat and with the efficiency of the Library of Congress .

I was elated when I received the book. It is full of family data for not only my Cutler line but also about Stephen Tillinghast SPAULDING, my second great grand uncle, who also served in the Civil War.  There are numerous copies of original letters written by Aaron CUTLER and Stephen Tillinghast SPAULDING to their loved ones.  By reading the correspondence back and forth you get a real sense of what life was like for them at war and for their families back home in New York. Richard even included copies of the stamped envelopes.  In addition, he transcribed the diary kept by Esther Cutler, Aaron’s wife, while Aaron was at war and she was raising their young son, Delos CUTLER, my great grandfather.  There are photographs of Aaron and Esther Cutler (as a young lady and when she was elderly). There is also a copy of Aaron and Esther’s marriage certificate from May 24, 1860 as well as maps and pictures of gravestones.  Richard has included transcriptions of letters from Camp Curtin, Harrisburg, to Esther when Aaron was dying and later to inform her of his death. And, finally, there is information about Richard’s father’s line (Roth).  The book is priceless for me and for anyone interested in the Civil War. Every family researcher needs to find a treasure like this one. 

Richard and I have corresponded regularly since that time. We have exchanged photos, documents and family stories, and we continue to share new discoveries as we each pursue our family research. 

In May of this year we met for the first time in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania.  In addition, I was able to meet his brother (my 2nd cousin), his mother (my 1st cousin 1x removed), his father and two of his brother’s daughters (my 2nd cousins 1x removed).   Richard, who has been to Gettysburg many times, showed me the location of the 76th New York Infantry monument. 

Karin Taylor Hadden and Richard W. Roth in front of 76th Regiment Monument at Gettysburg

For a full picture of this monument, please visit the New York State Military Museum and Veterans Research Center website at (  

Aaron Cutler died in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania ( He was later transported back to New York State and is buried in Chenango County (

Thank you WorldCat and Library of Congress for helping me find more of my family!


Dover Publications, Inc., Mineola, New York, Electronic Clip Art,1268 Old-Time Cuts and Ornaments, 2006.

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