Charlotte Varnum was born in Dracut, Massachusetts early in the 19th century. In 1830 she married John Pierce Cutter of New Hampshire and gave birth to several children on their Dracut farm. Two boys died before the age of three but George, Alfred, Charlotte, Martha, John and Sarah survived into adulthood.
When youngest daughter Sarah was born in 1845 John was listed as a Yeoman, a small farmer. A few years later he joined the Forty-Niners in California and died there in January of 1850 (possibly in a cholera epidemic that year.)
Son George went west in the 1850s himself, spending time in Oak Grove, Wisconsin but as his obituary tells us: "Loving liberty...abhorring wrong...the Kansas Nebraska bill and the subsequent...slavery crusade in Kansas set him all ablaze."
He arrived in eastern Kansas in March, 1856 ready to fight for a free Kansas state. He also hoped to establish "a home for a widowed mother and his young brothers and sisters." He later recalled:
"I came on my own hook, by the river route. I took a Claim as soon as I got into the Territory on Coal Creek about ten miles from Lawrence. I went to work immediately and made the following improvements, to wit – built a Cabin – broke 6 acres."