The McCutchen

The McCutchen is a Friends' Residence and Nursing Home, located in
North Plainfield, New Jersey. It is owned and managed by the
New York Yearly Meeting of the Religious Society of Friends.

Those interested in residing at The McCutchen should contact, Lori Reading, Administrator, 908-755-4243 and for more information, go to The Official Page of The McCutchen.

This history of The McCutchen was written by Horace R. Stubbs in 1970.
The original handwritten copy was typed by Charles Varian,
and was edited for the web by Alan Taplow.

Dedicated to the memory of Margaret W. McCutchen
and the generosity of the McCutchen Family


Margaret W. McCutchen

On the night before Christmas we moved to the House
Although some of the rooms still weren't fit for a mouse.

In the year eighteen hundred and eighty-six. Yes,
We'd been building the house for a twelve month, I guess.

The stockings were hung by the chimney with care
After three score and three years, we still hang them there.

The lighting was gas and the cooking was coal,
And our water we pumped from an awful deep hole;

But we did have two bathrooms (undreamed of expense!)
And we had a dumbwaiter (which seemed to make sense).

The house, like myself, was in those days much smaller
And it slowly grew big as I slowly grew taller.

First a library added, a music room later
Rooms atop of the kitchen for a cook and a waiter.

The two primal bathrooms expanded to eight
As the Saturday night tubbing got out of date.

And last came a breakfast room, sunny and bright,
Till the house was too big as the family grew slight.

Yes, such was this house - just the body, the shell;
But what of the Spirit therein that did dwell?

There was poetry, music, good company, laughter,
There was love there and peace from foundation to rafter.

Dalnashea it was called, dale of peace for our name
Betokens the Gaelic descent whence it came.

So may peace rest upon you in chamber and hall,
From each New Year to Christmas, and



Information About Property

Preparation for Opening



In February, 1950 some Friends in Philadelphia informed a few Friends in New York, who were already active as a committee of New York Monthly Meeting, searching for property and facilities which could be made available for the use of Elderly Friends in the New York Area, that a property in North Plainfield, New Jersey had been offered to Philadelphia Friends for such a purpose.

On February 22. 1950. a few New York Friends met Richmond P. Miller of Philadelphia Yearly Meeting in North Plainfield, New Jersey and visited with Miss. Margaret W. McCutchen in her home which later became The McCutchen Boarding Home.

A few days later a small group of New York Friends met at the Penington, a Boarding Home on East 15th Street, Manhattan with a few Friends from Philadelphia Yearly Meeting to give further consideration to the possibility of New York Friends accepting what they were at this time informed would be offered by the owner, to New York Yearly Meeting.

The New York Monthly Meeting Committee Friends felt the project now required the inclusion of a larger geographical area and forthwith gave all the information to a regular Meeting of the Representative Committee of New York Yearly Meeting held at the East 15th Street Meeting House on February 26, 1950, when the following Minute was recorded (Pages 9 and 10, 1950 Yearly Meeting Proceedings) :

An offer of a spacious residence and grounds at North Plainfield, New Jersey as a home for elderly Friends was made to Philadelphia Yearly Meeting. Since Philadelphia Yearly Meeting did not need such a home, it offered the use of the property to New York Yearly Meeting, on condition that we carry on the business transaction through their Meeting. Real interest was expressed in such an undertaking if full control of the property could be centered in New York Yearly Meeting. Believing that such an arrangement could be worked out, it was approved that a committee be appointed for further investigation, the membership of the committee to include the membership of a committee previously appointed by the New York Monthly Meeting to find a suitable place for a Friends Home and a representation from the whole Yearly Meeting. The Nominating Committee was asked to suggest names, and the following members were appointed to a Committee on a Friends Home:

Howard E. Kershner, Stephen L. Angell, Carleton H. Vail, Martha Mott Fraser, Charles B. Llewellyn, J. Paul Satterthwaite, Blanche E. Brown.
New York Monthly Meeting Committee
Ruth E. Buckwell, Harold A. Marshall, Elizabeth M. Cooper, Lenore B. Stoughton, Daisy E. Hawkshurst, Philip V. Stoughton, John Judkyn, Horace R. Stubbs, Allen H. Magill, Lydia F. Taylor, Grace W. Magill, Ella H. Williams, Lila Merritt

The following letters were then received:

21 Rockview Avenue
North Plainfield
March 10, 1950

Mr. Howard E. Kershner
Clerk of New York Yearly Meeting
Society of Friends
55 Central Park West
New York 23, New York

My dear Mr. Kershner:
It has become necessary for me to leave my home at 21 Rockview Avenue. North Plainfield, N.J. and move to smaller quarters. As it has been for over sixty years a home where love and faith and peace have been the ideals, I would like it to serve some helpful purpose. Although not a member of the Society of Friends, I have such admiration for their ideals and much confidence in their administrative ability, that I have offered the property to them as a gift, to be used for such purpose as they may deem best.

This offer was made through Dr. Frank Aydelotte of Princeton by whom, and the Princeton Friends, it was passed on to the Philadelphia Yearly Meeting. confirmed by me in a letter to them of January 16th, 1950.

As, after careful consideration, the Philadelphia Meeting seemed not to be able to use the property, and, as I understand the New York Yearly Meeting is in need of a home for old people in this vicinity, it gives me great pleasure to offer it for this purpose to the New York Yearly Meeting hoping, however, that the Princeton Friends may be included in any further plans. To this offer of my home, my brother, Brunson S. McCutchen of Princeton, N.J. has offered to contribute ten thousand dollars ($10,000.) toward the remodeling of the house.

As to the final disposition of the property, my brother and I do not wish to place any restrictions on the Society of Friends. We would much appreciate, however, that they make an honest effort to operate it for the purpose for which it was given and, if in the end this should seem impracticable, they would consult us (should one or both of us still be living) before coming to a final decision.

Trusting this will meet with the approval of the New York Yearly Meeting of the Society of Friends,

Very sincerely,
Margaret W. McCutchen

120 Greenwich Street
New York City
March 10, 1950

Howard E. Kershner
55 Central Park West
New York, New York

Dear Mr. Kershnsr:
From what my sister has told me, and from my telephone conversation with you this morning, I understand that the Society of Friends is interested in the possibility of using my sister's home at 21 Rockview Avenue, North Plainfield, New Jersey as a home for old people; and further that it is preferable from their point of view to have the house deeded to the New York Yearly Meeting, rather than the Philadelphia Yearly Meeting as previously proposed.

This letter is written to confirm the fact that the offer which I made to the Princeton Meeting in my letter of December 5, 1949 still stands, and I am willing to contribute the sum of $10,000. on behalf of my wife and myself, for the purpose of renovating the property and establishing it as a home for the aged. I hope that it will be possible to arrange this contribution so that it may be made over a period of three taxable years; and if it is desired that the money be contributed directly to the New York Yearly Meeting, please have the Princeton Meeting express to me their willingness to have the contribution made in this way.

Sincerely yours,
B. S. McCutchen

(Handwritten letter)

My dear Mr. Kershner:
Together with these letters from my brother and myself, I would like to add a personal word to you to explain one or two details.

The house needs a new roof. We had a contract with Sears-Roebuck to put on a roof of "strip" shingles at the time of my mother's death. But the future disposition of the house seemed so uncertain that we canceled the contract.

If, however, such a roof would be satisfactory, I will have the new roof put on before turning the house over to the Friends, or, if they would prefer, I would give them the money that such a roof would cost.

Also, the trim on the house needs repainting. This I will have done.

I do not plan to leave any furniture in the house except a few odd pieces.

All of this could not be included in a formal letter, but it should be known to the committee in charge.

Very sincerely,
Margaret W. McCutchen

From the 1950 Proceedings of New York Yearly Meeting . . . held in the Meeting House at East 15th Street, Manhattan on March 22nd, 1950, the following Minute is quoted which gives the report of the committee named above and the action of the Yearly Meeting:

The Committee on a Friends Home recommends that the New York Yearly Meeting accept with gratitude the generous offer of Margaret W. and Brunson S. McCutchen of the property in North Plainfield, New Jersey of a home for elderly Friends, as stated in their letters of March 10, 1950 and an undated hand-written letter received at the same time, provided that satisfactory arrangements can be made with the Borough authorities for tax exemption, zoning and building requirements, and the New Jersey laws concerning the care of the aged:

The Committee further recommends the following Minute:

The New York Yearly Meeting authorizes the appointment of a Board of Managers consisting of twelve (12) members of this Meeting for one, two and three years, with one-third of the membership being appointed each year for three years, thereafter.

This Board is instructed to invite the Princeton Monthly Meeting to appoint three Friends to serve as additional members thereof.

The Trustees of the New York Yearly Meeting are authorized to accept the property upon the recommendation of the Board of Managers.

The Treasurer of the Yearly Meeting is authorized to allow the Board of Managers to draw upon the principal and interest of the Margaret B. Dietrich Fund in accordance with the terms governing the funds, as determined by the Yearly Meeting Law Committee.

The New York Yearly Meeting appropriates the sum of $5,000. and further authorizes the appointment of a committee to raise additional funds for the operation and endowment of this home.

The Board of Managers shall be in full charge of operation, admissions and maintenance, and is instructed to report to each meeting of the Representative Committee and the Yearly Meeting

On behalf of the Committee
Stephen Leroy Angell, Lydia Foulke Taylor, Horace R. Stubbs, Ella H. Williams

The report was approved and the proposed minute adopted.

The Nominating Committee was requested to suggest at a subsequent session Friends to serve as a Board of Managers and Friends to serve as a Committee to raise funds.

J. Kennedy Sinclaire, Lydia F. Taylor and the Clerk were appointed a committee to prepare a letter expressing gratitude to Margaret and Brunson McCutchen for their generous gifts.

Here follows the first Board of Managers of the McCutchen Boarding Home:

(Term, one year - Term expires in 1951)
Ella H. Williams, Wally B. Scott, Elmer H. Thorpe, Horace R. Stubbs

(Term, two years - Term expires in 1952)
Stephen L. Angell, Howard E. Kershner, J. Paul Satterthwaite, Lenore B. Stoughton

(Term, three years - Term expires in 1953)
Charles B. Llewellyn, J. Kennedy Sinclaire, Grace W. Magill, Katherine H. Vail

Ways & Means (Endowment)
Howard E. Kershner, Lydia F. Taylor, Edward P. Palmer, Ella H. Williams


The property bounded by Rockview. Washington, Linden and Sycamore Avenues in the Borough of North Plainfield, Somerset County, New Jersey, prior to 1880 comprised 8 lots. Charles W. McCutchen acquired the first 3 lots April 26, 1880, and 4 more lots in 1882 and 1885. He acquired lot No. 3 facing Washington Avenue and extending along Linden Avenue November 2, 1903. The main part of the "Big House" was constructed during 1886, and the family moved in Christmas Eve. Charles W. McCutchen lived until July 27, 1930 and his Will of January 8. 1930 bequeathed all of his property to his wife, Mary I. McCutchen. At her death November 12, 1948, the property was bequeathed to her daughter, Margaret Wilson McCutchen, who deeded the premises to Yearly Meeting Friends Home, a New Jersey Corporation, September 28. 1950.


With property title secured and permits obtained for operation from local and State regulatory bodies, the Board of Managers embarked on the work necessary to obtain the funds and arrange for the building alterations, the addition of an elevator, construction of fire escape and other facilities required to make the 64-year-old house suitable for a home for from 25 to 30 elderly people, depending on the room occupancy.

Members of the McCutchen family had called their home "Dalnashea" (Vale of Peace). Soon the Board of Managers decided the Friends Home should be named "The McCutchen" to commemorate the name of the donors. From the Minutes of the Representative Committee of New York Yearly Meeting are quoted the following :

June 4, 1950

Various matters pertaining to the conditioning of The McCutchen for a Friends Home were considered: Size of alterations with estimated costs; letters appealing for funds; necessary equipment and probable charges; possibilities of using the Margaret Dietrich Fund; study of property assets and liabilities. Friends approved of a letter being sent to all adult members of the New York Yearly Meeting.

A minute regarding the incorporation as read by Lenore Stoughton was approved as follows:

It appearing that the McCutchen property at 21 Rockview Avenue, North Plainfield, New Jersey, must be held by a charitable corporation organized under the law of the State of New Jersey in order to obtain tax exemption for its use and operation as a home for elderly Friends,

Now the several Friends who were appointed at the New York Yearly Meeting held in Third Month, 1950, at 221 East 15th Street, New York City, to serve as a Board of Managers for the proposed home, are designated to act as members of such a corporation for the same terms for which they were appointed to serve on the Board of Managers, and until their respective successors are appointed; and are authorized and directed to form the necessary corporation in New Jersey for the purpose indicated but subject to the following conditions and limitations:

  1. Membership in the corporation is to be limited to Friends designated by the New York Yearly Meeting of 221 East 15th Street, New York City, or by the Princeton United Meeting at the invitation of this Yearly Meeting;

  2. The Corporation may at the discretion of the members accept, and may thereafter hold, title to the aforesaid McCutchen property, and may receive, hold and use the funds appropriated by this Yearly Meeting in Third Month, 1950, and such other funds as may be received by it in future for the operation and endowment of the home, but the by-laws shall provide that the corporation shall not be dissolved, the property mortgaged or sold, or the operation of the home discontinued, except after the approval by this Yearly Meeting, and that in the event of dissolution of the corporation all its assets remaining after payment of its debts and obligations shall be paid over to this Yearly Meeting;

  3. The members of the corporation shall require the appropriate officers thereof to render a report on the management and financial condition of the home to each annual session of this Yearly Meeting, and to the Representative Committee from time to time at its request.

Approval was given to the Board of Managers of the New York Yearly Meeting Friends Home, "The McCutchen", to mortgage the property if necessary to do so in order to raise sufficient funds to complete building operations, at its discretion for a sum not to exceed $25,000.

On Ninth Month 11, 1950, New York Monthly Meeting directed its Treasurer to give to Carleton H. Vail, Treasurer of New York Yearly Meeting, the Blachley Fund in its entirety as New York Monthly Meeting's contribution to the Yearly Meeting Home for Elderly Friends. At that time the principal of the Blachley Fund was carried on the books at $30,760.57. In accordance with the Monthly Meeting's direction, its Treasurer paid to Carleton H. Vail on Twelfth Month 31, 1950, $20,000, leaving a balance of $10,760.57. Further report will be made at the time of transfer of the fund is completed. Appreciation was expressed for this gift to the Yearly Meeting Friends Home, "The McCutchen" .

The Committee appointed to check on the equipment formerly used during Yearly Meeting sessions when held in New York reported that much of it could be used in The McCutchen, and that disposition of the remainder would be determined after the selection for use there had been made. The Committee appointed were Mary V. Mayer, Katherine H. Vail and Grace W. Magill.

The Board of Managers reported at the Meeting in Fourth Month 14, 1951, that satisfactory progress was being made in the alterations at The McCutchen which would be ready for an inspection in June. Applications were being invited. seven having already been received. Appreciation was expressed for the work done by the Board of Managers and Friends were named to the Committee to serve for a period of three years.

Lydia F. Taylor gave an interesting and comprehensive report of the origin, purpose and usages of the Cap Fund, believed to have originally been the Cap and Kerchief Fund of the Women's Yearly Meeting. She read the following letter

"To the Representative Committee of New York Yearly Meeting:

'The Committee of Women Friends of New York Yearly Meeting gives to the New York Yearly Meeting the funds known as the Cap fund of which it is custodian, consisting of $2,000 invested on June 3, 1920 in Max Kessler Mortgage on 32 Grand Street New York by Wilson M. Powell and reduced at this date to $1,415.42 and in addition, cash to the amount of $128.21.

"It is the desire of this Committee that this gift may be assigned to the New York Yearly Meeting Friends' Home in North Plainfield, N.J.

For the Committee, Edith S. Chinsley, Alice M. Sutton, Lydia F. Taylor, Phebe P. Willis.

After interested and concerned discussion, Friends approved the acceptance of the Cap Fund for this purpose.

Gifts of money from 307 individuals and 16 Friends Meetings added to an appropriation from New York Yearly Meeting, a gift of the Blachley Fund by New York Monthly Meeting and Brunson McCutchen's generous gift provided approximately $68,000, sufficient to pay the entire cost of building alterations and the new elevator costing about $15,000.

As provided by the conditions of incorporation and upon invitation of New York Yearly Meeting, Princeton United Meeting named the following to serve as members of the Corporation:

Julia Meredith, Bruce French, Frank Aydelotte

These Friends participated in the deliberations of the Board of Managers for the early period, but soon relinquished their membership.

Margaret W. McCutchen was appointed an honorary member of the Board of Managers and attended meetings regularly until her terminal illness prevented it.


The building was now suitable for occupancy and the first Guest arrived September 15, 1951. Fittingly, it was Carrie C. Cunmin, a member of New York Monthly Meeting.

The first Manager was Caroline Borton Smith, a member of Montclair Meeting. She and her husband, Clarence W. Smith, came to live at The McCutchen, the Yearly Meeting Friends Home. Clarence Smith assisted as bookkeeper during the early period.

The McCutchen Boarding Home opened free and clear with no mortgage or other indebtedness, and a start toward an endowment fund of $1,500.

The Board of Managers report to Yearly Meeting July 29, 1952 states there were 16 guests residing at The McCutchen.

In September, 1952, all friends of The McCutchen were saddened by the tragic death in an automobile accident of the first Manager, Caroline Barton Smith. Both she and her husband, Clarence Smith, had worked unstintingly and effectively toward establishing a friendly and hospitable atmosphere at The McCutchen. Helen Durgin of Montclair Meeting came to tide over and then Cornelia Lounsbury served as temporary Manager until Pauline Young Merrill was obtained in March, 1953 as Manager. Mrs. Merrill brought experience and understanding to this assignment.

The Board of Managers report to Yearly Meeting, summer of 1953 states that the family numbered 22. The Treasurer's Report shows an operating fund of $9,950, and an endowment fund of $2,257.

Practical capacity occupancy was attained in the summer of 1954, and for the following several years the Boarding Home operated at full occupancy with a small financial surplus of income over expenses each year, while a substantial endowment fund was accumulated.

Over the years members of the Board of Managers and Friends recognized the need of an infirmary or nursing home to provide extended care for residents of the Boarding Home, but the necessary money to provide such a facility did not seem to be available.

Margaret W. McCutchen continually voiced her concern for this need and at the Board Meeting which proved to be the last one she attended in 1961, at her insistence, the Board appointed a Committee to study the possibility of a nursing home annex. In due course, after considerable time and much study, plans were completed under the guidance of architect Gardiner Angell, permits obtained, financing arranged and the construction of the present 25-bed Nursing Home completed.

The Yearly Meeting gave permission to mortgage the premises up to $150,000, if necessary.

The total cost of the building and equipment, including architect's fees, was slightly over $400,000.

The required money for this was provided by a grant from the Hill-Burton funds, gifts from individuals, including generous ones from Ella H. Williams and Margaret W. McCutchen, a draft on the accumulated endowment funds of the Boarding Home, and a mortgage held by the United National Bank. This mortgage has now been reduced to $89,000.

Nursing Home was completed and the first patient admitted June 3,1965.

Mrs. Merrill had continued as Manager at the Boarding Home all through these years since 1953 except for a limited period when she had resigned to live with her widowed daughter and family. After a few months, Mrs. Merrill returned to the Boarding Home as Manager.

Upon opening of the Nursing Home, Mrs. Merrill was appointed Administrator of both Homes, which position she held until the Spring of 1966. At that time Mrs. Merrill, at her request, was granted permission to give up her work because of advancing years and increased responsibilities.

Mrs. Grace B. Richie served as Administrator from this time until October 31, 1969.

Marianne A. Longstreet, a member of Manasquan Monthly Meeting, was named Administrator January 1, 1970, moved to live at The McCutchen, and has brought to the Homes a very friendly and highly qualified management.

There is full occupancy now in both Homes.

December 14, 1970.

Editor's note:
Marianne Longstreet served as Administrator until she retired in 1994. She is now enjoying her retirement as a resident guest at the McCutchen. Those interested in residing at The McCutchen should contact, Lori Reading, Administrator, 908-755-4243 and for more information, go to The Official Page of The McCutchen.

Please visit our Guestbook

This history of The McCutchen was written by Horace R. Stubbs in 1970.
The handwritten copy was typed by Charles Varian,
and was edited for the web by
Alan Taplow.

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