History of the Cutrer Mansion

 

     The mansion was built in 1916 by Memphis architect Bayard Cairnes for Clarksdale attorney J.W. Cutrer and his wife Blanche Clark Cutrer, daughter of Clarksdale’s founder, John Clark. The dapper Jack Cutrer was very flamboyant and equally famous for his legendary parties and fiery politics.  Not to be outdone, Blanche often threw extravagant yard parties and opulent masked balls, usually to the accompaniment of a full orchestra or swing band. Such events often attracted a young Tom Williams, who later became the celebrated playwright Tennessee Williams, to the Cutrer home as a child. Williams most likely came to the Cutrer Mansion on parish calls with his beloved grandfather, Rev. Walter Dakin. The Cutrers and their home, which they called Belvoir, inspired character names and settings in several of Tennessee Williams’ plays including A Streetcar Named Desire, The Glass Menagerie, Orpheus Descending and Cat on a Hot Tin Roof.

John Wesley Cutrer
July 5, 1856 -- June 10, 1932

    John Wesley "Jack" Cutrer was born on July 5, 1837, in St. Tammany Parish, Louisiana. His father, a commissioned merchant and planter, was Isaac Wesley Cutrer and his mother was America Vespusia Dunnica.

 

    J.W. Cutrer entered the University of Mississippi in the Winter of 1874 to pursue a degree in law. He graduated in June 1878. He became a distinguished criminal lawyer who had law offices in both Friars Point and Clarksdale.

 

    Cutrer served as a state representative in 1884 and as a state senator in 1888 and 1890. He was nominated to the Constitutional Convention of 1890. He was president of the Yazoo-Mississippi Delta Levee Board in 1896. He also served on the school board from 1905 to 1911 and was president of the Chamber of Commerce in 1917, 1918, and 1920.  He was a plantation owner, a founder of the Clarksdale Savings and Loan Bank, and a well-known personality throughout the Mississippi Delta.

Blanche Clark Cutrer
Sept. 27, 1864 -- April 1, 1935
 

    Blanche Clark was born on September 27, 1864. She was the only daughter of Mr. John Clark, the founder of Clarksdale, and Mrs. Eliza Alcorn Clark, who was fondly known as the "Mother of Clarksdale."

 

    After receiving her early education from private tutors, she attended a college for women at Mt. Holyoke, Mass., where she completed her education in literacy subjects and music. Following her graduation from college, she was a belle of the MS Delta and at an early age was married to John Wesley Cutrer, a young ambitious attorney who had just graduated from the University of Mississippi. They had four children: Elise, John Clark, Reginald, and Blanche.

 

    Of Mrs. Cutrer it can be said that she was a typical daughter of the Old South: cultured, refined, endowed with unusual intellect, charming personality, and a myriad of social graces. She was also a devoted wife, an affectionate mother, and a loyal friend. She made the Cutrer Mansion, then called Belvoir, one of the social centers of the Mississippi Delta.