Born in Morristown, New Jersey, Cutler spent the early part of his life on a farm, attended common schools as a child and later Yale College. He studied law and was admitted to the bar in 1849, commencing practice in Morristown.
He was prosecutor of pleas for Morris County, New Jersey from 1856 to 1861, elected president of the board of education in 1870, served in the New Jersey Senate from 1871 to 1874 and was a delegate to the New Jersey constitutional convention in 1873. Cutler was elected as a Democrat to the United States House of Representatives in 1874, serving from 1875 to 1879. He declined to be a candidate for renomination in 1878.
He served as chairman of the Committee on Agriculture from 1877 to 1879.
Afterward, he resumed practicing law in Morristown, New Jersey and was an unsuccessful candidate for the United States House of Representatives in 1880 and 1896. Cutler died in Morristown on January 1, 1897 and was interred in Evergreen Cemetery in Morristown.
"Gus" owned property in 14 states, including vast holdings in New Jersey. From them, she inherited property in Benton Township, Ohio.
The towns of Rocky Ridge, Ohio and Graytown, Ohio were founded and developed by Gus and Julia.
A substantial collection of papers relating to the Ohio holdings is held by the Ottawa County Historical Museum.