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The family of James McCulloch junior (1797 - 1849) road contractor of Glasgow

This story has no connection with Malvern


This is a short story about three brothers  who, in the mid 1800s, lived in Parkhouse Lane, in the Scottish city of Glasgow, which was then a rapidly expanding Victorian city, and their many descendants, some of whom travelled to distant parts of the world, seeking their fortunes.

In those days death could visit at any age, infant mortality was high and doctors were unable to cure many illnesses.

The brothers took contracts for the building of streets and squares in Glasgow. George the elder brother was a quarry master, his brother James (junior) may have dealt with the paperwork, and youngest brother John possibly maintained the wagons pulled by heavy horses that carried the stone from a quarry on the Craig Park estate. They would have employed gangs of labourers.

The tale draws on resources to be found on the www.scotlandspeople.gov.uk website, the Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, the archives of the Glasgow Herald newspaper, and information passed to us by historians in Australia and New Zealand. (Thank you to Jenny, David, Robert and Laurie)

Parkhouse Lane no longer exists, but it was then a small street lying on the western boundary of  Tennent's brewery which is located on the eastern side of Glasgow, south east of St Mungo's Cathedral and the Necropolis, and north of Duke's Street.

Click here to read more about the history of Parkhouse Lane, Craig Park and Dennistoun

James McCulloch junior, one of the three brothers, died in the Cholera outbreak of 1848/9 (source, Mitchell Library). 

James' young sons were taught farming by his widow's brother, farmer James Robertson.

Two of the sons became sheep farmers in Uruguay, while another became a sheep farmer in Australia.

The three brothers' cousin, perhaps confusingly also named James, who worked for the wealthy Dennistoun family, emigrated to Australia where he became a businessman and politician in Melbourne. From humble beginnings, circa 1870 he became Premier of the State of Victoria.

Father of the three brothers was James McCulloch senior (source: will of James McCulloch of Woodend), and an outline of the family tree is given below.

If you can extend the family tree or add to the story we would love to hear from you.

Generation 1

Father of the three brothers was James McCulloch senior, who was born in Scotland about 1770 and died on or about 9th January 1851. He was a contractor who retired to farm at Woodend, New Monkland, on the outskirts of Glasgow. As a young man he had served an apprenticeship with John and Robert Tennent at Tennent's brewery before setting up in business on his own account.

James McCulloch senior was admitted to membership of the Maltmen on 2nd August 1805. This was a trade organisation or guild of the brewing industry which controlled quality and prices at that time, and membership probably enabled him to mix with the wealthy of the city.

His brother William was a farmer of Campsie, Stirling, who died about 1841.

William's son, Alexander Gartshore Stirling McCulloch, who became a shipping agent first in Greenock and later in Belfast, was one of the executors of the will of James McCulloch senior. Other sons of William were carting contractors in York Street, Glasgow.

James senior married Agnes Whitelaw on 12th Aug 1791 at Cumbernauld, Dumbarton and they had three children, who are the brothers referred to at the beginning of the story.

George McCulloch b 1791, Glasgow

James McCulloch junior, b 1797, Glasgow

John McCulloch, b 1804, Glasgow

The 1841 Scotland census suggests George and James junior worked together as road contractors, and from the obituary of James junior, which appeared in the Glasgow Herald in 1849, it is clear they were responsible for building some of the cobbled streets and squares in Glasgow.

At the time of John's marriage, John worked as a 'Wright', and possibly he helped maintain the wagons which were used to transport the stone from the nearby quarry on the Craig Park estate.

Stone was also supplied by quarrier Robert McCallum (1818 - 1869) who married George's daughter Agnes McCulloch.

Generation 2

More about the three brothers and their wives and children:-

1) George McCulloch

occupation: road contractor and quarry master (b 6 Nov 1791, Glasgow, d 24 Nov 1873, Dennistoun, Glasgow)

married 31st May 1818

Jane Thomson (b abt 1798, Lightburn, Glasgow, d 1874, Dennistoun, Glasgow) daughter of farmer William Thomson.

Their children were

James McCulloch (b 1819, Glasgow, d 30 Jan 1893, Ewell, Surrey)

Agnes McCulloch (b 22 Apr 1824, Glasgow, d 31 Jul 1880, Clackmannan, Dunbartonshire)

Jean McCulloch (b 1832, Glasgow)

George McCulloch (b1839, d 1869 Glasgow)

George McCulloch and his family moved from Parkhouse Lane to Craig Park Terrace, Dennistoun after the Craig Park estate was purchased and developed by the Dennistoun family.

Click here for a street map of Dennistoun circa 1914.

Click for memorial to George McCulloch died 1873 at Glasgow Necropolis

2) James McCulloch junior

occupation: road contractor (b 1797, Glasgow, d 1849, Glasgow)

married (1) 13th June 1834

Marion Thomson; possibly she was the sister of his brother George's wife Jane. Marion bore him a daughter Agnes who died aged 5 months. Sadly only a years later both she and her infant son died at Glasgow on 16th April 1836.

married (2) 29th Oct 1837

Isabella also known as Isobell Robertson (baptised 16th July 1815, Abbey Parish, Paisley Renfrew, died 7th Sep 1887, West Linton, Peebles, Scotland) daughter of farmer James Robertson and Mary Fleming of High Hillington.

They had five children prior to James' premature death,

James McCulloch (b 1839, Glasgow d 1892, Dumfries)

Agnes McCulloch (b 1840, Glasgow d 1897, Stirling)

Allan McCulloch (b 1843, Glasgow, d 1912, Glasgow)

John McCulloch (b. 1845, Glasgow, d 1899, Dunbarton)

George McCulloch (b 1848, Glasgow, d 1907, London)

Memorial to James McCulloch, Glasgow NecropolisSadly contractor James McCulloch junior, the childens' father (b 1797), died of Cholera on the 22nd January 1849 and he was buried in the Glasgow Necropolis.  His obituary was published in the Glasgow Herald newspaper on 26th January 1849.

The cholera outbreak, that began in December 1848, which was caused by overcrowding and poor sanitation, killed many people. This followed an earlier cholera epidemic in 1832 which killed more than 3,000 people and these outbreaks were a major factor leading to the central recording of deaths, and causes of death, in Scotland which began in 1855.

A monument to James' memory was erected by sculptors and monumental masons Hamilton and Millar. It records that James was a 'kind and affectionate husband and father, and a dutiful son'. The monument also records that Isabella was a 'faithful mother'. See photo opposite, by Ruth Johnston The Friends of Glasgow Necropolis.

3) John McCulloch

occupation: Wright (b 1804, Glasgow, d abt 1841, Glasgow)

married 1825, Glasgow

Janet Kerr (b abt 1802, Paisley, Renfrew)

Their children were,

James McCulloch (b 1825, Glasgow)

Agnes McCulloch (b 1827, Glasgow)

John McCulloch (b 1829, Glasgow)

Alexander McCulloch (b 1833, Glasgow)

George McCulloch (b 1835, Glasgow)

Margaret McCulloch (b 1837, Glasgow)

Father, John, died shortly before the 1841 census. We know little about him.

Generation 3

More about the children of the three brothers:-

More about the children of George McCulloch

James McCulloch

Eldest sonSir James McCulloch in old age

b Glasgow, 1819

d  Ewell, Surrey, 1893

occupation: merchant and Australian politician

married (1) Aug 1841

Susan Renwick, thought to be daughter of the Reverend James Renwick a dissenting minister of the Free Church, of Muirton, Forfarshire, Montrose, who died at Montrose in 1845.

Following Susan's early death James and Robert Sellar emigrated from Scotland to Australia in 1853 to manage a branch of Dennistoun Brothers.

About 1861, following the closure of the Melbourne branch of Dennistoun, he set up his own business McCulloch, Sellar and Company in partnership with Robert Sellar.

James married (2) 17th Oct 1867, Melbourne, Australia

Margaret Boak Inglis (b 1827, Kirkintilloch, Dunbartonshire, d 1904, Chislehurst, Kent) daughter of William Inglis of Wallflat, Dumbartonshire.

The marriage was reported in The Argus, Melbourne, Saturday 26th March 1893. The transcript reads,

McCulloch Inglis on the 17th Inst

at the residence of Robert Sellar Esq

Tennyson Street, St Kilda by Rev Dr Cairns

assisted by Rev J Oswald Dykes

the Hon James McCulloch to Margaret

only daughter of the late William Inglis Esq

of Wallflat, Dumbartonshire, Scotland.

The 1851 Scotland Census records William Inglis as a retired draper and Justice of the Peace residing at Leadgate Cottage, Kirkintilloch, north east of Glasgow on the north bank of the Clyde.

Margaret seems to have adopted her second forename Boak. We are not sure why, but circa 1800 there may have been a surgeon, Robert Boak in Kirkintilloch with connections to Wallflat and her mother's family.

Margaret's brother John Inglis (1823 - 1922) was an Australian merchant who spent most of his later years in London; possibly he was a partner in the firm Leishman, Inglis and Company which had some connection with McCulloch, Sellar and Company.

James McCulloch had no children by either marriage.

His obituary, published in the South Australian Register, Adelaide on Wednesday 1st February 1893, gives a detailed account of his life.

The Mercury newspaper, Hobart, Tasmania reported on 2nd February 1893,

'The mortal remains of Sir James McCulloch will be buried at Glasgow, his native city, on Friday next.'

Sir James McCulloch was buried in Glasgow Necropolis, but we have found no memorial so wonder if he was buried next to his father George in an unmarked grave - do tell us if you know different.

Agnes McCulloch

occupation: wife

married 21st Aug 1842

Robert McCallum, quarrier and contractor, (b 1818, Argyleshire, d 1869, Glasgow),

Robert was a supplier of stone to the McCulloch brothers.

Their children were,

Malcolm McCallum (b, 1844, Glasgow, d 1907, Tauranga, New Zealand)

George McCallum (b 1847, d 1889, Paynesville, Victoria, Australia)

Jane McCallum (b 1848, Glasgow, d 1918, Adelaide, South Australia)

Annie Sinclair McCallum ( b 1851, Edinburgh, d 1934, Ormond Victoria, Australia)

Agnes Whitelaw McCallum (b 1854, d 1893, Gore, New Zealand)

Susan Renwick McCallum (b 1856, Glasgow, d 1937, Takapuna, New Zealand)

Robert McCallum (b 1859, Glasgow, d 1924, Auckland, New Zealand)

Margaret Miller McCallum (b 1861, Glasgow, d 1949, Takapuna, New Zealand)

Alice Wilcox Blackley McCallum (b 1863, Glasgow, d 1931, Adelaide, South Australia)

Duncan McCallum (b 1865, Shandon, Dunbartonshire, d 1933, Auckland, New Zealand)

James McCulloch McCallum (b 1865 Shandon, Dunbartonshire, d 1936, Christchurch, New Zealand) twin of Duncan

William Thompson McCallum (b 1866, Glasgow d 1937, Takapuna, New Zealand)

Descendants of Agnes, travelled to Australia and New Zealand, and settled in both countries.

Jean McCulloch

occupation: wife

married 7th Dec 1854, Glasgow

Thomas Gray

Their son was,

John McCulloch Gray (b 1856, Glasgow)

George McCulloch

George, a clerk, lived with his parents and did not marry. He died from a heart condition aged 30 years.

More about the children of James McCulloch junior

James McCulloch

James McCulloch 1838 - 1892Eldest son James first worked in the cloth industry, possibly for his sister's husband; later he bought an interest in a paper packaging business. He was present at his mother's death at West Linton, Peebles in 1887, and was in London, possibly visiting his youngest brother George, at the time of the 1891 census.

The Live Stock Journal, volume 31, 1890 records James as a breeder of Hereford cattle and the sale of a Hereford bull named Bruce to Queen Victoria.

The Herd Book of Hereford Cattle 1889 lists an animal the property of Mr J McCulloch of Burnhead, Lockerbie, and Mr A McCulloch of Estancia Las Flores, Monte Video, South America. We wondered if James might have exported or exchanged breeding stock with his brother Allan in Uruguay.

There is a region nearby named Fray Bentos, which later became associated with a well known brand of tinned corned beef.

The Hereford Herd Book Society was founded in 1878 under the patronage of Queen Victoria.

James died 3rd June 1892 at Burnhead House, Lockerbie, Dumfries. The property is now a dairy farm.

The photo above might be of him.

John McCulloch

John had been a stockman near Monte Video to where his brother George despatched rams in 1870. At the time of the 1881 census he was visiting his elderly mother in Glasgow. In the 1891 census he is described as a retired farmer of Burnhead, Locherbie. He died 10th October 1899 at Cora House, Helensburgh, Dunbartonshire.

Allan McCulloch

John's brother, Allan studied as a vet in Edinburgh and in 1896 was recorded on a passenger list as a sheep farmer travelling to Monte Video. John and Allan had worked together as stockmen in South America, and probably Allan continued his business there after John retired from farming. When James died in 1892 he left his residuary estate to Allan at Las Flores Estancia, Banda Oriental (now Uruguay), South America.

Allan died 25th August 1912 at 97, Queensborough Gardens, Hyndland, Glasgow. He left his residuary estate to his nephew James McCulloch Leitch.

Agnes McCulloch

Agnes (1840 - 1897) only daughter of James and Isabella married in 1862,

Alexander William Leitch (1835 - 1901) who in the census was described as a commission agent and later as a retired woollen manufacturer. They had five children,

James McCulloch Leitch died 28th Nov 1863 aged only 11 weeks

Alexander William Leitch b 1865, Glasgow, Scotland, d 1915, Chryston, Muirhead, North Lanarkshire

married 1904, Wilhelmina Muirhead

Isabella Robertson Leitch b 1867, Glasgow, Scotland, d 1925

James McCulloch Leitch b 1869, Huddersfield, Yorkshire, d 1928

Jane McKechnie Leitch b 1870, Huddersfield, Yorkshire, d 1937

married 1903, David Balfour Murray

The general index records Agnes' death at 6 Park Terrace, Stirling on 2nd February 1897.

George McCulloch

George McCuolloch b 1848After other adventures, youngest son, George (1848 - 1907) became a sheep farmer in Australia. He managed the station at Mount Gipps in the outback which extended to about half a million acres. Nearby a small street was named after him at Broken Hill. He returned to London UK about 1891, where he married Mary Agnes Mayger, his housekeeper, in 1893. He died in 1907 leaving bequests to his nephews and nieces, the children of his sister Agnes mentioned above. The remainder of his estate was left to his widow.

More about the children of John McCulloch

James McCulloch (b 1825, Glasgow)

occupation: spirits dealer

no marriage found

We think he may have been landlord of The Auld Gushet Hoose pub at 151, Duke Street from about 1851 to 1873, before passing the business on to his younger sister Margaret and her second husband Robert Montgomery circa 1875.

In 1851 James was living at 169 Duke Street; the 1861 census records him next to the pub at 149 Duke Street, while the 1871 census records him as a Spirit Dealer of Boyd Street, Largs in Ayrshire with his widowed mother Janet and two of his sister Margaret's children.

Agnes McCulloch (b1827, Glasgow)

no marriage found

John McCulloch

John (1829 - 1882) worked for his elderly widowed grandfather and inherited Woodend farm after his death.

He married,

Jane Johnston (b 1826, New Monkland, Lanarkshire) daughter of farmer James Johnston.

Their children were

John McCulloch (b 1855, New Monkland, Lanarkshire)

Marion McCulloch (b 1857, New Monkland, Lanarkshire)

Alexander McCulloch (b1833, Glasgow)

occupation: bricklayer's apprentice

no marriage found

George McCulloch (b1835, Glasgow)

occupation: bricklayer's apprentice

no marriage found

Margaret McCulloch (b 1837, Glasgow, d abt 1883)

occupation: wife

married 1857, Glasgow

James Wright (b 1838 d bef 1875) son of John Wright, road contractor and spirits dealer.

Their children were,

Janet Kerr Wright (b 1859,  d 1875 Glasgow)

Marion Warden Wright (b 1861, d 1949 Glasgow)

John Wright (b 1864, Glasgow)

After her first husband's death, Margaret married, second, in 1875, widower Robert Montgomery (abt 1818 - 1893) a carter and Spirit Merchant. We think they took over running The Auld Gushet Hoose pub in Duke Street from Margaret's eldest brother James McCulloch.

The 1881 Scottish census records the couple living at 91 Golf Hill Terrace.

Although Margaret died at Glasgow about 1883, at the early age of 46, the Montogomery family continued to run The Auld Gushet Hoose for many years.

Margaret's daughter Marion Warden Wright married at Glasgow in 1880, draper David Melville Ross (1859 - 1908) the son of a book-binder. They had four children, Margaret McCulloch, James, Melville Warden and Barbara Ross. Marion died at 103 Balshagray Avenue, Partick in 1949.

Melville Warden Ross became a sea captain in the merchant service frequently travelling between the US and UK. He was born at Falkirk, Stirling in 1887 and died at 380 Riverside Drive New York in 1952, leaving a widow Lucille.

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