The McCullochs in Ireland (part 3) – The children of William of Piedmont

Fourth generation of McCullochs born in Ireland


1. James McCulloch (c1719-1774)

This was the eldest son of William McCulloch of Piedmont, who I wrote about in my last post. It was James who in 1767 wrote out the genealogy of his grandfather that was copied and preserved by James Iredell. (See my post on the Lairds of Myrton.)

He was known as James of Piedmont when in 1745, shortly after his father’s death, he was named as an executor of his uncle James’ will.

In the previous year, James had to start to sort out the financial mess left behind by his father. The trustees were supposed to have held the lands in the marriage contract and an additional sum of £1600 to ensure that if William died first, Dorothy would receive an income of £70pa and there would be money to support the younger children. But William had had other ideas. He used the money to speculate further and borrowed heavily. In deed 117-90-79755 it states that James needed to raise £4000 to pay the debts and another £1000 to honour the bequests to his younger siblings. His mother had to agree to forgo her claim to her annuity.

Now that the lands were freed of his mother’s claim, James was able to borrow £2000 against them from James Ross, a merchant of Belfast. Within a year Ross had won a judgment against James, who had to borrow another £2000 off Rev Hugh Hill against his lands in Armagh. (To do that he had to get Ross to agree that the land in Antrim was sufficient surety for his £2000.) (RoD 116-341-80724) Things were going very badly. In 1748 Ross sold the debt onto Henry Mitchell of Dublin, with James agreeing to pay 5.5% pa on the £2000. (RoD 132-240-89123)

James relocated to Camoley in Armagh and the family lands in Antrim are not mentioned again. I think James probably defaulted on the loan and Mitchell claimed them as his right.

A couple of times, in 1752 and 1770, James tried to lease out over 700 acres of land he had inherited on the north Antrim coast east of Ballycastle using his brother-in-law Dr John McCulloch as an agent. It was described as the townland of Ballyicon. There is no such townland now, but it comprised Drumnakeel and other lands.

Further evidence of land speculation by William of Piedmont comes in a 1763 deed (RoD 224-600-148698) in which James and his brother, as executors of their father’s will, sell the remaining terms of leases in a dozen townlands around and including Templepatrick to Nehemiah Donnellan, the Governor of Carrickfergus. Templepatrick was the location of Castle Upton, the birthplace of William’s mother-in-law Margaret Upton, and the sale was made ‘with the consent and approbation of’ Hercules Langford Rowley and Arthur Upton, her nephews. Nehemiah’s wife and Arthur were both children of Margaret’s twin brother Lt Col John Upton who had inherited the castle.

The surprising thing about this deed is that these exact townlands appeared in a famous advert only five years later. Arthur Upton died in 1768 and was succeeded at Castle Upton by his brother Clotworthy Upton. Within months, Clotworthy, who lived in England, decided he could squeeze more money out of the tenant farmers and advertised all the farms on these townlands for competitive auction, thus dispossessing many families who had been there for generations. This rent-racking by the absentee landlord prompted the start of the Hearts of Steel movement across Ulster. (At least this is the way history tells us it happened. In actual fact, Arthur Upton had issued an identical advert shortly before his death.) But why were the Uptons advertising the leases if the townlands were owned by Nehemiah Donnellan? Had he sold the land back to the them or were they still in control of the tenancies anyway? Is that why the sale had to be made with their ‘consent and approbation’?

Belfast Newsletter, January 1769


(The agent Edward Southwell had married Clotworthy’s niece, Sophia Campbell. He later inherited an ancient title from a great-aunt and became the 20th Baron de Clifford. Clotworthy was created 1st Baron Templetown and his son was further ennobled as a Viscount. As the fortunes of the McCullochs faded, the descendants of their grandmother’s twin were becoming aristocrats. Hercules’ wife was another niece of Margaret Upton and she was made Viscountess Langford. Their granddaughter’s husband became the Duke of Wellington.)

Although the lands in Antrim were gone for good, James still had over 1000 acres in the Barony of Fews, Co Armagh. In 1754 he started a market at Cullaville, which is almost at the southernmost point of the border between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland.

Belfast Newsletter

He died unmarried in 1774. He had still not paid the younger children what they were left in their father’s will.

Belfast Newsletter 20 September 1774


2. William McCulloch (1721-1799)

As William of Duneane he witnessed the deed in which his mother renounced her claim on the lands in her marriage contract in 1744.

In the same year he inherited the business of his uncle James McCulloh and thereafter lived in Kilmore near Dublin. On 29 March 1748 he married Alice Coleman, a niece of Charles Macartney and Eleanor Macartney Iredell (who was a witness). The other witnesses were his brother James and his cousin Margaret who was to marry Eleanor’s son a couple of years later (RoD 133-80-89317).

In 1755, William took over a mortgage from Hans Fairlie of Edenterrory, Co Down and his (half-)sister Elinor, the wife of Ezekiel Bullock, paying them the £300 plus interest they were owed by Samuel Campbell of Lurgan. (RoD 172-421-117183). I believe that Elinor was the granddaughter mentioned in the will of William’s great-uncle Henry McCulloch of Feehogue. (See part 1)

William’s brother-in-law, my 6xgreat grandfather Dr John McCulloch, tried for nearly 50 years to claim the £350 that should have been inherited (at first by his wife, and then after her death, by his children) from the will of William of Piedmont, as well as £100 meant for the doctor himself.

In 1754 William the younger agreed with his tenant Josias Erwin that the rent of £2 19s pa that was payable on a tenement on Antrim High Street and a field nearby called Cotter’s Field belonged to the doctor (RoD 167-114-111534). It would have taken over a century for that to pay off what was owed.

My ancestor W.D.Barbour (1832-1903) appears to have seen a letter from William to his brother-in-law Dr John McCulloch. He wrote in his Ancestral Tables:

“Wm McCulloch (Dates from Dublin in 1781). Calls himself old in 1781. Speaks of his son & daughters (seemingly resident with him) in 1781. He writes as a Landowner but speaks of himself as in ‘difficulties’. Said to have been addicted to drink.”

Barbour writes of James McCulloch:

“Referred to as a good while dead in 1781. His brothers Jno & Wm seem to have had the arrangement of his affairs.”

(Understandably he had mistaken the brother-in-law Dr John McCulloch for a brother.)

This correspondence must have related to a deed drawn up in 1779 but registered in 1781 in which Dorothy Beresford Shaw, William of Piedmont’s widow who must have been in her eighties, and Dr John’s children agreed to accept an undisclosed sum in return for renouncing any further claim on the estate of James of Camoley (RoD 336-580-526444). However much they received, it did not satisfy the doctor who even in his last will and testament of 1787 still demanded the £350 for his children (RoD 394-413-260785).

Finally, on 8 June 1795, the doctor’s executor Robert Young was paid £493 6s 9d and released his claim on the coastal lands at Ballyicon east of Ballycastle (PRONI 509/924). It had taken over 50 years for the brothers to pay out the modest inheritance of their sister and brother-in-law. By that time, Margaret, John and several of their children were long dead.

William himself died in 1799. He had three children.

  • William McCulloch died young
  • Ann McCulloch died a spinster in Dublin in 1797
  • Dorothy Beresford Upton Shaw McCulloch married John Reed in 1800 when she was already 42. On her death in 1832, there were no more McCullochs in Ireland in the male line from James of Grogan, but the lands they held in Co Armagh passed to a descendant of Dr McCulloch who married Margaret the daughter of William of Piedmont.
Belfast Newsletter, 1832


3. Henry McCulloch (c1723-1755)

The youngest son of William of Piedmont was appointed Secretary of the Province of North Carolina in 1754 before dying there the following year (NCpedia). He and his wife Mary had six daughters who were baptised in London before they emigrated.

  • Jane Letitia (died in infancy)
  • Letitia Alice (died in infancy)
  • Henrietta Mary who married Mark Brownrigg
  • Dorothy Beresford who married Jordan White
  • Elizabeth Margaret married Capt Joseph Meredith
  • Penelope Martha who married Job Parker

The last four were named in his will. By 1784 only Betsey and Dolly were still alive and Capt Meredith was still battling to claim their inheritance from the will of William of Piedmont.

All the rights to the money due [Henry’s daughters] in Ireland are now vested in Capt Meredith, his wife having purchased them before marriage, except Job Parker’s share who married Poppy, if that entitled him to a part…I believe Capt Meredith is now going to endeavor to receive this money in Ireland himself

James Iredell to Henry Eustace McCulloch, 1784 quoted in Henry McCulloh and Son Henry Eustace McCulloh (Dunaway, 2014)

4. Margaret McCulloch

As I mentioned before, the only daughter named in the 1743 will of William of Piedmont was Margaret who by then was already married to Dr John McCulloch with a son William.

John and Margaret were my 6xgreat grandparents. I don’t know how (or if) he was related. According to the Ulster Directory of Doctors, Dr John McCulloch’s death was announced in the Belfast Newsletter on 4 May 1787. It says he was born in 1706/7 which is presumably calculated from his age given in the death notice, but unfortunately that copy of the Newsletter is not available on Ancestry.com so I can’t check. The Directory of Doctors says he was also a Brewer, but I think the brewing kettle mentioned in his will was used for making medicine not alcohol.

It seems unlikely that he could be the eldest son of Henry of Feehogue (who was married by 1685) and impossible that he was the witness at the 1718 wedding of his wife’s parents. Perhaps he was a son of the John buried at Randalstown in 1720. He was certainly a good deal older than his wife.

W.D.Barbour’s Ancestral Tables say about Dr McCulloch:

Resided in Antrim in 1781. Old in 1781. Appears to have been in good comfortable circumstances. Aunt Bruce heard that Dr McCulloch had been in the Army as a Doctor.

Issue Dorothy who married Dr Jno Morton who had been Apprentice to her father, though she was much older than he. His parents resided in Ballymena. Dr M speaks of his wife & children in 1781 & of Dolly having frequent returns of spitting of blood. Mrs M died young, her eldest daughter being quite young at the time.


It’s not clear which Mrs M he means, but both the first Mrs McCulloch and Mrs Morton died young.

The doctor does not feature in many of the deeds in the Dublin Registry of Deeds, other than the two dealing with his brother-in-law William in 1754 (RoD 167-114-111534) and 1779 (RoD 336-580-526444) and his will (RoD 394-413-260785) written within a couple of weeks of his death. He was a landowner, but only in a small way. His will mentions the townlands of Clonboy and Ballylurgan, both near Randalstown. As they were owned at one point by his father-in-law, it would seem he was given them at the time of his marriage.

Although he described himself as a ‘Surgeon & Apothecary’ in his will, for most of his life he was only an Apothecary which was more like a chemist than a doctor. He wasn’t trained as a Surgeon, like his two sons, and certainly not as a Physician like James McCulloh’s father-in-law, Dr Victor Ferguson. However, in a small town he no doubt fulfilled some of the responsibilities of the higher medical ranks.

Dr John McCulloch featured regularly in the pages of the Belfast Newsletter. He lived and practised in a largish house in the centre of Antrim town at the end of the Massereene Bridge (pictured below) leased to him by Lord Massereene on 13 September 1753. This was evidently a convenient place for people to use as a contact point and in adverts for land potential purchasers are often directed to him. As well as his brothers-in-law who no longer lived in Co Antrim, other people with land to sell who used him as a sort of estate agent included Kennedy Henderson (probably the son of Rev John Henderson, the minister at Duneane) in 1760 (selling land at Moneyrod near Piedmont), his son Dr Henry McCulloch in Ballymena in 1773 and various unidentified sellers.

Belfast Newsletter 1752

One interesting case involved the sale of the townland of Ballynickle in Co Down which was bequeathed in the 1722 will of John Young to his son. In 1752 it was advertised for sale by a Miss Young, presumably a granddaughter, with Dr McCulloch accepting offers on her behalf. However, the following year the townland was included in the marriage settlement of David McCulloch of Antrim Town and Jane Young (RoD 159-133-106276). James of Camoley was the trustee which suggests strongly that David was a relation. In 1755 there are deeds where David and Jane along with a Margaret Lorimer release the townland to two of the farmers in the above advert (RoD 179-73-118918 & 118921), but by 1762 the lands were advertised for sale again ‘for payments of debts pursuant in decrees of His Majesty’s Exchequer in Ireland’, proposals to Mr (Ezekiel) Bullock in Dublin and Doctor McCullogh in Antrim. David McCulloch was heard of no more.

The principal residents of Antrim Town, including John & David McCulloch and the doctor’s tenant James Irwin.
Belfast Newsletter 1756

The children of John and Margaret, all mentioned in the 1781 deed mentioned above, were

  • Dr William McCulloch (1738/9-1811) whose only son was John Shaw McCulloch. He started his career as a doctor by 1769 when he was offering his services inoculating patients against smallpox using the Suttonian method. He achieved notoriety when he briefly owned Ballygally Castle between 1786 and 1790. (See my earlier post.) He died at Ballymena on 22 July 1811.

Belfast Newsletter
  • Dr Henry McCulloch died between 1781 and 1787 leaving two daughters Margaret and Jane
  • Dorothy Beresford McCulloch married Dr John Morton (1749-1826), my ancestors. They had four daughters, Margaret, Jane, Dorothy & Letitia
  • Jane McCulloch married Dr Joseph Walker who announced in the Belfast Newsletter in 1779 that he was setting up his practice in Newtownards.
  • Victoria McCulloch married a Mr Jackson between 1781 & 1788
Belfast Newsletter

Dr John McCulloch’s second wife was Margaret Shaw, the sister of John Shaw of Ballygally. Her aunt Mrs Nixon came to live with them in Antrim. Mrs Nixon died in 1789. According to legend, she died at Ballygally and her ghost knocks on doors there, so perhaps she moved back there while Dr William lived there.

The only McCulloch grandson, John Shaw McCulloch, became Postmaster at Drogheda. He had three daughters (one the mother of Baron Atkinson) and his eldest son died in 1846 aged 11. I have only found one other son, Latham Blacker McCulloch who followed his grandfather into the medical profession. He married but died in Wales without children so, as far as I can tell, that was the end of the McCullochs in Ireland descended from the last Laird of Myrton.

I believe this to be the house in Antrim High Street leased to Dr McCulloch. The right half was inherited by Dr Morton and the left half was sold to Henry Cuddy by John Shaw McCulloch and his father in 1805. The part behind, leading to the Massereene Bridge, was occupied by a solicitor called William Malone.
In 1817 John Shaw McCulloch sued John Morton and Henry Cuddy, presumably claiming ownership of the house now Dr Morton was widowed. He lost and the people of Antrim celebrated by burning his effigy in the street. The crossed out names are other beneficiaries of Dr McCulloch’s 1787 will.

The McCullochs in Ireland (part 2): James of Grogan & William of Piedmont

Second generation (continued)

2. James McCulloch of Grogan (d 1725)

This is the man whose ancestry back to the McCullochs of Myrton was detailed in the document copied by James Iredell (see my earlier post). Grogan is about 3 miles north of Randalstown (where 91 would be on the above map).

James’ father left him nothing in his 1681 will, saying “I have formerly provided for my son James by disposition in his portion.” This was probably in a marriage settlement. 

A deed of 1712 (Dublin Registry of Deeds 10-133-3227) cites a 1690 agreement where Rose O’Neill, Marchioness of Antrim, put in trust a long list of around 150 townlands in Antrim for the use of John O’Neill, Edmund Stafford and James McCulloch for 41 years after her death, which occurred in 1695.

A deed of 1744 (RoD 117-90-79755) cites a deed of 1706 where the owners of Shane’s Castle (Charles O’Neill, his cousin & heir French John O’Neill, and John’s wife Charity) gave a lease of three lives to James of seven of the above townlands in the barony of Toome, Co Antrim (including Grogan, Moneyrod, etc) and some more townlands in the barony of Fews, Co Armagh (including Rackland, Camoley and other townlands). I think it probable that James was already in possession of this land and this was just a case of putting things in order. The Marchioness died in 1695 but her estate was not administered until 1707. (See Betham’s pedigree of the O’Neills.)

In 1708 French John O’Neill and the brothers Henry & James McCulloch were appointed as Trustees by Act of Parliament to sell the eight townlands of Mayola to Joshua Dawson MP for £6500. Dawson founded the town now known as Castledawson there (RoD 1-112-66).

James married twice. According to Iredell, 

“James McCulloch of Grogan Esqr had one among many other Children by a first Wife a Daughter married to [blank] McCulloch of a Scotsman, who had i∫sue Alexandr McCulloch of Halifax County in North Carolina Esqr”

This is the single line explored by W.J.McCulloch in his book A History of the Galloway Families of McCulloch. The descendants include the McCullochs who were friends of Davy Crockett. I know nothing further of the first wife except to say that James mentioned a brother-in-law Alexander McAula in his will who may have been her brother.

The second wife of James was Jennet Houston, the sister-in-law of his brother Henry and the youngest daughter of William Houston of Craigs and his second wife Margaret Shaw. Together they had three sons – William, James and Henry. Iredell mentions one daughter, Margaret, who married Charles Macartney, one of the family of famous Belfast merchants. It would seem that the other daughters mentioned in James’ will – Letitia, Mary, Alice & Mrs William Stewart – were children by the first wife.

James died in 1725.

My old friend Mr. James M’Cullough, died at Grogan, the 19th of July 1725, and was buried in Old Drumall

Memorandum of French John O’Neill

23 July 1725 Mr McCologh, in Ronaldstown, pr James McClure

Funeral Register of the First Presbyterian Church of Belfast

Third generation

Along with the five daughters mentioned above, James McCulloch of Grogan had three sons.

  1. WILLIAM of whom, as they say, hereafter.
  2. James (d 1745) used the spelling McCulloh and tended to call himself Captain, although I don’t believe he was in the military. As James of Grogan in 1717 he witnessed the marriage of his cousin John Houston of Drumack (RoD 22-353-12260). James himself married Mary Ferguson, the daughter of Dr Victor Ferguson. James was a wine merchant in Belfast initially as James McCulloh & Co, and then as McCulloh-Craford-Arbuckle & Co (RoD 49-284-31992). The funerals of three of his children are recorded in the funeral register of the First Presbyterian Church in Belfast in 1721, 1723 and 1726. There were two surviving daughters:
  • Jane never married.
  • Margaret married Francis Iredell. Charles Macartney’s sister Eleanor had married Rev Francis Iredell (d 1739) who is profiled in Historical and Literal Memorials of Presbyterians in Ireland (Witherow, 1879). Their son Francis married Margaret McCulloch and it was their son James Iredell (1751-1799) who copied the genealogy of James of Grogan. He emigrated to North Carolina and became one of the first Supreme Court Justices. His son, also James, became Governor of North Carolina.
18th century map showing Marsham Street west of St John’s Churchyard (now Smith Square)

In the late 1720s James was in London where he is referred to as ‘one of the gentlemen of His Majesty’s Privy Chamber’ in a complicated land transaction involving Lord Shelburne (RoD 67-472-46824). He took a house in Marsham St and may have stayed longer than intended, because it is reported here that he was accused of passing an uncreditworthy bond by Samuel Richardson, the famous printer and novelist, and prevented from leaving England with a ne exeat regno. Although he was survived by his wife Mary Ferguson, it’s hard to avoid the conclusion that it was he who christened a son James at St John’s Smith Square in 1732 with a ‘wife’ called Ann.

Baptim Register of St John the Evangelist, Westminster, 1732

The land deal was still grinding on in 1735 (RoD 79-281-55832) by which time he had moved to Dublin, where he was living at the time of his death in 1744. Although he would come to have many descendants through the Iredells, Captain James McCulloh chose to leave the residue of his estate to his nephew William in his will of 1744 (RoD 116-414-81200).

  1. Henry (d 1779) also spelled his name McCulloh and is the most famous historical figure in the family. He moved to Westminster by the mid-1720s. He was already there in 1726 when he loaned his brother £777 against his shares in his wine businesses (RoD 49-284-31992). He became involved in settling the new province of North Carolina and became the largest land speculator in the project. You can read all about him in the NCpedia or in Stewart Dunaway’s detailed book Henry McCulloh and his son Henry Eustace McCulloh.
  • His son James by his first marriage died young in 1749, but left a son, also James, who had many descendants in the US. 
  • Another son, Henry Eustace McCulloh (also in the NCpedia), was legitimised when Henry married the mother Penelope Eustace in London in 1749. Henry Eustace McCulloh married Udall West but had no legitimate issue, just an illegitimate son George McCulloh whom he left behind in the US to be brought up by James Iredell. The family had lost all their land in the US – over a million acres – as a result of the American Revolution.
  • A daughter Penelope died young.
Map showing the location of Paymount. By 1777 it was owned by the O’Neills again.

WILLIAM, the heir of James McCulloch of Grogan, inherited all the lands in Antrim and Armagh. 

He was mentioned in the will of his grandmother Margaret Houston (née Shaw).

As William McCulloch of Grogan, he co-executed the will of his cousin Patrick Shaw of Brittas in 1715. (Patrick was doubly related as his parents were Margaret’s brother and stepdaughter.) Patrick mentioned his brother John Shaw of Bush in the will (RoD 15-39-6698).

In 1718, William married Dorothy Beresford Shaw of Ballygally. Their tripartite marriage settlement survives in the Registry of Deeds (RoD 36-491-23759). The parties are (1) William and his father (2) Patrick Agnew of Kilwaughter, Clotworthy Upton, John Shaw of Bush, John Shaw of Antrim town (3) Dorothy and her widowed mother Margaret Shaw (née Upton). The people in part (2) were all senior relatives of the happy couple who were to act as trustees to ensure there were sufficient funds to support the bride if she should outlive her husband. (They didn’t do a very good job!) Clotworthy was Dorothy’s eldest maternal uncle, Patrick was married to William’s maternal aunt and John Shaw of Bush was the eldest surviving son of another maternal aunt. It’s less certain who John Shaw of Antrim is, but surely there must have been someone representing Dorothy’s deceased father? I suggest he was probably Dorothy’s paternal uncle. One of the witnesses was John McCulloch, gent of Randalstown. This was probably James McCulloch’s younger brother, but could have been Henry McCulloch’s eldest son.

The lands put in trust in the marriage settlement were the same ones leased to James McCulloch in 1706 – in Barony of Fewes, Co Armagh over 1000 acres: Rackland-23a 14p Crewkyrer-205a 2r 38p Lissary als Lisswary-80a Cornecery-71a Carricanony-109a Mongeleagh-86a Glassdrumenagh-86a 2r 12p Camlagh [357a 2r 34p] Tullyvallon; in Barony of Toome, Co Antrim over 2500 acres: Ballygrogan Ballydunmall Ballylenulla Monyrod Ballydonnellan Outragh & 1/2 townland of Clonkeen with corn mill & mills standing in Derryhullagh & Balymatoskerty with grist mill.

But the prospect of owning all that land did not satisfy William. In 1722, perhaps impatient to be a landowner while his father was still alive, he paid Henry Stafford the enormous sum of £2118 for a townland called Ballyicon on the northeast coast east of Ballycastle (RoD 35-114-21307). The sale went through rather too hastily because the following year it emerged that some of the properties on the land were mortgaged to someone else (RoD 38-156-23760).

In 1728, William was living in Antrim town when he witnessed a house purchase by Cornelius Crymble, who had married a Houston cousin (RoD 58-64-38594).

On 12 June 1729, William McCulloch of Antrim, Co Antrim Esq was party to the marriage contract of David Crawford, merchant of Belfast, and Mary Hamilton (RoD 62-90-42015). David was also known as Craford and owned Florida Manor in Co Down. I believe he was the Craford in McCulloh-Craford-Arbuckle & Co, because when he died in 1734, his heiress was his niece Mrs Ann Arbuckle. Mary went on to remarry to the Rev Andrew Nixon. She is the Mrs Nixon lodging in Antrim with Dr McCulloch in his 1788 will, and the Madam Nixon who was the first reported ghost at Ballygally Castle.

Already by this time William was building a new country home because in another deed signed in June 1728 he is already designated William McCulloch of Piedmont, as he was known thereafter. He settled near Duneane Church in the townland of Ballylenully and built a home there, now known as Paymount House. 

In that deed he was an executor of the will of his cousin John Shaw of Ballytweedy (formerly of Bush) (RoD 60-160-40331) along with John’s brother Thomas and James Crawford of Ballysavage, who had married William’s cousin Margaret Agnew. In 1736 William was a trustee of James’s will too.

In 1734, along with his mother and William Stewart of Cloghog, William sold the following lands to Joseph Innes. Moneyglass, Ballydugenon, Gallagh, Toom with Ferry, Tullaghmore Mununick in manor Mullaghan, bar. Toome, co Antrim. Lisnenevena Ballymonistra Magherabegg Trasnaitra Hillbroda in Camgreny. Clonboy Dankilbegs Lenagh East Tanhaghmore Drumkeeren Orbellshenny Kilgany Creanery Ballylurgan in Manor Edenduffcarrick, bar Toom, co Antrim. Also 4 towns of Magherahoghill, co Antrim (RoD 78-250-55215)

One might wonder where these lands came from. The first four were leased to his grandfather in 1667. They were probably included in his father’s marriage settlement (necessitating his mother’s agreement to the sale). Maybe the others were too, but William had also gone on a reckless bout of land acquisition which was to cause his sons financial embarrassment after his death.

In 1739 William was visited by Edward McCulloch of Ardwall ‘at the toun of Antrim as to the settlement of a great debt on the estate of Kerse’ and was described as ‘a man of honour and of an opulent estate’ (A History of the Galloway Families of McCulloch).

He made his will on 7 November 1743 and it was proved on 29 December. He mentioned four children. To make things confusing for genealogists, these four children had the same names as and similar outcomes to William and his siblings.

  • James McCulloch had no male heirs.
  • William McCulloch was (eventually) the heir and had children.
  • Henry McCulloch went to the USA.
  • Margaret McCulloch

I will look at this Fourth Generation in my next post.

The other William McCulloch

Another William McCulloch, a tailor, appears several times in the Funeral Register of the First Presbyterian Church of Belfast during the same period.

  • 17/7/1723 child of william McColloah, tealowar
  • 25/1/1725-6 child of william McCologh, Telear
  • 11/12/1726 child of william McCologh, Tayloar
  • 6/4/1728 child of William mcCologh, Taylor
  • 29/11/1731 wido ffife, Pr William mcCullogh, Taylor
  • 12/12/1735 William mcCullogh, Taylor

This man buried four children in the 1720s and probably his mother-in-law in 1731 before dying himself in 1735.

This can’t be William of Piedmont. Even if the landed gentleman did have a side hustle as a Tailor, he would certainly have qualified for the honorofic Mr or Esq in the register. This other William might not be related at all, but it’s at least possible that he was a son of John McCulloch, the youngest son of William of Randalstown (see the previous post). In the early 1700s it was almost certain that an eldest son would be named after his paternal grandfather.

The only other ‘McCulloch’ entry in the Funeral Register of the First Presbyterian Church of Belfast which covers the period from 1712 to 1736 is this one:

  • 5/3/1732 mrs mcCullogh at Shaes bridg, Pr mr Dauid Craford, in Town

Here the honorofic ‘mrs’ indicates someone from the gentry, not necessarily a married lady. David Craford wasn’t one of the Belfast merchants who regularly organised funerals for gentry outside the congregation – in fact the only two other ones he’s connected with are his parents. I think this is probably the funeral of one of the unmarried daughters of James of Grogan. Her brother James McCulloh could not have dealt with the arrangements with the Belfast Church himself because he was not allowed to leave London at that time, so could have asked his business partner to make the arrangements.

The McCullochs in Ireland

Although the Lairds of Myrton were undoubtedly the senior line of the McCulloch clan in Galloway, there was another branch of McCullochs that had more land and a bigger castle. The legend of how a McCulloch son acquired them from the Cardoness family is described in The Hereditary Sheriffs of Galloway (Agnew, 1893).


It should have been a moment of celebration when in around 1584 William McCulloch, Laird of Myrton, married Marie McCulloch, the heiress who owned Cardoness Castle (pictured above) to unite the families. Unfortunately, the Cardoness estates had been repeatedly encumbered by debts, partly because they had been inherited by minors several times, and from that moment on, the McCullochs’ finances ran out of control. In the end, the Laird and his son Alexander defaulted on a ‘wadset’ (a kind of mortgage) and were ‘put to the horn’, which sounds painful but means they were declared outlaws.

The lands of Myrton were eventually acquired by William’s son-in-law John McCulloch of Ardwell. Although the Laird and his son believed themselves to have been defrauded and continued to try to regain their inheritance from their exile in Ireland, they never succeeded and the family faded into obscurity there.

In this post I will try to follow the McCullochs into Ireland. It can get a touch confusing because all the males I have traced over the following 150 years were called William, James, Henry or John. The surname is spelled in different ways in some 17th century records. In the 18th century the family consistently used the spelling McCulloch, although McCullock and McCulloh also appear (and other people often misspelt their name). I believe that if you see McCullagh or McCullough, it is probably a different family.

1st Generation

Alexander died in 1643 and he was succeeded by his eldest son, William. The family had been helped in Ireland by the O’Neills of Clandeboye who gave them land in the barony of Toome in Co Antrim, the area immediately north of Lough Neagh. Wm Mc Collogh can be seen in the area in the 1653 List of Presbyterian landowners to be removed from Ulster, and William MaColloch (gent) is named as a titulado in the 1659/60 Census of Ireland. He can also be found in the Hearth Rolls in Fighog (now Feehogue) in 1666 and 1669.

There are other McCullochs nearby. The 1666 Roll has Jennett McCullogh which is probably William’s mother Janet Kennedy. She does not feature in 1669 which suggest she died in the intervening period. In 1669 there are John McColloghs at both Feehogue and Grogan, possibly a brother and a cousin. Perhaps one of them occupied Janet’s house.

There are a couple of deeds in PRONI from 1667. On 15 October 1667:

Surrender by Teige O’Hara of Creggbilly, Co. Antrim and Catherine his wife, to William McCullagh of Randalstown, Co Antrim of a Rent Charge of £P250 secured on the lands of Dunluce.

PRONI D2977/5/1/2/63

And a few days later on 21 October 1667:

Lease, Randal Marquess of Antrim, to William Lasly, Dunluce, Co. Antrim and William McCullagh Esq., Randalstown, Co. Antrim, of the quarterlands of Ballymagarry, Cullenagar [?], Urbalreagh, Islandfin [?], Islandbredagh [?] and Ballymultich [?], in the barony of Dunluce, and half the townland of Tome [Toome] (with the ferry) and the quarterlands of Muneglass Gallagh [Moneyglass] and Ballydugenan [Ballydugennan] in the barony of Toome, Co. Antrim, for 41 years. Consideration £200. Rent £15 for lands in barony of Dunluce and £1 for those in Toome.

PRONI D2977/3A/1/10/1

William married an English lady called Susanna Blundell, probably a granddaughter of the politician Sir Francis Blundell (1579-1625). Susanna survived her husband and executed his will (dated 6 December 1681 and proved 8 April 1682) which survives in PRONI. He mentions his sons Henry, James and John and daughters Mary (who was about to marry an O’Hara of Crebilly) and Rose (a minor).

William bequeathed to his cousin (which might mean nephew) John McCulloch the dwelling house he occupied and asked him to advise Henry, James and Susanna. He may have been the closest relative. On 20 April 1682, shortly after the probate of William’s will, Randal, Marquess of Antrim leased to John McCulloch, Gent., of Grogan, Co. Antrim, the townland of Ballylosk containing the 4 quarterlands of Carrowkell [Carrowcrin?], Carrowcloghan [Carracloghy?], Tallybane [Tullybane] and Carnaboy [?] for 41 years. Fine £250. Yearly rent £2.4s.0d. (PRONI D2977/3A/3/1/40) These are much further north, near the Giant’s Causeway.

Betham’s will abstract


Second generation


1. Henry McCulloch of Feehogue (see below)

2. James McCulloch of Grogan (see next post)

3. John McCulloch. This is probably the John McCulloch of Teffog(?) who witnessed the marriage of John Houston of Drummack and Martha Gage in 1717 (RoD 22-353-12260) and the John McCulloch of Randalstown who witnessed the marriage of William McCulloch and Dorothy Beresford Shaw in 1718 (RoD 36-491-23759). His funeral was recorded in the register of the First Presbyterian Church of Belfast as

July 1 1720 Mr. mcCuloah, in ronels, Esqr., pr Mr. Brise blear

4. Mary McCulloch, mentioned in her father’s will, is left £100, but she is not to receive it until Charles O’Hara has secured the future of her and any children she might have. This has been interpreted as meaning she was about to marry Charles, but in fact letters in PRONI make it clear that the marriage was to Owen O’Hara (d 1698).

The papers relating to Crebilly [were] in the hands of my cousin Owen O’Hara at the time of his death and consequently [are] now in Mr Henry McCullough’s custody, brother to Owen’s widow and agent for the Roes…

Elinor O’Hara to Keane O’Hara (29 Dec 1698)

Mary died some time before 1737 when her sons Hugh and Con sold the townland of Slatt (Slaght near Ballymena) where she had lived to her nephew James Stewart of Cloghog (RoD 87-328-61901).

5. Rose was a minor at the time of her father’s death. I know no more of her.

  1. Henry McCulloch of Feehogue

Henry appears to be William’s eldest son because he is named co-executor in the will along with his mother, and received William’s freehold lands in the barony of Toome. William also expressed the wish that the lands he held from the Marchioness of Antrim both in Toome and the Plantation of Londonderry be leased afresh to Henry. The main town in Toome had been renamed Randalstown in 1667 when the O’Neill heiress Rose O’Neill married Randall, the 1st (and only) Marquess of Antrim.

Henry was already married to Helen Houston by the time her father William Houston of Craigs made his will in 1685. Her mother was Margaret Shaw, a daughter of William Shaw of Ballybentro. In Henry’s will Helen was given an allowance from the lands he had inherited in Toome – Fewghoge, Aghaboy, Drumminnimy, Mackilravan, Straid and the two mills of Aghaboy and Straid – with provision that it should be taken from his lands in Londonderry – Ballyarton, Littermuck, Cloggan, and Tamnearan – if she should outlive the lease on the former lands. These latter lands were leased from Clotworthy Upton and his mother Dorothy in 1707 (PRONI D1118/3/7/3), but they were the lands his father had held from the Marchioness of Antrim and this was just a case of obtaining a new lease on lands he already held. Rose O’Neill, Marchioness of Antrim, died in 1695 but her affairs were not administered until 1707. (See Betham’s pedigree of the O’Neills.)

In 1708 French John O’Neill and the brothers Henry & James McCulloch were appointed as Trustees by Act of Parliament to sell the eight townlands of Mayola to Joshua Dawson MP for £6500. Dawson founded the town now known as Castledawson there (RoD 1-112-66).

Henry died on 16 Jan 1728/9 and was buried in Randalstown on the 18th. Helen died five years later.

“My old school fellow and comrade, Henry M’Culloch, Esq, died the 16th January 1728 and was buried in Old Drumall.”

(Memorandum of French John O’Neill, owner of Shane’s Castle)

18 Jan 1728/29 Capt McCologh in Ronaldstoun per Mr James McClure Merchent
3 Jul 1734 Mother of Mr Hendrie McCullogh in Ronoldstown, per Mr McClure

(Funeral Register of the First Presbyterian Church of Belfast)

Their children were

a) John McCulloch, the eldest son, who received Ballygrooby, and a small part of Feehogue from the lands in Antrim in the will of his father. He also received the townlands of Drumard and Drumhubbert in Tyrone but sold them within a year to a John Walkinshaw (RoD 59-330-40753). These lands were in the Manor of Castlestewart, the residence of Henry’s brother-in-law John Houston, which makes me think they came from the Houston side of the family. John McCulloch is described as ‘went abroad’ in the document at the bottom of this post. He may have emigrated to the USA. If he has any McCulloch descendants, then one might claim to be the chief of the McCulloch clan.

b) HENRY, of whom hereafter

c) Martha McCulloch received £300 in her father’s will. If she was to die before marrying, her share was to go to granddaughters Helen Harvey, Martha Harvey and Helen Fairlie.

d) Rose McCulloch married John Harvey in 1715 (RoD 23-549-14393) but may have predeceased Henry.

e) At least one other daughter married to a Mr Fairlie. I suspect this was William Fairlie of Lisnatrunk, Co Down whose daughter Elinor (or Helen) was born in 1720 and married Ezekiel Bullock.

12 July 1728 Wife of mr William ffarlie, at Lisburn, Living in Lesnetronk, Pr mr James mcClure, marChant

(Funeral Register of the First Presbyterian Church of Belfast)

HENRY McCulloch of Ballyarton (d 1771), the second son, received all his father’s other lands, including those in Antrim on which the lease was nearly expired. He was an elder in the Presbytery of Antrim and attended the General Synod in 1732, 1733 & 1737. In 1730 he married Ann Crawford (RoD 87-423-62439). The marriage settlement included Ballyarton and the other land in Londonderry, but only half the townland of Feehogue out of the lands in Antrim. The lease seems to have run out on those lands in 1750.

Belfast Newsletter

They settled on the lands in Londonderry and had three daughters.

i) Jane, the eldest daughter, never married and was still living at Ballyarton by the time this map was made in 1777.

ii) Ann, the second daughter, who married in 1759 Robert Alexander, the nephew of the Earl of Caledon (RoD 200-373-133537). The lands of Littermuck, Cloggan, and Tamnearan were included in the marriage settlement. Their many descendants are listed in Burke’s Landed Gentry.

iii) Dorothy Beresford, the youngest daughter, who in 1762 married James McClintock (RoD 243-7-155769). Once again, Henry put a charge on his lands to provide for his daughter. The descendants of the marriage include Field Marshal Montgomery. There were several Dorothy Beresford McCullochs, named after the wife of Henry’s cousin William McCulloch of Piedmont.

Henry McClintock, the son of James & Dorothy, had a daughter Dorothy who married Robert Alexander, a grandson of Robert Alexander and Ann McCulloch. Their son William Alexander (1824-1911), Bishop of Derry and then Archbishop of Armagh, married Cecil Frances Alexander who wrote the words to some of the most famous hymns including Once In Royal David’s City, There Is A Green Hill Far Away and All Things Bright And Beautiful.

The following family tree, now preserved in PRONI (D669/47) is apparently based on research by Henry McClintock in 1788 but includes later generations from well into the 19th century:

There were no more McCullochs descended from Henry McCulloch of Ballyarton, but Jane may have had cousins farming Ballyarton. RoD 518-227-341283 is a 1799 marriage settlement for Allen Laughlin of Clady and Mary the daughter of James McCulloch of Ballyarton. The deed also mentions Hugh McCulloch of Ballyarton, farmer. There are wills from Ballyarton of Hugh McCulloch (1815) and James McCulloch (1847), and from Lower Ballyarton a John McCulloch (1835).

In my next post I will look at the descendants of James McCulloch of Grogan, the brother of Henry McCulloch of Feehogue.

The McCullochs of Myrton

Anybody interested in the surname McCulloch should read Walter Jameson McCulloch’s book A History of the Galloway Families of McCulloch (1964) which remained unpublished in his lifetime. It’s a detailed survey of the genealogy of the many branches of McCullochs who dominated southern Galloway from the middle ages up to the early modern period, drawing on private family charter chests and many registers of public record. It’s a monumental achievement in family history.

Along with the meticulously researched details of how the various branches of McCullochs first separated and then intermarried time after time, there are entertaining stories. Fans of Sir Walter Scott or Donizetti can see how the unfortunate groom of the real life Bride of Lammermoor was the son of a McCulloch lady. You can also read how Alexander McCulloch, Laird of Myrton, raided the Isle of Man in revenge for an attack on the Galloway coast and became immortalised as a bogeyman for generations of Manx children.

God keep the house and all within
From Cut McCulloch and from sin.

Or, as it was sometimes rendered:

Keep me, my good corn, and my sheep and my bullocks
From Satan, from Sin, and those thievish McCullochs.

I particularly like the Pythonesque thoroughness with which the same Laird was cursed by Bishop Vaux when the latter obstructed the former from carrying out his duties as Sheriff of Galloway.

“Whereupon, Bishop Vaux solemnly cursed Sir Alexander, ‘Knycht of Myrton’, he cursed the Sheriff Clerk, he cursed the sergeants and other officers whomsoever; he cursed them all ‘by candle, by book and by bell’: and then, committing the curses to writing, he caused Letters of Cursing to be served on all parties.”

The McCullochs are described as an Armigerous Clan. This misleading term means that there is now no recognised Clan chief. This is because the head family, the McCullochs of Myrton had to leave Galloway in the early 17th century. The main weakness of W.J.McCulloch’s book is that he failed to trace the family’s descent in Ireland, apart from mentioning a single line that went on to emigrate to the USA. Apart from causing the omission of a small but significant branch from his book, this also meant he did not have access to the family history preserved by the senior branch of the family.

In this post I’m going to look at the earliest McCullochs in Scotland and in the next post I will do my best to rectify this omission by outlining the family in Ireland.

McCulloch origins

The senior McCullochs were based at Myrton Castle (pictured above and below) overlooking the White Loch in the historic county of Wigtownshire. It’s now a romantic ruin overrun by vegetation. In his History W.J.McCulloch gives a tentative succession of McCullochs at Myrton based on disconnected records. He mentions

  • Patrick McCulloch, a supporter of the English, alive between 1338 and 1363
  • Thomas McCulloch, alive in 1414 (but an owner of lands nearby, rather than Myrton itself)
  • Normond McCulloch, alive between 1400 and 1439, who granted lands at Ardwell to his brother Archibald
  • Eliseus McCulloch, who died by 1478

Later in the book, in the section on the McCullochs in the USA, he quotes from a document written in 1767 by a grandson of James McCulloch of Grogan (d 1725) which was copied by James Iredell (1751-1799), who was one of the first Justices of the US Supreme Court and also another descendant of James McCulloch. It starts (before the section quoted by W.J.McCulloch)

“The Genealogy of James McCulloch Esqr of Grogun from Sir Cullo ONeill first Laird of Myrton in Scotland, who was a Son of the Family of Clanaboys in Ireland –
James McCulloch of Grogun, Son of William McCullock Esqr of Brandalstown, Son of Alexander Laird of Myrton, Son of Simon Laird of Myrton, Son of Henry of Killerar and Margt of Myrton, which Henry was Son in law of Sir Alexander Laird of Myrton, Son of Elesous Laird of Myrton, Son of Sir Norman Laird of Myrton, Son of Sir Alexander Laird of Myrton, Son of Sir Gulfred or Godfrey Laird of Myrton, (who a∫sumed the Surname of McCullo) Son of Sir Cullo Oneill first Laird of Myrton.”

In the next section of the document (quoted on pages 31-32 of the History) James McCulloch of Piedmont (the grandson of James of Grogan) goes on to give details of his family’s history that are so precise (giving the date and location of every occasion when each new Laird had his Charter renewed by the Scottish king) that it is impossible to doubt its accuracy (although in the long version it becomes clear there is another William missing between Alexander and Simon). Without copying the details from the original charters there would be no way for someone to know where the various kings were when the charters were signed.

None of the details in James McCulloch’s document conflict with any historical sources. James even explains that Henry of Killasser descended from Thomas, second son of Sir Norman McCulloch, which accounts for the Thomas who owned nearby lands in 1418. So it is curious that W.J.McCulloch chooses to dismiss this version of events as ‘oral history’ and sticks to the version he has already described as tentative.

It seems quite possible to me that different members of the McCulloch family, including the Patrick McCulloch named above, had competing claims to the lands in the middle of the 14th century if they were supporters of the Balliol kings of Scotland while the senior line were supporting the Bruces.

So I think that the most likely succession at Myrton is that detailed by James McCulloch up to and including Eliseus. After that there is only one minor difference – James makes Henry of Kilasser the son-in-law of Alexander, while W.J.McCulloch in his History shows that he was the son-in-law of Alexander’s brother Simon.

The Lairds of Myrton

Each Laird is the son or daughter of their predecessor except where indicated.

  • Sir Cullo O’Neill (d 1331)
  • Sir Godfrey McCullo (d 1358)
  • Sir Alexander McCullo (d 1399)
  • Sir Norman McCullo (d 1445)
  • Sir Eliseus McCullo (d 1448)
  • Sir Alexander McCullo (died about 1524)
  • Sir Symon McCullo, his brother (died before 1540)
  • Margaret McCullo (d 1562) married to Henry McCulloch of Kilasser (d 1545)
  • Symon McCulloch (d 1592)
  • William McCulloch (d 1626 in Ireland)
  • Alexander McCulloch (never able to succeed to Myrton)

William Shaw of Ballygally (c1670-c1717)

It’s a sudden change researching my 8xgreat grandfather, William Shaw of Ballygally. Whereas his in-laws, the Uptons and Clotworthys, are mentioned in dozens of references in history books, national archives and other records, I have found William mentioned in only three places.

Firstly, in 1701, John Boyd of Killachie left his will making his brother-in-law Henry Shaw of Ballygally overseer along with Henry’s son, William. (John Boyd had married Henry’s sister Helen Shaw.) Henry Shaw had inherited the castle in the will of John Shaw of Ballygally, which was written in 1691 but not proved until 1709. The will mentions John’s daughters Rose and Mary but leaves “all his lands and estates in parish of Carnecastle and Kingdom of Ireland to his cousin and son-in-law Henry Shaw of Ballywee”. Ballywee townland is near Templepatrick where the Uptons lived at their castle. It is not clear whether Henry’s wife was Mary, Rose or some other daughter of John’s.

Next, the Upton Family Records reproduce Clotworthy Upton’s entry of June 1717 into the records of the College of Arms where he states that his sister Margaret Upton is married to “William Shaw of Ballygelley in Ireland Esq”.

He doesn’t indicate whether William was living or dead at that point, but in the following year on July 10 “Margaret Shaw of Ballygelly Co Antrim relict & widow of William Shaw late of Ballygelly Gent dec’d” is party to the settlement for the marriage of their daughter Dorothy Beresford Shaw and William McCulloch, my 7xgreat grandparents.

McCulloch/Shaw marriage
The marriage settlement of William McCulloch and Dorothy Beresford Shaw

So William had already died by 1718 and maybe the existence of a will of Francis Shaw of Ballygelly proved in 1716 indicates he had died before then. We know Margaret Upton was born in 1671 so I guess William was a similar age.

Also named as parties to the marriage settlement were Dorothy’s uncle Clotworthy Upton, William’s uncle Patrick Agnew, John Shaw of Bush and John Shaw of Antrim.

Who were all these Shaws? In my next post I will try and work out how they all relate.

 

The McCullochs take Ballygally

Ballygally Castle is on the northeastern coast of Co Antrim, just up the coast from Larne. It’s now a smart hotel and trades on the legends of no fewer than three ghosts who are supposed to haunt its walls. The castle was built by the Shaw family in the 17th Century and the oldest and most famous ghost is Isobel, the first lady of the castle who was supposed to have been locked up by her husband.

A second ghost is Madame Nixon, a sister-in-law of the Henry Shaw who owned the castle in the mid-18th Century. It’s not impossible that this might be the same Mrs Nixon mentioned in the will of Dr John McCulloch of Antrim.

The McCullochs married into this Shaw family more than once. William McCulloch of Piedmont was already described as a kinsman in the will of Patrick Shaw in 1716 before he married Dorothy Beresford Shaw in 1718. Dr John McCulloch married a Margaret Shaw as his second wife. And I very much hope that his son Dr William McCulloch married a Shaw too, and you will see why if you read the following shocking tale, first printed in the Larne Reporter in 1884 but reprinted in the Ulster Journal of Archaeology in 1901.

We believe that there is not a person now living whose feelings will be hurt by the relation of the following curious story, which we heard many years ago, on indisputable authority, and for the truth of which, therefore, we think we may venture to vouch. At the period to which we now allude, the proprietor of Ballygally was John Shaw, the third of that name who had occupied that position. This John Shaw had married a cousin of his own, a Miss Hamilton, by whom he had no family. Being thus without issue, he had, many years before his death, adopted as his heir Henry, the eldest son of his brother, William Shaw. This boy, when he was only nine or ten years of age, he had brought to Ballygally, and there educated as the future inheritor of his estate.’ John Shaw had a sister married to a Dr. M’Cullough, who lived in Larne, but was not a native of that town. This Dr. M’Cullough, during his visits to Ballygally, did all he could to turn his brother-in-law against his nephew and destined heir. In this he seems to have succeeded. At length, he one day persuaded John Shaw to accompany him into Larne, professedly only to stay over one night. On the following morning Shaw was so ill that he could not be moved. His nephew and other friends, hearing of his illness, called at Dr. M’Cullough’s house to inquire after him, but were never allowed to see him. In the course of five or six weeks, after his removal to Larne, Dr. M’Cullough went out to Ballygally, and, in the absence of Henry Shaw, took posession of the castles and left a person in charge to keep it for him. It then transpired that John Shaw was dead, and that on the very night after his death he had been buried at midnight in the churchyard of Cairncastle, with no persons at his funeral but those that were necessary to inter him. Dr. M’Cullough also produced a will, which he alleged had been made by the late John Shaw, and by which that gentleman’s entire property of every kind was left to him (Dr. M’Cullough). On the strength of this will, Dr. M’Cullough took possession of the estate, as he had already done of the castle, of Ballygally, and Henry Shaw, who had been the heir-presumptive, was ousted from his expected home and inheritance. His recovery of either was a matter of considerable difficulty. His re-entry into the castle was effectually barred by Dr. M’Cullough’s seneschal, who kept constant watch and ward at one of the windows with a loaded blunderbuss, and the estate could only be got by a tedious process of law. But to the law Henry Shaw did appeal; and in due form commenced legal proceedings for the ejection of Dr. M’Cullough from the castle and estate of Ballygally. These proceedings lasted for three or four years. During that time Dr. M’Cullough remained in possession of the Ballygally estate; and as the owner thereof de facto, if not de jure, he granted to the tenants of some of the best farms thereon leases of their holdings, in perpetuity, at low rents, in consideration of their giving him sums of money wherewith to defend the suit which had been brought against him by the young heir. At length the case came on for trial at Carrickfergus in 1790, and had been at hearing for some days, when Dr. M’Cullough’s lawyers proposed a compromise. To this proposal Henry Shaw, most unfortunately, and contrary to the advice of his counsel, acceded; whereupon it was agreed between the litigants that Dr. M’Cullough should give up quiet and peaceable possession of the castle and estate of Ballygally to Henry Shaw, and for so doing should receive the sum of £4,000. It was also a part of the arrangement that the leases which Dr. M’Cullough, during his possession of the estate, had given to many of the tenants, in the way above described, should, if otherwise valid, not be impugned by Henry Shaw. This was the beginning of the end of the Shaws of Ballygally. When, in fulfilment of this disastrous compromise, the young heir (then 30 years of age) got possession of his estate, he got it not only burdened with a heavy debt, but also with its rental reduced by about one-half, by the leases in perpetuity which Dr. M’Cullough had granted to many of the tenants. Leases of that kind had been previously too often given ; but this wholesale alienation of the best part of the property put the tombstone over the family and the estate.

Of course this story was told 100 years after the events it describes, and some of it may have been embellished for effect, but one can find plenty of deeds in PRONI (the Public Records Office of Northern Ireland) between 1786 and 1790 where William McCulloch of Ballygally is selling off lands in the area of the castle, and eventually in 1790 there are some settlements naming Henry Shaw and William McCulloch.

Dr William McCulloch named a son John Shaw McCulloch who became Postmaster of Drogheda, Co Louth. This man went on to inherit all the McCulloch estates in Antrim and Armagh when the lines of the sons of William McCulloch of Piedmont ran out in 1832.

William Barbour describes an incident where John Shaw McCulloch took Dr John Morton to court. I’m guessing he was trying to claim that the house that Dr Morton had inherited from Dr John McCulloch should revert to the McCullochs once Morton’s wife had died. Anyway, whatever the case was, Dr Morton won and apparently the people of Antrim were so delighted that they burnt an effigy of John Shaw McCulloch in the street.

Perhaps it is best at this point to draw a veil over that particular branch of my family!

Other McCullochs

The McCullochs were not a family that obtained their wealth just by owning land. In each generation the younger sons, who had not inherited the family estates, went out into the world and made their fortunes as merchants, especially by travelling to the new world. Their ancestor in Ireland, James McCulloch of Grogan (d 1725) had a daughter by his first marriage who married a Henry McCulloch of Scotland. They emigrated to North Carolina and were ancestors of several historic figures including brothers Benjamin McCulloch (1811-1862) and Henry Eustace McCulloch (1816-1895) who were associates of Davy Crockett and became Generals in the American Civil War.

James of Grogan had three sons by his second marriage:

  • William McCulloch of Piedmont (d 1743), the father of Dr John McCulloch’s first wife and her three brothers (James of Camoly, William of Dublin and Henry who became Secretary of North Carolina)
  • Captain James McCulloch (d 1744) a successful merchant in Belfast and Dublin
  • Henry McCulloh (d 1779) (his preferred spelling) who moved to London, and despite spending only seven years in the US became the largest landholder in North Carolina, with over 1.2 million acres.

Henry’s son was Henry Eustace McCulloh (c1737-1812) who married a lady with the unusual name Udall West. He also made a fortune in North Carolina but both father and son were unable to hold onto most of their land after the War of Independence.

The wills of Henry McCulloh and his son are in the National Archives and unfortunately spend a lot of the time leaving slaves to various people. Such was the morality of the time. But whatever one thinks about their behaviour, it doesn’t compare with the alleged activities of Dr John McCulloch’s son, Dr William McCulloch.

Dorothy Beresford and her Royal Ancestry

Dorothy Beresford McCulloch née Shaw, the mother-in-law of Dr John McCulloch, was the daughter of William Shaw of Ballygally and Margaret Upton. Margaret Upton’s parents were Arthur Upton of Castle Upton and his wife Dorothy Beresford.

At least four of the McCullochs (including of course Dr John) named their daughters Dorothy Beresford McCulloch, showing how highly regarded the original Dorothy Beresford was. Maybe this was because she was a really super person, but it could have been at least in part because of her distinguished ancestry. Dorothy’s ancestry back to the Plantagenets was well documented and through her we can trace our family ancestry back to Edward III. Here’s one way; there may be others:

  • Dorothy Beresford (my 9xgreat grandmother), daughter of
  • Michael Beresford, son of
  • Tristram Beresford (1574-?), son of
  • Rose Knevett, daughter of
  • John Knevett (1510-?), son of
  • Jane Bourchier (d 1561), daughter of
  • Sir John Bourchier, 2nd Baron Berners (c1467-1533), son of
  • Sir Humphrey Bourchier (d 1471), son of
  • Sir John Bourchier, 1st Baron Berners (d 1474), son of
  • Anne of Gloucester (1383-1438), daughter of
  • Thomas of Woodstock, Duke of Gloucester (1355-1397), son of
  • Edward III (my 20xgreat grandfather)

EDIT: After further research, I no longer believe that Rose Knevett’s father was the son of Jane Bourchier. But Dorothy Beresford’s husband Arthur Upton descended from another Bourchier son of Anne of Gloucester.

Before we get too carried away with our royal ancestry it’s worth noting that geneticists believe that almost all people of British heritage are descendants of Edward III. If you go back to the 14th century your ancestors are more numerous than the population of Britain of the period. One has over 4 million 20xgreat grandparents and the population of Britain at 1350 was only around 2.4 million, many of whom have no living descendants so it’s very likely indeed that anyone from that period either has no living descendants or is an ancestor of all of us whose ancestors are predominantly British. Still, it’s not everyone who can show how they are descended from royalty.

In my next post, I’m going to look at some of the other related McCullochs. Some of them have checkered histories to say the least.

Dr John McCulloch (d 1788)

William Donald Barbour tells us that his grandmother Margaret was the daughter of Dr John Morton of Antrim by Dorothy the daughter of John McCulloch. I was very excited, then, to discover that in the Irish Registry of Deeds in Dublin one can find the will of John McCulloch, surgeon and apothecary of Antrim town in which he mentions his daughter Dorothy Morton otherwise McCulloch. Here’s a summary:

1788 Feb 5 ROD 394 413 260785
McCULLOCH John – his will
John McCULLOCH of Town of Antrim Surgeon and Apothocary.. wife Margaret McCULLOGH or SHAW… part of the tenement which I now occupy with the lower part of the back house now occupied by Mrs. NIXON and the Stable called my own stable with the loft over it for offices with one cows graizing on the land which I hold with said tenement… son William McCULLOCH… daughter Dorothy MORTON or McCULLOCH left shop and utensils in tenement in Antrim now occupied by her husband Mr. John MORTON and her with the backhouse they now occupy… daughter Victoria JACKSON or McCULLOCH – rents of tenement now occupied by Mrs. NIXON with the house called my turf house and loft above… and if she shall have lawful issue…… daughter Jane WALKER… tenement now occupied by James MALONE at end of Massareene Bridge to daughter Jane WALKER or McCULLOCH… Cabins in Bowlane… there was 350 left by my late father-in-law Captain McCULLOCH on his estate in trust for my late wife & me over which I was to have distributive power to our issue and one hundred pounds was left to myself by Captain McCULLOCH and whereas there is an unsettled amount between William McCULLOCH Esq. my brother-in-law in whose hands Capt. McCULLOCH’s estate now is, I request he may settle…… son Henry McCULLOCH viz Margaret… profits to my sister Elizabeth M’KINLAY or McCULLOCH… granddaughters Margaret and Jane (daughters of son Henry McCULLOCH) … John KERR & Robert YOUNG Postmaster to be executors

Another deed from 1781 mentions most of the same family members:

1781 Jan 26 ROD 336-580-226444 Btw Dorothy Beresford McCULLOCH of Antrim in the Co of Antrim Widow mother of James McCULLOGH late of Camley, Co. Armagh Esq. deceased. Dr. William McCULLOGH the younger Dr. Henry McCULLOCH John MORTON and Dorothy Beresford MORTON otherwise McCULLOCH his wife Joseph WALKER and Jane WALKER otherwise McCULLOCH his wife. And Victoria McCULLAGH spinster.. Said William the younger, Henry, Dorothy MORTON Jane and Victoria are children of John McCULLOCH of Antrim afsd surgeon and Apothocary and nephews and nieces and some of the next of Kin of the said James McCULLOCH of the first pt.. William McCULLOCH the Elder of the City of Dublin Esq. only surviving brother and heir at law of the said James McCULLOCH of the 2nd pt, and the said John McCULLOCH of the 3rd pt…. the parties of the 1st pt quit claim for considerations unto the sd William McCULLOCH the elder…WITNESSES: William HOLMES, merchant; John CRAWFORD, Carpenter both of Town & Co Antrim. Memorial witnessed by William HOLMES and Robert YOUNG of Antrim merchant.

This means that John McCulloch’s first wife must have been a sister of William McCulloch of Dublin and James McCulloch of Camley, and a daughter of Dorothy Beresford McCulloch née Shaw. According to this deed, Dorothy Morton too had the additional forename Beresford. It seems also that between 1781 and 1788, John’s son Henry must have died and his daughter Victoria had married a Mr Jackson.

I had thought that my Antrim ancestors were poor Presbyterians and that the majority of Irish landowners of the period were Anglicans who worshipped in the Church of Ireland. I thought that my ancestors would have left no trace in the records. But it seems that in fact Dr John McCulloch’s first wife, at least, came from a family that was wealthy enough to have extensive landholdings.

As a result of these deeds, I can now trace the family back much further. First the good news.

The McCulloch family of Antrim

When I was a child in the 1960s my father drew up a family tree on a large piece of paper. That was the start of my interest in genealogy. Most of the names on the tree were of people remembered by those still alive. But there was one branch of my maternal grandmother’s line that stretched back much further, all the way back to my 6xgreat grandfather Dr John McCulloch of the town of Antrim in Northern Ireland.

I think I assumed at the time that my grandmother’s family had very strong memories of their ancestors, but in fact the opposite was true. Not a single person between me and Dr McCulloch had known even their grandparent on that line. Until my grandmother, only one of the intervening ancestors had even lived long enough to see their child become a teenager.

The reason my family had remembered this line was down to one man, William Donald Barbour (1832-1903), who despite fathering 11 children of his own, adopted my orphaned great grandfather in 1887. WDB was a man with a huge thirst for knowledge. He was a founding member of and driving force behind the Leeds Astronomical Society (which survives to this day) and he was a tireless letter writer, not only to the correspondence columns of various periodicals, where he wrote on such varied topics as the benefits of leaving your bedroom window open or the morality of donating your unused return rail ticket to someone else, but also to any aged relatives he could persuade to share their memories of his ancestors.

WDB kept all his letters in leather-bound folders and summarised his findings in notebooks. We can read in them how WDB’s father, three brothers and one sister were orphaned in Northern Ireland in the early 19th century. Their mother had rejoiced in the name Margaret Upton Marshall McCulloch Morton which always seemed odd to me as none of the rest of her family had more than one forename. It’s worth emphasising that because of the fire at the Irish Public Record Office in 1922, there are very few Irish records surviving from the 19th century or earlier unless the family were landowners. Neither Margaret nor her husband John Barber have left any trace in the records outside William Barbour’s notebooks.

Not only did WDB rescue my great grandfather as an orphan, he also single-handedly preserved the memory of my gggg grandparents.

Read my next post about the McCullochs