Provincial Archives of New Brunswick

Dictionary of Miramichi Biography

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MCCULLEY, CALEB (1799-1877)

MCCULLEY, CALEB, watchmaker, militia officer, and churchman; b. Onslow, N.S., 30 Nov 1799, s/o Joseph McCulley and Mary Upham; m. 1838, Susanna McGregor, d/o Daniel McGregor and Ann Newman, and half-sister of A. James Henderson; d. Chatham, 28 Oct 1877.

Caleb McCulley was from a family which settled in Colchester Co., N.S., in the early 1760s. His paternal grandfather was of north of Ireland ancestry, and his many relatives in Nova Scotia included Jonathan McCully, a Father of Confederation.

In 1825 McCulley moved from Nova Scotia to the Miramichi and opened a watchmaking shop in Chatham. He announced in The Mercury in 1826 that he would repair "watches, clocks, quadrants, spyglasses, jewelry, Surveyors' and Mariners' compasses, &c... with the utmost accuracy and dispatch." He was a watchmaker in the town until 1869, when he turned the business over to his son Samuel U. McCulley.

McCulley was "one of the crack shots of his day," and a leading figure in the militia. He was made a lieutenant in the 1st Battalion in 1839 and a captain the following year. When the county militia was reactivated in the 1860s, following a lengthy dormancy, he was named a major and appointed commanding officer of the 1st Battalion. In 1867 he was promoted to lieutenant colonel. In 1869 he was also named to the position of brigade major for the district. In this capacity he led an infantry company to Caraquet at the end of January 1875 to help the civil authority secure the peace in the wake of the Caraquet riots and the death of John Gifford. His name was entered on the retirement roll the next year, when he was seventy-six.

McCulley was a staunch churchman, with an evangelical bent. He was a member of the Miramichi Religious Tract Society in the 1860s and was instrumental in having Emmanuel Reformed Episcopal Church established in Chatham. He gave a building lot at the corner of Cunard and Wellington streets, where the cornerstone of the church was laid in 1875, and he was present when the first service was conducted in it on 14 January 1877. He was the senior warden, and he and members of his family extended much personal support to the first clergymen, some of whom boarded for periods of time in their home.

McCulley was thirty-seven years old when he was married to Susanna McGregor in 1838, and she was about thirty-three. They had at least five children, including Samuel U. McCulley.


[b] official records (Onslow, N.S.) [m] Gleaner 15 May 1838 [d] Advocate 21 Nov 1877 / Advocate 24 May 1876; Facey-Crowther; Fraser (C); JHA 1866 (re. militia); Leader 13 Oct 1911; Stanley