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Dictionary of Miramichi Biography

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MCCULLEY, SAMUEL UPHAM, watchmaker, militia officer, and police magistrate; b. Chatham, 20 Jun 1847, s/o Caleb McCulley and Susanna McGregor; m. 1870, Mary Grant Little, of Richibucto, N.B.; d. Chatham, 22 Nov 1927.

Samuel U. McCulley, who was a student of the County Grammar School when it was conducted by William S. Neales, succeeded his father in the watchmaking business in 1869 and became involved in a number of his father's community activities as well. When the 73rd Battalion of militia was formed in 1870 he was a lieutenant and paymaster. In 1878 he was appointed major in command of the battalion. He was ready to leave for the Northwest in 1885 before word was received that the Riel Rebellion had been crushed. He was a lieutenant colonel when he gave up his command and retired in 1898.

After his father's death McCulley became the leading patron of the Reformed Episcopal Church in Chatham, of which he was a vestryman in 1879. When the church failed in spite of his efforts and those of its other supporters, he and his family joined the Methodist church. In 1882 he was a charter member of the local lodge of the Independent Order of Foresters.

McCulley was appointed a justice of the peace in 1879 and police magistrate for Chatham in 1891, as successor to Robert Murray. As an ardent supporter of the Canada Temperance Act he soon encountered opposition, including that of the liquor vendor Robert H. Armstrong, who accused him of bias on the bench and succeeded in having his conduct investigated in 1895. The findings of the inquiry were mixed, in that he was cleared of any wrongdoing but was found to be exceedingly zealous for the prosecution of persons charged with liquor offenses. He continued in office for a time, but his effectiveness had been undermined. In 1898 the Chatham Town Council voted to recommend his replacement by James F. Connors, and the proposal was accepted by provincial authorities. In 1899 he also resigned, by arrangement with the town, from duties which he had undertaken as a town marshal and liquor inspector.

In 1908 McCulley was appointed fisheries inspector for New Brunswick, based at Chatham. He was a member, and later chairman, of the local health board and secretary of the Chatham Board of School Trustees. The Union Advocate described him as a man of "culture and education," of "strong convictions and unswerving fidelity," who "wielded a facile pen." An opposing feature of his personality was glimpsed by David G. Smith, the editor of the Miramichi Advance, who quarreled with him over the ownership of a clock. McCulley inherited, said Smith, "a lot of property as one of his father's heirs, together with whatever was vindictive in the testator's disposition, the good that was in the late colonel's makeup seeming to have died with him, or gone to the other heirs."

McCulley was survived in 1927 by his wife, Mary G. Little, a daughter, and three sons. His widow died in Montreal in 1938. In 1941 the children were all living in British Columbia.


[b] census [m] Telegraph 23 Jun 1870 [d] Advocate 29 Nov 1927 / Advance 17 Apr 1879, 23 Oct 1890, 29 Aug 1895ff, 20/27 Aug 1896; Advocate 6 Mar 1878, 2 Sep 1891, 4 Sep 1895, 7 Oct 1896, 9 Feb 1898, 15 Nov 1899, 8 Jul 1908, 19 Oct 1938; Bird; Commercial World 20 Nov 1941; Educ. report 1927; Fraser (C); Ready Ref.; World 1 Jul 1882