Home » McCulloch of Drummorrell and their Descendants, and Origins

McCulloch of Drummorrell and their Descendants, and Origins

Doug McCullough, December 2022

“Verus et Sedulus”

Our McCulloch of Drummorrell Ancestors

The McCullochs of Drummorrell are a small branch of the McCullochs of Myreton based in Galloway Scotland. The first man to appear on record was Robert McCulloch of Drummorrell, a burgess merchant in Kirkcudbright, who lived in the mid to late 16th century. Although he and his sons were merchants in Kirkcudbright the family took their name for a small farm in the southeastern Machars peninsula near Whithorn.

Much of the information we have about the early McCullochs of Drummorrell comes from Walter Jameson McCulloch’s “History of the Galloway Families of McCulloch.” However, we can supplement that history with available historical records and the latest Y DNA findings which were unavailable to McCulloch. As discussed below, McCulloch could not identify the father of Robert McCulloch of Drummorrell, but with the help of Y DNA results we can do so with high confidence.

Ordinarily, a family history is told in chronological order. However, in this instance, it may be helpful to tell the story in reverse chronological segments.

Colonial America

Pvt. John McCullough of Lancaster County, Pennsylvania

My McCullough/McCulloch line is easily traceable back to my fourth great grandfather, Private John McCullough, who died in Gosport Indiana around 1840. Much of what we know about this John McCullough came from his Revolutionary War pension claim proceedings. He was born in 1755 in Lancaster County Pennsylvania. His father was named John and served in the Revolutionary War in a militia from a northern colony.

Pvt. John McCullough first enlisted in 1776 in Chanceford Township, York County Pennsylvania militia where he was then living. In 1777, he moved to North Carolina where he served for about three years. [For clarification, do not confuse our John McCullough with John McCullough of Ripley who was a prisoner of war during the Revolution and married to a Constant Jones. Also, our John McCullough was not the child who was held captive by Native Americans. The latter John is claimed as an ancestor by a genetically unrelated family].

Sometime between 1775 and 1778 John McCullough married Margaret Modrell. Her father, Robert Modrell (or Motheral), owned land neighboring a Samuel McColloch/McCullough in Martic Township, Lancaster County, Pennsylvania. (See below). Robert Modrell reportedly moved to Fawn Township, York County, PA between 1757 to 1762. The granddaughter of Robert Modrell and John McCullough/McCulloch Sr., Peninah Modrel, was baptized in Muddy Creek (Guinston) Presbyterian Church in Chanceford Township, York County, PA in 1775.

There is no definitive documentation of the relationship between John McCullough, Jr. and Samuel McColloch. But because of their close proximity and the McCullough’s apparent decades-long relationships with the Modrell family, I presume that Samuel was Pvt. John McCullough’s uncle. (However, as discussed below, there is also a family tradition captured in a Daughters of the American Revolution report that indicates that John Sr. had a brother named Samuel).

At this point we were left with solving a riddle about the father of Pvt. John McCullough, Jr. We know that Pvt. John’ McCullough’ father was: (1) named John; (2) served in the American Revolution in a northern militia; (3), was in Lancaster County, PA prior to 1755, (4) likely lived in Chanceford Township, York County, Pennsylvania by 1776; (5) he was acquainted with a Mr. Robert Barnes, of southern Pennsylvania and (6) he had an enduring relationship with the Modrell family.

Testimony from Hugh Barnes (who served in a Lancaster County militia in the Revolutionary War) in Pvt. John’s pension claim indicated that Hugh’s father knew both John Jr. and John Sr. and indicated John Sr. fought in a “northern army.” Robert Barnes lived in multiple places in southern Pennsylvania, including Lancaster County. Barnes enlisted in the 6th Battalion out of Lancaster. It also appears that he attended the same church as John, Sr. and William Motheral.

While John McCulloch, Sr. and Robert Barnes may have known each other during their military service, it appears that they attended the same church in Chanceford Township, York County, Pennsylvania. Barnes subscribed to support the formation of the Muddy Creek Presbyterian Guinston Church in York County. Barnes’ name appears next to William Motheral, son of Robert Modrel. This is the church John Sr. attended until his death in about 1782.

John McCulloch, Sr. lived in East Hanover from about 1751 to as late as 1756. Due to hostile frontier at this time, he fled west, first to Martic Township in 1757 (Martic is the same township that Samuel McColloch lived in). Then, John Sr. moved directly across the Susquehanna river to Chanceford, York County about the same time as the Modrells. John McCulloch appears on the Chanceford Township tax rolls in 1762 according to records provided by the York County Historical Center. (Note that a history of York County identified John McCulloch as one of the men who had moved to York by 1770). He was still living in Chanceford as of 1782, despite John Jr. moving to Mecklenburg NC in 1777. In 1782 and 1783, a “Widow McCullough” appears on York County tax rolls as owning 155 acres.

John McCulloch, Sr. of Chanceford

John was an active member, likely an elder, of the Muddy Run Presbyterian church. His name is featured in the notes of Rev. John Cuthbertson. (Rev. John Cuthbertson was born in Ayr, Scotland, then was a missionary in Ireland before he pastored the Muddy Run Church in York County. He was buried in Lancaster County. He was a Presbyterian Covenanter). John and his apparent son Alexander each hosted church meetings and baptisms at their respective homes as late as 1785.

Samuel McColloch of Martic

As mentioned before, in 1750, Samuel McColloch owned property next door to Robert Modrell, the father-in-law of our John McCullough and his sister Rebecca McCullough. (Samuel’s will is written out by someone else and shows his name as McCullough, but Samuel signs as McColloch. This is consistent with one of the real estate land warrant documents which records his name as McColloch). (Samuel was a farmer. I have obtained an inventory of his estate).

Samuel McColloch’s Martic Township, Lancaster County land survey, next door to Robert Modrel

Samuel died in 1785 leaving a will naming his wife as Jane, and the following sons: Alexander (named for father?), Samuel (named for himself), John (named for his father-in-law and brother), Joseph, Robert (possibly named for friend Robert Modrell) and David. (John, Samuel, and David mustered in Lancaster County in 1777). There was a Joseph McCullough who served in a Pennsylvania rifle company, but I am not sure if this is the same Joseph. Samuel’s will was witnessed by two men named Boyd (likely his in-laws).

Two Alexanders

Both John Sr. and Samuel named a son Alexander. Samuel’s son Alexander appears to have owned land in Lancaster County and was part of the Octoraro Society (congregation of Rev. John Cuthbertson’s Muddy Run Presbyterian Church). By contrast, John Sr.’s son Alexander seems to have owned land in York County and was part of the Lower Chanceford Society of the same church). Because we know Alexander is a quintessential McCulloch name, I hypothesized that their father’s name was Alexander. As we will see, this hypothesis was confirmed by a DAR report discussed below.

We don’t know where John and Samuel’s father Alexander was living at his death. It is not known if Alexander owned land in Lancaster County. In 1740, 1742, and 1744 men named Alexander McCulloch acquired 100, 200, and 100 acres in Lancaster County, PA. The man acquiring land in 1742 was Alexander McCulloch of East Hanover (died 1760), an apparent cousin of John Sr., as described below. Our Alexander McCulloch could be the man referenced in the 1740 and 1744 land warrants.

The Modrell Connection

In 1750, Samuel McColloch and Robert Modrell were neighbors. According to Modrell tradition, Robert Modrell moved to Chanceford Township, York County, Pennsylvania around 1757. John McCulloch Sr. moved his family to the same area at about the same time. John Sr. appears on Chanceford Township, York County tax records in 1762.

In 1773, John Sr.’s daughter Rebecca married William Modrell, who presumably grew up next door to Samuel McColloch (McCullough). They baptized their daughter at Muddy Run Presbyterian Church in Chanceford Township, where John McCulloch attended. (Travel notes from the parish pastor make several references to John McCulloch during this time). Between 1775 and 1777, John McCullough, Jr. married Margaret Modrell, then moved with the Modrells to Mecklenburg, NC. In 1777, Robert Modrell and his son Adam witnessed a deed to John McCullough in Mecklenburg for land along the Great Wagon Road.  In 1778 John Jr. and Rebecca witnessed Robert’s will. (Robert signed the will as Motheral, John’s name was spelled McCulloh.) John acquired additional land in Mecklenburg in 1779.

The McCulloughs and Modrells lived together in Pennsylvania, then North Carolina before they migrated to Tennessee, then Kentucky, then Indiana. In at least one later instance, a McCullough and Modrell marry while they are living in Kentucky. The McCullough-Modrell alliance endured about a century.

McCullough-Modrell Family Names

It is worth noting that John McCullough, Jr. and Margaret Modrell McCullough had eight children. These children were clearly named for family members in a modified version of Scottish naming patterns.  (1. Elizabeth for Margaret’s mother; 2. Robert for Margaret’s father; 3. Jonathan for John. Jr. and John, Sr.; 4. Rebecca for John’s sister (and possibly their great grandmother Rebecca Green McCulloch – discussed later); 5. Ann, for John’s mother (as we will see below); 6. William Modrell McCullough named for William Modrell and possibly a brother of John, Margaret’s brother and Rebecca’s husband 7. Sarah, unknown name origin; 8.  Margaret, named for Margaret and possibly John Jr.’s grandmother)

John Jr. and his wife seemed to modify Scottish naming patterns to prioritize the Modrell side of the family who were living nearby rather than the McCullochs who remained in Pennsylvania.

McCullough-Garvin DAR Report

In about 2021, I was provided a copy of a Daughters of the American Revolution report pertaining to Margaret Elizabeth “Peggy” McCullough and her husband Thomas Garvin. The purpose behind a DAR report is to show a person’s descent from Revolutionary War soldiers. The report is a blend of oral family tradition blended with mistaken references to unrelated McCulloughs. Despite the errors in compiling records and stories about John McCullough, the oral tradition and the family origins aspects of the story line up with my own research in a compelling manner.

According to the DAR report, an Alexander McCulloch was born in Scotland and married a woman named Margaret. They had multiple children including sons John, Samuel and William. The Samuel identified in the report is clearly Samuel McColloch (my fifth great uncle). The report includes the oral tradition that John was the father of Margaret Elizabeth “Peggy” McCullough, born 1747 in East Derry, Lancaster.

She married Thomas Garvin in 1767 in Lancaster County. Further, the oral tradition indicates that John Sr. had sons named John, Jr. (presumably also born in Lancaster County) and William. The oral tradition also indicates that John Sr. served in the Revolutionary War, along with all of his sons. We know that our John McCulloch, Jr. served in the American Revolution. Presumably John’s son Alexander McCulloch served in Pennsylvania (there are records of at least one Alexander McCulloch or McCullough who served in Pennsylvania).

The fundamentals of this oral tradition line up with my own hypothesis that our line goes through John McCullough Jr. born in Lancaster County in 1755. His father was John McCulloch, Sr. who served in the Revolutionary War. John Jr.’s uncle was Samuel McColloch of Martic Township. His grandfather was named Alexander, who was born in Scotland but lived briefly in Londonderry, Ireland, before migrating to Pennsylvania. The core elements of this story are unmistakably the same as my own line.

The authenticity of the McCullough-Garvin story is bolstered by the fact that Margaret Elizabeth “Peggy” McCullough Garvin named a son John Alexander Garvin (apparently named for her father and grandfather). Also, Peggy was said to be named “Margaret Elizabeth” for her grandmother “Margaret McCulloch,” wife of Alexander, and grandmother Elizabeth Smith (mother of Jane Smith).

The Glenns, Londonderry, and East Derry

The DAR story indicates our McCullochs passed through Londonderry and John, Samuel and a brother named William were born there. Coincidentally, my paternal grandmother was Cloe Glenn who also descended from Scots who migrated through Londonderry and lived in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania. According to “A Walk through time: With the Glenn family, Cardwell family, Petty family, Hurt family” by Reagan L. Glenn, my Glenn ancestor also passed through Londonderry. Remarkably, our Glenn ancestors even lived next door to McCulloch cousins in East Derry, Pennsylvania. Accord to historical records presented by Glenn, John Glen of Hanover Township, Lancaster County, Pennsylvania (son of John Glenn, both of Derry Township) acquired land adjacent to Robert and Hugh Gilliland who had acquired it from William McCullough.

The John Glenn is my 6th great grandfather through my grandmother. William McCullough was the nephew of Alexander McCulloch of East Hanover, Pennsylvania (who died without issue in 1760). Alexander was the half-brother of Hugh Gilliland (born in Londonderry). Upon Hugh Gilliland’s death in 1751, John McCulloch Sr. married Hugh’s widow, Anna Gilliland, and became stepfather to three of her children, including Agnes Gilliland. (See below).

Years later, Agnes Gilliland and her husband Archibald Purdy lived in Chanceford Township, York County. Records from Rev. Cuthbertson seem to indicate that John Sr’s son Alexander lived 1.5 miles from Archibald Purdy, husband of Agnes Gilliland Purdy.

Alexander McCulloch

According to the DAR report, John Senior’s father, Alexander McCulloch, was born in Scotland but moved to Londonderry where he married his wife Margaret. They are believed to have been married around 1720 right before the birth of their son John. Limited records for Northern Ireland exist for this period. Through a painstaking process of elimination of the few documented men named Alexander McCulloch born in Scotland between 1680 and 1700 (detailed elsewhere in an unpublished essay) I concluded that Alexander was the son of Thomas McCulloch and Rebecca Green born in Ayr in 1695 and baptized at St. John the Baptist Church (Auld Kirk of Ayr).

1695 Baptism Record, Auld Kirk of Ayr

Thomas (a burgess merchant in Ayr) and Rebecca baptized Alexander in Ayr, Ayrshire, Scotland in 1695. The baptism was witnessed by Alexander’s grandfather, also named Alexander McCulloch who was a burgess merchant. Alexander and Thomas were involved in the shipping trade from Ayr. Alexander was active in the Caribbean, Boston, andLondonderry.Authors Tom Barclay and Eric Graham indicate that Ayr and Londonderry had a close trading relationship at the end of the 17th century.

Alexander and Thomas made recorded trips to Boston, Massachusetts in 1684 and 1691.  In 1684, Thomas and his father Alexander were members of the Scots Charitable Society of Boston, but as “strangers” – meaning they were still living in Ayr rather than residents of Boston. By 1695, they were back in Ayr for the baptism of Thomas’s son Alexander. Thomas McCulloch arrived in Boston in 1727. The man living in Boston in 1727 appears to have lived alone. This may mean that Rebecca had died by 1727. There is another reported arrival of Thomas McCulloch to Boston in 1736. The latter man joined the Scots Charitable Society of Boston that year. Either this is Thomas returning again to Boston, or the latter man may have been his son, also named Thomas.

It should be noted that there are no Scottish marriage records for Thomas McCulloch and Rebecca Green. Author Tom Barclay in “The Early Transatlantic Trade of Ayr 1640-1730,” speculates that the couple met in America. If so, Rebecca Green was likely our first American ancestor in the McCulloch family (making her something like the American matriarch of the family).

This might explain why her name carried on to her great granddaughter and great-great granddaughters. Their only child baptized in Ayr was Alexander. It is likely Thomas and Rebecca had other children in Londonderry or America. Thomas McCulloch moved to Boston in 1727 or 1736. (The 1736 arrival may actually be a son, Thomas Jr. This Thomas McCulloch may be the man that shortly thereafter lived in neighboring Pelham, Massachusetts, which was established in 1738).

We could infer that the earlier Alexander McCulloch was born about 1645 in Ayr. It’s understandable that the family would emigrate. Ayrshire was economically depressed before the Act of Union in 1707, but Ayr and apparently the McCullochs had been able to trade with France.

By the late 17th century and early 18th century, Ayr was widely regarded as a town in decline with Daniel Defoe remarking in A tour thro’ the whole island of Great Britain

The capital of this country is Air, a sea-port, and as they tell us, was formerly a large city, had a good harbour, and a great trade: I must acknowledge to you, that tho’ I believe it never was a city, yet it has certainly been a good town, and much bigger than it is now: At present like an old beauty, it shews the ruins of a good face; but is also apparently not only decay’d and declin’d, but decaying and declining every day, and from being the fifth town in Scotland, as the townsmen say, is now like a place so saken; the reason of its decay, is, the decay of its trade, so true is it, that commerce is the life of nations, of cities towns, harbours, and of the whole prosperity of a country: What the reason of the decay of trade here was, or when it first began to decay, is hard to determine; nor are the people free to tell, and, perhaps, do not know themselves. There is a good river here, and a handsome stone bridge of four arches.

The union with Great Britain and the resulting trade restrictions under the Navigation Act initially was a further economic setback to Ayr. It makes sense that the father/son of merchants from the port town of Ayr would look for opportunities abroad in other port towns such as Londonderry, Boston, and beyond. Author Tom Barclay tells a story that Alexander and business partners tried to misidentify a Scottish merchant ship called the Swan as a Welsh ship to evade British trade restrictions. The ship was briefly impounded by the Irish revenue authorities. The tax was paid, and the ship was released. However, Barclay says that McCulloch and his partners were probably illegally trading with the American colonies.

Auld Kirk of Ayr

I find no other records of Thomas, Rebecca, or Alexander apart from Thomas’ travels to Boston.  The port town of Derry in County Londonderry, Ireland was one of the largest towns of the Ulster Plantation. Thomas and Alexander had been burgess merchants in Ayr and active in Londonderry previously. Apparently, Ayr saw more emigration to Ulster than any other town in Scotland.

The economic depression caused by the Seven Ill Years and the trade restrictions following the Act of Union of 1707 may have prompted our McCullochs of Ayr to emigrate to Derry. Clearly by 1684 the McCullochs were invested in transatlantic trade and the settling of Scots in New England. In any event, their stay in Derry was likely brief. Thomas (or his son) arrived in Boston in 1727 and 1736.

According to the DAR report, Alexander’s family arrived in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. The report indicates that Alexander’s sister Mary traveled with him and that she married William Hodge in Philadelphia in 1732. Records indicate William Hodge arrived from northern Ireland in 1731. This may indicate when the Pennsylvania branch of McCullochs arrived in Philadelphia.

Londonderry to Philadelphia then East Derry

It seems that south central Pennsylvania in the mid-18th century was populated by Scottish families from Londonderry. This is attested to by the town name of Derry in Lancaster County. Not only were the McCullochs from Londonderry, the Glens (neighbors of the McCullochs of East Hanover), originally from Renfrewshire Scotland, lived in Londonderry. We also know that Modrell family tradition indicates the McCullochs and Motherals knew each other in Ireland. While we cannot document the origin of Robert Modrell’s family, a generation later another man named Robert Modrell arrived in Pennsylvania from Londonderry.  (This lends credence to the idea that our Modrells also lived in Londonderry). The DAR report also indicates that the McCullochs and Garvins knew each other in Ireland.

Unfortunately, no records appear to be available for the McCullochs time in Derry. Seven centuries of Irish records were destroyed in an explosion at the Irish records office in 1922.


Burgess Merchants of Ayr: The Family Business

What we know of the McCullochs in Ayr largely comes from baptism and marriage records of the Auld Kirk of Ayr, along with burgess merchant records from the burgh of Ayr.

To conduct business as a merchant in medieval Scottish burghs, a person had to be a “burgess.” The burgesses were an elite guild. The right to become a burgess was bestowed gratis, earned through an apprenticeship, obtained through inheritance, or by marriage. Thomas McCulloch and his father Alexander McCulloch were burgess merchants in Ayr. Thomas earned his burgess rights through an apprenticeship with Alexander Cranston. Alexander McCulloch received his burgess rights by marriage to Anapel Home (Hoom), daughter of James Home. Alexander’s father, James McCulloch, the younger, of Drummorrell (Whithorn, Wigtownshire, Galloway), was granted his status of burgess of Ayr “gratis.” Note, we do not have a will of James McCulloch of Drummorrell, the younger, indicating Alexander was his son. However, in 1713 there was a letter written to “Alexander McCulloch of Drummorrell” about his son David, a shipping merchant. We know that Alexander McCulloch of Ayr baptized a son named David in 1680 who was involved in shipping in the southern hemisphere. Also, we know that Alexander’s first cousin also named “Alexander McCulloch of Drummorrell” acquired Drummorrell from his father in 1678 but was buried in Edinburgh in 1689.  Thereafter, it appears that Alexander (son of James McCulloch of Drummorrell, the younger) owned Drummorrell and sold it prior to 1698.

James McCulloch of Drummorrell, the younger, was also a burgess of Glasgow, “gratis.” The fact that James was granted the right to be a burgess in two key cities at no cost implies James was a person of status and had influential connections. In fact, James had two brothers in parliament: Alexander from Whithorn, and John from Stirling (mentioned below).

Despite being referred to as “the younger,” James’ father was named Robert. (Various records exist for Robert McCulloch of Drummorrell’s financial interests). The “elder” referred to his grandfather James McCulloch of Drummorrell, the elder. James had a financial interest in the ferry at Kirkcudbright, then eventually was elected to the Kirkcudbright town council. He likely was a burgess in Kirkcudbright. In 1609, James became an “undertaker” (land developer)  in the Ulster plantation. However, James sold his Ulster lands by 1612.

James McCulloch of Drummorell, the elder, was the son of Robert McCulloch of Drummorrell. Robert had a variety of local business interests including trade with England. Like his descendants Thomas and Alexander, Robert didn’t seem to be above a bit of smuggling. In addition to operating his lands at Drummorrell, Robert was a burgess of Kirkcudbright who owned tenements in Kirkcudbright, an interest in the local ferry service, as well as other interests in Minnigaff.

We don’t know when the family moved to Kirkcudbright. Robert’s sister Elizabeth married John McClellane of Balmae in Kirkcudbright. Robert and his sons later serve as the procurator for John McClellane and his son Thomas in Kirkcudbright. It’s possible that Robert moved to Kirkcudbright with his sister and availed himself of the McClellane’s local influence.

Robert’s wife was Katherine Tait. Circumstantial evidence suggests Katherine was the daughter of  James Tait, a successful shipping merchant and burgess merchant in Ayr. Tait was the owner of Loudoun Hall (pictured below). Robert and Katherine name an elder son James. James McCulloch was known to have visited Ayr around 1588 according to correspondence to Sir Patrick Vaus of Barnbarroch. James Tait had a son named James who was a contemporary of James McCulloch of Drummorrell, the elder. This James Tait was an undertaker (land developer) at Dunwiley, Donegal in 1616. Similarly, James McCulloch of Drummorrell was one of the earliest undertakers, being granted 1,000 acres in Donegal (the Manor of Mullaveigh).

Loudoun Hall, Ayr

In 1518, James Tait signed three charters at his home, Loudoun Hall, with a man named John McCulloch. We may infer that John McCulloch was a business associate and friend of James Tait. In 1544, John McCulloch witnessed a charter in Kirkcudbright along with members of the Cairns and MacClellane families.

According to a historian of the Cairnes family, James McCulloch of Drummorrell was a cousin of the Cairnes family (from near Dumfries). (Alexander Cairnes, son of John Cairnes and Margaret McCulloch was James’ agent at Mullaveigh). Margaret was the daughter of Alexander McCulloch of Killasser. In 1568, John appears to have been appointed tutor to his great nephews and nieces. We might infer that John and Alexander were brothers, and thus sons of Henry McCulloch of Killasser, the younger.

Map of the southeast Machars including Whithorn and Cults (home of the Cairnes) and Whithorn. Note that Myreton Castle is on the west edge of the map. Interactive 1654 Blaue’s Atlas of Galloway Map.

The current Y DNA predictions indicate that my haplogroup, R-BY169408, is downstream of haplogroup R-BY169112. Also, the latest information released in December 2022 appears to indicate that either Henry McCulloch of Killasser, the younger or the elder may have been the first person to have the SNPs indicative of R-BY169112. Taken literally, this would mean that the R-BY169408 could not be “downstream” of an R-BY169112 ancestor any earlier than Henry McCulloch.

Genealogically, I know that I cannot have a common ancestor with my R-BY169112 match (a descendant of the Killasser line) more recently than the father of Robert McCulloch of Drummorrell. This presents a very limited window of about one to two generations.

Henry is known to have a son named John who, according to family historian Walter Jameson McCulloch, was a burgess merchant in Edinburgh. I believe this John was the same John who signed charters with James Tait in Ayr and the McClellane’s in Kirkcudbright. While it may be surprising to see someone this “mobile” in the early 16th century, if John was a shipping merchant like his friend James Tait and five generations of McCullochs after him, he likely travelled much further distances than just Scottish port towns of Edinburgh, Ayr, and Kirkcudbright.

Henry McCulloch of Killasser then Myreton

Henry McCulloch of Killasser the younger, appears to be the son of Finlay McCulloch of Killasser (died about 1500), son of Henry McCulloch of Killasser, the elder (died about 1496). Henry the younger married his cousin, Margaret McCulloch of Myretoun, then became the laird of Myretoun. At this time, we do not have any records that identify the father of Henry McCulloch of Killasser, the elder.

Drummorrell, Killasser and Ardwell Lines

According to Walter James McCulloch, in 1583 the Drummorrell lands were owned by Dundrennan Abbey, but leased to Gothray McCulloch of Ardwell (R-BY32021). Robert, in turn, occupied the lands as a subtenant. According to Walter Jameson McCulloch, a 1583 Decreet Arbital “described as near kinsman and friend, descended out of the house of Ardwell’, and it appears that he had some claim to succeed Gothray (McCulloch of Ardwell who died in 1588) who, having no male heirs of his own.” I haven’t found a copy of this Decreet Arbital. This statement appears to be false because Gothray did, in fact, have natural born sons.

A simple explanation of how Robert may have descended from the House of Ardwell – but not as a son of Gothray – is that he may have been the son of Bessie McCulloch of Ardwell, Gothray’s sister. Robert also had a sister called Bessie who might have been named for her mother. This is admittedly speculation. Another, more remote but defensible explanation may be that Henry McCulloch of Killasser, the elder, acquired the Killasser estates by marrying a daughter of Andrew McCulloch of Ardwell (as discussed below). This is the most obvious explanation of how Henry acquired lands that had previously been part of the Ardwell estate.


1672 Drummorrell Coat of Arms

Note that the Drummorrell coat of arms registered with and approved by the Court of Lord Lyon in 1672 refers to Alexander McCulloh of Drummorrell as “descends from the families of Myretoun.” Presumably the Court of Lord Lyon was satisfied with the genealogical record or family testimony that the McCullochs of Drummorrell truly descended from the Myretoun line. However, we do not know the contents of the files submitted by Alexander.

The McCulloch’s of Drummorrell motto is “verus et sedulus”: true and diligent. By contrast, the House of Ardwell motto is “vi et animo”: with courage and strength.

The House of Drummorrell coat of arms is

Alexander McCulloch of Drummorall descended of the families of Myretoun

Bears ermine frettee gules a bordur ingrailed of the second, Above the Shield ane helmet befitting his degree mantle gules doubled argent. The motto in ane Escroll Verus et Sedulus.

Court of Lord Lyon, Alexander of Drummorrell Coat of Arms Description

Ermine means the black symbol in the coat of arms that looks like a hanging ermine tail.

Frette is the diagonal lattice pattern. Gules means red.

Note the scalloped (engrailed) inset on the coat of arms. This feature distinguishes the McCullochs of Drummorrell coat of arms from the McCullochs of Ardwell coat of arms (registered about 20 years prior) which does not have this scalloped inset. The image above includes the family name on a scroll at the bottom. But the description registered with the Court of Lord Lyon indicates a scroll above the helmet that includes the motto: Verus et Sedulus.

McCulloch lands of Drummorrell near Whithorn

Blaeu’s Atlas of Scotland showing Drummorrell in the southeast Machars, south of Whithorn.

Our American McCullough Ancestors

Raymond Douglas McCullough

Raymond Douglas McCullough was born in 1939 in Terre Haute, Vigo County, Indiana to parents Eli J. McCullough and Cloe Glenn. He died in May 2021.

Raymond grew up in Indianapolis, Indiana. He entered the Air Force in 1957, a year after his father’s death.

He served in the military police, training K-9s, for the Air Force. He was stationed at Lackland AFB Vandenberg AFB, Germany, and Morocco, among other locations. While he did not see military action other than some heated moments with local Moroccans, he served during the Cold War and became a member of the American Legion.

Raymond left the Air Force to attend North Central Bible College in Minnesota in 1964.

Rev. Raymond McCullough was the pastor of Pleasant View Assembly of God in New Whiteland, Indiana for seventeen years. Raymond was bi-vocational, also working as a supervisor in the Amtrak train maintenance facilities in Beech Grove, Indiana.

After years of ministry in the Assemblies of God and a short stint with a non-denominational congregation, Raymond became an ordained Methodist Episcopal Church minister in 2004. This represented a return to his religious roots. He had been a member of East Park Methodist Church in Indianapolis in 1954. After his ordination as a Methodist minister, Raymond pastored a small church in Brown County, Indiana.

Eli J. McCullough

Eli. J. McCullough was born in 1891 in Bloomfield, Greene, Indiana, son of James Alfred McCullough and Sarah Walls. Around 1913, Eli married Cloe Clinton Glenn, in Poinsett, Arkansas where Cloe’s family seemed to then be living. Cloe was the daughter of James Clinton Glenn and Myrtle Goad. Raymond McCullough relayed the story of the return move from Arkansas to Indiana by covered wagon, presumably sometime after 1913.

Cloe was a descendent of Hugh Glen who lived next door to the McCulloch family of East Hanover, Lancaster. This seems to suggest our Glen and McCulloch ancestors knew each other in Londonderry.

Eli and Cloe had thirteen children, with Raymond McCullough being the youngest.

Eli worked a number of jobs including work on farms, Kroger grocery warehouses, and coal mines in Indiana. At the outbreak of World War I, Eli reported to duty. He served as an acting corporal in the Battery D 35th Field Artillery Regiment which served in France.

Eli was a member of the Celtic American Legion in Indianapolis, as well as a member of a Pentecostal Church. He died in 1956.

James Alfred McCullough

James Alfred McCullough, born in 1853 in Greene, Indiana to father Harrison McCullough and Catherine Dobbs. James married Sarah Walls, daughter of Ely Walls and Rhoda Beasley. in March 1891. Their son Eli was born in December of that year and appears to be named for his maternal grandfather.

James’s father Harrison died in 1859, when James was only about six years old. According to Raymond McCullough, Catherine returned to Poinsett, Arkansas at this time. However, she returned to Bloomfield, Indiana at some point, where she died in 1910. James was raised by his step-father, James Allen, and Catherine.

Harrison McCullough

Harrison McCullough was born 1824 in Owingsville, Bath, Kentucky to Jonathan McCullough and Elizabeth Staton. By 1840 he was living with his family in Owen County, Indiana.

In 1847, Harrison married Catherine Dobbs in Greene, Indiana. Harrison died at a young age, leaving behind three small children James (age 6), Calvin (age 11) and Licena (age 2). Catherine later remarried James Allen.

Jonathan McCullough

Jonathan McCullough was born in 1790 in Cabarrus, North Carolina to John McCullough, Jr. and Margaret Modrell. (Like the name McCullough/McCulloch, the name Modrell appears in many forms including Motheral). Around 1778, John and Margaret had moved from Pennsylvania to North Carolina, where they started their family. John was named for his father and grandfather, but is typically styled “Jonathan” rather than John McCullough, III.

Jonathan and his father moved from North Carolina to Kentucky by 1800. Jonathan served in the War of 1812 with the Kentucky Riflemen. Then, in August 1813, Jonathan entered into a betrothal contract in Kentucky with his soon to be father-in-law, Reuben Staton. Jonathan married Elizabeth Staton in 1815 in Kentucky.

By 1830, Jonathan, his father, and grandfather were living in Greene, Indiana. His father died around 1841. Jonathan died around 1859 in Bloomfield, Greene, Indiana.

John McCullough, Jr.

We know much about John McCullough from his Revolutionary War pension claim proceedings. John was born in 1755 in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania. His father was named John. Both men served in the Revolutionary War. John, Jr. first enlisted in Chanceford Township, York County, Pennsylvania, where he was then living. After serving in a Pennsylvania militia for about a year, John Jr. moves with his wife, Margaret Modrell, his sister Rebecca McCullough Modrell, and his father-in-law Robert Modrell to Mecklenburg, Pennsylvania. From about 1778, John served in a Mecklenburg North Carolina militia. A reference to John is included in a book of Indiana pioneers who served in the Revolutionary War. The minutes of the pension claim proceedings provide colorful stories about John’s military service. Adam Modrell served as a witness at the hearing. John returned the favor and testified for Adam in his own pension claim hearing.

We do not know the exact dates of the marriages of John to Margaret or Rebecca to William Modrell. However, in 1779 Rebecca and John witnessed Robert Modrell’s will in North Carolina. Prior to this, Rebecca and her husband baptized their daughter in York County around 1774. Presumably Rebecca and William married around 1773, and John and Margaret married around 1778 at about the time the families moved to North Carolina.

We have additional information about John’s family thanks to a Daughter of the American Revolution report pertaining to John’s brother-in-law, Thomas Garvin. That report, though containing some errors, has credible oral traditions that confirm the genealogical records and circumstantial evidence about this family. That DAR report states that John Sr.’s first wife was Jane Smith. John McCulloch, Sr. and Jane Smith married in 1743 in Philadelphia. Their first child may have been Margaret, born about 1747. Rebecca was born some time between 1748-1751.

This DAR report confirms that John, Sr. served in the American Revolution, as stated in John Jr.s pension claim proceedings. Both circumstantial evidence and the DAR report indicate that John Sr.’s brother was Samuel McCulloch of Martic Township, Lancaster County, Pennsylvania. As of 1750, Samuel owned land neighboring Robert Modrell, the father-in-law of Rebecca and John McCullough.

After moving to North Carolina, John and Margaret started their family. After the war, the McCulloughs eventually moved to Kentucky, then onto Owen County, Indiana. John’s pension claim proceedings occured around 1840. He is believed to have died shortly thereafter.

John McCulloch, Sr.

John McCulloch, Sr. was born around 1720 in or near Derry, County Londonderry, Northern Ireland to Alexander McCulloch and his wife Margaret. Alexander was born in Ayr, Ayrshire Scotland in 1695.

In 1743, John married Jane Smith, born in 1722. Their first born child appears to be Margaret (named for her grandmother) born in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania in 1747. This couple also gave birth to a  daughter, Rebecca, around 1751. She may have been named for her great grandmother, Rebecca Green McCulloch of Ayr John’s named a son Alexander for his grandfather. (Alexander later appears in a number of York County tax and land records). John, Jr. was born in 1755.

As late as 1757, both John and Samuel appear in Martic Township tax records. However, by 1762 John moved onto Chanceford Township tax records. It should be noted that Robert Modrell is also believed to have moved from his land neighboring Samuel to York County around 1760. It seems as if John and Robert move their families at the same time.

The notes from Rev. John Cuthbertson, Presbyterian covenanter circuit rider minister of  the Muddy Creek Presbyterian Church of York County indicate John may have remarried before 1765. Rev. John Cuthbertson baptized a daughter named Margaret, daughter of John McCulloch. Those notes also would indicate that John was a prominent member of the church, hosting church meetings and baptisms at his home. In 1774, Rebecca McCullough Modrell and her husband William baptized their daughter, Peninah Modrel, at the Muddy Creek Church.

John still appears in York County tax records as late as 1782. At that time there are entries for a “Widow McCullough” in 1782 and 1783 showing that she owned 155 acres. Presumably this was Elizabeth Hunt, John Sr.’s third wife. His brother Samuel died, leaving a will, in 1785.