Elderly parents – 5

Background:  Elizabeth Rankin was the mother of John McCulloh b. 1747, and seven other children including James, author of the letter below.  Her first husband, John McCulloh b. 1721, came to America in 1759.  From the 1778 will of Henry Rankin it appeared that he was Elizabeth’s 3rd husband.  The ledger below shows that instead of living with the family Elizabeth was first boarded with a doctor and then with someone else.  From descriptions in other letters she may have been suffering from Alzheimer’s.  Funeral expenses are also listed.

19 May 1792  – James McCulloh to John McCulloh

Dear John,

I recieved your two letters respecting the supposed fate of the Germantown place and thank you for your attention to that business.

The present is to request that you will have a tomb stone executed in a plain neat manner & agreeably to the enclosed inscription [ inscription lost].  There is a man in Third St. opposite Mr. Bingham’s [who] offered to find the marble slab for L9 and charge 2? a letter for cutting it.  However, I leave this matter to you who must know the best artist.  Please to engage it and inform me what it will cost.


1 Nov 1800 – Elizabeth Rankin ledger a/p with John McCulloh dec.                           Accounts from 1781 to June 20, 1792

1787 – Mar 9 to cash          Mar 29 – pd to Capt. Murray          Apl 23 – pd to postage          June 23 – sent her to Saml McClintock [doctor]          June 23 – pd for 1 lb tea          July 27 – cash at sundry times          Dec 4 – pd Saml McClintock for boarding          Dec 4 – sent her ditto 11/5.  Paid for Louff 3/

1788 – Feb 27 – cash          Mar 10 – Cash           Mar 29 – Sundry ditto          June 14 – ditto          Aug 11 – ditto          Sept 19 – pd John Nicholson on account of certificate          Nov 1 – Cash

1789 – Mar 23 – cash          April 18 – pd Samuel Owens          April 18 – pd freight to L. Bush

1790 – April 3 – Cash          April 3 – Boarding 12 1/2  months

1791 – April 9 – pd John Griess acct for 1 year boarding

1792 – Feb 22 – cash pd for Wine & sundry clothing          May 19 – John Griess acct for boarding and nursing for one year          June 20 – John Griess acct for boarding and funeral expenses          June 20 – cash for muslin for a shroud and coffin furniture

Samuel McCulloh, exec.

McCulloh Papers, 1773-1848, Maryland Historical Society, MS 2110, microfilm reel 2, frame 360, 366

Elderly parents – 4

Letter in response to 3 April 1791

18 May 1791 from Prince Ann, Maryland – James McCulloh to John McCulloh

Dear John,

I recieved your last letter just as I was leaving Baltimore upon which I called upon N. Peirce who informs me that the money you charge me for her is wrong.  But as she wrote, no doubt, on the occasion I shall not touch upon it further.

I observe that you charge me with the balance of my mother’s a/c and credit me for 4/5 of the rent of the Germantown estate for one year – has it not been rented since 88?  If it has not you may be right as to the credit.

I find you still charge me with Roberson on Ferguson & several on Benton – after I have so often told you that I won’t allow.  Then for godsake put the thing out of your head – as it never will advantage you a farthing.  If you will state the account & omit those charges that I have nothing to do with you will find it more to your interest than the mode you at present persue – which will give much pleasure to you.

Affectionate, James McCulloh

McCulloh Papers, 1773-1848, Maryland Historical Society, MS 2110, microfilm reel 2, frame 321, 322

Estate Inventories

Background:  Common practice for settling an estate included an inventory to be taken.  Items listed sometimes seem strange to us today because they are not only the large valuable items, but clothes and small things as well.  It is interesting to compare the two inventories below – one from a female, Margaret McCulloh (niece of John McCulloh b. 1747) and one from her uncle, Joseph McCulloh (brother of John b. 1747).

An inventory of the personal estate of Margaret McCulloh, dec. in the posession of John McCulloh at the time of her death March 27, 1784.  Taken by her Uncle John McCulloh April 2, 1784.

1 Mahogany bedsted,    1 sickling bottomford,    1 bed, 1 bolster,    2 pillows,    3 blankets,    2 bed quilts, the one old the other new,    3 pillow cases,    3 sheets,    1 cover bed bunt,    1 silver tanker,    12 table spoons silver,    12 tea spoons silver,    1 small table cloth and napkins,   3 gowns old,    1 petticoat,     2 old hats 1 beaver,    2 chair aprins,     6 pair bottom hackens,    1 jacket & petticoat,    2 under jackets,    1 bundle containing sundry pieces of old silk,    3 bundles containing sundry pieces of linen,   1 old wrought pocket book,    1 bundle containing purses of calico,    1 fringe loom,    1 pair sleeves,    1 short gown calico,    1 fether tippet a number of old flowers,    1 bundle of old gause 1 bundle of old ribbons,    1 side sadle,    1 old chest,    1 band box,     1 small trunk,    1 pair silk shoes 1 pair silver lockets,    2 pocket Bibles & 2 small volumes


An inventory of goods belonging to the estate of Joseph McCulloh dec. taken 6 July 1784 and appraised by Robt. _____ and Frazer Kinslay.

1 looking glass 2 flour pots,    1 large dining table,    1 middle size dining table,    1 mahogany card table,    1 walnut dressing table,    6 chamber chairs,    1 old tea table,    2 potts & 1 pair locks,    1 Windsor chair,    1 pair andirons 1 pair tongs,    1 grid iron with foot,    1 grinding box,    8 hand knives and forks,    2 china banks each cracked,     4 ___ dish queen ware,    1 candle stick 1 pair snuffers,     1 sarver small,    1 tumbler, 1 tea pott & tea bottle,    1 set benik & pair of jointer,    1 rabbet plain & gembolate box,    4 tea spoons, table ditto all plate,    1 tea kettle,    1 flavor pott,    1 desk,    1 bedstead,    1 bed bolster & 2 pillows,    1 chest,     2 skirts,    2 blankets,    1 cover,    2 pillow cases,    1 pair saddle bags,   a stool,     1 set buttons

McCulloh Papers, 1773-1848, Maryland Historical Society, MS 2110, microfilm reel 1, frame 141, 182

British Connection

Background:  It may seem strange to have a will from Ireland in the McCulloh collection, but Robert McCulloh lived in Ireland as did others related to him.  The will posted here helps sort out some of the family connections in Somerset County, Maryland, ultimately coming to Elizabeth Reynolds, who married either Joseph  or Samuel McCulloh, brothers of John McCulloh b. 1747.

1780 – Will of Mary McWaters

I, Mary McWaters of Belfast in the county of Antrim widow make and publish this my last will and testament in manner following –

I leave and bequeath unto my brother Thos Sloss of Princess Ann in Somerset County, Maryland in Amer., planter the sum of L500 Irish Sterling and unto his wife Mary Sloss my tortese shell snuff boxes and unto his daughter Mary Sloss my gold watch and two cameos.

I leave and bequeath unto Sarah Reynolds otherwise Sloss of Philadelphia Widow and her four children, Namely William, Elizabeth, Sarah, and Mary Reynolds the sum of L700 Irish Silver to be equally divided among them or such of them that survive me, share and share alike.

I order and direct my Exors herein after named do lend out the sum of L200 Irish Sterling at such a rate of interest among such surety as they shall think fit and continue the same at interest  during the life of my sister Margt Leaven otherwise Sloss, wife of Thomas Leaven of Maryland afore said therewith and that the interest of its life be paid her annually during her life, without the _?_ or intermeddling of her husband.  But if my Exors shall at any time thereafter think it advisable to remit said L200 to America, I will and desire that they remit same to the said Thomas Sloss but without risque to themselves. And the said Thomas Sloss, do hand out said sum of L200 at interest in America and pay the interest to arise therefore unto the said Margaret Leaven during her life in manner aforesaid.

McCulloh Papers, 1773-1848, Maryland Historical Society, MS 2110, microfilm reel 1, frame 22

Becoming a physician -2

Background:  I’m not sure who Levi Todd is.  From the subject of the letter compared to the last one, it sounds like it might be a formal name or middle name for Andrew Todd.  Samuel McCulloh would now be 19.

3 Nov 1791 from Louisa, Virginia – Levi Todd to John McCulloh

Loving Brother,

Your last by Capt. Barret came safe to hand since which I have receiv’d non from you and I do not recollect of my writing you since.

By Samy’s letter accompanying yours he informed me that he had determined on the study of Physick & that it was by no means disagreeable to him.  He also informed  me that he expected his Preceptor would be Dr. Hutchinson & I hope he is now agreeably & earnestly engaged in the study.  I expect from his studying under Dr. Hutchinson he will of course attend the Medical Professors of the Univeristy [of Maryland].  I am desirous of him attending at least one course of Dr. Rushes lectures perhaps toward the close of his studies as I am much inclined to think he is by far the greatest Medical Character your city affords.  Should Samy at any future period think proper to visit Virginia, if during his studies, I will afford him every instruction in my power.  If afterwards, I will afford him every assistance that may be in my power.  My desire to see him are great, but I am sensible that he enjoy the best opportunities that this or perhaps any other country can afford.  Where he is – wish him to be so eminent as to be qualified to sit down in some of our seaport towns, country practice being disagreeable and less profitable.

McCulloh Papers, 1773-1848, Maryland Historical Society, MS 2110, microfilm reel 2, frame 338


Becoming a physician

Background:  Andrew Todd was the brother-in-law of John McCulloh and from the writing in the letter must have been a physician himself.  Samuel McCulloh, called Samey in the letter, was the oldest son of John McCulloh and would have been age 16 at the time of its writing. Samuel did become a physician serving as a ships surgeon on one of his father’s ships.

20 May 1788 from Louisa, Virginia – Andrew Todd to John McCulloh

Dear Brother,

I am much pleased to hear that Samey is so far advanced in his education as to commence this summer and should he make choice of the study of Physick, I can & will cheerfully meet your proposal of his spending the first of any part of his time with me and shall be extremely happy how much of it he can spend with me consistant with his own improvement in the knowledge of Theory and Practice of Physick.

I can also assure you that Mrs. Todd will with the  greatest chearfullness agree to his living with us – for upon my expressing some doubts as to the propriety of his spending the first part of his time with me with respect to his own improvement, she could not help desiding me not to write anything to the contrary to you.

I think a great deal will depend on the state of your finances where or with whome he ought to begin & have finish his studies.  If your circumstances are easy would it not be best for him to open the first part of his time in Philadelphia until a good foundation was laid or he was tolerably well acquainted with those first principles of the Theory & Practice of Physick which he can only learn to any tolerable perfection in Philadelphia & afterwards he can read much more as a great advantage in the country as in the city perhaps.  If your circumstances are rather difficult the method you propose will do very well via his spending not only the first part of his time but summer with me & the winter in Philadelphia.  So much will depend on your circumstances that I being unacquainted with them cannot undertake to advise you.  Consult some of your city Physicians & let his opportunities of improvement be the best you can give him even should you expend all you will be able to give him in his education.  If he is a student under any of the Professors of the University [of Maryland] you will save that professors fees.  If under any that is not a professor you will have them still to pay.  A student with shipping, he may become the best anatomist & surgeon with Rush or Kuhn, the best physicians probably.

Let you determine as you may about him.  I think he may spend at least one if not two summers with me to advantage. A number of good authors & will spare pains to instruct him all that I can.  I shall at all times be glad to hear from you more particularly as soon as you & Samey are determined.

My aged father, Polly & our little son are well & join me in wishing you & family every possible happiness here & hereafter.  Should you go to the Western Country, I shall be very happy to see you here on your return if you can make it tolerably convenient.  Present my love to Col. Porter & other inquiring friends.  Parson Todd’s family are all well.  Dady & myself wrote to you a few weeks ago by Parson Blair.  He has one from Dady for you but the two above mentioned are probably still here owing to his not taking Parson Todd in his way as he promised.  I am Dear Brother yours sincerely,                                                                                                                                  Andrew Todd

McCulloh Papers, 1773-1848, Maryland Historical Society, MS 2110, microfilm reel 2, frame 129, 130

Elderly parents – 3

3 April 1791 from Philadelphia – John McCulloh to James McCulloh

Dear Jamey,

I have yours of the 6th of last and should have answered it long since but I have been much hurried and expected that you were gone to Prince Ann to which place no opportunity offered.  I am happy to find that you are now willing to reason on the matter that has unhappily prevented that cordiality of affection that ought ever to subsist between us and which by the spirit of your last I hope may now be restored.  For I am confident that at any time if I am wrong I will be set right by your pointing out the error; as to the certificate we will have it until I shall have the pleasure of seeing you here only observing that I have ample testimony of its not belonging to you alone.  I do not, I assure you, wish to wound your feelings, but I thought it odd that you never engaged about our poor old mother who is now becoming exceedingly troublesome and childish much more so than my infant partly thro the infirmity of old age & partly thro an ungovernable temper which is worse in old age.  This childishness [is] the cause of the Germantown placement off again as heretofore I wish most sincerely that it now put an end to for I am heartily tired of it indeed.  My part of the rect mo does not half pay me for my trouble in attending court  I am induced to believe that it would be better for me to make over my part of it to you than to be any longer plagued with it.  I herewith send your assesment and should an error appear I will correct it with cheerfulness.  You say you have been kind to the children of our sister.  So say I but you will certainly allow that I have not been an idle spectator taking circumstances in to vein.  I am, I think, not kind most but I will not contend for the preference.

McCulloh Papers, 1773-1848, Maryland Historical Society, MS 2110, microfilm reel 2, frame 319

More on this subject at a later date…