Major Alexander McCulloch (1776-1846)

Crest of Clansfolk of Clan MacCulloch
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US Army, pioneer, soldier, plantation owner

Alexander McCulloch, thought to be a direct descendant of the McCullochs of Myretoun, was born in 1759 in Lunenburg County, Virginia. He received his education at Yale College and was acknowledged in his day as a man of great energy and character. His son, General Henry Eustace McCulloch said of him: "he was very much such a man as my brother, General Benjamin McCulloch, in all respects save one. He was not an economist and loved to spend money on his friends. His generosity was much abused by some, upon whose bonds he had signed as a surety, because of which his estate was so much wasted that he found it impossible to meet expenses necessary in securing an education to his younger children, a misfortune fully appreciated by him." Despite these obstacles, the sons of Alexander McCulloch received an education at home. At his death, his estate consisting of money, plantations, Negroes and unimproved lands, lying principally within the state of Tennessee, was valued at only $100,000 dollars.

Major Alexander McCulloch served as aide de camp to General James Coffee, whose army was sent to Huntsville, Alabama, in advance of the rest of the army for the purpose of protecting the citizens of the Tennessee River Valley from threatened attacks during the Creek Indian Wars. During the War of 1812 he served under Gen Andrew Jackson at the Battle of New Orleans, 1816.

In 1820, Alexander McCulloch and his family settled on the Tennessee River at Muscle Shoals. There he and his family lived for some ten years. It was a wilderness territory still, abounding in all types of game and serving as the winter camping grounds for the Choctaw Indians. His sons soon learned from the Indians how to hunt with bow and arrow as well as all their tactics of stealth and surprise. This was to serve them in good stead for their later military careers and exploits.

The McCulloch family moved in 1828 on to a 10,000 acre land grant in Dyer County in western Tennessee, running from the Forked Deer River near Dyersburg north to the Obion River. Here, their immediate eighbours were the Crocketts. Davy Crockett and Benjamin McCulloch became good friends. These early pioneers established their own churches and McCulloch's Chapel in the 10th District of Dyer County still stands today, having been named for Alexander McCulloch.

Alexander McCulloch had married Frances Fisher Lenoir in 1799 at Nashville. Miss Lenoir had been born in Dinwiddie County, Virginia and died in 1866 in Ellis County Texas. Of French origin, she was the daughter of a large plantation and slave owner in Virgina.

Major Alexander McCulloch died in Dyer County in 1846, a highly respected man of his community. Part of his obituary which appeared in the Nashville Christian Advocate read:
I announce to you and the readers of your Journal, the death of my old, well tried friend, Major Alexander McCulloch. His death took place in Dyer County, Tennessee on the night of the 4th of August 1846, after an illness of three weeks, during which period his sufferings were extreme....His religion was both experimental and practical, uniting the power with form of godliness. In the person of Major McCulloch, grace achieved much, for by nature he was not only high minded, but high tempered, impetuous and a stern man, whose heart was never assailed by the passion of fear. But grace subdued the lion and gave a happy direction to the energetic mind, bringing into captivity all to the obedience of Christ. As a neighbour, he was kind: as a friend, he was sincere: as a husband, he was affectionate: as a parent and a master, he was tender. But that which spread a serene lustre upon his whole life was his unshirking piety.

Alexander McCulloch was buried three miles from Dyersburg, Tennessee, on a low hill not far from the main highway out to the Mississippi River. The stone is of marble stands five feet high and is entwined with wild honey suckle vines. He left a grieving wife and thirteen children.

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