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McCulloch, Benjamin  ( 1811 Nov 11  -  1862 Mar 7 )

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McCULLOCH, BENJAMIN -- Born in Rutherford County, Tennessee, November 11, 1811, as son of Major Alexander and Frances F. (LeNoir) McCulloch and was raised in Dyer County, Tennessee. His father, Alexander McCulloch, was born in Virginia and raised in North Carolina. He was a grandson of Benjamin McCulloch and his mother, Mary Stockes, was a sister of Montford Stokes, governor of North Carolina, 1830-32. He, Alexander, was a brother of Benjamin McCulloch of Nashville, Tennessee.

Major Alexander McCulloch was aide-de-camp to General James Coffee, under General Andrew Jackson, in the Creek and British wars of 1812-15 in Alabama, Florida, Georgia, and New Orleans. He died in Dyer County, Tennessee in August, 1846. He was a graduate of Yale. He was married to Frances F. LeNoir, who was born in Virginia, April 11, 178O and died near Maypearl, Ellis County, Texas, May 10, 1866 at the home of her son Captain John S. McCulloch.

Children of Major Alexander and Frances F. (LeNoir) McCulloch, not in order of birth were: Benjamin, Samuel, Alexander, James C., Henry Eustace, Sarah Stokes, who married Albert Keeble, of Rutherford County, Tennessee, and removed to Walker County, Texas where both died; Mary Annie, who married William L. Mitchell of Rutherford County, Tennessee, and died in Gonzales, Texas in 1846; Frances Olivia, who married Charles Parish of Weakley County, Tennessee; Harriet Maria, who married Nathaniel Benton; Elizabeth Julia, who married Rev. Robert H. Tarrant, a Methodist preacher of Dyer County, Tennessee; and Adelaide Delia McCulloch, who married Albert J. Pierce of Dyer County, Tennessee.

Benjamin McCulloch, subject of this sketch, left Tennessee for Texas in the fall of 1835 but, becoming ill, returned to his home. He returned to Texas in 1836 in time to participate in the Battle of San Jacinto. He joined the army at the camp near the Brazos in what is now Waller County. He was assigned to Captain Isaac N. Moreland's Company of Artillery and at San Jacinto manned one of the famous "Twin Sisters" Cannon which had been presented to the Texas army by patriotic citizens of Cincinnati, Ohio. The other was manned by Sergeant Thomas P. Plaster. He was issued Bounty Certificate No. 2473 February 21, 1836, for 320 acres of land for having joined the army prior to April 18, 1836, and serving for a period of three months. He received Donation Certificate No. 776 dated January 1839 for 640 acres of land for having participated in the Battle of San Jacinto. After the battle he was assigned to Captain William H. Smith's Cavalry Company. He left the army to visit his home in Tennessee, returning to Texas in the fall of the year 1836, with a company of thirty men for the army, Robert Crockett, son of David Crockett, being the captain. He again returned to Tennessee in the summer of 1837 and learned surveying, remaining until early in 1838 when he moved permanently to Texas and selected the Guadalupe and San Marcos valleys as his home. As soon as the county surveyor's office was opened at Gonzales by Charles Lockhart he secured a position under him. In July, 1838, he was joined by his brother Henry and the two lived together in what is now Seguin, Guadalupe County, until in 1840 when Henry was married.

Benjamin McCulloch during the following years participated in many engagements against Indians. He and Henry were with Captain John M. More when forty of the redskins were killed and about fifty were wounded. The two brothers also participated in the Plum Creek Campaign of July, 1840. He was defeated by Dr. Alonzo B. Sweitzer for a seat in the House of the Third Congress of the Republic but was elected to the Fourth Congress, November 11, 1839 to February 5, 1840. In connection with the election a bitter feud arose resulting, in 1840, in a duel between Mr. McCulloch and Colonel Reuben Ross, in which Mr. McCulloch was severely wounded in an arm. Colonel Ross helped to bandage the wound and the two were ever after the best of friends. In May 1841 with fifteen volunteers he surprised the Indian camp on the Guadalupe and in the encounter five of the foe were killed.

In 1842 Mr. McCulloch was First Lieutenant in Captain John C. Hays' famous ranger company and took part in the Vasquez campaign of that year. In 1845 he was elected from Gonzales County to the House of Representatives of the First State Legislature, which convened February 16, 1846. In the Spring of 1846, under a new law he was elected Major General of the Militia of all Texas west of the Colorado. He, however, entered the Mexican war as a Captain of a Company of Colonel John C. Hays' regiment. The company constantly served on detached duty under General Zachary Taylor. He participated in the battle of Monterrey and other engagements.

In 1849 Captain McCulloch and a few friends started overland for California. They crossed Mexico to Mazatlan, and thence took a vessel to San Francisco. On the organization of the country Captain McCulloch was sheriff of Sacramento on the same day that Colonel John C. Hays was elected Sheriff of San Francisco. In 1852 he returned to Texas. In 1853 he was appointed United States Marshall of the eastern or coastwise district of Texas. He was re-appointed and held the office nearly eight years, but spent nearly all of his time in the libraries in Washington studying military works. In 1858 he and Governor Lazarus W. Powell of Kentucky, were appointed Commissioners to Utah, in the time of the Mormon troubles, and succeeded in so adjusting matters as to prevent civil war on the arrival of the United States troops under the command of General Albert Sidney Johnston.

Captain McCulloch rose to the rank of Brigadier General in the Confederate Army in the War Between the States, and was killed in the battle of Pea Ridge (Elkhorn Tavern) Arkansas, March 7, 1862. His remains were first buried in Ft. Smith, Arkansas but were later interred in the State Cemetery at Austin. McCulloch County, Texas, was named in his honor

General McCulloch was never married. The State of Texas had the remains of his mother exhumed and on May 27, 1938 reinterred in the State Cemetery in Austin beside those of her illustrious son and a joint monument erected at their graves.

Austin, Texas, May 27, 1938--The remains of Mrs. Frances F. LeNoir McCulloch, believed to have been the only American mother with two sons ranking as brigadier generals, were re-buried today in the State Cemetery at Austin under auspices of three patriotic societies after removal from a farm near Maypearl.

Lieutenant Governor Walter Woodul, Chairman of the Centennial Commission of Control, delivered the funeral oration.

The societies taking part were Oliver Hazard Perry chapter of the Daughters of the War of 1812; the William B. Travis chapter of the Daughters of the Republic of Texas; and the Albert Sidney Johnston chapter of the Daughters of the Confederacy.

Mrs. McCulloch's husband, Major Alexander McCulloch, fought in the War of 1812, and one of her brothers was killed in that conflict. Major and Mrs. McCulloch were the parents of 12 children. One of these, Alexander McCulloch, served in the Texas Revolution including the Battle of San Jacinto, and in the U. S. Mexican War. Benjamin McCulloch rose to rank of brigadier general in the Confederate Army. He was killed at Pea Ridge, Ark., in combat. Henry Eustice McCulloch became a brigadier general in the Confederate Army after serving in the war with Mexico.

Lieutenant Governor Woodul extolled Mrs. McCulloch's life, declaring, "Few women in the history of our beloved country have sacrificed more in the cause of patriotism...Her memory lives in Texas, but she was so modest and unassuming that she concealed as far as possible the splendid record of her work as a good neighbor and a humanitarian. She was widely known for her kindness of heart, her unfailing generosity of character and her virtues as a gentle Christian woman."

Submitted by L. W. Kemp, Chairman of the Historical Advisory Board to the Commission of Control for Texas Centennial Celebrations, for release Wednesday, May 25,1938.-- The remains of Mrs. Frances F. LeNoir McCulloch will be reinterred in the State Cemetery, Austin, May 27th under the auspices of the Oliver Hazard Perry, Captain of the Daughters of the War of 1812; the William B. Travis Chapter of the Daughters of the Republic of Texas; and the Albert Sidney Johnston Chapter of the Daughters of the Confederacy. Lieutenant Governor Walter F. Woodul, Chairman of the Commission of Control of the Texas Centennial will deliver the funeral oration.

Mrs. McCulloch was the widow of an officer of the United States Army in the War of 1812 and her only brother was killed in that war. She was the mother of a San Jacinto veteran; three of her sons were officers in the United States Army in the Mexican War; and three were officers in the Confederate Army in the War Between the States. Two of the latter rose to the rank of Brigadier General. She is thought to have been the only woman ever to have been the mother of two Brigadier Generals.

Mrs. McCulloch's remains were removed with Centennial funds from a forgotten and sadly neglected grave and are now in a funeral parlor in Austin awaiting reburial. Credit for locating her grave is due Mr. R.E. Sparkman of Italy, Texas. Having learned that Mrs. McCulloch had died at the home of her son, Captain John S. McCulloch, Mr. Sparkman decided to visit her grave. Failing to find it in any of the cemeteries in the vicinity of Maypearl, Ellis County, near her former home, he decided to visit the farm once owned by her son and make inquiry of the present owner as to its location. He was informed that there was a grave back of the henhouse on the place, and this Mr. Sparkman found was the one he was seeking. Mrs. McCulloch had evidently been buried in a family cemetery but if other headstones had been erected in it there were no signs to show that such was the case. The base of a single headstone was found standing, and scattered nearby was the rest of the stone broken into many parts. Piecing them together in a jig saw fashion the following inscription was devolved: 'France Lenoir McCulloch 1779-1866 87 yrs. 10 mos. and 27 days; wife of Major Alexander McCulloch, mother of 12 children; devoted wife, affectionate mother, Consecrated Christian Member of the Methodist Church 47 years"

Mr. Sparkman reported his finding to the Commission of Control for Texas Centennial Celebrations which promptly appropriated funds with which to have Mrs. McCulloch's remains removed and placed beside those of her illustrious son, General Benjamin McCulloch, in the State Cemetery. A modest marker at the grave of General McCulloch will be removed and a joint monument costing $l,000, will be erected at the graves of mother and son.

Frances F. LeNoir McCulloch was born in Virginia, April 11, 1779, a daughter of a planter and a slaveholder, and related to the Harpers and Fishers of that state, and evidently of French origin. She was a domestic woman, and during her husband's absence in the wars she managed the plantation to great advantage. She was proverbial for her kindness to the sick and for being a peacemaker in her neighborhood. Her only brother, John Peterson LeNoir, died in New Orleans of a wound received in a skirmish the night of December 21,1814, while serving in the United States Army in the War of 1812.

Mrs. McCulloch was the widow of Major Alexander McCulloch a graduate of Yale, who was born in Virginia and raised in North Carolina. He was aide-de-camp of General John Coffee, under General Andrew Jackson, in the Creek Indian War and the War of 1812, from 1812 to 1815 in Alabama, Georgia and New Orleans. He died in Dyer County, Tennessee in August, 1846.

Major and Mrs. McCulloch were the parents of twelve children. Of these, Alexander served in the army of Texas in 1836-37 and was an officer in the U. S. Army in the Mexican War; Benjamin, participated in the Battle of San Jacinto as a private, served in the Mexican War as a captain and was killed in the battle of Pea Ridge, Arkansas, March 7, 1862, while a Brigadier General in the Confederate Army. Henry Eustace was a captain in the United States Army in the Mexican War and a Brigadier General in the Confederate Army; and John S. McCulloch, a captain in the Confederate Army.

Mrs. McCulloch came to Texas after 1846 and lived at the home of her son Captain John S. McCulloch in Ellis County up to the time of her death, May 10, 1866.

Following is a copy of the last will of Benjamin McCulloch, signed at Washington, D. C., April 3, 1858 in the presence of James S. Holman, Guy M. Bryan and John H. Reagan. It was made from a copy in the Confederate Papers, Archives, Texas State Library: "I Ben McCulloch of the State of Texas being of sound mind do declare this to be my last will & desire my brother Henry E. McCulloch to carry out its provisions he being the party mostly interested.

I give to him the said Henry E. McCulloch every thing I die possessed of after my lawful debts are paid, save so much of my money as will purchase a negro girl not to be less than twelve years of age, which negro girl I leave as a present to my niece F. Rush McCulloch, said negro girl to be purchased by Henry E. McCulloch & given to said Rush McCulloch and her heirs forever in consideration of her kindness to me whilst sick at her Father's in Nov. & Dec. 1857.

I also request my Brother H. E McCulloch to see that our mother Frances F. McCulloch shall not need any thing that money can purchase as long as there is one dollar left of my effects, and further that he shall give to his son B.E. McCulloch such portion of my effects as he may deem proper under the circumstances. Thus having disposed of: my effects, I leave my soul to God who, gave it, and my body to the State of Texas. Given under my hand and in presence of the undersigned witnesses this April 3d,1858.

Written by Louis W. Kemp, between 1930 and 1952. Please note that typographical and factual errors have not been corrected from the original sketches. The biographies have been scanned from the original typescripts, a process that sometimes allows for mistakes in the new text. Researchers should verify the accuracy of the texts' contents through other sources before quoting in publications. Additional information on the veteran may be available in the Herzstein Library.


Battle Statistics

  • Died in Battle: No
  • Rank: Private
  • Company: Capt. Isaac N. Moreland

Personal Statistics

  • Alternate Names: M'Cullough
  • Date of Birth: 1811 Nov 11
  • Birthplace: Tennessee, Rutherford County
  • Origin: Tennessee
  • Came to Texas: 1836
  • Date of Death: 1862 Mar 7
  • Burial Place: Texas State Cemetery, Austin, Texas
  • Comments: Commanded one of the Twin Sisters; Somervell Expedition; U.S.-Mexican War; Civil War
  • Bounty Certificate: 2473
  • Donation Certificate: 776
  • Profession: Surveyor
  • Wife: none


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