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This article is from the Dictionary of North Carolina Biography, 6 volumes, edited by William S. Powell. Copyright ©1979-1996 by the University of North Carolina Press. Used by permission of the publisher. For personal use and not for further distribution. Please submit permission requests for other use directly to the publisher.

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McCulloch, Alexander

by William S. Price, Jr., 1991; Revised by Jared Dease, Government and Heritage Library, December 2022

d. 1798

Alexander McCulloch, provincial official, was the son of James McCulloch of Great Britain. He was residing in North Carolina as early as 1745 and serving as deputy auditor of the province in Edenton. As the nephew of Henry McCulloh (Alexander's branch of the family retained the third c in the surname, although his contemporaries often dropped it when writing his name), he was early involved in his uncle's heavy land speculations in North Carolina and served as his attorney for land transactions in 1756 and afterwards. Alexander's loyalty to Henry McCulloh led to the nephew's participation in the Enfield Riot of early 1759, when Earl Granville's land agents were forcibly taken to the Edgecombe County seat and compelled to assure reformation of Granville District land administration.

McCulloch held a number of provincial offices. He was appointed auditor in November 1757 but replaced two years later, reverting to his previous position as deputy auditor. Despite the fact that he usually resided at his plantation, Elk Marsh in Halifax County, McCulloch was an officer in the Orange County militia, a post he resigned in 1754 because of his distance from the county. In 1760 he became colonel of the Edgecombe County militia and accompanied Governor William Tryon on the initial Regulator expedition to Hillsborough in 1768. McCulloch held the lucrative position of clerk of court in Bute County in 1772.

Elected to the lower house of the Assembly from Halifax County in 1760, he served one full year. In 1762 American Revolution- Part 1: Introductionhe began active service on the royal Council, where he was an irregular attendant until its disbandment in 1775. As a councillor he advised Governor Josiah Martin to prevent the meeting of the Provincial Congress at Halifax in April 1775. However, he was later reported to have expressed sentiments in favor of liberty and sat out the Revolution at Elk Marsh unmolested. Indeed, he named Patriots John Baptist Ashe and Willie Jones as executors of his estate. During the Revolution his cousin, James Iredell, frequently visited him while riding the court circuit.

The father of Benjamin, Elizabeth, and Mary, McCulloch was also father-in-law of William Frohock. The Frohocks served as agents in Rowan County for Henry McCulloh's speculations. At his death, Alexander McCulloch enslaved more than seventy people and used them to work his plantations in Warren and Halifax counties.


Walter Clark, ed., State Records of North Carolina, vols. 15, 17 (1898–99).

Halifax County Wills (North Carolina State Archives, Raleigh).

Don Higginbotham, ed., The Papers of James Iredell, 2 vols. (1976).

William S. Powell, ed., The Correspondence of William Tryon and Other Selected Papers, 2 vols. (1980–81).

Additional Resources:

"CSR Documents by McCulloch, Alexander, d. 1798." Colonial and State Records of North Carolina. Documenting the American South, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. (accessed July 18, 2013).

Allen, W.C. History of Halifax County. Boston: The Cornhill Company. 1918. 16. (accessed July 18, 2013).