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McCullough Family Collection

Identifier: MSS 0016

Scope and Contents

The McCullough Family Collection is houses the papers of the McCullough Family froom 1923 to 2009. This collection consists of documents, photos, correspondence, vital records, an oral history on Independence Heights and scrapbooks that document the history of the McCullough Family in Houston.


  • 1923 - 2013


Language of Materials

All materials are in English.

Access Restrictions

This collection is open for research.

Use Restrictions

Permission to publish or reproduce materials from the McCullough Family Collection must be obtained from the African American Library at the Gregory School or the appropriate copyright holder.

Biographical note


The McCullough Family have been residents of Houston since 1865, shortly after James McCullough moved there. In 1871, McCullough purchased property in Houston’s Fourth Ward, which became known as Freedman’s Town. This was the first community established by African Americans in Houston, located on the southern bank of Buffalo Bayou. McCullough’s homestead was located the present location of Valentine and Victor Street.

James McCullough was born in Tennessee in 1837 (re: 1900 Census). His father, Hugh McCulloch, was Caucasian and served as US Secretary of Treasury and military Governor of Tennessee. He named all his black sons, “Jim.”

James McCullough and several of his brothers, were cattle drivers and gunfighters. They drove cattle all over the country and into Mexico. When James McCullough was in Atlanta Georgia he fell in love with a slave girl named Sally (Wilson?). Per oral history, James had a duel with another man to win the affections of Sally. They moved to Texas and married about 1872. They had seven children: James McCullough Jr., Sarah McCullough (Aunt Meadie), Ella McCullough (Aunt Sis who married Mr. Hogan), Phillip Hays McCullough (married Oletta McCloney in 1906-daughter was Hazel McCullough Semedo), Edward F.? W.? McCullough (was letter carrier), Viola M. McCullough (married Mr. Stafford), and Arthur L. McCullough (mayor of Independence Heights).

James McCullough had many talents and skills, including being a blacksmith. He along with Reverend Jack Yates helped found Antioch Missionary Baptist Church in 1866. When Reverend Yates became founding pastor of Bethel Baptist Church in 1891, McCullough and his family joined.

In 1908, the Wright Land Company began selling land to African Americans in an areas near North Main in Houston. James McCullough was hired to help sell the land in this areas named Independence Heights. However, McCullough requested land in lieu of money for payment. Several corner lots in Independence Heights were deeded to him and are still owned by his descendants today. The exact date of James McCullough's death is unknown except that he died in the early part of the 1900s. He is buried in Olivewood Cemetery, the oldest African American cemetery in Houston. The James McCullough Park on 40th Street was established in 1929 in his honor and memory.

(Source: The McCullough Family by Reverend Alfred Ronald McCullough and Patricia Smith Prather).

Biographical Note

Reverend Alfred Ronald McCullough was born September 14, 1935 to Edward William McCullough and Helen Mae Fawlkes. He is the grandson of Arthur L. McCullough Sr., the third mayor of Independence Heights after it incorporation in 1915 and the great grandson of James McCullough. He has been married three times. His first wife was Yvonne Simmons and they have four children. His second wife was Gloria Jean Clark and they have one child. He and his wife, Emelder McGowan have one child. Reverend McCullough retired from the post office in 1990. He became a minister in 1975 and followed his father as pastor of Wyatt Chapel Church in Hempstead Texas. He pastored the church, founded in 1894 by Reverend George Wyatt Jr. who also served as a Texas State Legislator during Reconstruction, after slavery ended, until his death on January 10, 2018. (Source: The McCullough Family by Reverend Alfred Ronald McCullough and Patricia Smith Prather).


2 Linear Feet (4)

Arrangement note

The collection is arranged by subject and material type.

Series I: Records

Series II: Correspondence

Series III: Events

Series IV: Genealogy

Series V: Newsclippings

Series VI: Notes, Forms and Surveys

Series VII: Photographs

Series VIII: Scrapbook

Acquisition Information

Donated by: Reverend Alfred McCullough, January 2010

Related Materials

MSS 0001 Hazel McCullough Collection

PH 0017 McCullough Family Photograph Collection

PH 0021 Hazel McCullough Photograph Collection

Additional related records are held by the Houston Metropolitan Research Center

MSS 00307 Olee Yates McCullough Papers

Processing Information

Processed by: Vince Lee, March 2010. Accural proccessed and updated by Sheena Wilson in January 2018.

MSS 0016 McCullough Family Collection
An Inventory of their Records at the African American Library at the Gregory School, Houston Public Library
Vince Lee
March, 2010
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
Code for undetermined script

Repository Details

Part of the African American History Research Center Repository


African American History Research Center
Houston Public Library
1300 Victor Street
Houston, Texas 77019
Houston History Research Center
Houston Public Library
550 McKinney St.
Houston, Texas 77002