Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Welty McCullogh (1847-1889)

Portrait from the Biographical and Historical Cyclopedia of Westmoreland County.

   A one-term U.S. Representative from Pennsylvania, Welty McCullogh's short life of 41 years was spent mainly in the practice of law in his native county of Westmoreland. He was born on October 10, 1847 in Greensburg, Pennsylvania, one of six children born to John (1803-1884) and Eliza Welty McCullogh (1818-1882). He received his primary education at the Elder's Ridge Academy and later attended the Washington and Jefferson College from 1866-1869. He would graduate from Princeton University in the class of 1870.   
   Shortly following his graduation McCullogh began the study of law and was admitted to the Pennsylvania bar in 1872. He began a law practice later that same year which continued until his death. His law expertise was highly regarded by his contemporaries and the Biographical and Historical Cyclopedia of Westmoreland notes that McCullogh's "skill which he displayed in conducting important cases soon placed him in the front rank of the distinguished lawyers in Western PA". During the mid-1870s, he became counsel for the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad company, and it was noted that "he was retained as counsel for nearly all the large coal, coke, and manufacturing companies in Westmoreland County."
   In 1872 McCullogh married fellow Greensburg native Ada Bell Markle, and two children were born to the couple, Harry Markle (who died aged 17 in 1891) and Eliza (birth and death date unknown.)
                          An article on McCullogh's nomination from the 1886 Milwaukee Journal.

   In 1886 McCullogh won election to the U.S. House of Representatives from Pennsylvania's 21st district as a Republican, defeating Democratic candidate Henry Donnelly by 255 votes! During his term, McCullogh held a seat on the Committee on Claims and the Committee on Mines and Mining. In addition to the above, the Cyclopedia of Westmoreland makes mention of an interesting tidbit, that of McCullogh being "bestowed the compliment of being the handsomest man in congress". Why this adulation was given to him is anyone's guess, but from the looks of the picture of him above, this author's guess is that McCullogh's impressive whiskers may have had something to do with it! He served one term in Congress (1887-1889) and it is remarked that he "served in the Fiftieth Congress with satisfaction to his constituents of all parties and with honor and credit to himself."
   After leaving office in January 1889, McCullogh returned to Greensburg, where he died of an unspecified illness on August 31st of that year at age 41. He was memorialized at his funeral as a man "endowed by his creator with a strong physique, a handsome face, and talents of a high order. Few, indeed have been more highly favored."
   Within days of his death, McCullogh was interred at the St. Clair Cemetery in Greensburg. His wife Ada Markle McCullogh survived her husband by forty years, dying in Greensburg in November 1929 at age 72.  The rare portrait of McCullogh shown above was discovered in the earlier mentioned Biographical and Historical Cyclopedia of Westmoreland County, originally published in 1890.

                McCullogh's obit as it appeared in an 1889 edition of the Jeannette, Pennsylvania Dispatch.

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