McCullagh, Samuel

Date of Birth/Death:


Samuel McCullagh (also spelled as McCulloch or McCullach) – agricultural labourer (also called a farm servant).

Samuel McCullagh was born in about 1828 in Chatham, England and he married Matilda Ann Quinn (1832-1895). Samuel (27), Matilda (23) and their infant son Joseph (1) arrived at Port Adelaide on Tuesday 21 Aug 1855 from Liverpool on board Admiral Boxer with 385, mainly Irish, government emigrants. He lived at Willunga for more than 50 years from before August 1856 (the birth of his first daughter Elizabeth) until his death in September 1906. Samuel and Matilda McCullagh eventually had 10 children (4 sons and 6 daughters). Samuel and Matilda were Catholics, nine of their 10 children were born at Willunga and they were baptized in St. Joseph’s Catholic Church in Willunga:

  • Joseph (1854- )
  • Elizabeth (1856- ) b. at Willunga
  • James (1859-1943) b. at Willunga. m. Marie Schulz aged 28 on 6 Feb 1891 at Registry Office Adelaide
  • Samuel (1861- ) b. at Willunga
  • John Stephen (1863-1951) b. at Willunga m. (1st) Hannah Jackson aged 24 on 10 April 1882 at Port Wakefield (2nd) Mrs Elizabeth Langton at Perth, WA in 1941, d. at Fremantle.
  • Mary Anne (1865- ) b. at Willunga
  • Matilda Jane (bapt.18/07/1868- ) b. at Willunga
  • Ellen Teresa (Nellie?) (1870- ) b. at Willunga, m. widower Andrew Cumming aged 39 (1849- ) on 2 Aug 1888 at the Baptist Church, Adelaide
  • Clara Matilda (1872- ) b. at Willunga
  • Amelia Agnes (Millie) (1874-1895) b. at Willunga, died aged 21 years
  • .

McCullagh (no first name given) was listed as a ratepayer in the township of Willunga for the years 1857, 1858, 1869 and 1870. Then Samuel McCulloch (sic) was listed as a ratepayer for a house and garden in the township of Willunga in 1876 and 1883. This is almost certainly the “McCullagh” cottage at 24 St. Peters Terrace where the McCullagh family lived for nearly 40 years between about 1856 and 1893. In 1864 Matilda McCullagh (complainant) had James Frome (defendant) charged with Assault and Breach of the Peace. The case was held at the Willunga Courthouse on 21 July. The judgment was costs of 1 pound awarded to the complainant and Frome was bound over the keep the peace for 12 months. In 1868 Samuel McCullagh was charged and convicted with failing to pay 4 shillings district rates in 1867-68 for a cottage.

In 1869 their son James McCullagh (then aged 10) was charged with deserting the Brighton Reformatory School and sentenced to be returned to the school. Then in 1872 James was charged with absconding from the Ilfracombe Industrial School (reformatory school) and was sentenced to be whipped. Samuel’s house was twice robbed – of 6 shillings in silver in 1875 and of 5 pounds 17 shillings in 1894. Matilda may have left her husband, and the family home, perhaps before 1885 when a “Matilda McCullagh, married woman” gave evidence at an inquest into the death of Mrs. Eliza Darling who died from an “overdose of brandy” at Rose Park on 14 Jan 1885. Certainly by 1895 Matilda McCullagh, was no longer living in Willunga when she died, aged 63 years, at Roper Street in Adelaide on 31 July 1895.

In December 1893 Samuel McCullagh purchased allotments 68 and 71 (now 5 and 7 St. Jude’s Street) in the township of Willunga from William Matthew Oliver (CT 270/21) and he still owned this land at his death in 1906. Samuel McCulloch (sic), aged 78 years, died at Willunga on 24 Sept 1906 and he was buried in Row 6 at St Joseph’s Catholic Cemetery, Willunga.


South Australian Births – Index of Registrations 1842-1906
South Australian Deaths Index of Registrations 1842-1915
South Australian Marriages Index of Registrations 1842-1916
Willunga National Trust Blue Folder – Family Histories Vol. 40-11 L,M
Statton, J. 1986. Biographical Index of South Australians 1836-1885. Samuel McCullagh – Vol III. p.1057.
Passengers in History database – SA Maritime Museum
Ratepayer List Willunga & Aldinga Councils 1850-1888
GRO Merge: SA General Registry Office Information – McA-McW: Samuel McCullagh, Memorial 78/165 (Willunga), Application 22599 (Willunga).
SAILIS (online) CT 270/21
Ancestry (online)
SA Genealogy database (online)
St Joseph’s Catholic Church Births Register
St Joseph’s Catholic Church Deaths Register
1872 ‘POLICE COURTS.’, Evening Journal 22 August, p. 2. (SECOND EDITION), viewed 19 Dec 2023
1885 ‘AN OVERDOSE OF BRANDY.’, South Australian Weekly Chronicle 24 January, p. 8. , viewed 19 Dec 2023

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