Thomas McCulloch

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Thomas McCulloch (1776 – September 9, 1843) was a Scottish-born Canadian Presbyterian minister, author and educator. He was the founder and principal of Pictou Academy and he was also the first president of Dalhousie College.[1] He supported the Royal Acadian School.

He was born in the village of Fereneze in Renfrewshire, the second son of Michael McCulloch and Elizabeth Neilson,[2] and was educated at the University of Glasgow. He studied medicine but did not complete the course, going on to study theology at the General Associate Synod in Whitburn. In 1799, McCulloch was ordained at Stewarton and married Isabella Walker. He came to Pictou, Nova Scotia in 1803 on his way to Prince Edward Island[1] and remained there for 35 years.[3] He collected Nova Scotia birds, animals and plants and established a natural history museum at Dalhousie College.[1] His bird collection attracted the attention of John James Audubon. He also undertook a series of lecture tours on scientific subjects for the general public, visiting Saint John, Charlottetown and towns in the Miramichi area.[3]

He died in Halifax at the age of 67 after a short illness.[3]

McCulloch was the author of the Letters of Mephibosheth Stepsure, later known as The Stepsure Letters. The letters were first published in the Acadian Recorder from 1821 to 1823[4] and are considered to be the first major work of Canadian humour.[5]

His former home in Pictou is now operated as the McCulloch House Museum.[6]


  1. ^ a b c Buggey, Susan; Davies, Gwendolyn (1988). "Thomas McCulloch". In Halpenny, Francess G (ed.). Dictionary of Canadian Biography. VII (1836–1850) (online ed.). University of Toronto Press.CS1 maint: multiple names: authors list (link)
  2. ^ McCulloch, William (1920). Life of Thomas McCulloch, D.D., Pictou. p. 7.
  3. ^ a b c "The History of Thomas McCulloch's life". Dalhousie University. Archived from the original on 2013-04-10. Retrieved 2013-03-26. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  4. ^ "Thomas McCulloch". The Canadian Encyclopedia. Retrieved 2013-03-26. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  5. ^ "Humorous Writing in English". The Canadian Encyclopedia. Retrieved 2013-03-26. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  6. ^ "McCulloch House Museum". Government of Nova Scotia Retrieved 2014-02-24. External link in |publisher= (help)CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)