Friday, October 5, 2018

Elizabeth Stokes “Betsy” McCulloch Boylan

Elizabeth Stokes “Betsy” McCulloch Boylan

BIRTH 1780
DEATH 25 Jan 1825 (aged 44–45)
City Cemetery
Raleigh, Wake County, North Carolina, USA
PLOT Section: E-1. Lot: 43
MEMORIAL ID 28032123 · View Source

Elizabeth Stokes McCulloch was born 1780 in Halifax County, the 6th of 7 known surviving children (3 boys/4 girls) born to Sen. Benjamin McCulloch and his wife, Sarah Montford Stokes.

Her father, Benjamin McCulloch, belonged to the Committee of Safety of Halifax in 1774; was elected to the Assembly in 1775, and to the Congress in 1776. After the close of the Revolutionary War he was repeatedly elected to one or the other branch of the Legislature.

She is descended from Scotch-Irish stock on her father's side, and was the paternal grandchild of Col. Alexander McCulloch (1715-1798) who immigrated to Halifax County from Dublin, Ireland with his father, Henry McCulloch, in the early 1700's and married Sarah Hill of Halifax Co. Her gr-grandfather, Henry McCulloch, was the son of James McCulloch of Grogan, Ireland, and his 1st wife. On her mother's side, she was the maternal grandchild of David Stokes & Sarah Montford of Lunenburg Co, VA; and niece to U.S. Judge, John Stokes and NC Governor Montfort Stokes.

Her gr-grandfather, Henry McCulloch, had a half-brother also named Henry McCulloch, who rose to prominence in NC prior to the Revolutionary War. They were both sons of James McCulloch of Grogan, Ireland. This James McCulloch married twice and had sons by both wives which he named Henry. The first Henry, from his 1st marriage, was Elizabeth's gr-grandfather. The 2nd Henry, sometimes referred to as "Henry, the Land Grabber", was a London Merchant and was the first of the McCullochs to immigrate to the New World, settling in NC. Described as a "typical adventurer" he speculated in land on an enormous scale acquiring millions of acres of land in Eastern North Carolina through royal grants. This Henry lost much of his land following the Revolutionary War as NC revoked his royal grants questioning his loyalty to the Patriot cause.

Her grandfather, Col. Alexander McCulloch, established "Elk Marsh" plantation in Halifax County. He served as an officer in the Orange County militia, and Clerk of Court in Bute Co. in 1772. Alexander represented Halifax in the lower house of Assembly in 1760, and served on the Royal Council between 1762 and 1775. Apparently of divided sentiments during the Revolutionary War, he sat out the conflict at Elk Marsh. He prospered in the New World, owning at his death 70 slaves and plantations in Halifax and Warren Counties. 

Betsy was 21 years old when she married 24-year old William Montford Boylan of New Jersey. The couple were married in Pluckemin, Somerset County, NJ on November 4, 1801, while Betsy was visiting relatives in his home town. The couple soon returned to North Carolina, settling in the capital city, Raleigh, where William became a wealthy planter and editor of the weekly newspaper, the Raleigh Minerva. 

Over the next 21 years, Betsy would deliver 11 children into the household: John Hodge Boylan (1803-1870), Alexander McCulloch Boylan (1804-1834), William Boylan II (1806-1828), Benjamin McCulloch Boylan (1808-1809), Eleanor Eliza Boylan (1810-1849), Samuel McCulloch Boylan (1812-1845), Mary Adelaide Boylan (1814-1824), James Boylan (1816-1842), Catherine Boylan (1818-1895), Sarah Boylan (1820-1821), and William Montford Boylan Jr. (1822-1899).

In 1818, William Boylan Sr. purchased "Wakefield" the plantation once belonging to Raleigh founder, Joel Lane (built ca. 1795). The Lane "Wakefield" house, along with "Montfort Hall", which Boylan Jr. build in 1858, remained in the Boylan family until 1909. 

In the late 1760s, planter Joel Lane (c. 1740-1795) built a story-and-a-half house at Bloomsbury, a crossroads hamlet of colonial Johnston County. He named the property Wakefield in honor of Margaret Wake, wife of colonial Governor William Tryon. Lane and his house subsequently played a central role in North Carolina's transition from colony to state and in the establishment of Raleigh as the state capital. Wakefield stood on a small hill, near the main trail through the area. Lane's surrounding land holdings numbered in the thousands of acres, a status that naturally drew him into politics. After Lane's death in 1795, Wakefield served several owners before being purchased by planter William Boylan in 1818. 

Elizabeth "Betsy" Boylan died an untimely death in 1825, passing at age 45 from lung disease. Her husband of 24 years would later marry Jane Elliot in 1830, the daughter of a wealthy plantation owner in Cumberland Co, NC, by whom one known daughter was born.

As for her children, many of them died young and are buried here. Only her youngest son, William Montford Boyland Jr, married and had children. Her eldest son, John Hodge Boylan, is reportedly the father of Adelaid Boylan (1832-1909), who is buried here at City Cemetery, but no information has been found by this researcher indicating he ever married.

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