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HomepageThe History of the Cullen Family
of Pictou County, Nova Scotia
and Dalry, Ayrshire, Scotland
forwarded by Tony Gagliani & Andrew M. Austin

This history of one of the Scottish branches of the Cullen family has been graciously provided by Tony Gagliani who is a descendant of the family line discussed below. Information has also been forwarded by Andrew M. Austin, who is also descended from this family. Watch for this page to receive a few updates since there are others who are interested in the same families and the material is just now coming in for posting to this page. Of additional interest is the connection to Scotland and Co Wexford, Ireland. These areas have always been a prime concern for many of the researchers who have visited my site. Anyone who is able to add to the information contained in this history should contact Mr Gagliani (e-mail link above) or e-mail the Cullen Genealogy Homepage.

Here is the information I have regarding the Cullen family of Nova Scotia:

Let's begin with the CRAWFORD/CRAUFORD family line. David Crawford/Crauford married Ann Hunter on 23 December 1791 at Dalry, Ayrshire, Scotland. David and his brother, James Crawford/Crauford operated one or more textile mills in Paisley, Scotland. The Crawford mill or mills manufactured, among other textile products, Paisley Shawls. These were very popular in the Eighteenth Century. As a result, the Crawfords became very wealthy.

The children of David Crawford/Crauford and Ann Hunter were all christened at Dalry, Ayrshire, Scotland. Listed below are the children's names and dates of christening:

Of these children, only three are known to have married. They were all daughters...Janet, who married Robert Cullen, Elizabeth who married an army officer and died a year after her marriage, and Isabella who married and had three children all of whom died young and produced no progeny. Consequently, around 1929 and 1930, barristers in Scotland began to hunt for the descendants of David and Ann (Hunter) Crawford who had left a vast, uninherited fortune. Although many of the descendants of Robert and Janet (Crawford) Cullen submitted their names as heirs, no inheritance ever came their way.

Now to the CULLENS. Thomas Cullen , said to have fought under Lord Nelson in the Battle of the Nile and at Trafalgar, is first found in the baptism records of the Church of Scotland at Dalry, Ayrshire. It reads:

"Thomas Cullen, Collier, Coalhill had a lawful son, Thomas, born May 1st, 1811 and baptized May 8th, 1811."

Other children mentioned in these records are Jean, born Aug 7th, baptized Aug 22, 1813, John, b. May 2nd, bapt. Sept 3rd, 1815, and Margaret, b. May 31, bapt July 13, 1817. There are spelling variations in the Scottish records of the births and christenings for these children. An extract is given below, from the Mormon IGI for Dalry, Ayr, Scotland. B is for a birth and C is for a christening. Note that the only the father, Thomas, is given in the Parents column of the table. No marriage for a Thomas could be found to indicate who the mother of the children was.:

Thomas CullinC05may1811Thomas Cullin/
Jean CullingC22aug1813Thomas Culling/
John CullensC03sep1815Thomas Cullens/
Margaret CullinC13jul1817Thomas Cullin/
Jean CullingsB15jul1819Thomas Cullings/
Margaret CullanB24oct1821Thomas Cullan/
Margaret CultanC02dec1821Thomas Cultan/
John CullingsC04jul1824Thomas Cullings/
William CullingC30jul1826Thomas Culling/
Janet CullenC22aug1830Thomas Cullen/

It has been conjectured that Thomas Cullen was originally of Co. Wexford. This seems highly likely to me, especially given what I found written about Wexford and the Rebellion of 1798. It appears that the Irish rebels attacked and killed many of the militia, many of whom who were also native Irish. It is said that four-fifths of the royal troops in the militia who helped put down the rising were Irish. Stories are told of the rebels piking to death many of the wounded militiamen, many of whom waved missals and screamed that they too were Catholics. I wonder if Thomas Cullen was one of these native Irish militiamen, and had been, at one time, a Catholic. Due to the gravity of this situation, and the scandal of seeing Catholic Irishman killing fellow Catholic Irishman, he made his way to Scotland and abandoned the faith for Presbyterianism. It may also have been easier for him to make headway by renouncing his native land and creed based upon the disdain the English had toward the Irish at the time.

Note, in the first baptismal record of Thomas Cullen's son, Thomas, the word "lawful" is mentioned. This could indicated that Thomas Cullen had previous children (ie. Robert Cullen, b. ca 1806), that children born before Thomas, Jr. were illegitimate, or that since Thomas Cullen, Jr. was the first to be baptized Presbyterian, he was considered the first "lawful" child.

Now on to Robert Cullen, b. ca 1806 (a mathematical calculation based on his tombstone in the Duff Cemetery, Stellarton, NS, which said he was 78 when he died on Dec 26, 1884).

Robert Cullen had been employed by David Crawford as a coachman and part-time gardener. He fell in with David Crawford's daughter, Janet, and the couple eloped against the wishes of her parents. As a result, Janet's family disowned her and all she was able to take with her was her jewelry. According to the Mormon IGI, Robert Cullen and Janet Crawford were married on Oct 28, 1826 at Dalry, Ayr, Scotland.

Robert and Janet (Crawford) Cullen emigrated to Nova Scotia from Dalry, Ayrshire, Scotland on 5 September 1837, according to Robert's tombstone inscription. However, a record of the familiy can be found in the book entitled, "A Dictionary of Scottish Emigrants to Canada Before Confederation" by Donald Whyte, F.H.G., F.S.G. , p. 69. It reads:

"1992 CULLEN, Robert Prob from AYR s/o Thomas. Came to Pictou, NS on the Hope ex. Glasgow 5 April 1848. Settled at Big Brook, later Stellarton, m. Janet Crawford qv. ch. 1. Thomas 2. David 3. Anne 4. Jane 5. Margaret 6. Elizabeth 7. Martha 8. John 9. William PAC 12; DC 12 Jul 1979."

There are three other Cullen entries in this book. A Robert Cullen from AYR who m. Margaret Linton and settled in Ottowa, Ontario, a William Cullen from Anderston, Glasgow who settled at Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island, and was a clerk to the House of Assembly there, and a Rev. William Cullen from Lanarkshire, son of John Cullen, who studied theology at the University of Glasgow, and settled first at Prince Edward Island and then Australia where he was a minister at Bright and Buckland.

There is another record of the arrival of the Cullen family to Nova Scotia. The foremost Pictou Co. historian George MacLaren, in his book "The Pictou Book: Stories of Our Past" (New Glasgow: 1954), the Cullen family came to Pictou , Nova Scotia on "The Hope", 515 tons, sailed from Glasgow, Scotland on 5 April 1848. Listed on board were: Robert Cullen (spelled "Cullin" on the ship's list), Janet Cullen (wife of Robert), Thomas C, David C, Anne C, Jane C, Margaret C, Elizabeth C, Martha C. John & William were not mentioned in this source.

Records of Session for St. Andrew's Presbyterian Church in New Glasgow, Nova Scotia indicate that, in 1850, Robert Cullen was "admitted" to session as an elder, and served until his death in 1884. Accordingly, it can be inferred that he was ordained as an elder in some other Presbyterian Church prior to 1850 and then transferred his membership to St. Andrew's Presbyterian. This church, known as "The Kirk", has existed since at least the very early 19'th century and was until 1895 a member church of the "Established Church of Scotland".

Below are the eleven children of Robert & Janet (Crawford) Cullen. The first five children (Thomas b.1827 through Ann b.1836) were born in Dalry, Scotland. After the family arrived in Nova Scotia, six more children were born (Jean b.?1838 through William b.1853) at Albion Mines, now Stellarton. Details on the children as follows:

On the tombstone of Robert Cullen in the Duff Cemetery, situated on the left side of the main road (Stellarton Road/North Foord Street) leading from New Glasgow to Stellarton, near the district of Lourdes, in the County of Pictou, NS; it reads:

"Sacred to the memory of Janet Crawford beloved spouse of Robert Cullen. Native of Dalry, Ayrshire, Scotland. Emigrated to Nova Scotia Sept 5, 1837. Died at Albion Mines Feb 23, 1883. Aged 79 years. In life respected. in death regretted.


To the memory of Robert Cullen, native of Dalry Ayrshire, Scotland. Died at Albion Mines Dec. 26, 1884. Age 78.

Also John Adam Cullen. Died August 31, 1873. Aged 24 years."

In the Colonial Standard newspaper, 6 January 1885, we read:

"Stellarton...One of the oldest residents of Albion Mines, Mr. Robert Cullen, passed away at the ripe age of 78. In the death of Mr. Cullen the place has lost a man of good judgment and sterling integrity, the church has lost a 'pillar,' faithful, punctual, charitable and well informed. His counsel was always the counsel of deliberation tempered with caution.
Robert Cullen had been employed as a Collier at Albion Mines."

Further Information on Thomas Cullen (1827-1893)
son of Robert Cullen and Janet Crawford

additional family information provided by Andrew M. Austin

Thomas Cullen, son of Robert Cullen and Janet Crawford, was born in 1825 in Dalry, Ayrshire. He died on January 27, 1898 at Little Harbour, Pictou Co., Nova Scotia, aged 74 yrs. This info is taken from his tombstone at Old Stewart Mill Cemetery, Little Harbour.

His wife, Mary Turnbull, was born 1826 in Nova Scotia (this info. from census records), and died on January 21, 1898 aged 73 yrs. She is buried with her husband as well as their daughter Catherine A. Cullen, died Sept. 14, 1878, aged 19 yrs.

Their son Robert Cullen is also buried in the same graveyard. The dates given for him are b. 1855, d. 1934 - there is no mention of a spouse or children.

The children I have for Thomas and Mary (Turnbull) Cullen are as follows:

Thomas and Mary (Turnbull) Cullen owned and operated a small farm in Little Harbour, Pictou Co. and Thomas was also listed in the 1881 Census as being a miner. It was a common practise in Nova Scotia to make a living by combining subsistence farming with coal mining.

Here is what I have on Benjamin Cullen, son of Thomas and Mary (Turnbull) Cullen. Benjamin Cullen was born in June 1865 in Little Harbour.

Benjamin married Elizabeth Henderson on April 11, 1891 in New Glasgow, Pictou Co., NS. Elizabeth Henderson was the daughter of William and Mary (Gordon) Henderson of Westville, Pictou Co., NS. Wm. Henderson's dates are (1844-1931) & Mary (Gordon) Henderson (1845-1939).

Elizabeth (Henderson) Cullen's dates are b. Feb. 26, 1874 in Westville, NS, d. June 30, 1923, Westville. These dates are listed on the tombstone of Benjamin and Elizabeth at Auburn Cemetery, Westville, NS. Benjamin died young at the age of 28 on July 6, 1893.

Benjamin and Elizabeth (Henderson) Cullen had one child: Frances Mary Cullen, b. 1892 in Westville or Little Harbour.

Frances Mary Cullen m. John Murdock MacLeod (1890-1957). Frances Mary (Cullen) MacLeod died Feb. 28, 1987 (She was my great grandmother).

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