Clay Co., KS AHGP-William J. McCully Bio
William J. McCully, Sr. - Placing Agent
By Don Johnston, his Great Grand Nephew in Australia

Written for the

Orphan Train Heritage Society of America, Inc.
Mary Ellen Johnson - Founder/Executive Director
614 East Emma Ave., #115, Springdale, Arkansas 72764-4634


William was born in Co. Antrim Ireland on February 8, 1846 arriving in New York in 1869 when he was 21 years old. He became involved and was a member of the Charles Street Presbyterian Church in New York City; William retained that membership, even after residing in Kansas.

William married Hannah Johnston at the Charles Street Presbyterian Church in New York City on August 10 1855 and after spending some years in New York they moved to Boston for four years.

The McCully's encouraged their children in education and were great on mental arithmetic and problems to be solved that they passed amongst themselves. Since they didn't want their children to grow up in a large city they moved in 1885, to a farm north of Broughton, Clay County in Kansas where they raised their family and filled many places of responsibility William was a positive factor for good in the social and community life of Clay County. Three children were born after coming to Kansas, they were, Charles Loring, [named after Loring Brace who William held in high esteem] Sarah Jane and Marjorie.

William's integrity, upright life and interest in finding homes for homeless boys [under the direction of the Children's Aid Society] which he so early manifested, qualified him to become an ideal Superintendent of The Westside Lodging House for Homeless Boys (Under The Children's Aid Society of the City of New York) where he was a splendid companion and example to the boys. Whilst in New York City, they were friends of the Theodore Roosevelt family; the family still cherish some beads presented to Mrs. McCully by Theodore Roosevelt at a social function.

William maintained his work at the Children's Aid Society in New York City travelling back and forth for some time. It is noted that by 1893 some 960 children had been placed in Kansas, and as a Placement Agent William would have been directly involved in this process.

William J. passed away December 28, 1915 and Hannah died September 15, 1933. They were buried in Greenwood Cemetery at Clay Center. They were survived by five children, four sons and one daughter, the sons are: W. J. McCully Jr. of Clay Center; James S. McCully of Herington; Harry H. of Oil Center, Cal.; Charles. L. of Broughton, Clay County, Kansas USA, and his daughter, Mrs. Sarah Heusted of Clay Center. Mr. McCully was also survived by a sister, Mrs. Sarah J. Chestnut of Attleborough, Mass.


Thanks to  Don Johnston for permission to reprint this article