The McCully and Roseburg Families

Compiled with the help of Elinor Ross

Matilda (Boyer) McCully
Robert L. McCully

Jesse McCully (1800-1887) was one of 11 children born to William and Sara (Mitchell) McCully. William, a Revolutionary War soldier (June 22, 1781: 3rd Company, 6th Battallion Lancaster County Militia, 4th Class and Sept. 22, 1781: Roll of 6th Battallion, Lancaster County Militia on a tour of duty at Bucks County as Sergeant), moved to the South Hills area from Lancaster County in 1781. Jesse was born in Castle Shannon (then St. Clair Township). According to a descendent, Jesse’s original frame home was located on what is now Rt. 88 where McGinnis Brothers market now stands (a road near there bears the McCully name). Eventually Jesse built a house on what is now Bower Hill Road (near McCully Road). A justice of the peace, Jesse was known as “Squire McCully,” and, according to a 1923 South Hills News article, “was more resolved to keep the peace than impose fines and collect costs.” No wonder they named two streets after him. William, his mother, Elizabeth Green McCully (a native of Ireland), and William’s wife, Sara, are buried in Bethel Cemetery.

Among Jesse’s sisters were Mary “Polly” (1802-1896), Elizabeth (believed to be buried next to Polly, but the stone is close to illegible) and Jennie Jane McCully, who married Isaac Hultz, son oHenry Hultz Jr. In Jennie’s obituary it states: “Her father, William McCully, settled his claim in what was then a dense forest, where his children spent their early lives. The only other white man in this part of the country at that time was Robert Long (another account says that man was Henry Hultz), who had taken a claim at what is now Mt. Lebanon. The settlers were not aware of each other’s presence in the vicinity for some time and discovered each other while cutting timber for a cleaning. Each heard the other chopping and at the same time they started toward the sound of the other’s ax. They blazed the trees as they went along, but each became doubtful when the sound of the ax was not heard, and resumed. In that way the men worked along nearly the distance between Castle Shannon and Mt. Lebanon. Each knew the other was a white man and when they finally found each other, a defensive alliance was established against the Indians and intercourse opened between the two families.” Since Jennie married Henry Hultz’z son Isaac and their grave at Bethel Cemetery is marked by a tombstone intricately carved into the shape of a tree trunk to memorialize how their families met, the story in the obituary is probably incorrectly attributed to Robert Long. Jennie’s brother James also married a Hultz (Sichy) as did brother John (Jane/Jean Hultz). Jennie’s sister Rebecca married James B. Glenn.

On March 29, 1830, Jesse married Elizabeth Long (1809-1885), who was born in what is now Mt. Lebanon (she was the daughter of Robert and Rebecca Long and granddaughter of early pioneer Alexander Long). The couple had three children-Robert Long, Sarah Jane and Rebecca Ann-all mentioned below. A Sept. 29, 1864, letter from Jesse to his brother John in Ohio relates wet weather, the condition of his wheat and rye crops and several recent deaths in the neighborhood (including a Martin Brawely who “died in his wagon of drinking”). Jesse also mentions that his son, Robert, was earning $2 a day as a journeyman with a local surveying and engineering company. Jesse adds, “I verily believe if we elect old Abe, the south will sue for peace before Christmas.” It was, of course, another seven months-not three-before the war ended.

Robert “R.L.” McCully (1831-1914), was born on his parents’ farm in Castle Shannon. On Sept. 17, 1856, he married Matilda Boyer (1836-1932), the daughter of Peter and Elizabeth (Philips) Boyer of Library, Pennsylvania. In 1906, the South Hills News ran a story about the couple’s 50th wedding anniversary at their 304 Bower Hill Road home (near Ralston Place), in which Robert was presented with a “handsome gold-headed cane” and Matilda $50 in gold coins. Robert was a civil engineer, and according to The Hilltop Record, was “the oldest civil and mining engineer in western Pennsylvania (having) done expert mining work all over the United States.” Robert had many mining inventions to his name, including a double entry system for ventilating mines. He was the first county surveyor of Allegheny County, serving two terms, and laid out a large section of streets in Castle Shannon near the Mt. Lebanon border (including the tree-named streets). Robert ran McCully Engineering Co. in Pittsburgh. Robert and Matilda had no children.

Robert’s sister, Sarah Jane (1834-1910), a lifelong member of MLEP Church, lived with R.L. and Matilda. In 1910, Sarah died at the age of 77 of gastritis.

Mary Elizabeth (Roseburg) Keefer, left, and her mother, Rebecca (McCully) Roseburg, taken circa 1920 at their home on Bower Hill Road.

Rebecca Ann (1836-1923), another sister of Robert, married DavidAlexander Roseburg (1842-1909), a native of Ohio and the son of Samuel and Jane (Wilson) Roseburg (His aunt mary Roseburg married Alexander Longand her daughter-David’s cousin-was Marth Jane Long Martin, wife of John A. Martin. For a time, the couple lived in Rebecca’s father’s (Jesse McCully) original Castle Shannon house before moving to 334 Bower Hill Road. They had two daughters-Elmetta and Mary (a son, Jesse, died young). Elmetta married TwingBrook Hasley and Mary married William Stephen Keefer. Both girls owned homes near their parents. After David died of “carcinomas stomach,” Rebecca moved in with Mary and William. When Rebecca died in 1923, the South Hills News ran an article stating: “Grandmother Roseburg will be remembered as a most likeable lady. Her face showed no lines of anxiety or discontent. Blessed with health, the word sickness to her had no personal significance. Although bed-fast for many weeks in her last illness, she complained only of feeling tired, very tired. She fell asleep, the last, long sleep.”

Rebecca and David’s great-granddaughter Norma Jean Hasley, who died in 1926 at age 6, is buried near them. Norma Jean was the daughter of Casper Hasley (grandson of Rebecca and David) and his wife, Sarah. In 1916, Casper and Sarah lived opposite what is now the entrance to Mission Hills on Washington Road.

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