Treasure Chest Thursday: Rev. William Henry Cully (abt 1830-1902)

I have known for the past six years the name of my 3G-Grandfather, but really knew nothing about him.  With today’s technologies, I have been able to trace my pedigree of the Cully family back to the 1800’s, which is usually difficult when you are searching for someone that is a “Person of Color” before the Antebellum Period. 

I discovered that my family on the Cully line were a “free people of color” in the early 1800’s, as my 4G-Grandfather, William Cully, Sr. had been bonded to William Dove of New Bern, Craven County, NC as an apprentice in the trade of a Cooper.  (I have reason to believe that the Cully’s were related to the Dove’s in the 1800’s, but I have not found any proof, except in later generations the Dove’s married into the Cully line.”  The link below will show proof of William Cully and his brother James Cully being bonded at a very young age.

http://www.coastalcarolinaindians.com/research/FPC-Apprentice-CravenCo.htm

Below is the 1850 Census of my 3G-Grandfather’s family.  In this census William Cully, 17, son of William Cully, is who I began focusing on so I could put some skin on his bones.

Name: William Cully
Age: 17
Estimated Birth Year: abt 1833
Birth Place: North Carolina
Color: Black
Gender: Male
Home in 1850 (City,County,State): Craven, North Carolina
Family Number: 710
Household Members:
Name Age
William Cully 50
Mary Cully 40
William Cully 17
Jessy Cully 16
Phebe Cully 14
Mary Cully 3

Source Citation: Year: 1850; Census Place:  , Craven, North Carolina; Roll: M432_626; Page: 311B; Image: 185.
(Then in the 1860 Census William Cully Jr., was listed with his wife Nancy.)  Following are the other Census Reports.

1860 United States Federal Census about William Culley

Name: William Culley
Age in 1860: 29
Birth Year: abt 1831
Birthplace: North Carolina
Home in 1860: Reevs, Craven, North Carolina
Gender: Male
Value of real estate: View image
Household Members:
Name Age
William Culley 29
Nancey A Culley 25
Sidney A Culley 5
Julia A Godett 12
Jeremiah Godett 3

Source Citation: Year: 1860; Census Place: Reevs, Craven, North Carolina; Roll: M653_894; Page: 6; Image: 11; Family History Library Film: 803894.

1870 United States Federal Census about William Culley

Name: William Cally
[William Cully] 
Birth Year: abt 1835
Age in 1870: 35
Birthplace: North Carolina
Home in 1870: Township 5, Craven, North Carolina
Race: Black
Gender: Male
Value of real estate: View image
Household Members:
Name Age
William Cally 35
Nancy Cally 33
Sarah Cally 9
Ambrose Cally 7
Melvina Cally 4
Mary Cally 2
George W Cally 5/12

Source Citation: Year: 1870; Census Place: Township 5, Craven, North Carolina; Roll: M593_1132; Page: 283B; Image: 18; Family History Library Film: 552631.

The Census of 1880 shows my Great Grand father Ambrose Cully along with Williams wife Nancy and their other children.

1880 United States Federal Census about William Culley

Name: William Culley
Home in 1880: Township 5, Craven, North Carolina
Age: 47
Estimated Birth Year: abt 1833
Birthplace: North Carolina
Relation to Head of Household: Self (Head)
Spouse’s Name: Nancy Culley
Father’s birthplace: North Carolina
Mother’s birthplace: North Carolina
Neighbors: View others on page
Occupation: Farmer
Marital Status: Married
Race: Mu
Gender: Male
Cannot read/write:

Blind:

Deaf and dumb:

Otherwise disabled:

Idiotic or insane:

Household Members:
Name Age
William Culley 47
Nancy Culley 43
Ambers Culley 18
Melviney Culley 14
George H. Culley 10
Metildie Carter 22
Mary J. Candey 3


After 1880, I was not able to find information on my 2G Grandfather as very few US Census reports of 1890 did not survive a devastating fire.

So after more investigation I discovered on the New Bern, NC Public Library website at The Kellenberger Room, there were listings of Obituaries.  William H Cully was listed and so I ordered his obit.   With this piece of evidence of William H. Cully’s life, I was able to pinpoint his actual date of birth and his date of death and learn a little more about what type of individual he was.

[obit Below]

New Bern Daily Journal Aug 6, 1902
[Transcribed]
Rev. William H Cully, a highly respected colored man of this city
Died Saturday morning at the advanced age of 72 years. The
Deceased was noted for his piety and other traits of good character,
And many friends.  By his Industry and steady habits, he accumalated
A very good bit of property.

This was my treasure Chest item, which now will lead me to land deeds.

© Yvette Porter Moore-All Rights Reserved

One thought on “Treasure Chest Thursday: Rev. William Henry Cully (abt 1830-1902)

  1. Good investigation and reporting. I would be interested in looking further into our connectedness. Once you get them to Township 5, they are very close to my Carters, Georges, et. al. I have a list, pages long, of obituaries I need to order from CCPL. Seeing the digitized obit. on your post encourages me to go ahead and get the request ready to send. Thank you!

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