Biography of J. W. McCullough

J. W. McCullough has long been a resident of Champaign County. His life’s activities have been expressed along different lines, as a successful agriculturist, a merchant, and in his later years, with greater opportunity for leisure, he is applying himself to the management, with his son, of a large business at Rantoul for the handling of grain, fuel and implements.

Mr. McCullough is a native of DeWitt County, Illinois, and a son of James and Mary Jane (Rusk) McCullough. His parents were born in Ohio and in the early days they came to Illinois, crossing the intervening country in covered wagons or prairie schooners. They located near Clinton in this state and the children attended district school. When J. W. McCullough was eleven years of age they came to Champaign County and located on a farm six miles southeast of Rantoul in the Kentucky settlement.

Here Mr. McCullough attended school and at the same time assisted his father on the farm. That was his routine of life until twenty-one, and then, in November, 1879, he laid the foundation of his own home by his marriage to Isella Boys. Mrs. McCullough was born in Ohio, daughter of Jonathan and Elizabeth Boys. Her parents came to Illinois and she received most of her education in the Prairie Star School in ‘Champaign County. This school has the reputation of having turned out many successful students, including a number of teachers.

After their marriage Mr. and Mrs. McCullough started out as renters, and subsequently moved to his father’s farm. The young people proved themselves possessed of energy and industry and they practiced economy until they were able to purchase eighty acres of land. From the farm Mr. McCullough eventually removed to Urbana and engaged in the grocery business, but then returned to his farm for three years, and finally located at Rantoul, where in connection with farming he began buying stock on an extensive scale. He was one of the leading shippers of live stock out of this county for a number of years. Subsequently he expanded his operations by handling grain, and now owns a large elevator at Rantoul with a capacity of 40,000 bushels. Grain to the average of 200,000 bushels per year is marketed through the medium of Mr. McCullough’s enterprise. The passing years have brought a steady increase to his land holdings, and in the counties of Champaign, Ford and Lee he now owns altogether an estate of 850 acres.

Mr. McCullough and his fine family live in an attractive residence in Rantoul a short distance down the interurban track below the Methodist Church. A low stone fence separates the pleasant grounds from the street, and behind that fence is every evidence of comfort and liberal hospitality. Mr. and Mrs. McCullough have six children: Elsie, Irene, George, Frank, John and William. The parents have felt the responsibility of giving these children the best of home and school training and all have been educated in the high school at Rantoul.

George, who was also a student in the business college at Champaign, is active manager of his father’s home farm. He married Miss Vera McCormick and they have two children, George and Ruth. The son Frank, who lives in a home adjoining that of his father, is manager with his father of the coal, grain and implement business conducted under the name McCullough & Son. Frank McCullough married Florence Carlson and they have a young daughter, Zella Jeanette, now three years of age. She has completely won the hearts of her grandparents.

Elsie McCullough married Clyde Gifford and they live on a farm four miles southeast of Rantoul.

Mr. and Mrs. McCullough are active members of the Methodist Episcopal Church. Politically Mr. McCullough supports the principles of prohibition. He is a man broad in his views and believes that the individual can exert his influence best by supporting principles rather than a party and by exercising a discriminating choice among candidates for office. Mr. McCullough has served as supervisor and as school director and has done all he could to raise the standards of local education. Mrs. McCullough is a cultured and popular member of local society in Rantoul, and the family as a whole on account of their business energy, success and public spirit hold a high place in that community.



Stewart, J. R. A Standard History of Champaign County Illinois. The Lewis Publishing Company, Chicago and New York. 1918.

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