The Culliton Family History

Collected by
James Parnell Culliton

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Probably the first Culliton to America were the ones from Sir John Colletons party who settled in what is now South Carolina in the 1680's There is a Colleton County in South Carolina and Census and Social Security records show some Colletons. Nothing is known of this clan, who don't seem to have ties to Ireland.

There is no evidence of Cullitons living in the south other than the group in South Carolina. Census and other records keep them in the north east- Maine, Massatechutts, Connecuit, New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Michigan, Iowa, Minnisota, Wisconsin, and then California, and Washington State. This seems to be true up to the 1960's.

Cousin Harold Crowley of Quincy Mass has done excellent work on early Culliton. He has a copyrighted publication listing many " sightings". These tend to be fragments such as " 1788 Sept 30 -Thomas Culliton, with others, rioted last winter, fined 6 pounds" The next wave of Cullitons came to the Maritimes, Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island, New Brunswick and Newfoundland. The earliest record I've seen is of Johanna Culliton born in 1766 married to a Peter McNabb Feb 8 1789, living in Halifax, Nova Scotia. Someone has done a great job of documenting family Culliton in the church of St Hyacinth's, D'Escourse, NS, Canada. Cullitons show up with birth dates starting around 1780 but not earlier. Many maybe most are pre "famine Irish".

This group of Cullitons spread out to Quebec, Toronto, Maine and New York. Cousin Claude Bouffard of Quebec, City, records the following Culliton in Quebec "I think my Great-great-grant-father was the first Culliton in North America. I got a census from Quebec (I live there) that said he (Patrick Culliton/Johanna Murphy) was farmer on a land (rented from a french person Charles Fluet) near Ancienne-Lorette(Quebec) in 1818."

Cullitons to Toronto include David Culliton mentioned above. These is a large Culliton clan in and around Toronto. The Stratford Cullitons are a well known ice hockey team. There was an article in the Toronto in 1998, paper about a Culliton who owns the biggest ( and best) livery and limousine service in the area.

Some families moved south to Maine. Charles William Culliton born in New Brunswick 1843 moved to Maine and then the family moved west to Chicago and then California.

One of the early migration routes for Irish emigrants was the water route. They traveled up the St Lawrence to near Montreal and then by smaller river boats could go south into the Lake Champlain area. I have recorded about a dozen families living around Lake Champlaign in both New York ( including my family) and Vermont and down the Hudson to the Troy -Albany area. It's possible that they came through New York City rather than thru Canada. No details are known.
Other known routes from Canada to the US are at Niagara and Detroit. The main route for Cullitons was through the seaports of Boston, New York and Philadelphia. Fairly large groups still live there. It is very difficult to track the family in these large cities. One of the major problems tracking clan Culliton, other than spelling is the lack of imagination in naming Children. About 60% of the men are named James or John while about 70% of the women are Bridget ( Birdie ) , Margaret or Mary.

There were about 8 families in Cleveland Ohio during the late 1800's. ( including my family) The usual problem of James, John and here David confuses just how many separate families there were.

The Social Security Death Index lists the 60,000,000 people who have received benefits and have died. About 1 out of every 200,000 is a Culliton. The distribution of Culliton/Colloton/Culleton etc is as follows by death location not by birth.

New York108 Massachusetts52 Califorinia29 Ohio27
Michigan24 Pennsylvania22 New Jersey20 South Carolina19
Washington State18 Minnesota17 Illinois16 Virginia14
Florida7 Wisconsin7 Colorado6 Maine6
Missouri6 Maryland5 South Dakota5 Utah5
Connecticut4 Washington DC4 Montana4 Texas4
New Hampshire3 Oklahoma3 Georgia2 Vermont2
Kansas1 Louisiana1 Mississippi1 Rhode Island1


I have catalogued the family by state and province. The following tracks some of the areas and families.


As mentioned above Charles Culliton and Hennrietta Sawyer moved to Maine then Chicago and then Los Angeles.


James and Johanna Furlong Culliton b 1815 Ireland came to Champlain Twsp, Clinton County, about 4 miles from Quebec in 1845 and to Cleveland, Ohio by 1855. An unknown Culliton had children Pierce 1845, James 1857, Margaret 1859. They lived about 30 miles west of the above Cullitons in Chattaguay, Franklin Co. New York, along the Quebec border. The family has moved to Warren, Mass and now Conn., data from cousin Dennis Culliton 1999.

An unknown Culliton had sons Michael 1809, Jeremiah 1811, Dennis abt 1819, David 1826 and lived in Summit, Schoharie, New York. They each had large families.

John, b abt1830, and Alice Culliton had 5 daughters and son John in Poughkeepsie, Dutchess, New York

John b 1841 Canada and Ardesa Culliton had 3 daughters in Charlotte, Niagara, New York

There are a number of Culliton around Troy-Albany- Rensselear Oldest is James Culliton b 1792 and living in East Greenbush, Rensselear, NY. Sarah Culliton is the oldest Culliton in the US Census 1840, in Albany NY. In the Troy NY directory for 1880 there are 9 Cullitons- 5 John and 2 Michael.
James Culliton , a shoemaker and his family were found in Rochester, NY up to the early 1900's.


Cousins Moreen Johnson and Dan Forrest of Minnesota are researching descendents of Thomas and Mary Fitzgerald Culliton b abt 1800 Kilkenny Ireland and in New Haven, VT about 1845. The family then moved to Lancaster, Pa,( maybe), then Ashtabula Ohio, 60 miles west of Cleveland on lake Erie and then to St. Mary, Waseca, MN. Family history talks of Indian attacks on the farms in about 1858. Daughter Margaret married James Conway and daughter Bridget married Daniel Murphy.


There are a number of families in Philadelphia and only one other in the state in Johnstown, Cambria Co, Francis and Anna Culliton born abt 1840 in Ireland had seven children who mostly stayed in Johnstown.


Thomas and Catherine McCormack Culliton born Ireland in 1824 came to Staffordshire England to work in the potterys and then to New Jersey again to work in the potterys. Descendants include James Culliton who was Chief of Police in Trenton, NJ 1922-1925. Other descendents include James Culliton V.P. of M.I.T. who died in 1996. The Rugby Team has an annual Culliton Rugby Game. His brother Dr. Thomas Culliton was at Boston U. Data from Tom Culliton of Florida.


There were a group of about 8 Culliton families in Cleveland in the late 1800's. Other than my family James Culliton, mentioned above, there were 3 John Culliton's, 2 Davids, 2 James , two Pat and one Sylvester. David and Anastasia's son, Frank T. Cullitan, 1888-1957, a 3rd cousin?, one of 10 children, was a long time Cuyahoga County Prosecutor. His office was known as the Culliton School;. Several, judges, mayors, senators and a governor where trained in his office. In 1998 on the History Channel show on Eliott Ness news reels of Frank Cullitan were shown. Frank hired Ness to " clean up Cleveland". In general he succeeded.

William and Mary Hanlon Culliton's ( born Co. Wexford in 1835) son Ambrose emigrated to Cleveland and started a family there with wife Anne O'Hara.

Edward and Mary O'Malley Culliton born 1866 both born Ireland had 6 children born in Cleveland.

Sylvester and Hannah Culliton born about 1843 in Ireland had 6 kids in Cleveland.

James and Hannah Walsh Culliton both born 1813 in Ireland had seven children in Cleveland.

John b about 1812 and Bridget Kelly Culliton both born Ireland had 4 children in Cleveland.

Pat James Culliton born 1886 in Bellinglee, Ireland and son of Adam and Catherine Byrne Culliton born abt 1860 founded a large Culliton family- 9- in Cleveland with wife Bernadette Sloan . Grandson Jim Mickey Culliton of San Diego helped with this report.

John Culliton founded a family in Ashtabula, Ohio, about 60 east of Cleveland.
Francis Culliton, son of James and Catherine Stafford Culliton, b 1830 in Ballycullane, Co. Kilkenny, Ireland and his wife Catherine Anderson farmed in Southwest Ohio at St. Mary, Auglaize County. Their daughter Anna married John Culleton born KY in 1858. Descendents Kate Colwell and John Culleton have helped with this report.


James and Margaret Welsh Culliton of Limrick Co, Ireland had 7 children and lived in Gilford, Tuscola, Michigan. John and Catherine Culliton of Grand Rapids, Kent, Michigan had several children. In the 1880 directory there are 7 Cullitons.

The Detroit area has several Cullitons who emigrated from Canada including Mary Culliton McTague and Art Culliton late of Detroit Edison. Art and I worked on some projects together.


CHARLES COLLOTON was born January 24, 1833 in Ireland, and died May 25, 1909 in Mason City, Cerro Gorde Co, Iowa. He married MARY MARGARET HAYES November 23, 1856 in Boston, Ma, daughter of WILLIAM HAYES and HONNORA O'FARRELL. He arrived Boston 8-20-1853 abroad ship S.S. North America. The family moved to Rockford, Ill and then to Mason City, Iowa about 1880. There is a Colloton Pavillioin at the University of Iowa Hospital named John W. Colloton.


JOHN GARNET CULLITON was born October 31, 1839 in Beauport. PQ, Canada. He married ANN CULLITON. She was born Abt. 1845. John had 11 children , JOHN G. CULLITON, b. July 17, 1863., JAMES DOUGLAS CULLITON, b. November 22, 1864., ARCHIBELD CULLITON, b. July 25, 1866., THOMAS W. CULLITON, b. January 24, 1868. CHARLES CULLITON, b. August 25, 1869., SAMUAL T. CULLITON, b. October 25, 1875., MARY C CULLITON, b. August 18, 1872., WILLIAM F. CULLITON, b. June 11, 1877., LORNE CULLITON, b. April 02, 1879., The family moved to Toronto, then Cleveland Ohio, then St Louis MO, then thru Carbon, WY then to California. They apparently "dropped off" some family at each stop. There is one Culliton family in St Louis and one in carbon, WY. This data is from Charles Culliton of California. I've lost his address. ** It's possible John is the son of Pat and Johanna Murphy of Quebec mentioned by Claude Bouffard above. **


Davis and Harriet Gibbons Culliton had 10 children . The family settled in Ellis Township, Perth, Ontario, Canada where a large family remains in Toronto and Stratford


There are several Culliton families in St John, Newfoundland and Nova Scotia.


While reading a borrowed book on Irish Genealogy, I came across this chapter. The author states that the " professional genealogists who went after President Kennedy and Reagan's families got to about 1822 and hit a brick wall. They then entered the fanciful mode and " proved" they were from Irish King stock."

In Oct 2000 I visited with a noted Irish genealogist on the Kerry penseulia. He explained that the " English Penal Laws" in force from 1690 to 1825, while similar to and perhaps models for the Nazi Nurhenberg Race Laws make record keeping very hazardous. A catholic priest, found tending his flock, by LAW was a traitor and was to be sent to life imprisonment. No need for a trial, a priest is guilty. If he escaped and was found again, automatic hanging. No trial necessary, obvious guilty. A lay person practicing his religion, usually in the fields, hedges, or a ditch ( The English took his churches) was also guilty of treason. This at a time when Ireland was 90%+ Catholic. If lucky, he was fined. He family might go hungry but he could survive. If unlucky, he was thrown off the land he rented ( Ireland went from 90+% Catholic ownership in 1690 to 5% ownership by 1850) and would have to beg to live. He and his family might starve to death. If very unlucky he would be sold as a sugar slave to Barbados or Jamaica. Any records found could result in the above happening to a person. So, few records were kept.

This started to change about 1800. The English needed Irish bodies for their Army and Navy for their wars with France. Some Irish actively tried for a French invasion while most probably would have welcomed the French. We start to see Church records after about 1810 in some areas, mostly larger cities. After Catholic Emancipation in 1825 most of the English Penal Laws were not enforced or changed.

Some of the English Penal Law provisions included, No Catholic could serve on a jury, could not hold office, could not be an office in the Army or Navy, must pay title to the English Church ( 5% of the population), could not educate his children in Catholic religion, in most cases could not educate his children period, could not vote. If a Catholic father did own land , any child that changed to the English Church would then become the owner of the land. The old song " Wearing of the Green" has a phrase " There hanging men and women for the wearing of the green" This probably happened. The English penal law prohibited wearing or any badge, devise or COLOR that expressed opposition to the English.

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