Philip Doddridge McCulloch Jr. (1851–1928)

Philip Doddridge McCulloch Jr. was a Democratic member of the U.S. House of Representatives. He represented the First District of Arkansas from 1893 to 1903, beginning in the Fifty-Third Congress and extending through the Fifty-Seventh Congress.

Philip McCulloch Jr. was born on June 23, 1851, in Murfreesboro, Tennessee, to Philip D. McCulloch, who was a doctor, and Lucy Burrus McCulloch. When he was three years old, McCulloch’s family moved to Trenton, Tennessee. He received most of his early education in the area’s private schools before attending Andrew College in Trenton. He studied law and after being admitted to the Tennessee bar in 1872, he opened a practice in Trenton. In early 1874, McCulloch moved to Marianna (Lee County) and began a new legal practice. He initially associated himself with H. N. Hutton, a local lawyer, but after two years, McCulloch set out on his own. Entering the political arena in 1878, he was elected prosecuting attorney for the state’s first judicial district. He was subsequently reelected and served a total of three terms until 1884, when he declined re-nomination. At that point, he returned to private practice, establishing a partnership with his brother, E. M. McCulloch, that would endure until 1904, when his brother was elected to serve on the Arkansas Supreme Court.

A staunch Democrat, McCulloch was very active in party affairs, serving as chairman of the Lee County Democratic Central Committee from 1875 until 1893. However, despite his partisan involvement, he was initially reluctant to hold elective office, refusing to serve when he was elected mayor of Marianna in 1875. He did, however, serve as a member of the local board of education.

McCulloch and his wife, Belle, whom he had married in 1876, had seven children.

He continued his active involvement with the Democratic Party by serving as a Democratic presidential elector in 1888 as well as a delegate to the Arkansas Democratic State Convention in 1890. Finally, in 1892, McCulloch overcame his reservations about seeking higher office. Running as the Democratic nominee, he won the first of five consecutive terms as a member of the U.S. House of Representatives. He compiled an impressive electoral record, with his initial victory in 1892 being the only time he won with less than sixty-five percent of the vote.

While in the House, McCulloch was best known as a member of the House Committee on Rivers and Harbors. Indeed, in the summer of 1896, he was part of a committee visit to Cleveland, Ohio, to investigate the value of further development of the Great Lakes region and its trade potential. McCulloch believed the city and its efforts worthy of further congressional support. He also served on the House Committee on Private Land Claims.

McCulloch opted not to run for an additional term in 1902. Instead, he left politics and turned his attention to his family and his legal practice in Marianna. McCulloch had acquired extensive land holdings in Lee County and was also the proprietor of several businesses in Marianna. He retired from practicing law in 1914.

In 1922, he suffered a paralyzing stroke from which he never fully recovered. McCulloch died on November 26, 1928, after a lengthy illness. He is interred in Marianna’s Cedar Heights Cemetery.

For additional information:
“Congress and the Marine Interests of the Lakes.” Plain Dealer (Cleveland, Ohio), August 5, 1900, p. 25.

Herndon, Dallas Tabor. Centennial History of Arkansas. Vol. 3. Chicago: S. J. Clarke Publishing Company, 1922.

“Philip Doddridge McCulloch, Jr.” Biographical Directory of the United States Congress. (accessed September 28, 2021).

William H. Pruden III
Ravenscroft School


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