Biography of Isaac F. Culver

Major Isaac F. Culver, the famous planter and livestock breeder of Bullock County, Alabama, was born in Hancock County, Georgia, in 1831 and is a son of Isaac and Margaret (Grace) Culver, natives of the same county. In 1851 the family came to Alabama and located in Henry County where the father died in 1858 at the age of sixty-two years and the mother in 1867 at seventy-eight years of age, both members of the Methodist church. Isaac Culver began life as a poor man but was energetic and enterprising, and amassed quite a fortune. He served in the Florida war and was active in all public affairs affecting the section in which he lived, although he never sought public office. He was a son of John Culver, a native of England, who was brought, when young, to America by his parents who first located in Delaware, but subsequently removed to Georgia where John married, lived, and died. The maternal grandfather of Isaac Culver was Jephtha Grace, who was a planter and lived and died in Hancock County, Georgia. Major Culver is the second youngest of the ten children born to his parents, of whom two, beside himself, served in the late war: George W., a planter, and for a short time a colonel in Hilliard’s legion, who died in Henry county, Alabama; Jephtha, who served with the state troops under Gov. Brown for about a year and who died at Jonesborough, Georgia, soon after the fall of Atlanta.

The major received a good education in his early days and completed it at Mount Zion in Hancock County, Georgia. In 1850 he married Miss Mary, daughter of John Boran, a native of Georgia who died in Washington, Wilkes County. Mrs. Culver was born and educated in Washington, Georgia, and died in 1858, leaving three daughters, viz.: Maggie, widow of the late J. J. Ramsey, a well-known horse breeder of Union Springs; Mary L., wife of William R. Ethridge, and Fannie H., wife of D. F. Sessions. The major took for his second wife Mrs. Nancy Pugh, widow of Dr. Thomas Pugh, a cousin of United States Senator James L. Pugh. This lady was born and educated in Barbour County, Alabama, and is a daughter of Roderick McSwain, a native of Scotland, who, when a young man, settled in North Carolina, where he married, and in 1836 came to Alabama, became a wealthy planter, and died in Barbour County. To his second marriage, the major has had born to him two sons, viz.: Roderick McSwain, now a well-to-do planter, and Rev. Frank Pugh, of the Methodist church. Both are graduates of the Southern University of Greensboro, Alabama.

When Major Culver first came to Alabama, in 1851, he located in Henry county where he resided until 1860 when he removed to Bullock county, which has since been his home. In May 1861, he joined Company A., Sixth Alabama infantry, as a private and was at once sent to Virginia. He fought at Seven Pines, Cold Harbor, Malvern Hill, Fredericksburg, Boonsboro Gap, Sharpsburg, Chancellorsville, Gettysburg, the Wilderness, and many other points. He was severely wounded at Malvern Hill, at Boonsboro Gap, and at Gettysburg, returning home each time for treatment. At the expiration of his first term of enlistment for one year, he was commissioned captain, and after the battle of Chancellorsville, he was promoted to be major, and in the trenches at Petersburg, he was made lieutenant-colonel, and from that time on had command of his regiment, which he led with gallantry and valor. Although common courtesy would lead a person to greet him as Col. Culver, the major is too modest to claim a higher title than the one he bears.

The major is one of the most popular men in Bullock County, where he has been placed in various positions of honor and trust. In 1878 he was elected to the legislature, and again in 1880, and during both terms was chairman of the committee on temperance. When his last term had expired, he was elected superintendent of education of Bullock County, which office he filled six years, holding also, during this period, the office of president of the state agricultural society and of the Alabama State Fair association. He is progressive in all things. He is a large stockholder in the Union Springs cotton mills, a director in the oil mill company, and has one of the most extensive and complete stock farms in Alabama, as well as a cotton plantation. He is a man of broad views and commanding presence and was at one time worshipful master of Aberfoil lodge, F. & A. M., and is at present a member of St. John’s lodge, No. 62, F. & A. M., at Union Springs. He is active in politics and all public matters and has a wide acquaintance at the north as well as at the south.


Memorial record of Alabama : a concise account of the state’s political, military, professional and industrial progress, together with the personal memoirs of many of its people.. Madison, Wis.: Brant & Fuller, 1893.

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