The Handbook of Texas is free-to-use thanks to the support of readers like you. Support the Handbook today.

Font size: A / A reset

Support Texas History Now

Join TSHA to support quality Texas history programs and receive exclusive benefits.

Become a TSHA Member Today »

McCullough, Margaret Jane Riddell (1831–1910)

Diana J. Kleiner Biography Entry

Margaret Jane Riddell McCullough, early Galveston civic leader, daughter of James and Margaret (Wigton) Riddell, was born in Coatesville, Pennsylvania, on August 25, 1831, and lived at the home of her grandparents in Spruce Creek after her mother's death. In 1851 she married John McCullough, founder in 1840 of the First Presbyterian Church in Galveston. The couple spent several years in Dresden, Ohio, near Zanesville, before moving to Texas by wagon in 1859 to live at a ranch near Double Horn, Burnet County. Residents accustomed to the harsh conditions of frontier life remembered that Mrs. McCullough brought with her a grand piano, furs, and a silver tea service. In 1869 the family moved to a home at Prairie Lea, Caldwell County, where John died on January 9, 1870. Margaret took her nine children to Galveston to join her brother, John Riddell. At one time she kept fifteen boarders and in 1895 taught Sunday school. By 1883 she had joined the Ladies Aid Society, an institution dedicated to relieving the city's poor. She was elected president of the organization in 1890 and served until her death, in December 1910.

Visit the Texas Women Project's standalone website

The Handbook of Texas Women project has its own dedicated website and resources.

Visit Website
Elizabeth Hayes Turner, Women's Culture and Community: Religion and Reform in Galveston, 1880–1920 (Ph.D. dissertation, Rice University, 1990). Vertical Files, Dolph Briscoe Center for American History, University of Texas at Austin.


  • Women
  • Activism and Social Reform
  • Civic Leaders

The following, adapted from the Chicago Manual of Style, 15th edition, is the preferred citation for this entry.

Diana J. Kleiner, “McCullough, Margaret Jane Riddell,” Handbook of Texas Online, accessed July 28, 2021,

Published by the Texas State Historical Association.

April 1, 1995

This entry belongs to the following Handbook Special Projects: