Sachse, Elizabeth McCullough Straily (1815–1853)

By: Allan L. Folsom

Type: Biography

Published: August 21, 2018

Updated: February 24, 2021

Elizabeth McCullough Straily Sachse, Peters Colony settler and Collin County and Dallas County land owner, was born to Henry and Mary McCullough in South Carolina in 1815. Approximately two years later, the McCullough family moved to Alabama, where Henry and Mary McCullough had four more children—Robert, Ellen, James T., and John Robert. The couple had two more daughters, Mary Ann in Tennessee and Nancy in Missouri, by 1834. An unwed Elizabeth McCullough became pregnant at the age of fifteen, and she gave birth to a son, Francis S. McCullough, in 1830.

The McCullough family entered Missouri as the western frontier of the United States began to open to settlement. Elizabeth McCullough married a Mr. Straily by 1837 while living in Missouri and gave birth to daughter Mary Jane in the same year. The couple had a son, William P. Straily, in Missouri on December 16, 1841. His father reportedly died before William P. Straily was born, leaving Elizabeth Straily a widow.

During December 1844 the McCullough family, including Straily and her children, joined a wagon train headed for Texas. They arrived in January 1845 as part of the Peters Colony settlers. Accompanying them in the procession was a Prussian immigrant named William Sachse. Straily married William Sachse on May 23, 1845, after their arrival in Lamar County, Texas.

During the early 1840s the Republic of Texas allotted 640 acres of land to a male or female head of household. As a Peters colonist, Elizabeth Sachse received a third class headright (in File 2011 in the General Land Office) of 320 acres of land split between Collin and Dallas counties in 1850. Part of the settlement agreement in Peters Colony required that at least fifteen acres of the land had to be cultivated prior to the issuance of the land patent. Legal issues involving national and international investors created problems regarding the ownership of the Peters Colony, which affected settlers such as Sachse. The Sachses moved from Collin County to Lamar County for a short time due to problems with American Indian groups early during their Texas settlement. They returned to Collin County approximately one year later.

During 1846, Elizabeth Sachse gave birth to a son, Thomas Boone, who died ten years later. James Alfred, her second son, was born in 1849. Sachse had two daughters, Susan Adeline in 1851 and Ellen in 1852, but both died approximately two years after their births. Sachse died on October 29, 1853, and may be buried in an unmarked grave in Decatur-Maxwell-Murphy Cemetery in Collin County, where her mother Mary McCullough was buried. William Sachse went on to remarry and have more children. William P. Straily lived his remaining years in Oklahoma, where he died in 1900. In 1875 James Alfred Sachse married Laura Belknap and had a daughter, named Arizona, one year later.

Six years after she filed her land grant--and three years after her death—Sachse’s land grant was finally patented. Her husband signed her name on the patent with an "X." Sachse’s children—Francis McCullough, Mary Jane Straily, William P. Straily, and James Alfred Sachse—inherited sections of her land, as did her husband. Sachse’s husband donated a portion of her land to the construction of Sachse School. The Sachse community in northeastern Dallas County and southern Collin County is named for William and Elizabeth Sachse.

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Glenda Czerwinski Kent, Elizabeth McCullough: The Forgotten First Wife of William Sachse; Her Parents, Siblings, and Descendants (Nashville: 2012). Peters Colony Records (AR.37.PC). Archives and Records Program, Texas General Land Office, Austin. Elizabeth Sachse Papers, File No. 2011, Original Land Grant Collection, Archives and Records Division, Texas General Land Office, Austin. 

  • Women
  • Founders and Pioneers
  • Pioneers
Time Periods:
  • Republic of Texas
  • Antebellum Texas
  • Dallas/Fort Worth Region
  • North Texas

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

Allan L. Folsom, “Sachse, Elizabeth McCullough Straily,” Handbook of Texas Online, accessed July 01, 2022,

Published by the Texas State Historical Association.

August 21, 2018
February 24, 2021

This entry belongs to the following Handbook Special Projects: