JOHN GRIFFITH MC CULLOUGH was born near Newark, Delaware. He graduated from Delaware College in 1855 and from the University of Pennsylvania Law School in 1858. He began the practice of law in Philadelphia but owing to ill health moved to California, where he became involved in the effort to keep secessionists from succeeding in separating California from the Union. He went on to serve as a state Senator and as Attorney General before returning to Vermont. He was president of the Panama Railway, the Bennington and Rutland Railway, and the Chicago and Erie Railroad. He was also a director of a number of banks and insurance companies and of the Lackawanna Steel Company. In 1898 he was elected a state Senator from Bennington County, serving as President Pro Tem. In the 1902 race for governor, there was no clear-cut winner and it was left to the state legislature to decide the election. Receiving a majority of the legislature’s votes, McCullough went on as governor to favor separation of the judicial system from politics, and to support a primary election law. During his administration, a State Board of Health was established and legislation was enacted requiring the payment of licensing fees by corporations that either were formed or conducted business in Vermont. McCullough did not seek reelection after a single term, instead returning to his business interests. He died at his winter home in New York City.
Sobel, Robert, and John Raimo, eds. Biographical Directory of the Governors of the United States, 1789-1978, Vol. 4. Westport, CT: Meckler Books, 1978. 4 vols.
The National Cyclopaedia of American Biography, Vol. 14. New York: James T. White & Company.