- Terry L. Seip
McCulloch, Hugh (07 December 1808–24 May 1895), banker and secretary of the treasury, was born in Kennebunk, Maine, the son of Hugh McCulloch, a merchant and shipbuilder, and Abigail Perkins. After studies at Thornton Academy, McCulloch entered Bowdoin College in 1824 but left in his sophomore year because of illness. He taught school from 1826 to 1829 and then read law in Kennebunk and Boston. Having decided that the prospects for a young lawyer would be greater in the West, he headed for Indiana and opened a law practice in the frontier community of Fort Wayne in the summer of 1833. His career direction soon changed when the recently chartered State Bank of Indiana established a branch at Fort Wayne in 1835, and he accepted the directors’ offer to become the branch’s cashier and manager. Despite his acknowledgment that he had “no practical knowledge whatever of banking,” McCulloch quickly adapted to the financial world and served as head of the Fort Wayne branch and as a director of the State Bank until its charter expired in 1857, whereupon the directors of the new Bank of the State of Indiana chose him as president. Both banking systems were among the most solid in the country, and the second, through McCulloch’s prudent management, was one of the few to weather the panic of 1857 without suspending specie payments....