The Female Charitable Society

Although not much is known about Louisa Macculloch (1785-1863) before she arrived in Morristown, NJ in 1810, her dedication to her adopted community for over 50 years is a testament to the power of collective community efforts!

She and her husband, George Macculloch, were instrumental in the founding of St. Peter’s Episcopal Church in Morristown. Church services were held in their home prior to the church being built.

Serving as first-directress (president) of The Female Charitable Society from 1830 to 1863, Louisa Macculloch’s work included collecting funds to provide assistance to the community. The Female Charitable Society donated food, clothing, and household items to the poor, sick and widowed in Morristown. In the 1830s, The Female Charitable Society worked to eliminate the Morristown debtors’ prison and to liberate the remaining enslaved people living in northern New Jersey.

Early records of The Female Charitable Society, later known as Family Services of Morris County, listed the names of those who received assistance, including freed African Americans and new immigrant populations, like the Irish. In the words of Jacob W. Miller, Louisa Macculloch’s youngest grandchild, “The Female Charitable Society worked hard and consistently, distributing to the needy, irrespective of party, creed or church.” The Female Charitable Society continues to inspire community action today.

Today, The Female Charitable Society is known as Cornerstone Family Programs and Morristown Neighborhood House. They continue to serve over 6,000 children, families, adults, veterans and seniors each year. Altogether, their work impacts the lives of over 30,000 Greater Morris County Area residents.

Louisa Macculloch could not have known the impact that her service, nearly 200 years ago, would have on Morristown today. She could not have envisioned that children and staff of these organizations would visit and learn in her house on Macculloch Avenue in Morristown each summer!

Find out the history of a service organization in your town. When was it founded? Who helped to start it?

Draw a picture or write a letter or email to thank a community leader. Your encouragement will help them continue their work.

Painted portrait of Mrs. Macculloch.

Topic: History, Highlighting Women
Age / Level: Middle

The Female Charitable Society Photo Gallery

A group of children gathered with teaching artist Lisa Madson.