McCalla, John M.

Born: 1793-XX-XX Lexington, Kentucky

Died: 1873-02-28 Washington, D.C.

McCalla was an attorney, Democratic politician, military officer, and government official. After receiving a rudimentary public education, McCalla studied at Transylvania University from 1804 to 1811. He read law with his brother-in-law until his studies were interrupted by the outbreak of the War of 1812. McCalla volunteered for military service. On November 20, 1812, he received a commission as adjutant of the Fifth Regiment of the Kentucky Militia. He eventually rose to the rank of brigadier general. He received commendation for bravery during the Battles of Frenchtown in January 1813. Captured by the British during those engagements, McCalla subsequently received parole and returned to Lexington. In 1815, he married Maria Hogg, a union that produced three sons. For the next thirty years, McCalla worked as an attorney in Lexington. He also served as U.S. Marshal and, for a short time, edited the Kentucky Gazette. An ardent Democrat, McCalla supported Andrew Jackson and his political successors, and in 1845, President James K. Polk rewarded him by appointing him second auditor of the Department of the Treasury. McCalla moved to Washington, DC to assume this appointment, holding the position from March 1845 to April 1849. After leaving government service, McCalla remained in Washington, working as an attorney and claims agent. In 1860, he owned real estate valued at $15,000 and had a personal estate of $1,500.

Charles Lanman, Biographical Annals of the Civil Government of the United States, During its First Century (Washington, DC: James Anglim, 1876), 509; "Historical Note," Guide to John McCalla Family Papers, 1754-1917 and Undated Duke University Libraries, Durham, NC,, accessed 30 May 2010; G. Glenn Clift, Remember the Raisin!: Kentucky and Kentuckians in the Battles and Massacre at Frenchtown, Michigan Territory, in the War of 1812 (Frankfort, KY: Kentucky Historical Society, 1961), 136-37; Douglass Zevely, "Old Residences and Family History in the City Hall Neighborhood," Records of the Columbia Historical Society 6 (1903), 115-16; U.S. Census Office, Eighth Census of the United States (1860), Ward 4, Washington, DC, 257; National Republican (Washington, DC), 1 March 1873, 3:1.