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John M. McCalla, Jr. Journal

Collection Number: A&M 1746

Scope and Contents

Journal of Dr. John Moore McCalla, documenting his trip to Liberia in a sailing vessel along with recaptured Africans, sponsored by the American Colonization Society. Includes a brief biography of McCalla by Helen Goldsborough and copies of the following photographs: Dr. McCalla; the sister ship to "The Star of the Union", on which he sailed; his passport; Kru houses and a Kru village in Liberia; and the American Colonization Society in Washington.

The journal lists the crew and passengers of the "Star", tells of the loading of Africans at Key West, of the happenings aboard ship during the journey, how the Africans were tossed overboard when they died on the trip, and their conduct aboard. Tells of their arrival in Liberia and describes the Kroomen [Krumen] and their canoes and huts, and life on the island. The ship then proceeded to Salt Cay off Grand Turk Island to obtain salt for the return voyage. He tells of the drying of salt in "salt pans", the island government and size. The voyage home was uneventful with the exception of a storm.

An appendix contains Dr. McCalla's letter of appointment as Special Agent by the U.S. Government (1860 June 8); a copy of the contract between the U.S. government and the American Colonization Society; an appointment of Dr. McCalla as physician and surgeon on board one of the ships employed to convey Recaptured Africans to Liberia; a copy of a page from the Annual Report of the American Colonization Society, 44th report (1861 January 16); a list of Africans who died on the voyage; and typescript and manuscript copies of McCalla's letter to Secretary of the Interior, Jacob Thompson reporting the successful completion of the job (1860 December 19).


  • Creation: 1860


Language of Materials


Conditions Governing Access

No special access restriction applies.

Conditions Governing Use

Permission to publish or reproduce is required from the copyright holder. For more information, please see the Permissions and Copyright page on the West Virginia and Regional History Center website.

Biographical / Historical

McCalla was a native of Lexington, Kentucky, a graduate of both Columbian College and National Medical College, and was appointed by the Surgeon General to serve as resident physician in the United States Army General Hospital in Georgetown, during the Civil War.


0.1 Linear Feet (Summary: 1 in. (1 folder))

Physical Location

West Virginia and Regional History Center / West Virginia University / 1549 University Avenue / P.O. Box 6069 / Morgantown, WV 26506-6069 / Phone: 304-293-3536 / Fax: 304-293-3981 / URL:

Related A&M Collections

1209, 1713, 1746

John M. McCalla, Jr. Journal, 1860
Staff of the West Virginia & Regional History Center
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Repository Details

Part of the West Virginia and Regional History Center Repository

1549 University Ave.
P.O. Box 6069
Morgantown WV 26506-6069 US