Thomas Coulter was born August 9, 1766, in the State of New York. His father, John Coulter, was a native of Ireland, and came to America when a youth, and married Abigail Parshall, a native of the State of New York. His paternal ancestors, therefore, were Scotch-Irish, and those on his mother's side were Hollanders, and were among the early settlers of New Amsterdam. The home of John Coulter and his wife, after leaving New York, was near Sunbury, Northumberland county, Pennsylvania, but in a short time they were driven thence by the Indians, at the time of the Wyoming massacre (1779), their house and grain being consumed by fire and their cattle driven by the Indians and Tories. The father of Tom Jelloway, since a Greentown Indian, was then living in the Wyoming valley, and, being friendly to the whites, warned them of their danger; and among the number saved was the Coulter family. As soon as the perils of the times were over they turned their faces toward the West, and made a home near Ginger Hill, in Washington County, Pennsylvania. In 1788, Thomas Coulter, and his father, John Coulter, took a cargo of flour, fruit, ect., down the Ohio River to Maysville, then Limestone, Kentucky, where they disposed of their load. While there, they were both attacked with smallpox, which proved fatal to the father. After Thomas was sufficiently recovered, he started for home, on foot, having previously sold the boat. One day, as he was pursuing" his solitary way," he was overtaken by the notorious renegade, Simon Gurity, armed with all the weapons peculiar to the savage Seneca's, with whom he then lived as an adopted member of the tribe. Mr. Coulter new him, and not relishing or desiring his company, resolved to get rid of him by stratagem. Under some slight pretext he stepped behind Girty, cocked his rifle, and told him if he moved either to the right or left, or offered any resistance whatever he would be a dead man. Girty was taken by surprise, and obeyed orders; and they marched all that day along the paths through an unbroken wilderness, until they reached a settlement, when Mr. Coulter gladly gave up his prisoner. Some time after his return he joined a volunteer company under Colonel Morgan, and went to White River, Indiana, to aid in subduing the Indians who were committing depredations upon the white inhabitants of the frontier settlements in Kentucky. After an absence of a few months he again returned home, and in a short time married Miss Nancy Tannahill, the marriage occurring August, 1789. In 1797 he moved to Butler Co, Pennsylvania, where he remained until about the year 1806, when he settled in Jefferson co, Ohio. After remaining there a few years he finally emigrated to Richland co, then a part of Knox co, and settled near the present site of Perrysville, in Ashland co. The town of Perrysville was laid out by Thomas Coulter, June 10th, 1813, with the intention of naming it Coulterville; but after Perry's victory on Lake Erie, he changed his intention, and called the village Perrysville, in honor of the naval achievement of Commodore Perry. When Richland Co, was organized, he was appointed one of the associate judges by the general assembly of Ohio. Mr. Coulter was a member of the Presbyterian church of Perrysville, and one of the first elders. He died as he lived-a consistent Christian, and zealous for the growth and prosperity of the church of his choice. He died October 24th, 1844, and was buried in Perrysville cemetery, aged nearly 79 years. He was the father of seven children, Viz.: John, Rachel, Abigail, David, Melzer, Nancy, and Thomas. John Coulter was born September 13th, 1790, in Washington Co, Pennsylvania, and was the oldest son of Judge Thomas Coulter. His education was obtained principally in the common schools of the time. He frequently spoke in the highest terms of one of his teachers, the Rev. Mr. McMillen, one of the pioneers of Presbyterianism in western Pennsylvania, and particularly in Washington Co. Among the pupils of this good man was Rev. John Coulter, brother of
Judge Coulter, and was pastor of the church of Concord, in the presbytery of Butler, more than forty years. Also, of Walter Lowrie, of blessed memory. John Coulter came to Richmond, than a part of Knox Co., in the fall 1810, in company with Edward Haley, a young man employed by Judge Coulter to accompany him. They began their labors upon a farm a little southeast of the present sight of Perrysville, in October, and continued their work until they had made several thousand rails, built a cabin, cleared out ten acres of ground, set out fruit trees, etc., after which they returned to their homes in Jefferson Co, Ohio. In the following spring, 1811, John Coulter, and the rest of his father's family, removed to the cabin in the wilderness, which had been erected in the fall before. This cabin afterwards became the Coulter blockhouse, and while used as such, John Coulter acted as one of the scouts to watch the proceedings of the Indians. Early in the fall of 1812 he went with a surveying party to open a road from Cleveland to Mansfield. The road is now known as the Harrisville and Cleveland road, and passes through the town of Ashland. On Saturday evening, after having commenced the survey, they had reached Chippewa Lake, in Medina Co, and were encamped for the night. Mr. McArthur, one of the commissioners to locate the road, was also captain of the independent co, and while there a messenger rode into camp with orders for Captain McArthur's company to return immediately to Cleveland, at the same time bringing the news of the surrender of General Hull at Detroit, this being the first intimation they had of the event, although it occurred on the 16th of August, 1812, some weeks prior to the survey. The surveying party was, therefore, disbanded, a part of which returned to Cleveland, and a part to the Black fork of the Mohican. Everyone of the few settlements they passed on their way home was deserted, the cabins standing silent and tenantless. How their hearts must have sunk within them when they thought of the possible fate of their loved ones. But when they reached the blockhouse they found the several families of the settlers gathered there for safety, and learned that the Zimmer family had been murdered by the Greentown, or other Indians, the night before. While they were encamped at Chippewa Lake, they heard the noise of chopping on the other side, and as they afterward found the Harris settlement deserted, from which they supposed the noise proceed, Mr. Coulter was strongly of the opinion that the Indians who killed the Zimmers where encamped there. The details concerning the great flight to the block-houses at Clinton's, Lewis, Beam's, Oliver's, Coulter's, Jerome's, Priest's, Eagle's, and Metcalf's, are given in the sketch of the war of 1812, where Mr. Coulter's experiences are referred to. In the fall of 1813 Mr. Coulter and Captain Ebenezer Rice took the job of continuing the survey and opening of the same road, from Trickle's cabin, the late location of the Markley brick residence, just east of Ashland, to the Black fork. While thus employed, Mr. Coulter, killed a large black wolf. After the completion of the contract, early in the year 1814, Captain Rice walked to Chillicothe to receive the money, ninety dollars, which was due them, also four dollars which the law of Ohio allowed for each wolf scalp. On the 17th of April 1814, John Coulter was married by Rev. James Scott, a Presbyterian minister of Mount Vernon, to Betsy Rice, eldest daughter of Captain Ebenezer Rice. In September 1814, the young couple moved to their own home, a cabin on a quarter of land, which joined Captain Rice's. In the summer of 1815, Mrs. Coulter taught the first school in Green Township, and, we believe, in what is now Ashland co,
And took spinning and weaving as her pay for tuition. She said it was a great accommodation to her, as she did not understand spinning and weaving as well as teaching. Mrs. Coulter (Betsey Rice) was born January 27, 1797, in New Salem, Worcester township, Hampshire county, Massachusetts. She came with her father's family, Captain Ebenezer Rice, to Newark, Licking county, Ohio, in 1810, and in February, 1811, he settled near the present site of Perrysville, in Ashland county, then part of Knox county. Mrs. Coulter is now (1878) a resident of Congress, Wayne County, and although far advanced in years, possesses perfectly all her mental faculties and a fair degree of physical force.
In June, 1814, John Coulter and his brother-in-law, James Moore, descended through Black fork, Walhonding, and Muskingum, in a canoe, to Zanesville, on a shopping expedition; and from the bill of goods we learn that six small dinner plates cost one dollar and fifty cents; six cups and saucers, one dollar and seventy-five cents; an earthen teapot, one dollar and twenty-five cents; a little blue creamer (still in existence), sixty-two and one-half cents, ect. In the spring of 1815 he and David Hill went in a canoe to the mouth of Owl creek, to one of Jonny Appleseed's nurseries, and brought up five hundred apple trees, which produced excellent fruit.
Mr. Coulter was a man of sterling integrity, sound judgment, warm and true in his friendships; and in consequence of these qualities the people often honored him with office. When the project of erecting the new county of Vermillion was agitated, Mr. Coulter was sent to Columbus some two or three sessions of the legislature, to work up the claims of the new county. He afterwards served on the State board of equalization for real estate, and was the first assessor of personal property of the eastern half of Richland County, and was the first coroner. He was twice elected justice of the peace in Green Township, Ashland County, and twice in Washington Township, Richland County, besides to many minor offices, all the duties of which he discharged with fidelity and honor. In November 1817, he and his wife united with the Methodist Episcopal church, under the ministry of Rev. John Sommerville, and Mrs. Coulter and their eldest child, Rumina, were baptized the same day. A few years afterward they united with the Presbyterian Church, in communion and fellowship of which they walked together until the death of Mr. Coulter, which occurred in Perrysville, October 2, 1873. He had reached the ripe old age of eighty-two years and seventeen days, and had lived with the wife of his youth nearly sixty years. The purity of his acts certified to the sincerity of his professions, and his long and busy life closed calmly and peacefully. His grave is made in Perrysville, where he spent the strength of his early manhood.
Mr. Coulter was the father of ten children, only four of whom survive, viz.: C.C. Coulter, of Perrysville, Captain J.N. Coulter, of Glidden, Carroll county, Iowa, Elizabeth R. wife of A.D. Zimmerman, of Shreve, Wayne county, Ohio, and Nancy L. wife of Rev. Franklin Eddy, of Congress, Wayne county, Ohio. The names of the deceased are: Cyrenius M. Rumina, wife of Dr. J.H. Register, Sebastian C. and Martha R., all buried at Perrysville, and Lucina, wife of David Ewing, of Hayesville, Martin Van Buren, who died at Miliken's Bend, Louisina, in the One Hundred and Twentieth Ohio volunteer infantry, in 1863.