Volume 10, April 2001
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Terry Meinke…..............…………..……..….Managing Editor
Tim Coulthart...............................…….…..……....…....Editor
Ian Coulthart.............….......................…...…....……....Editor

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The success of Clan Coulthart will depend upon your contributions. The editors need your support. Please submit family histories, biographies, announcements, questions and suggestions for improvement to the managing editor at the address listed below or send E-mail to meinket@yahoo.com. Be sure to include your name, address and phone number so we can contact you if there is a question. Also feel free to include photographs with your stories. All photos will be returned after they are scanned. The editors will select which items to include in each edition of Clan Coulthart.

Terry Meinke
Managing Editor - Clan Coulthart
1004 Ridgewood Lane
Palatine, IL 60067 U.S.A.
847) 359-4320

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The deadline for receiving information to be included in the next edition of Clan Coulthart is September 30, 2001.

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All editions of Clan Coulthart are available on the Internet at www.coulthart.com/newsletter.html

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This issue of Clan Coulthart is dedicated to my new cousins Doris Danneberg of New Berlin, Wisconsin and John Gardiner of Brockville, Ontario for the wonderful information they shared with me during the past six months. In September last year I was finally able to make contact with the descendants of David Coulthart. In October I met David’s granddaughter, Doris Danneberg who shared with me many great stories about her grandfather and his family. David Coulthart was my great grandmother Henrietta Coulthart’s older brother. Since David was the oldest boy in the family many of his parents’ photographs were passed down on his side of the family. When I met with Doris she not only had photographs of the William Coulthart (1833-1916) family of Waseca, Minnesota but she also had ones of the Henrietta Coulthart Hughes family. And they were all photos I had never seen before. Doris was kind enough to give me the photos of Henrietta and her family and I will always treasure them. Last month I receive a letter from John Gardiner and was finally able to connect with a descendant of Margaret Coulthart (1813-aft 1891).

Due to time constraints and lack of information submitted by readers, Clan Coulthart will no longer be published four times a year. It will be printed on an irregular basis when there is sufficient information to warrant publication. Therefore if you enjoy reading this newsletter you should consider sending stories and other interesting information to the editors.

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Waseca Weekly News – April 15, 1874 – Waseca, Minnesota

A young man named Coulthart of this county was sent to the insane asylum last week, a raving maniac. Undoubtedly strong drink and self-abuse had much to do in causing the malady. How negligent parents often are in the education of children!

I wonder who this was. It could have been one of Walter Coulthart’s (1820-1896) sons, Adam age 26, Christopher age 23 or Walter age 21 at time. Or it could have been David Coulthart, son of William Coulthart (1833-1916) who was about 19 at the time. Although this is very humorous today, I am sure his parents were very upset when they discovered this tidbit in their local newspaper.

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Henrietta "Etta" Coulthart Hughes (1862-1919)

By Terry Meinke

Henrietta Coulthart was born on her father’s farm on November 10, 1862 in Winchester Township, Dundas County Ontario near the town of Morewood. She was the daughter of William French Coulthart (1833-1916) and Anna Maria Fetterly and the great-granddaughter of John Coulthart (1779-1852), the first Coulthart immigrant to the New World. When Henrietta was two years old, she moved with her family to Faribault County in southern Minnesota where her father homesteaded. In 1872 the family moved to the town of Waseca an important railroad junction for freight and passenger trains located in the rich farming belt of southeastern Minnesota. Her family and close friends called her Etta. Etta had nine siblings, four brothers and two sisters survived to adulthood.

Henrietta "Etta" Coulthart circa 1890 in Sleepy Eye, MN. Click on the thumbnail to see a larger picture.

During the family’s early years in Waseca, three of Etta’s brothers, David, Samuel and John, became employed by the railroad. In 1879 her older sister Jane moved to the area and her husband also found work in the industry as a railroad switchman. One day her older brother David introduced Etta to one of his railroad friends, Thomas Hughes. Thomas, the son of Richard Hughes and Eleanor Jones, was born in 1854 in Wisconsin. His parents were originally from Bala, Wales, having immigrated to the USA in 1842. After spending a few years in Remsen, New York, the Hughes family eventually settled on a farm in Calamus Township, Dodge County, Wisconsin, not far from the town of Beaver Dam. Thomas did not get along well with his father and in June of 1870 he left home at the age of 16 to work as a brakeman on the railroad. His travels took him to many places with several different railroad companies. However, in 1878 he accepted a position with the Chicago Northwestern Railroad as a passenger conductor in Waseca. By 1880 Waseca had become a major railroad hub with a roundhouse consisting of a turntable and stalls for 20 locomotives. As many as 165 men worked three shifts at the roundhouse repairing and maintaining the engines. On July 3, 1880 David Coulthart married his sweetheart Dora Hose and four months later on October 30th, Etta married Thomas Hughes. The two couples become the best of friends sharing many special moments together during the time they lived in the area. These would be the happiest days for Etta.

Thomas R. Hughes circa 1885 in Waseca, MN. Click on the thumbnail to see a larger picture.

During the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries a railroad conductor was considered a very high level position. The only downside was it often required the family to move and the men were frequently away from their homes. While David and Dora headed north to Duluth, Thomas and Etta remained in southern Minnesota. After a few years in Waseca, they moved to Sleepy Eye before eventually settling down in 1901 in Mankato where Thomas was well known and respected for his position. Etta and Thomas had five children: Archibald (1882-1924?), Ethel (1885-1974), Earl (1888-1951?), Helen (1894-1899) and Edwin (1904-1998). The death of their youngest daughter Helen in 1899 at age 5 must have been a heart break.

Although Thomas had a huge home built for the family in downtown Mankato near the mayor and other important residents, the family was not a happy one. Thomas was a strict disciplinarian and was very harsh with his sons. In all likely hood he treated his children in much the same way his own father had treated him when he was young. His son Earl ran away at age 14.

The Hughes children circa 1892 in Sleepy Eye, MN. Back left to right: Archibald, Earl (mislabeled Edwin) and Ethel. Center front: Helen. Click on the thumbnail to see a larger picture.

The Hughes residence in Mankato, Minnesota circa 1910. Click on the thumbnail to see a larger picture.

The birth of their youngest child, Edwin, in 1904 when Thomas was 50 and Etta 42, come as quite a shock. At the time Thomas was a well-respected man about town and the idea of having a young child was not an image he wanted to project. This must have had a profound affect on Etta. Edwin was 19 years younger than their daughter Ethel who was still living at home when Edwin was born. It must have been a sad day for Etta when her daughter married and moved to Clark, South Dakota a few years later. One of Edwin’s fondest memories of childhood was when his grandfather, William Coulthart, lived with them after his grandmother died in 1911. William would sit in the front room looking out the window smoking his long pipe and stroking his beard.

Thomas Hughes with his youngest son Edwin circa 1905 in Mankato, MN. Click on the thumbnail to see a larger picture.

During her final years Etta frequently spent time visiting her daughter in South Dakota. She and Edwin would make the long train ride often and spend their summers in Clark, while Thomas remained in Mankato. For some years Etta had not been enjoying the best of health. During the summer of 1919, Thomas purchased property in Clark and was contemplating building a new residence there so Etta could live near her daughter. It was rumored that Thomas had a mistress in Mankato and as a result Etta had a nervous breakdown. On Thanksgiving night 1919 Etta passed away at the home of her daughter in Clark and was buried there. Although she died of a heart attack, many believe she died of a broken heart. Nine months later, Thomas married his mistress in Mankato and eventually retired to Long Beach, California. Edwin remained in Clark and was raised by his sister until he joined the Navy at age 17.

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William Coulthart (1867-1891)

Transcribed from the Waseca Radical newspaper October 14, 1891, Waseca, Minnesota

William Coulter, son of Wm Coulter (William Coulthart) of this place, was killed by being run over by cars at West Superior Saturday last. His remains arrived at Waseca on the 1:30 train Monday, accompanied by his brothers David and Samuel. The funeral was held yesterday. The exact particulars of his death no one seems to have known. He was not in the employ of the road (railroad) but was taking a train to a lumber camp. Nobody saw the accident, it occurring in the night. The body was badly cut by the wheels and the poor young man was dead when found.

The William Coulter mentioned above was the son of William Coulthart (1833-1916) and Anna Maria Fetterly of Waseca, Minnesota. He was the born on July 8, 1867 on his father’s homestead in Faribault County, Minnesota, the first Coulthart born in Minnesota. He was buried in Woodville Cemetery next to his three younger siblings who died in infancy

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Last Will and Testament of Abraham Gardener

Submitted by John Gardiner of Brockville, Ontario

Abraham Gardener was the husband of Margaret Coulthart. Margaret was born in 1814 in Cummertrees, Scotland. She immigrated to Canada around 1825 with her parents, John Coulthart (1779-1852) and Mary Carruthers, and her siblings. In 1834 she was united in marriage to Abraham Gardner and they settled in Stormont County, Ontario. Margaret and Abraham had eight children: Edward (1835), Mary (1838), James (1840), Christina (1842), Abraham (1844), Margaret (1847), Hannah (1849) and Charles (1851). Abraham worked as a wheelwright near the village of Lunenburg, in Osnabruck Township. The family lived near Margaret’s brother Jonah Coulthart (1831-1890) who was also a wheelwright and her sister Henrietta (1827-1913) who was the wife of Ira Moak, a lumberman from the Lunenburg area.

Abraham became sick and died in 1852. Shortly before his death he wrote the following last will and testament. At the time his wife Margaret was 38 and she had five children under the age of 10. Her oldest son Edward was only 15 when her husband passed away. Margaret did not remarry. Forty years later in 1891 she was living with Edward and his wife and children who had moved to the Morewood, Ontario area where other Coulthart families had settled.

June 19, 1851

I Abraham Gardner Wheelright of the Township of Osnabruck in the County of Stormont in the Eastern District & Province of Canada being weak in body but of perfect mind and memory thanks be to God I do make and ordain this my last will and Testament & do recommend that at my decease my body be buried in a decent and Christian Burial and as touching such worldly goods wherewith it has pleased God to bestow upon me I do devise in the following manner that is to say

First, I give and bequeath unto my wife Margaret so long as she remains my widow all that part of Land off of the North East Corner of Lot No 5 in the third concession of Osnabruck in the County of Stormont in the Eastern District and Province of Canada it being three quarters of an Acre or whatever my deed may cover with all the wood & water and improvements thereon belonging and thereon erected and whatsoever property may be now in my possesion – and if my Wife Margaret should again marry, I do then make my son Edward heir of said Property not including house furniture. Edward my son is expected to remain with his mother and to assist in supporting the family. If not he forfeits his claim as being heir to this above mentioned. My second son then becomes my heir to said property and so on to the next son in order.

Secondly, I do hereby nominate and appoint William Cairns my Executor and my beloved wife Margaret and Ira Moak all of the Townships of Osnabruck my Executors of this my last Will and Testament in order to see the same law fully and faithfully done and performed.

Thirdly I do hereby declare null and void all other wills by me made heretofore declaring this to be my last Will and Testament in witness whereof I hereunto set my hand and legal seal this 19th day of June in the Year of Our Lord one thousand eight hundred and fifty one at Osnabruck in the County of Stormont in the Eastern District and Province of Canada West.

Which said Last Will and Testament Witnessed unto the Execution thereof by William Cairns, Jonah Coulthart and James Cairns of the said Township of Osnabruck Yeomen. The said will and Testament is hereby required to be registered by William Cairns one of the Executors therein mentioned in Witness whereof he hath hereunder set his hand and Seal this fifth day of February in the year of our Lord One thousand and eight hundred and fifty two.

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Christmas itself was until recent times a purely religious festival and New Year’s was and still is the main holiday for Scots. Christmas was not traditionally celebrated in Scotland. The reasons it was not celebrated until recently go back a few centuries and is believed to be related to the change from Catholicism to Presbyterianism in Scotland and is linked also to the calendar change from Roman Julian to Gregorian. As a result, the Presbyterian church banned Christmas celebrations as it was seen to be papist in origin. Until recently, Christmas was fairly low key. It wasn't even a public holiday until the 1970s when local government reorganization made it one. Up until then, people normally worked on Christmas day, although the children did get presents. Therefore the Christmas 'traditions' in Scotland are pretty much the same as the modern U.S. version. If you want to have a real traditional Scottish Christmas, you should go into work on Christmas day! In 1997/98 there were strikes at Scottish banks because the bank staff were getting English holidays rather than the Scottish ones which have more time off at New Year’s.

Nowadays, most if not all Christmas celebrations have been brought in from other cultures (notable England and the U.S.). Presumably both Christmas and New Year’s are both linked to the ancient midwinter festival; with Christmas being created as a means to make the early Christian church more acceptable to the pagans who already had a festival about that time. The same was done for Easter. Thus there are similarities between the Halloween traditions and New Year’s. In many parts of the Highlands there are traditional New Year’s celebrations which follow the Julian calendar and fall on Jan 12th. On this night, girls would celebrate "Halloween" whilst boys would celebrate New Year’s.


New Year's Eve or Hogmanay

New Year’s Eve was of supreme importance in Scotland and took precedence even over Christmas. It was a time of much ceremony and gaiety, but underneath the levity lies a sinister hint of the old ritual and sacrificial nature of the festival. New Year’s Eve is known as Hogmanay. Up to the beginning of the century at least, the festivities of Hogmanay were fully in operation and people went round the houses in every town carrying dried cow-hides and chanting special rhymes continuously. They beat the skins with sticks and struck the walls of the houses with clubs; this ritual was believed to ward off evil and to keep at bay the fairies and evil spirits and hostile forces of every kind. The part of the hide used was the loose flap of the beast’s neck. This they used to singe in the fire and present it to the members of the family, each in turn; every member of the household was required to smell it as a charm against all things evil and harmful.

The young people used to travel in groups around their own townships. In different areas, different rites would be performed at each house, but some form of the 'Hogmanay Poem', would always be chanted. There were two types of visitation; in one instance the poem was recited outside the house and the chant described the ritual of approaching and entering the house. Another poem was sung after the house had been entered, the 'Hogmanay Hide' was beaten. The basic form of the ritual was universal in spite of regional variants in ritual and terminology. These old practices have virtually died out, but the ancient and pagan ritual discernible in them requires no comment. The boys who took part in these rites were known as 'Hogmanay Lads' and the ceremony was performed at night. One of the boys was covered with the hide of a bull to which the horns and hooves were still attached. When they came to a house in some areas they climbed to the flat edge of the thatched roof and ran round it in a sunwise direction, the boy, or man, wearing the hide would shake the horns and hooves, and the others would strike at the bull-man with sticks. He was meant to be a frightening figure, and apparently the noise of the ritual beating and shaking of the hide was terrific. After this part of the ceremony was performed, the boys came down from the roof and recited their blatantly pagan chants; afterwards they were given hospitality of the house.

The ritual rhyme was, of course, chanted in Gaelic. Its very monotony imparted a certain eerie relentlessness to the ceremony. When it was finished, another carol or chant would be sung at the door of the house; this would praise - in anticipation - the generosity of the occupiers and would request entry and reward. In some areas the "Hogmanay Hide" was singed by the man of the house, and the fumes it gave off were believed to have powers of purification, imparting health to all the family for the next twelve months. A New Year's blessing, widely used and having a number of variants, could also be heard. On New Year’s Day in some localities the people burned juniper before their cattle to protect them - another custom going back to Druidic times.

Others describe the Hogmanay ceremony as follows. The hide of a cow was wrapped round the head of one of the men and he went off, followed by the rest of the party who struck the hide with switches so that it made a booming sound, similar to the noise of a drum. Again, the procession went three times sunwise, round every house in each township, beating on the walls of the house and chanting their rhymes at the door. The amount of drink taken must have been very considerable and as the evening wore on, the noise and rowdiness must have been quite alarming. On entering each house each member of the party was offered refreshments of the traditional kind - oatmeal, bread and cheese, and meat, followed by a dram of whisky. The man of the house was then given the hide wrapped round the point of a shinty stick; this was, as in other instances, singed in the fire, and carried three times sunwise round the family, grasped in the right hand, and held to the nose of each person. This was the focal point of the ritual. The houses were decorated with holly in order to keep out the fairies always a troublesome race; it was believed that if a boy were whipped with the branch of this plant it was an assurance that he would live for as many years as the drops of blood drawn by the sharp holly - a painful way of ensuring longevity! Cheese, which as we have seen, was believed to have magical properties was an important item of the festive fare and the cheese eaten on this occasion was referred to as the Christmas Cheese. A slice of it was preserved, and if this happened to have a hole through it, it was believed to have special virtues. Any person who had lost his way at any time during the ensuing twelve months had only to look through the hole in the sacred slice and he would know where he was. It was regarded as a very magical festival in every respect, and games of all kinds were played.

New Year's Day was also known as the Day of Little Christmas. After the family had got up in the morning, the head of the house gave a dram of whisky to each member of the household; then a strange custom followed in some areas; a breakfast was provided of half-boiled sowens - austere fare for a festive occasion. This was supposed to bring luck to the household. Then each member of the family exchanged traditional greetings and did likewise with every person they met. The boy then went off to play shinty and meanwhile a late and luxurious breakfast was prepared. Apparently, no substance of any kind was allowed to be removed from the house on New Year's Day - dirty water, sweeping from the floor, ashes and so on. If a neighbor’s fire had gone out one must not give fire from one's own house to them; this was regarded as one of the most unlucky things that could be done. It would ensure a death within that family during the coming year; it also gave power to the black witches to take away the produce from the cattle. No woman should enter the house first on the portentous day.

This sounds a lot like Halloween doesn’t it, dressing up, acting rowdy and getting treats. Extracted from information at www.siliconglen.com/scotfaq/traditions.html and "The Folklore of the Scottish Highlands", By Ann Ross. 1976, Published by Barnes and Noble.

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Eldred Norman Coulthart (1912-1998)

Submitted by Gertrude Coulthart of Ingleside, Ontario

Eldred "Eldie" Norman Coulthart July 27, 1912-November 10, 1998 was the great-great-grandson of John Coulthart (1779-1852), great-grandson of Jonah Coulthart (1831-1890) and grandson of Byron Coulthart (1857-1914). Eldie was the second son of David Coulthart and Florence Norman. His mother died when he was four years of age and he was brought up by his beloved grandmother, Marilla Tilton Coulthart (1858-1926), and his father. He attended public school in Monkland, Ontario and during his teen years could be found helping at his father’s cheese box factory.

In 1941 he graduated from Queen’s University in Kingston, Ontario with a B. S. in Mechanical Engineering and was sent to Gutta Percha Rubber Company in Toronto as a Production Engineer. He later transferred to the Department of Defense, Naval Services in Ottawa and because of the great need for engineers in industry during the war he was called to the Aluminum Company of Canada in Arvida, Quebec where he worked in senior engineer positions for twenty-eight years after which he worked on a project for Alcan U.K. in northern England. He also acted as a consultant to Alcan plants in Jamaica and Guyana.

The three Coulthart mechanical engineers. Left to right: Eldie graduated in 1941 from Queens University in Kingston, Ontario; Leah graduated in 1996 from McMaster University in Hamilton, Ontario; and Robert graduated in 1968 from University of New Brunswick, N.B. Click on the thumbnail to see a larger picture.

Upon early retirement he joined the Canadian Executive Services Overseas which is a group of retired executives sponsored by the Canadian Government to give aid to developing countries. He had an assignment in Puna, India and another three month one in Peshawar, Pakistan.

Eldie had many hobbies and enjoyed golf and winters in Florida, Portugal and Australia. He is survived by his wife Gertrude, a son Robert (Patricia), daughter Heather (Barry Adams,), grandchildren Leah Coulthart Howe, Valeria Coulthart and Ryan Adams, brother Irwin and wife Mildred and nieces, Elaine Stevenson and Diane Adamson.

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The Coulthart Family History Center website is pleased to announce the addition of a Coulthart Message Board to the website. This is the best place to post messages and questions so others can respond. The editors of Clan Coulthart are unable to respond to all of the email inquiries we receive and we believe the message board will provide you with a better opportunity to have your inquiry answered. To access the Message Board, just go to www.coulthart.com and click on the Message Board option on the side panel and follow the directions.

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