William Coulthart (1800-1880) of Cannamore, Ontario

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William was born on June 25, 1800 on Riddingdyke farm in Cummertrees Parish, Dumfries County, Scotland where his father was a tenant farmer. He was the eldest son of John Coulthart and Elisabeth Pasley. When William was four years old he witnessed the birth of his brother John (1804-??) and the death of his mother who apparently died in childbirth. His father remarried around 1809 when William was nine. With his second wife, Mary Carruthers, John Coulthart had twelve children. This gave William six half sisters: Elisabeth (1810-??), Jane (1812-1892), Mary (1813-1829), Margaret (1814-aft 1891), Christina (1818-1876) and Henrietta (1827-1913) and six half brothers: James (1816-1888), Walter (1820-1892), Andrew (1822-aft 1871), David (1823-aft 1881), Thomas (1828-1899) and Jonah (1831-1890). When William was around 22 his father moved the family to Berryrig, a farm in neighboring Torthorwald Parish, Dumfries County about ten miles northwest of Cummertrees. Sometime between October 1823 and January 1827 William's father decided to emigrate. Apparently the entire family sailed from a port near Annan and settled in Eastern Ontario, Canada near the town of North Lunenburg where William's father was a farmer and carpenter.

Sometime before 1830 William married Jean French. Jean was born on January 20, 1801 on a farm called Quass near Lockerbie, Scotland which is located about 15 miles east of Torthorwald. She was the daughter of William French and Henrietta Carruthers. William and Jean may have married in Scotland or they may have met and married in Ontario. They had six children who were born in or near Osnabruck Township: John (1830-1919), William (1833-1916), Mary (1835-1919), James (1837-1917), Finley (1840-1919) and Henrietta (1844-1844). In 1830 the family was living near the St. Lawrence Seaway in the town of Mille Roches. William named his eldest daughter, Mary Carruthers Coulthart, in memory of his recently deceased step mother, Mary Carruthers (1790-1835), since she was the only mother he knew. On June 12, 1844, Jean died two months after their daughter, Henrietta, was born, perhaps due to some complication of child birth. This must have been a sad day for William as his own mother had died in child birth forty years earlier. The baby, Henrietta, died several months later.

By 1851 the family had moved north to Finch Township, Stormont County where they settled on a farm in the northwestern corner of the township, Concession 12, Lot 2 near the town of Cannamore. Click on the thumbnail to see a larger photograph of the property today. At the time Samuel French, a relative born in Scotland around 1822, was living with the family. In fact the property was recorded in Samuel's name in 1855, with William Coulthart listed as a witness. By 1861, Samuel no longer lived with them. The farm consisted of a one story log house on 200 acres. 178 acres were wild, 16 acres were cultivated for crops, mainly spring wheat, and 6 acres were pasture. The livestock consisted of 2 steers, 3 milk cows, 2 horses, 2 colts, 7 sheep and a single pig. The total value of the farm and livestock was $1050. The family also owned a pleasure carriage which was probably made by William's half brother, Jonah Coulthart a wheelwright from Lunenburg, Ontario.

In February 1880, William was quite ill and he prepared his will. He wrote:

I, William Coulthart, of the township of Finch and the County of Stormont, being of a sound mind, but in poor heath, and desirous of so ordering my worldly business so that there may be no dispute in my family after my death, do hereby order and enact as follows:

  • 1st - My soul I commit to God, who gave me being, and who has been merciful and mindful of me all through a long pilgrimage here below.

  • 2d - My earthly estate I will and bequeath as follows: The west half of Lot two in the twelfth concession of the aforementioned township I will and bequeath to my son James, on condition that he pay to my daughter, Mary, his sister, the sum of two hundred dollars.

  • 3d - To my son Findley, I will and bequeath the east half of the above mentioned Lot, on condition that he pay to the above mentioned, Mary, his sister, the sum of three hundred dollars, in witness I have hereunto set my bond and seal, this twenty eighth day of February 1880.

William died less than two months later on April 3, 1880 and was buried at the Morewood Presbyterian Cemetery. Click on the thumbnail to see a larger photograph of William's grave.

Several of William's children remained in the area and others moved to the U.S.A.:

  • John Coulthart (1830-1919) - John married Mary Eliza Rolland around 1860 and moved to New York. John and Mary had four children: Mary (1857), Samuel (1862), William (1863-1929) and Frank (1869). In 1900 they were all living in Gouverneur, St. Lawrence County, New York. John was a laborer and his two eldest children, Mary and Samuel, were living with him since neither child had married. His other son, William, a clerk, was living down the block with his wife, Eva, and their five children: William (1889-1958), Ruth (1890), Pauline (1892), Miriam (1894) and Harold (1896). The youngest son, Frank, also a clerk, lived on another street in Gouverneur with his wife, Edith. Mary, the mother, died on August 26, 1913 in Gouverneur. John died six years later in Watertown, Jefferson County, NY where his sons lived at the time. In 1920 his son, William, and his family were living to Watertown, NY and Samuel, the unmarried brother, was living with them. Descendants currently live in NY, NJ, FL, LA, TN, TX and AZ.

  • William F. Coulthart (1833-1916) - In May 1852 William married Anna Maria Fetterly in Barnhart's Island, NY. Anna Fetterly was the daughter of John Fetterly and Phoebe Forsyth, both born in the United States, who had moved to Ontario. Anna was born on July 3, 1833 in Osnabruck Township and was baptized in Williamsburg Township, Dundas County. Prior to her marriage, Anna was living with a family in Williamsburg, her mother was living with another family nearby and her sister, Saphrona, was living with a family in Osnabruck Township as a servant. Their father had died earlier and once the girls became of age they had to support themselves. By 1861, Anna's mother, Phoebe, was living with William and Anna.

    Five children were born to William and Anna during their years in Ontario: Jane (1853-1929), David (1855-1917), Phoebe (1857-1910), Samuel (1859-after 1929) and Henrietta (1862-1919). In 1861 the family farm on Concession 10, Lot 24 in Winchester Township, consisted of 75 acres. It is interesting to note that this same land was owned from 1807 until 1828 by Albert and Catherine French, perhaps relatives of William's mother. 38 acres were wild, 7 acres where pasture and 30 acres were cultivated with crops: spring wheat, barley, oats and buckwheat. The livestock consisted of 1 steer, 2 milk cows, 2 horses, 2 colts and 3 pigs. The farm including the livestock had a total value of $1394.

    In 1864, the family moved to Minnesota where they lived on a farm near Blue Earth City for several years before permanently settling in Waseca. During their years in Minnesota, William and Anna have five additional children: William (1867-1891), John (1869-after 1936), Sidney (1871-1872), a baby (abt 1875-1875) and Thomas (1879-1881). William died in Waseca in 1916 and was buried at Woodville Cemetery.

    Descendants currently live in MN, AZ, CA, IL and VA.

  • Mary C. Coulthart (1835- 1919) - Mary never married. She spent her early life taking care of her father and brothers since her mother died when she was nine years old and her father never remarried. After Mary became an adult, she continued her role as family caretaker. Mary kept and persevered the memorandum of the family record that was made by her father, William. This record was submitted to the U. S. Federal Government in 1908 when her brother, William, filed for his war pension and remains to this day in William's Civil War file held by the National Archives in Washington D.C. Without Mary, we may never have known about Jean French and the infant, Henrietta. Mary lived with her brother Finley and his family on their fathers' original homestead. She died in 1919 and was buried at the Morewood Presbyterian Cemetery.

  • James Coulthart (1837-1917) - James married Mary Fetterly around 1868 and they remained on the family farm in Finch Township. James and Mary had eight children all born in the area: Jane (1869-before 1960), Mary Eliza (1871-1948), Lilas S. (1873-1877) Jessie (1877-1960), William (1880-before 1960), Ellen (1882-1977), Anna (1886-1978) and James Bernice (1887-1965). Within a year of his fathers' death, James sold his half of the land he inherited and purchased another farm a half mile east on Concession 11, Lot 4. By 1901 the new farm consisted of one house with three rooms and four barns. James remained a farmer until his death in 1917 of old age. Mary died in 1927. Both were buried at the Morewood Presbyterian Cemetery.

    Descendants currently live in Eastern Ontario.

  • Finley Coulthart (1840-1919) - Finley married Mary Ann Hepburn around 1869 and they remained on the family farm in Finch Township, Concession 12, Lot 2. Finley and Mary Ann had two children: Agnes Jane (1870-1877) and William Ira (1874-1874). Mary died in childbirth when William was born. It must have been a sad day as he remembered that his mother and grandmother died the same way. On February 7, 1883 Finley married his second wife, Annis Ulman. Finley and Annis had no children together, however they adopted a boy, James Sherman (1881-abt 1930), who was living with them in 1891. Sometime around 1881, Finley built a four room brick house on the property. By 1901, five barns had been added to the farm. Finley died in 1919 and Annis died in 1930. Finley's entire family, except for his adopted son, were buried at the Morewood Presbyterian Cemetery.

  • Henrietta Coulthart (1844-1844) - Henrietta died at age 3 months.

The book "Our Coulthart Ancestors" by Terry Meinke, which was written in 1994 and updated in 1996, documents this Coulthart family from 1680 thru 1919. For more information on this family send e-mail to or write: Terry Meinke, 1004 Ridgewood Lane, Palatine, IL 60067.

Visit the following pages for additional information on this Coulthart family:

Page last updated 07/24/2000. © Copyright 1999. Terry Meinke. All rights reserved.

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