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Below is a sample of a family biography included in Portrait and Biographical Record of Lafayette and Saline County Missouri and published by Chapman Bros. in 1893.  These biographies are valuable for genealogy research in discovering missing ancestors or filling in the details in a family tree. Family biographies often include far more information than can be found in a census record or obituary.  Details will vary with each biography but will often include the date and place of birth, parent names including mothers' maiden name, name of wife including maiden name, her parents' names, name of children (including spouses if married), former places of residence, occupation details, military service, church and social organization affiliations, and more.  There are often ancestry details included that cannot be found in any other type of genealogical record.

JOHN H. COULTER is an intelligent and thrifty farmer of section 2, Elmwood Township, Saline County. He is a successful man in his chosen work, being engaged in general farming and stock-raising, and having a good farm and pleasant home. He is one of those who served as a soldier, and he cannot fail to interest many because of that, as well as for what he has done in other lines.

Mr. Coulter started a poor boy, and has made his may to independence by his own exertions. He owns a farm that anyone might be proud of, and is prominent in church work, having been Sabbath-school Superintendent for five years. He was made candidate for County Judge in 1888, against his wishes, and, although not elected, was ahead of his party ticket, being defeated on account of the overwhelming Democratic majority in the county, that majority numbering fifteen hundred. These statements show the esteem in which he is held, and need no added words to make them stronger.

Mr. Coulter, who address is Elmwood, was born in Crawford County, Ohio, October 11, 1836. His father was John Coulter, born in Pennsylvania in 1803. His grandfather emigrated from Ireland and was of Scotch-Irish extraction. John H.'s father removed to Crawford County, Ohio, with his wife and one child, at an early date, being one of the old settlers of that county. He bought land and cleared a farm, working against many disadvantages, as may well be imagined. The Indians and game were plentiful, and were not always agreeable, but he persevered with the strength that characterized so many of the first comers to the different States, and gained a home for himself. He died in 1878, at his home.

The family of John Coulter, as well as himself were Presbyterians. His wife, formerly Jane Kerr, of Pennsylvania, of Scotch-Irish decent, and was born in 1809, and is still living. There were nine children, four of whom are deceased; the subject of this sketch is the second and the eldest of the living children. An older brother died in a hospital in New Orleans during the war.

John II, was born in the house built by his father, which is still standing. His school days were limited, being confined to a few months each year. He remained at home, assisting in clearing the land, etc., until twenty-three years old, after which he worked out by the month for two years, and subsequently engaged in farming.

When the war broke out, Mr. Coulter enlisted in Company K, Eighty-first Ohio Infantry, under Col. Adams, August 21, 1862. He joined the regiment just after the battles of Corinth and Shiloh, when it was badly cut up. He did duty on the railroad, guarding and destroying bridges, and was in the Atlanta campaign. Being taken sick July 4, 1864, he was confined to the hospital for three months, then returned to his regiment at Rome, Ga., and joined in the march to the sea, and thence thru the Carolinas home. He witnessed the burning of Columbia, S. C., and participated in the Grand Review in Washington, D. C. Although a non-commissioned officer, he held the highest position in that class, that of First Sergeant. His discharge came in 1865. The record that we have so bravely traced is an honorable one, and between the lines we read of duty conscientiously done and dangers bravely faced for the sake of a beloved country. We remember that this service was given freely and nobly for the cause in which he believed, and for this we honor him, as we must honor all who have risked their lives for the sake of a cherished belief, whether they wore the blue or the gray.

After the war, Mr. Coulter came home and worked out for a time, engaging in farming. November 20, 1866, he married Miss Eliza E. Carmean, of Ohio, daughter of John and Susannah (Dehaven) Carmean, both of whom were from Ohio, and whose biography is given elsewhere in this volume. Mr. Coulter came to Missouri for his wife, then returned to Ohio and engaged in farming for two years, at the end of which time he removed to Missouri, and located in Elmwood Township, Saline County, where he purchased two hundred acres of land, all of which was unimproved with the exception of a log cabin, 14 x 14, and there he proceeded to house keeping, living in this cabin six years. His farm was quite extensively overgrown with hazel brush, but he proceeded to clear it up and improve it, gaining year by year, until in 1882 he built a substantial house.

Mr. and Mrs. Coulter have four children: James F., Llewelyn B., John E., and Olin H. Both he and his wife are members of the Methodist Episcopal Church, the former since the age of twenty-three, and, as we have stated. Mr. Coulter is Sunday-school Superintendent and an active worker. The subject of this sketch has never cared for office, although his party, the Republican, as before indicated, has wished to honor him, and has, in truth, insisted upon so doing. He is a member of the Grand Army of the Republic, and a solid, substantial man. He owns, in addition to his home farm, which consists of four hundred and twenty acres, three hundred and twenty acres in Sumner County, Kan. When it is remembered that this has all been gained by his own exertions, starting as he did, with nothing, our youth of the present day should feel encouraged to go forward bravely against any number of difficulties toward the success that must surely come if rightly sought, unless, through the wisdom of an over-ruling Providence, it should be mysteriously withheld.

This family biography is one of 488 biographies included in Portrait and Biographical Record of Lafayette and Saline County Missouri published in 1893.  For the complete description, click here: Saline County, Missouri History, Genealogy, and Maps

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