Bell Anthology - John Coulter

The Raymond M. Bell Anthology

The Unlisted Will of John Coulter of
Washington County, Pa.

      The will of John Coulter, "of Washington County, State of Pennsylvania" was 
written June 10-1789 in Mason County, Virginia, now Kentucky. He was likely on 
an exploratory trip. He named wife, Abigail; oldest son Thomas, over 21; sons 
Jonathan, Samuel, James, John, under 21. Three daughters were not named. The 
Washington County Orphans Court (A-88) in 1791 appointed guardians for Mary, 
Abigail, John, Elizabeth, under 14. 
      The witnesses to the will were William Wood, David Brodrick, Philip Drake. 
On July 11-1789 they attested in Mason County that they had seen John sign the 
will. This was verified by the County Clerk on July 13. It was "recorded" in 
Washington County October 20-1789. Executors were wife Abigail and son Thomas 
Coulter. The will is not listed in the Washington County index. 
      The will is found in the Accounts (C-1-1791), filed by Abigail. The earliest 
record of John Coulter in Washington County is in the 1785 tax list of 
Fallowfield Township. In the 1790 census Abigail has 3 males over 16, 3 under 
16, and 4 females. John in his will indicated that he was leasing land. On 
June 24-1791 Thomas Coulter bought the 163-acre farm. He and wife, Nancy, sold 
it December 16-1796 (DB M655). There is no further record of this family in 
Washington County. The DAR PATRIOT INDEX lists John as a sergeant in New 
Jersey. There is no record of Revolutionary service in Pennsylvania. 
      Abigail was the daughter of Jonathan PARSHALL, who with John Coulter, first 
appears in the 1769 tax list for Fermanagh Township, Cumberland County, now 
Juniata County, Pennsylvania. Abigail and John were married about 1767. On June 
23-1783 John Coulter was a witness in Fermanagh Township (DB G11). He moved to 
Washington County about 1784. Jonathan Parshall sold his land 
in 1773 (DB C398) and 1774 (DB D92). (A witness in 1774 was Frederick 
Parshall.) Jonathan had warranted the land in 1770. It was at the mouth of 
Lost Run, where it empties into the Juniata River. 
      Jonathan moved a few miles north about 1776 to Derry Township, Cumberland 
County, now Decatur Township, Mifflin County. In 1777 he bought 117 acres from 
Charles Coxe, a land speculator from Hunterdon County, New Jersey. It was at 
the head of Long Meadow Run. Jonathan sold it in 1785 to George Sigler, who 
lived on the farm to the west. Sigler, who had moved from Hunterdon County 
about 1775, had also bought his land from Coxe. (When George Sigler Jr was 
captured by Indians at age 20 in 1782, it was Caleb, son of Jonathan, who told 
the family about George Jr's safe return. The Siglers are ancestors of the 
      Caleb Parshall first appears in the Derry Township tax list in 1778, Jonathan 
in 1779. By 1790 Caleb had a grist mill on Long Meadow Run. Jonathan Parshall 
wrote his will March 15-1781. It was probated January 23-1795 (Mifflin County 
WB 1-65). The named executors were Caleb Parshall and John Coulter (dead in 
1795). Named were sons: Jonathan, David, Caleb and daughters: Mary, Abi gail, 
Hetable; also Thomas, son of Abigail, and Elizabeth, daughter of Hetable. 
      Two daughters of John Glasgow, a neighbor, Elizabeth and Mary married 
Parshalls. One married Caleb, for Caleb was buried on the farm of James 
Glasgow, son of John. Caleb, a freeman (single) in the 1779 and 1780 tax lists, 
was married about 1781. He served in the Cumberland County militia 1777-79 under 
Captain George Bell (another ancestor of the writer) and 1780-82 under Captain 
Robert Means. The censuses indicate that he had 3 sons and 3 daughters. He 
last appears in the 1830 census. His brothers may have gone to Ohio. His 
sister Abigail went to Washington County, as related above. The Parshalls may 
have originated in Essex County, New Jersey.

This article was transcribed by Liz DuBois of Bremerton, WA in August 1998.

Raymond M. Bell Anthology     Genealogy in Washington Co., PA

Published with permission of Raymond M. Bell.