HON. OLIVER COULTAS. Many portraits of honored residents of Morgan County add value to these pages, and among them none reflect the lustre of a noble name more than that of the Hon. Oliver Coultas. This gentleman, an ex-member of the Illinois Legislature, to which he was elected by the Democracy of his district, in 1879, is recognized as one of the most wealthy and prominent men of Morgan County. His possessions have been the accumulation of a lifetime of industry, and he has been blessed by Providence with that sound common sense and good judgment which has enabled him to make fortunate investments. At the same time he has pursued a straight-forward course in life, and has thereby gained the esteem and confidence of his fellow-citizens.
Mr. Coultas is the owner of nearly 700 acres of land, the larger portion of which is improved and devoted to stock-raising. His homestead is finely located on Section 6, township 14, range 11, where he has 285 acres in a state of thorough cultivation, and a set of modern buildings, together with the machinery, and other appliances necessary in the proper carrying on of a well-regulated estate. East of Jacksonville he has a valuable farm of 130 acres, with fine buildings, and he has eighty acres in township 15, range 11, besides 180 acres in Scott County. He has occupied his present homestead over thirty-five years, and has thus become one of the landmarks, whose name will be remembered long after he has departed hence. In the early days he made a specialty of swine, in which he dealt largely for a period of fifteen years, in the interests of Mr. Gale, of Galesburg. Mr. Gale was the first man who shipped live port to the East as a business, and with the assistance of Mr. Coultas accumulated quite a fortune. Our subject also accumulated a snug sum of money, and wisely invested it in real estate, just in time to save himself from loss by the failure of his employer.
The North Riding, of Yorkshire, England, was the native place of our subject, and his birth occurred April 12, 1827. His father, William Coultas, was a substantial Yorkshire farmer, of pure English stock, and remained a resident of his native county until quite late in life. The mother was, in her girlhood, Miss Mary Saunderson, who was born and reared not far from the native place of her husband. They became parents of eight children, and after their son Oliver had emigrated to the United States the parents and five of their children followed him, all locating in this county. One son, George, however, later settled in Scott County, and at his home the mother died, after having more than reached her threescore years. The father subsequently made his home with a daughter, Mrs. Myron Duger, of Kansas, and died there after the close of the war, at about the age of seventy years. Both parents had been reared in the doctrines of the Church of England, and trained their offspring in accordance with its precepts. Of the six sons and two daughters comprising the parental household five are living.
Mr. Coultas, our subject, came to the United States a single man, but in due time met his fate in the person of Miss Margaret Headen, whom he married in this county, Feb. 16, 1854. Mrs. Coultas was born May 16, 1838, and is the daughter of Dr. Thomas Headen, who is a native of Tennessee, and of Southern parents. He was married in his native State, whence he came not long afterward to this county, being one of its earliest settlers. He engaged in the practice of his profession, and followed it until with a few years of his death, which occurred at the home of one of his daughters in Scott County, when he was probably seventy years old. His wife had passed away some years previously, in middle life.
Mrs. Coultas was reared to womanhood under the parental roof, acquiring a common-school education, and a knowledge of those housewifely arts upon which depend to so great an extent the comfort and happiness of a home. She has been the able assistant of her husband in his ambitions, and has contributed her full share toward the building up of their home, and establishing the reputation of the family. Eleven children came to bless their union, the record of whom is as follows: S. Ann became the wife of John I. Gordon, and they live on a farm in Macon County, this State; Alice G. is the wife of Alvis Kumley, and they live on a farm near Alexander; Maggie S. married C. M. Sevier, of this county; Samuel I. married Miss Minnie Lee, and they are residents of this county; Mary F. is the wife of James B. Gordon, and they occupy a farm in Scott County; Oliver, Jr., Lottie B., Henry L. and William E. are at home with their parents; two children died in infancy.
Our subject and his estimable wife are members in good standing of the Christian Church, and in the councils of his party in this section Mr. Coultas is recognized as a leader, and a man whose judgment is seldom at fault. During two years' service in the Legislature he introduced many wise measures, and took a special interest in local matters. The district then included Scott and Greene counties.