THOMAS P. COULTAS, a native-born citizen of Winchester Precinct is a grandson of one of its earliest settlers and the son of one of its well-known citizens, and on the old homestead south of Riggston which his grandfather had purchased from the Government nearly sixty years ago in the early days of the settlement of Scott County, he was born Oct. 8, 1842. Since attaining manhood he has identified himself with the agricultural interests of his native county and township, and owns a valuable farm of 240 acres of rich arable land lying on section 24, which is under excellent cultivation, has a neat and cosy dwelling, ample barns, and other necessary buildings, besides good machinery for carrying on the farm so as to produce the best results with the least expenditure of time and labor. There are about fifty acres of timber on the place and a fine orchard. Mr. Coultas has his farm stocked with more cattle than it can support and he has to buy feed for them every year. He began three years ago to introduce full-blooded Red-Polled cattle, buying stock of Gen. L. F. Ross, the noted cattle breeder, of Iowa City, and he now has six fine specimens of that breed.
The father of our subject was born in Yorkshire, England, Oct. 20, 1815, and in 1830 he accompanied his parents and other members of the family to the United States, and settled with them in Illinois, on section 3, this precinct. That winter was a memorable one to the early settlers of this state as the "Winter of the Deep Snow", which fell to the depth of four feet on a level, and in contrast with that he can compare the mild winter of thirty-seven years later, when the weather was so warm that the corn actually sprouted in the fields in inch on Christmas Day, as witnessed by our subject and two companions, and doubtless by many others. While the snow was lying on the ground to such great depth, Mr. Coultas and three others went out one day on a deer hunt, and by ten o'clock had killed fourteen of the wild animals, the deep snow having impeded their movements. The hunters stripped the hides off of their game, took the shoulders and hams and left the remains to a very large pack of wolves who had been hungrily eyeing them while they worked. Times were very hard then for the pioneers of Illinois, prices were low and markets were far distant. They had to haul their wheat to the Illinois River, after having threshed it by having the horses trample it out on the ground, and then they obtained only twenty-five cents a bushel for it. Hogs that weighed 175 pounds only brought seventy-five cents a hundred weight when marketed.
Mr. Coultas, our subject, inherited 120 acres of his father's homestead, and by unremitting toil, and judicious management of his affairs, he has increased its value and has added to its original acreage till he owns a 300 acre farm that is classed among the best in this part of Scott County, and he is considered one of the substantial, reliable citizens of the township which he has helped to build up. He still takes an active interest in politics, and stands by the Democratic party as firmly as in days of yore when it was his privilege to cast his vote for "Old Hickory" the first president that he helped to elect after he obtained his majority, and he also had the honor of voting for Cleveland, the last Democratic president. He received his education partly in England and partly in America, leaving school when about eighteen years old, and when twenty-one years old he began life for himself, his father hiring him to assist him in the management of his farm. He has been twice married. His first wife, who died in 1855, was Mary Pickering, daughter of Thomas Pickering of Yorkshire, England. Our subject was the eldest of the six children born of that marriage, four sons and two daughters, five of whom are still living, and the names of the others are Robert, Mary, Henry and George. Mr. Coultas was married to his second wife, whose maiden name was Mary Dean, April 10, 1856. She was a daughter of Robert and Elizabeth (Robinson) Dean, of Cheshire, England, and her death occurred Sept. 4, 1876. Of the ten children born of that marriage nine are now living, as follows: Isaac James, Mattie May, wife of Edward Chrisman; Adela, wife of Garland Overton; Alice Hardwick, wife of John Kirkland; Sallie Belle, wife of John A. Obermeyer, William Edgar, Charles Burr, Samuel John, Florence Lulla and David Brengle.
Thomas P. Coultas of this biography received a common education in the local district school, completing his studies when about eighteen years old, and after that devoted his time to assisting his father on his farm. He remained at home till he was twenty-one, and then married, taking unto himself as a wife and companion Miss Lizzie F. Hawk, their marriage being solemnized Feb. 25, 1863. She is a daughter of A. J. and Jane (Frame) Hawk. Robert Hawk, her grandfather, was an early pioneer of Illinois, and his home was three miles northeast of Winchester, and there he died many years ago. His wife died only fourteen years ago, having attained extreme old age. He took an active part in the Black Hawk War, and figured prominently in all the scenes of pioneer times. His son A. J., Mrs. Coultas's father, was a prominent farmer in his day and owned several hundred acres of land. He died in June, 1863, and his wife survived him eight years, when she too passed away. They had six children, five of whom are still living. Mrs. Coultas was the second child of the family, and she was born in Scott County, Nov. 29, 1842. She was educated in the district school and remained an inmate of the parental household till her marriage with our subject. They have had nine children, seven of whom are living, of whom the following is the record: Clayton E., residing half a mile northeast of the paternal homestead, was born Aug. 6, 1864, and is married to Alice Stainsby; Minnie L. was born June 13, 1866; John A., Feb. 7, 1868; Annie B., Sept. 29, 1870; Allie R., Dec. 10, 1873, and died July 28, 1873; David F. was born Oct. 18, 1874; Nellie F. was born --- 16 1876; Raymond W., Jan. 26, 1880; Mary Ella, March 2, 1883, and died August 12, of the same year. There has been considerable sickness in the family, and the beloved wife and mother was stricken with paralysis in her left side six years ago, and is still suffering much from it, but bears this affliction nobly and with cheerfulness.
After marriage Mr. And Mrs. Coultas settled on a farm belonging to his father that had been purchased of William Cox, and the young couple began housekeeping in an old frame house, in which they lived three years. Mr. Coultas then purchased 240 acres of land where his present home stands, and on it was a good house and barns, and all but twenty acres of the land was broken. He has been prospered in his calling and is comfortably well-off.
Our subject is prominent among the farmers of this locality, and possesses pleasing social qualities that make him personally popular with all in the community. He is a skillful manager and brings a clear head and sound common sense to bear on his work. He has held public office with credit, and has always worked for the highest interests of his native precinct. He has been School Director and Road Overseer. In politics, he is a decided Democrat and has always acted with that party, with the exception of time when he worked for the election of Peter Cooper, the Greenback candidate for the presidency. He is a valued member of Saladin Lodge, No. 48, K. of P. Mrs. Coultas has been connected with the Christian Church as one of its most consistent members.