Writing and compilation commenced Autumn 2011

This is my photographic introduction to the Coulter side of my family. The wedding of Herbert Brown to Granny Coulter's sister Louie Higginson. Granny May and her future husband Granda Jimmy are the pair second from the left. I've been told that they met for the first time here in ca 1921 and were married shortly afterwards in December 1922!

A separate page on the HIGGINSON story is also being written, based on my contact with second cousin Trish Wylie!

I have read in snippets of information about the Plantation of Ulster in the early 1600’s, that many of the planters came to Ulster from the southern counties of Scotland and also England. Quite a few had Colter, Coalter, Coulter as surnames. A few of established in Fermanagh and some in Co Down and a few in mid Ulster.

Looking at Griffith’s Land Valuation records from 1859-64, I have found that the Colter homestead at Terressan, as was the spelling then, was tenanted by James Colter to approx. 10 acres and just a few perches in the neighbouring townland of Cloghog.

Research is continuing….trying to confirm that the original Coulters of Terresson were in fact Scottish planters. As I understand the English Parliament (early 1600’s) of the day allocated 10 acres of land and a house to those families from Scotland/England willing to help establish order in rebellious farmlands of Ulster, the province most resistant to the English overlords. The land owner in this area of Cookstown was the Worshipful Company of Drapers, London. (Details of the Draper's will be found in the Historical Background).

Griffith's Valuation documentation/records from 1859, click on link below, last name on list with surname COLTER!

James Colter, Townland: Terressan, Barony: Loughinsholin, Union: Magherafelt, Parish: Derryloran, Placename: Terressan, Printing date: 1859

Which James was this? Great grandfather James was born in 1851, making him 8 years old in 1859 and 13 in 1864, when the Griffith’s Land valuation was dated. So it was our great great grandfather James who was married to Jane, buried in the Old Deryloran Graveyard. Jane’s death date 1862/9 (unclear).

For the house in Terressan, offices and land : 9 acres 3 roods 35 perches the rateable annual valuation was 5 pounds 10 shillings. In the townland of Cloghog he had 20 perches land only, for which he paid 1 shilling!

The earliest records we have of the Coulter connection, Jane as mentioned above, is to be found in the Old Derryloran Graveyard, Blackhill, Cookstown.... MORE RECORDS have now been discovered, taking the Coulter family Records back to 1775!...see seperate document  COULTER Teressan 1775 and onwards, compiled September 2013.

Visiting this graveyard in 2008 sister Yvonne and I looked at a head stone......from the main gate entrance, diagonally left about 50 m, under a fir tree/bush..... where we could read : "ERECTED, TO THE MEMORY OF JANE, THE BELOVED WIFE OF JAMES COULTER WHO DIED FEB 1869(2)? AGED 52" Thus dob 1817?


*Questions still exist if eg James and/or other family members are buried in this grave....thoughts are however expressed in the Coulter update, September 2013!

CLICK on the heading "Family Tree"....once in, search name on left hand side by clicking small arrow!

This then is the grave of our great great Coulter grandmother, Jane (grandparents?)

According to *Sadie and Denis Coulter, 6 May 09, it was Jane's son and daughter who emigrated to America, probably sometime in the mid/late 1800’s. *Records? (unsure which, but can hopefully confirm!....

NOW CONFIRMED/Sept 2013 Other records show that Jane and James Coulter had 5 children; Daniel b 1840, William b 1843, Mary b 1845, Robert James b 1851 (our great grandfather!) and Jane b 1854. We don’t know which of the two brother’s emigrated, ie William or Daniel, but Denis mentioned that his father talked about uncle “Den”! Could that be Daniel b 1840? * Passenger lists have been researched, no results, but that process is ongoing!) They were ship wrecked of the coast of Newfoundland. The brother survived, the sister perished. The brother continued to America but returned to Newfoundland some time later. Apparently this was because some bodies were washed up on the Newfoundland coast and surviving family members returned to identify. He recognised his sister's body, because he had given his overcoat to her during the storm to keep her warm….. This story has been handed down and Denis Coulter told me this on that visit in May 2009.

As mentioned above, I have researched many Passenger Lists and have not yet traced this tragedy. However I have discovered that there were many ships wrecked in the seas around Newfoundland and many Irish and other lives were lost.....SINCE WRITING THE ABOVE I CAN NOW REFER TO NEW INFORMATION AS DESCRIBED ON NEW PAGE...

Coulterhistory190913   Information is repeated in this new page, thus trying to give a more complete Coulter story!

The earliest records show that great grandfather Robert James Coulter was born 1851 and died 1932. Mum has mentioned that he was a kind man. She was 9 when he died. Great grandmother Elizabeth (Eliza) nee Bell, Tamlaghtmore, Cookstown, was born 1854 and died 1936. I also remember Mum talking about aunt Jane! Could that be her b 1854? If so the when Mum was 10 aunt Jane would have been ca 80 years old?

Robert James and Eliza were married 4 March 1873 . They lived in Tyresson. From that union were born Robert (Bob) 1875-1946, Jane b 1878, Elizabeth/Lizzie b 1881, Daniel (Dan, I remember him being called “Denny”!) 1882-1959, John 1883-1965, my Grandfather Robert James (Jimmy) 1885-1976.

Click on the link below and you can search for the extended Coulter families.

Dan and his family lived across the road from Tyresson in the townland of Cloghog. After the court case and in the following years, the relationship between the families was strained. However in later years that eased and a good relationship was re-established, especially between Denis, uncle Bobby (Robert).

My great grandfather James 1851-1932. was an entrepreneur, specialising in the acquisition of land (farms) and property!

Cutting from Mid Ulster Mail Saturday April 23, 1932


He increased the farm holding at Tyresson of ca 12 acres to upwards of 200 acres during his life span* He bought small holdings from the neighbouring farmers, thus the names of fields in and around the Tyresson farm being called after the families he acquired the land from, eg Mann’s, Morgan’s, Neddy’s field, Annie Quinn’s (pronounced Queen!). Bought land at Clare, and in the vicinity of Drapersfield at Cloghog, where Dan and Maggie were to bring up their children. They had started off their married life in Clare and in their early years there, ie the earely 1920's, all the children were born, except Florrie. She was born at Cloghog! (* to be confirmed!). There’s also land at “the ring”, where the Reid family lived in the 1950’s There is a name for this land as well, unfortunately I’ve forgotten ....McKenzie's?(*to be checked).

Some more to be written here on Mum's growing up period at Tyresson and schooling at Drapersfield and......

During a period of time when Mum was coming towards/or at the end of her school years at Drapersfield, somewhere around 1936-39, she had a pen pal (*name? and location??) in the USA. Some letters were found from this friend February 2010, in an old box, when we were emptying our home at 6 Cloghog Road, Cookstown. The box was found in the old byre next to the house.

In it were these letters, as well as letters written by Dad to her when he was away working, most probably during the period he worked with the NIreland Milk Marketing Board, installing new and maintaining old Creameries, mid 1940's, prior to their marriage. Dad's letters have not yet been read (Autumn 2013)

The pen pal described how life was, (sounded quite exciting!) what subjects she studied, the holidays they had and the plans she had for her future. French was one of her subjects. Quite a different environment to that which our Mum was growing up in. Sadie and Lily Coulter, cousins from across the road, were also involved with American pen pals at the same time. Yvonne and I spoke to Sadie in May 2009 about this activity, and she confirmed that this "project" was initiated by the school.

Incidentally in some of the letters Mum was aked how she was, after her "illness" and even in the other letters indications were that Mum had been "unwell" for a period of time.


During the period Dan and family lived at Clare, there was an incident one Saturday night. Brother Bob and Dan had met in Cookstown earlier that day. Dan invited Bob to call with them on the way home to Tyresson. As told....around 9pm that evening Dan heard footsteps coming towards the back door and expecting it to be Bob, he put on some more logs on the fire and made his way to the back door. He became suspicious as Bob didn't come in. Instead when Dan opened the door he was confronted with gunfire! He immediately etreated to the kitchen, picked up his own gun and went into the yard firing in the direction of the incoming shots. The attackers retreated and disappeared. Dan, as I understand gave puruit, but lost them.... lived in the little house, once lived in by my Grandparents Allen (now Virginia & Paul), who had planned and attacked the Coulter home. One of those sons was apparently a leader in the IRA.

In the early 1920’s he bought farmland on Killymoon Demense. There was a *Castle on the land, but the Coulters didn’t want it. However the Auctioneer, Joseph Allen (no relation) offered it to John Coulter for GBP 100. James, his father is quoted as saying to his son John  "where's yer money? Obviously bought on James' reputation as a known entrepreneur!

*Killymoon Castle

Click on link for more!


15 years after "old" James' death an unfortunate event took place, relating to Bob's death and his Last Will & Testament. A disagreement between Jimmy (my Grandfather) and brother Daniel as to the content of the Will. After searching in the "The Mid Ulster Mail", I found the following article relating to this court case, head lined…..

"Brothers at Law"



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