William J. COULTER, who was one of the early residents and for many years a leading and representative farmer of Marshall county, began his life record in County Antrim, Ireland, on the 1st of April, 1827. His father was John COULTER, also a native of Ireland, and in that country the subject of this review was reared and educated, his youth being unmarked by any event of special importance. After arriving at adult age, however, the business opportunities of the new world attracted him, for he had heard favorable reports concerning conditions in America. Accordingly in 1854 he crossed the Atlantic and, making his way into the interior of the country, settled in Peoria county, Illinois, where he was employed for nine months, but desirous that his labors should more directly benefit himself he rented land and began farming on his own account. In 1865 he purchased one hundred and sixty acres of land in Saratoga township, Marshall county, and for many years thereafter was actively engaged in the further development and improvement of that property, which he brought under a high state of cultivation. As new and improved farm machinery was introduced he used it to facilitate the work of the fields and his labors were attended with a measure of success that made him one of the men of affluence in his community. About eleven years ago he retired from active farm life, renting his place to his eldest son, and he is now spending the evening of his life in Henry in the enjoyment of a well earned rest.
In January, 1850, Mr. COULTER was united in marriage to Miss Harna PATTERSON, who was born in Ireland in 1829. They became the parents of nine children, four of whom yet survive: Mrs. Jennie ENDSLEY, who is a widow and is now conducting a millinery store in Peoria, Illinois; Mrs. Ella SMITH, living in St. Paul, Minnesota; William, who is upon the home farm; and Curtis C., who is a traveling salesman representing the Wilson Company.
Mr. COULTER, while living in Saratoga township, served as school director and was interested in having good schools and in employing competent teachers. His political support is given to the republican party and his religious faith is indicated by his membership in the Methodist church, which finds in him a worthy exemplar, loyal to its teachings and instructions. He is now one of the venerable citizens of Henry, having almost reached the eightieth milestone on life's journey. He has long enjoyed the esteem and good will of young and old, rich and poor, and well merits mention in this volume, having so long resided in Marshall county.
Extracted July 2011 by Norma Hass from Past and Present of Marshall and Putnam Counties Illinois, 1907.