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Below is a family biography included in the Biographical Annals of Montgomery County, Pennsylvania published in 1904 by T. S. Benham & Company and The Lewis Publishing Company; Elwood Roberts, Editor.  These biographies are valuable for genealogy research in discovering missing ancestors or filling in the details of a family tree. Family biographies often include far more information than can be found in a census record or obituary.  Details will vary with each biography but will often include the date and place of birth, parent names including mothers' maiden name, name of wife including maiden name, her parents' names, name of children (including spouses if married), former places of residence, occupation details, military service, church and social organization affiliations, and more.  There are often ancestry details included that cannot be found in any other type of genealogical record.

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WALTER COULSTON. The Coulston family, which is of Welsh descent, is one of the oldest and most prominent in Montgomery county, Pennsylvania. The earliest ancestor of whom there is any authentic information was William Coulston (great-grandfather), who was born on the old homestead in Whitemarsh township, and was known as one of the most successful farmers of the vicinity. His children were: Charles, William, John, Thomas, Mary (Mrs. William Kettler), and Sarah (Mrs. Jacob Rorer) , all of whom are now deceased. Thomas Coulston and Mr. and Mrs. William Kettler owned a fine farm in Gwynedd township, Montgomery county, and resided thereon the greater part of their lives.

William Coulston (grandfather) was a native of Whitemarsh township, born August 9, 1797. He was educated in the common schools of the vicinity, and his entire active career was devoted to farming pursuits. He married Ann Meredith, who was born October 29, 1802, daughter of Joseph and Hannah Meredith, the former named having been a descendant of an old family of Welsh descent, the immigrant having been David Meredith, who came to Pennsylvania in 1700, and settled in Plymouth township, Montgomery county. Three children were born to Mr. and Mrs. Coulston, namely: James Meredith, Elizabeth, and Hannah. William Coulston died April 17, 1863, in his sixty-sixth year, and his wife, Ann (Meredith) Coulston, died March 25, 1833, in her thirty-first year.

James Meredith Coulston (father) was born near the old homestead in Whitemarsh township, January 27, 1831, and when about three years of age he accompanied his parents to the farm on which he spent the remainder of his life. He assisted in farming during the summer months, and attended school in the winter months according to the usual custom among farmers. On the death of his father he inherited his portion of the estate, and later purchased the remainder from his sisters. He was an active Republican, always standing by the candidates and the policy of the party. He served a number of years as a member of the Whitemarsh school board, and also held other township positions, but was in no sense an office seeker. He was a director in the Montgom ery Mutual Fire Insurance Company, and in other ways was active in promoting the interests of the community in which he resided. He usually attended Plymouth Friends’ Meeting, although not a member of the society. He was affiliated with Marble Hall Lodge, Independent Order of Odd Fellows.

On April 7, 1856, James M. Coulston married Tacy Amanda Freas, born December 19, 1836, daughter of Joseph and Ann (Nyce) Freas, and their children were: I. Annie F., born July 4, 1857, became the wife of Daniel H. Maguire, and their children are: Dora, James C., and Edna Maguire. 2. Alice H., born October 30, 1858, became the wife of Harvey W. Lentz, and their children are: J. Howard, Walter, Joanna, Frederick, and Tacy C. Lentz. 3. William C., born June 16, 1860, married Kate C. Ambler, who bore him one child, Alice L. Coulston; William C. Coulston died September 30, 1900. 4. Elizabeth C., born January 17, 1862, became the wife of William Potts Jones, and their children are: Evan D., Frances C., and L. Elizabeth Jones. 5 and 6. Thomas C. and Sarah R. (twins), born July 12, 1863; the former died in infancy, in the autumn of 1863. 7. Frances C., born January 29, 1868. 8. Joseph Percival, born April 25, 1870, mentioned at length hereinafter. 9. J. Warren, born November 12, 1871, died November 18, 1871. 10. Walter, born February 2, 1873, mentioned hereinafter. 11. Russell L., born January 12, 1880, died April 18, 1880. James M. Coulston, father of these children, died March 24, 1901. Few men were so much respected in their neighborhood as he, his kindly manner and genial disposition making him a universal favorite.

Mrs. Coulston, widow of James M. Coulston, who occupies the old homestead with her son, Walter Coulston, is a member of an old Whitemarsh family, of German origin, whose name was originally spelled Fries. George Freas, grandfather of Mrs. Coulston, married Barbara Wolf, and their children were: John, George, Samuel, Jacob, Benjamin, Daniel, Joseph, William, Mary (Mrs. Samuel Roberts), and Catherine (Mrs. William Freas). Joseph Freas, father of Mrs. Coulston, was born May 6, 1794, on the homestead in Whitemarsh township. His youth was spent on the farm with his parents, he receiving such education as the neighborhood schools afforded at that time. He decided to learn the trade of blacksmith, and became an apprentice to his brother, Samuel Freas, at Plymouth Meeting. He remained at his trade for some years, but farming being more to his taste he abandoned the pursuit of his trade and returned to Whitemarsh. He purchased the home farm from his father and cultivated it for many years. In politics he was a member of the Whig party, but he never sought or held office, preferring to devote his time and attention entirely to his business. He married, January 15, 1818, Ann Keely, born November 17, 1792, daughter of Henry and Elizabeth Keely, of Philadelphia county. Their children were: Henry, born in 1818; Joanna, born in 1820; Walton, born in 1822; Issachar, born in 1824; Elizabeth, born in 1826; John Quincy, born in 1828; Orlando, born in 1830; Caroline, born in 1834; Tacy Amanda, born in 1836, widow of James M. Coulston; Barbara A., born in 1839. Joseph Freas died November 22, 1879, survived by his wife, who passed away December 21, 1888.

Joseph Percival Coulston, third son of the late James M. Coulston and his wife Tacy Amanda (Freas) Coulston, was born on the family homestead in Whitemarsh, Montgomery county, Pennsylvania, April 25, 1870. He was educated in the public schools of the township, and also attended the Norristown high school, where he completed his education and from which institution he was graduated. Returning to his home he assisted in farming the homestead, and later leased a fine farm in the same vicinity, which he has cultivated and improved to a high state of perfection, and on which he has resided continuously up to the present time (1904). He has won the reputation of being a model farmer, and he is also one of the well known and prominent citizens of the community, taking an active interest in all enterprises that have a tendency toward the progress and development of his township and county. He is a Republican in politics, and active in the support of party interests. In 1896 Mr. Coulston married Anna M. Miller, born June 7, 1876, daughter of George and Mary (Markley) Miller, the former named being one of the prosperous farmers of Whitemarsh. They are the parents of one child, Hannah Coulston, born May 28, 1901. Mr. Coulston and his family attend the Lutheran church, at Barren Hill, Pennsylvania.

Walter Coulston, fifth son of the late James M. Coulston and his wife Tacy Amanda (Freas) Coulston, was born in Whitemarsh township, Montgomery county, Pennsylvania, February 2, 1873. He obtained his early education in the public schools of Whitemarsh and Norristown, and this was supplemented by attendance at the Pierce Business College, Philadelphia. After pursuing the course in that institution he returned to the farm, where he has since remained, engaged in agricultural pursuits, of which he is especially fond, and universally recognized as a practical and progressive farmer. In politics he follows in the footsteps of his father, being a staunch Republican. He is a member of the Patriotic Order of Sons of America, and of the Junior Order of United American Mechanics. He attends the Lutheran church at Barren Hill, Pennsylvania, is a man of the highest honor and integrity, is faithful in the performance of his duty to his mother, with whom he resides, and is highly respected by all who enjoy his acquaintance. Mr. Coulston is unmarried.

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This family biography is one of more than 1,000 biographies included in the Biographical Annals of Montgomery County, Pennsylvania published in 1904 by T. S. Benham & Company and The Lewis Publishing Company.  For the complete description, click here: Biographical Annals of Montgomery County, Pennsylvania

View additional Montgomery County, Pennsylvania family biographies here: Montgomery County, Pennsylvania Biographies

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