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John D. Coulson was born near McMinnville, Warren county, Tennessee, February 9, 1807, and was there reared and educated. He attended the old time subscription schools, taught in a log cabin with dirt floor, warmed from a huge fireplace, seats of split logs raised on pegs, and the only window being the space left by an absent log; thus he acquired his early education, and there he lived until he attained his twenty-third year. Leaving his old home in 1829, he journeyed toward the West, and arrived at St. Louis on the 3d of March, the eve of General Jackson’s inauguration as President of the United States, and for whom he had cast his first vote. He arrived in Howard county on the 8th of March, stopped on a visit to his sister, and was soon after employed by Bull & Graves, of Old Chariton, as a clerk, remaining until the 18th of August, when he was united in marriage to Miss Mary E. Lewis, a sister-in-law of Mr. Graves. With his bride he then took a pleasure trip to his old home in Tennessee, returning in November and settling in Chariton county, where he engaged in farming, stock-raising and hunting-enjoying the latter sport especially. In November, 1840, he removed to Daviess county and settled on a farm two miles south-west of Gallatin, which he improved and lived on until 1869, then sold out and removed to Gallatin, where he now resides.
In 1854 Mr. Coulson was elected one of the county judges, and in 1860 was again elected to the same position, holding it during and until the close of the war. Next he was elected trustee for Union township, and under the law at that time the township trustees formed the county court. In 1880 he was once more elected to the same position, for a term of two years, and is at present one of the county judges of Daviess county. That he has most faithfully discharged the duties which have devolved upon him, it is on, necessary to point to his reelection to prove, and that the people have the most perfect faith in his honorable and upright course of action the same fact amply attests. Mr. Coulson has been an auctioneer for over forty years, and has been employed in many of the public sales which have taken place in Daviess and adjoining counties during that long period.
Mr. and Mrs. Coulson have four children; named, respectively, David H., a farmer of this county; John T., living at home; Sarah E., wife of David Linville, of Winston; and Mary N., wife of James Hill, of this county. Mrs. Coulson has been a member of the Methodist Episcopal Church South, for sixty years, and Judge Coulson has been a member of the same church for over fifty years.