Family Stories

Sabe Coulter and Eatha Shields – Washington County

In the August 29, 2007, issue of The Springfield Sun, a local Washington County paper, there was a magazine addition of Looking Back.  This extra to the newspaper contained old photographs sent to the Sun by local members.  Included was the following photograph of Sabe Coulter, taken in 1900 when he was sixteen years old.

Sabe Coulter was born December 22, 1883, the son of James A. Coulter and Emily Bell Scott.  James A. was the son of Spencer Coulter and Minerva Jane Casteel.  In the 1870 Census we find James A., 8, living with parents Spencer and Jane, the youngest child of four, aged 8.  In 1880 he is still with his parents at 19. 

Sabe Coulter married Eatha Shields August 23, 1904.  I have not found a marriage bond, return or license. 

From Washington County census records it seems that Sabe and Eatha had three children – at least three children that lived.  They are spread very far apart leaving room for the birth of other children who possibly lived only a short time.  Cecil R. Coulter was 34, a farmer, like his father.  He married Goldie M. Wilham.  In the 1940 census they live in the house next to Sabe and Eatha, with their thirteen-year-old son Leon.

Sabe and Eatha are 55 and 52 in 1940.  Son Vernon, 21, lives with his parents, as does his wife, Virginia Hughes.  Wanda B., 16, also lives with her parents.  According to these records we can surmise Cecil was born in 1906; Vernon in 1919, and Wanda in 1924.

The Annual Communication of the Grand Lodge of Kentucky, October 17-19, 1922, held in Louisville, Kentucky, lists three generations of Master Masons – Cecil R. Coulter, James Coulter and Sabe Coulter.

The WWII registration of Sabe Coulter lists him as 5’8”, 140 pounds, hazel eyes, brown hair, with a ruddy complexion.  Since he was almost 60 years old, I doubt he was called to duty.

In the January 19, 1949, issue of The Lexington Herald, is a list of farmers and their tobacco leaf information.  Sabe Coulter and Cecil Coulter, Washington County, had 4,408 pounds at $56.74.  Sabe Coulter and Vernon Coulter had 4,546 pounds at $53.22.  Sabe Coulter and Ansel Harding had 1,948 pounds at $53.51.

Sabe Coulter died December 10, 1965.  According to The Courier Journal, Louisville, he was 81, from Willisburg, but died in Shelbyville at Colonial Halls Rest Home.  Eatha survived him as well as his three children.  The funeral was held at 2 p.m. Sunday, December 12th at Willisburg Baptist Church.  His death certificate lists his parents, James A. Coulter and Emily Bell Scott.  He was buried in Evergreen Cemetery.

Eatha Shields Coulter lived an additional three years.  She died March 16, 1969.  She was buried beside her husband.

Cecil Roosevelt Coulter died April 11, 1996.  He reached the great age of 90 years. 

Vernon S. Coulter died August 20, 1999, in Springfield, leaving his wife Virginia Hughes Coulter.  He was 81 years.

Wanda Gillis Coulter Ruggles, the youngest child of Sabe and Eatha Coulter, died February 25, 2005, at the age of 81 years.

When Cecil Coulter’s son, Leon, died in 2014, his obituary read that the Coulter family was among the first settlers of Willisburg, Kentucky.  My grandmother was a Coulter and she was related to this family, Sterling Coulter being a brother to her grandfather, William Coulter.  Sterling and William were sons of Mark Coulter and Nancy Taylor.  Mark came to Kentucky from North Carolina.

I find it interesting the Sabe, Eatha and two of their children lived to be 81 years old.  Cecil lived to that age plus 9 years.  An amazing feat for most families!

A memory shared by a reader – Sabe and Eatha Coulter were neighbors to my grandparents and parents in Willisburg (Dr. Hopper and Katie, William and Thelma Hopper). I remember them and their children quite well having living there myself until 1963. My dad was born in 1920 and grew up with Cecil, Vernon, and Wanda. Eatha had a beautiful flower garden in the lot right next to their house which was always blooming with showy flowers. My Grandfather Hopper was their doctor. Wanda after she married lived in the house next to her parents and I became close friends with her daughters Frieda and Pat. I also went to school with Vernon and Virginia’s sons. Virginia’s sister, Mary Jo Hughes was my 6th grade teacher at Willisburg Elementary School. I now realize what a special place and time it was growing up in Willisburg —both for my father and for me. We had neighbors who helped each other out on the farm, were involved with church and school activities, and enjoyed many summer evenings sitting in our yards and just talking. It was a time when you could make a good living on the farm and be a part of a caring community.

1 reply »

  1. So pleased to see this post! Sabe and Eatha Coulter were neighbors to my grandparents and parents in Willisburg (Dr. Hopper and Katie, William and Thelma Hopper). I remember them and their children quite well having living there myself until 1963. My dad was born in 1920 and grew up with Cecil, Vernon, and Wanda. Eatha had a beautiful flower garden in the lot right next to their house which was always blooming with showy flowers. My Grandfather Hopper was their doctor. Wanda after she married lived in the house next to her parents and I became close friends with her daughters Frieda and Pat. I also went to school with Vernon and Virginia’s sons. Virginia’s sister, Mary Jo Hughes was my 6th grade teacher at Willisburg Elementary School. I now realize what a special place and time it was growing up in Willisburg —both for my father and for me. We had neighbors who helped each other out on the farm, were involved with church and school activities, and enjoyed many summer evenings sitting in our yards and just talking. It was a time when you could make a good living on the farm and be a part of a caring community.

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