The Coulter Family
This line of the Coulter family has so far
been traced back to
the 19th century and the Templepatrick area of County Antrim, Ireland.
Little is known of Roseanna Coulter's origins as yet, other than
that she was married to John Bill prior to 1842.
In the 1831 church census for Templepatrick there are two other
Coulter family members recorded in the area. In the townland of Ballypallady, in the small parish of Ballymartin, there was
a Margaret Brookmires (nee Coulter), found at house number 11 with her husband John, and
two other folk - Ann Jane Brookmires and a Margaret Walls (relationship not recorded). Also
in Ballymartin, but in the townland of Carnanee, was Jane Moore (nee Coulter), and her husband James
and daughters Ann, Margaret and Letitia Moore.
In the subsequent 1857 church census for the parish we have three households. A John
Coulter is found at house no. 1 in Ballycushin, Templepatrick, with his wife Mary (nee Hutcheson),
and children John, Robert, Elisabeth, Francis, James
and Martha. In the townland of Carnanee, Ballymartin, we find an Andrew Coulter at house
no. 22, with daughter Eliza and son Andrew. And in Kilgreel, Templepatrick, at house no
7, we find Jane Holmes, nee Coulter, with husband William Holmes, and children Arthur,
William, Ellen and Andrew.
b: abt 1819 d: 27/2/1889
Roseanna Coulter was Calum's and Jamie's five times great
Little is known about Roseanna Coulter as yet, whose name has also been found recorded also
as Rose and Rosey.
In 1841 Roseanna married John Bill. The marriage record has not survived, but an index for a marriage license bond issued by the diocese
of Down, Connor and Dromore notes John erroneously as John Bell, and his prospective spouse as
Rose Coulter (Source: Diocesan and Prerogative Marriage License Bonds Indexes, 1623-1866, NLI). Following
their marriage, Rose had at least eight children with her husband.
In October 1874, one of Roseanna's daughters, Martha, died in Kilbride
parish. A few days later, a niece of her husband John, Margaret Langtry, was murdered in the house of
David Bill, John's brother. The main suspect was Roseanna's son William, who was accused
of murdering her over a dispute about her attempts to convince David to sell up his farm and to move to Belfast. The trigger
for the dispute was said in court to be Margaret arguing that the plot in which Martha was buried had been set aside
for her own future use.
William was tried for the murder in March 1875, but was found not guilty of the crime.
As part of the proceedings, Roseanna was called to the court to give evidence, as reported in the Belfast Newsletter of March
Rosanna Bill, examined by Mr McMECHAN -
The prisoner is my son. He came home to me on Wednesday before he
was arrested. I was in trouble about the death of my daughter. Quinn was on a visit at the house. he came home from Scotland
along wit my other son. He was telegraphed for after the death, and he arrived next morning. My son, the prisoner, was digging
potatoes all day on Thursday, and he was also working on Friday. My husband went to Belfast about two o' clock on Friday morning,
and did not come back to about eleven o'clock that night. I sat up for him, and all the rest were in bed when he arrived.
In consequence of the trouble I was in about my daughter my appetite was very bad. Sometimes my appetite is so bad that I
can hardly walk for weakness. William, the prisoner, went away up to snare rabbits. He took the snare [produced] with him.
He came back with a rabbit. I skinned it, and soup was made of it. I took some of it, and the girls also got some. After he
came home he sat down and took a smoke and then wound up his watch. It was twenty minutes to nine o'clock. When he went out
he had no gun with him - nothing but that snare in his pocket, and when he came back he had no gun with him. I recollect my
husband bringing ham and cheese the second night of my daughter's wake. It was rolled up in a piece of newspaper. The police
searched the house, and abused it very badly. There is a man Wray (pointing to the sub-inspector) and I don't say he is a
bad man, but he jeered and taunted at me.
Mr. McMECHAN - That man, Wray, did it, who wears the coat of a gentleman,
and is supposed to be a gentleman. This poor woman is jeered and taunted in her affliction. Her daughter dead, and her son
in prison. I hope I will have an opportunity of cross-examining this laughing Mr. Wray.
Cross-examined by Dr. EGRINGTON - The gun was taken out about nine
o'clock and remained there till about four o'clock. It lay in the field when we come home for our dinner and went back again.
At four o'clock he brought the gun in and laid it on the top of the bed, where it was got next morning. As soon as we came
in we took our tea. William was rather later than the rest in sitting down to tea. It was after this that he took the snare
and went out. Francis, Mary, Elizabeth, and Hugh Quinn were in the house at the time. Quinn sat in the house till the supper
was ready. After supper the two girls and Quinn went for the paraffin oil. It was from eight to a quarter past eight when
they started for the oil. When I went to the door with them when they were going away I heard William's steps coming down
the loaning. After the girls returned they sat down at the fire. My son Francis went to bed before the girls and Quinn went
away for the oil. When William came in he laid the rabbit on the table.
Roseanna's son William was subsequently found not guilty of the charge of
Roseanna, noted as Rosey Bill in her death certificate, passed away on 27
FEB 1889 at Duncansland townland in Kilbride parish. The record notes that she was 70 years old, and the widow of John
Bill, farmer. The cause of death was noted as debility as suffered for many years. The informant to the registrar in Doagh
on 4 MAR 1889 was Mary Bill, Rosey's daughter in law, resident at Duncansland and present at her death (Source:
GRONI D/1889/5/1001/7/277 Doagh).
Children of Roseanna COULTER and John BILL:
b: 8/8/1844 d: 20/5/1925
b: 18? ? d: aft Mar 1875
b: abt 1853 d: Apr-Jun 1899
b: 18?? d: aft Mar 1875
b: abt 1858 d: after Mar 1875
b: 1866 d: 20/10/1874
Connecting to Calum and Jamie
Rose Coulter married John Bill before 1842.
Son, David Bill, married Agnes Beggs in 1867.
Daughter, Elizabeth Bill married Thomas Smyth
Son, William McKeever Smyth, married Annie Eveline
Lesley Watton prior to 1922.
Daughter, Martha Jane Elisabeth Watton Smyth,
married Ernest Graham in 1943
Daughter, Charlotte Harper Graham, married Colin
Paton in 1969
Son, Christopher Mark Paton, married Claire Patricia Giles in 2000
Sons, Calum Graham Paton
and Jamie Christopher Paton