Biography of Harry E. Coulter

Harry E. Coulter. One of the old and reliable business establishments of Chanute which has enjoyed a steadily increasing patronage ever since the time of its inception is the Coulter Transfer and Storage Company, in which two generations of a family have been interested. Founded by the father, the policy, of the business under his direction was based upon strict honesty and honorable principles, and this same course has been followed by the son. The present owner of the business is Harry E. Coulter, a man of broad and diversified experience in business, and a citizen who has contributed through his activities to the material and business welfare of the city of his adoption.

Mr. Coulter was born at Chatsworth, Livingston County, Illinois, May 9, 1867, and is a son of W. J. and Jane (Ririe) Coulter. He belongs to a family which has resided in this country from Colonial days, when the original emigrant from Germany located in Pennsylvania. W. J. Coulter was born in 1834, in Pennsylvania, and was reared in the Keystone state, where he received a public school education. He was still a young man when he moved to Ohio, and while there was married and engaged in farming in the vicinity of Coshocton, subsequently removing to farming land in Livingston County, Illinois, not far from the town of Chatsworth. While living there, the Civil war came on, and Mr. Coulter answered the call of a combined spirit of adventure and patriotism and enlisted in an Illinois regiment of volunteer infantry. With this organization he continued to serve during the period of the struggle, making an excellent record for bravery and fidelity. On receiving, his honorable discharge he returned to his Illinois farm and resided for a few years, and then came as a pioneer to Chanute. It had been his original intention to engage in farming, but here he recognized the opportunity for another line of business more suitable to the country at that time, and became a freighter from this point to Fort Scott, Wichita and various cities and towns toward Oklahoma. With the coming of the railroads, his business in this direction gradually fell off, and he accordingly turned his attention to the expressing business at Chanute, which resulted in the establishment of the Coulter Transfer and Storage Company, with which business he was connected until his death, in 1908. Mr. Coulter was an energetic business man, with progressive ideas and the resource and initiative to carry them through. He was honest in business affairs and had the confidence of those with whom he was associated. A democrat in politics, he confined his activity in this direction to casting his vote, and as a fraternalist was a member of the Masons, the Odd Fellows and the Ancient Order of United Workmen. Mr. Coulter married Miss Jane Ririe, who was born in Pennsylvania, in 1836, and died at Chanute, November 26, 1894, and they became the parents of four children, namely: W. A., who was associated with his father in the conduct of the transfer business until the elder man’s demise, when he took charge of the business and conducted it until his own death, in 1906; Harry F.; of this review; Clifford, who is a switchman in the employ of the Atchison, Topeka & Santa Fe Railroad, and resides at Chanute; and Frank, whose death occurred when he was young.

Harry E. Coulter received a public school education at Chanute, to which city he had been brought as a small lad, and on giving up his studies, at the age of seventeen years, began to assist his father and brother in handling the transfer business. Subsequently, in 1888, he became a messenger for the Wells Fargo Express Company, with which he was employed until 1901, when he resigned to accept an official position in the service of the City of Chanute. He remained in the capacity of inspector until 1906, when the death of his older brother left the transfer business without a directing head, and he assumed the direction of its operations. He has continued to conduct the business along the lines that gave it success under his father and brother, and it is now, as before, considered one of the stable and reliable enterprises of its kind. The offices of the company are located at No. 2 West Main Street, the barns are at No. 116 North Lincoln Avenue, and the warehouse is situated opposite the Santa Fe Railroad Depot. Mr. Coulter also owns his own residence at No. 115 North Highland Avenne. He is highly thought of in business circles, and is one of the active members of the Chanute Commercial Club.

Mr. Coulter is fraternally affiliated with Cedar Lodge No. 103, Ancient Free and Accepted Masons; Chanute Chapter No. 21, Royal Arch Masons; Chanute Commandery No. 44, Knight Templars; Mirza Temple, Ancient Arabic Order Nobles of the Mystic Shrine of Pittsburg; Chanute Lodge No. 96, Ancient Order of United Workmen; and Security Lodge No. 110, Knights and Ladies of Security. He is a democrat in politics and takes a good citizen’s interest in public affairs. Mr. Coulter has a half-brother and a half-sister by his father’s first marriage. They are John E., who died at Port Huron, Michigan, as general secretary of the Young Men’s Christian Association; and Mary Jane, who is the wife of W. B. Parsons, yardmaster for the Atchison, Topeka & Santa Fe Railroad at Cherryvale, Kansas.

Mr. Coulter was married at Chanute, in 1902, to Miss Millie Slack, daughter of Enoch and Kate (Dyke) Slack, the former of whom was in the employ of the Santa Fe Railroad and is now deceased, and the latter of whom resides with Mr. and Mrs. Coulter. To this union there have been born three children, namely: Frances V., born July 7, 1903; Ruth, born June 19, 1908; and Harry E., born March 11, 1913.


Connelley, William E. A Standard History of Kansas and Kansans. Chicago : Lewis, 1918. 5v. Biographies can be accessed from this page: Kansas and Kansans Biographies.

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