An American Family History

Barnabus Coulston


Coulston is also spelled Caulson, Caulston, Coleson, Collisen, Collsen, Collson, Coulstone, Coleston, Colson, Coulson, and Coulstone.


The Society of Friends (Quakers) began in England in the 1650s, when they broke away from the Puritans. Pennsylvania was founded by William Penn, as a safe place for Friends to live and practice their faith.

Limerick Township, Montgomery County, Pennsylvania was originally in Philadelphia County. In 1784 it became part of Montgomery County.

Barnabas Coulston was born on April 27, 1708 in Pennsylvania. His parents were William and Elizabeth Coulston.

He married Elizabeth Reece/Rees in 1733. Elizabeth was not the daughter of James Rees. She was the widow of James Brooke.

Barnabus was condemed for marrying out of the Quaker faith on March, 28, 1734

Barnabas and Elizabeth's children included:

Edward Coulston (1734, married Jane Davis),
Eleanor (Ellen) Coulston Rittenhouse (1736, married David Rittenhouse),
Elizabeth Coulston (1738),
John Coulston (1739), and
Hannah Coulston Maulsby (1741, married William Maulsby).

Barnabus appeared on the list of Philadelphia County, Pennsyvania landholders in 1734. He had 50 acres in Limerick Township.

In 1738 he was on the list of those entitled to burial in Limerick cemetery whose land was donated by the Brooke family. They paid 5 schillings and agreed to a possible yearly rent of one peppercorn.

Elizabeth died on August 19, 1780.

He died on January 30, 1790.
Children of William Coulston
  • Elizabeth Coulston Nanney
  • Ann Coulston Jones
  • Henry Coulston
  • Grace Coulston Eastburn
  • William Coulston
  • John Coulston
  • Barnabas Coulston
  • Sarah Coulston Ellis
  • Hannah Coulston
  • Limerick Township, Montgomery County, Pennsylvania was originally in Philadelphia County. In 1784 it became part of Montgomery County.
    David Rittenhouse



    Genealogy of Dunwoody and Hood Families By Gilbert Cope

    . . .The will of James Rees, of Uwchlan, yeoman, is dated April 17, and proven Jan. 17, 1758. In this he mentions his wife, Jane, and daughters, Elizabeth, wife of Daniel John, and Elinor, wife of Thomas Evans; also his step-son, John Roberts...At Goshen Monthly Meeting, 7 mo. 13, 1742:

    Elizabeth Rees Requesteth to come under the notice of or to be joined in Community with Friends, whom this meeting Receives as her Conversation agrees with our Principles.

    Elizabeth Rees, of Uwchlan township, daughter of James Rees, and Daniel John, of the same place, son of Samuel John, were married, 11 mo. 20, 1742-3, at Uwchlan Meeting. The witnesses who signed the marriage certificate as relatives were Samuel John, Margaret John, James Rees, Jane Rees, Morris Rees, John Robert, Samuel John, Jr., John Griffies, Mary Griffies, Joshua John, William Downing, Elen Downing, Jane Downing, Mary Thomas, Sarah Downing, Catharine Benson and Mary Elleman.


    Publications of the Genealogical Society of Pennsylvania, Volume 6

    Edward Coulston was the son of Barnabas Coulston, son of William Coulsston, who was recorded in the First Monthly Meeting of Gwynedd Meeting of Friends, 22nd day of the 12th month 1714-5, as an Overseer of Plymouth Meeting of Friends "continued in his place and Service until flrds is pleased to relief" etc.

    Barnabas Coulston married, likely in Limmerick Township, Elizabeth (Rees) Brooke, widow of James.

    William Coulston married 2endly, Ann , who was the mother of Barnabas, born 4-27-1708.

    Gwynedd Township, Montgomery County, Pennsylvania was founded in 1698 by Welsh Quakers. The township split into Lower and Upper Gwynedd in 1891.

    A yeoman was a man who owned and cultivated a small farm. He belonged to the class below the gentry or land owners. A husbandman was a free tenant farmer. The social status of a husbandman was below that of a yeoman.

    David Rittenhouse, whose name is world wide as a mathematician and astronomer, was a resident of Norriton township from eight years of age until 1770. . .It was David Rittenhouse, the eminent mathematician, who was born in Roxborough township, on the 8th of April, 1732. His father (Matthias) was a humble farmer, and David was his chief assistant when his life approached young manhood.

    The geometrical diagrams which disfigured his implements of labor, the barn doors, and the pig-sty, attested the peculiar workings of his brain while yet a mere lad. These indications of genius would doubtless have been disregarded, and his aspiration remained unsatisfied had not a feeble body made the abandonment of field labor a stern necessity.

    David was apprenticed to a clock and mathematical instrument maker, and the pursuit being consonant with his taste, he was eminently successful. Rittenhouse was a sincere student, but on account of his pecuniary wants, he was deprived, in a great degree, of the most valuable sources of information, especially concerning the progress of science in Europe. While Newton and Liebnitz were warmly disputing for the honor of first discoverer of Fluxions, Rittenhouse, entirely ignorant of what they had done, became the inventor of that remarkable feature in algebraical analysis. He had his observatory on the eminence above Presbyterian church, where Franklin frequently visited him.

    About 1766, although only known as a clock maker, he constructed for Princeton college, the first orrery [a mechanical model of the solar system] ever made in America. In 1769 he observed the transit of Venus, and in 1795 he was elected a member of the Royal Society of London.

    On February 20, 1766, David Rittenhouse married Eleanor Coulston, a daughter of Bernard Coulston.

    When Dr. Franklin died, Rittenhouse was chosen president of the American Philosophical society, to fill his place; and from his own earnings he gave the institution fifteen hundred dollars, on the day of his inauguration. His fame was now worldwide, and many official honors awaited his acceptance. He held the office of treasurer of the State of Pennsylvania, for many years; and in 1792, he was appointed the first director of the Mint. Failing health compelled him to resign that trust in 1795 ; and on the 6th of June, the following year, he died the death of a Christian, at the age of sixty-four years.

    Norriton Township was created in.1730. It was in Philadelphia County, but is now in Montgomey County, Pennsylvania. The Township included Norristown. In 1909 it was split into East and West Norriton.

    Whereas, John Roberts being chosen Supervisor in the township of Whitpain by the direction of an Act of Assembly of this province in March, 1762, and Barnabas Coulston, in the township of Plymouth, the said townships being made in one district by said act, and to act in conjunction in all expenses on public roades and highways in said district, The said townships being nearly equal burthend with roades, and the inhabitants of each township near as equal in number and ability to maintain the said roads, doth rather chuse to set separately, and for the better confirmation the said John Roberts, of Whitpain, doth hereby discharge and acquit the said Barnabas Coulston, of Plymouth, of all and every charge and expense of what kind so ever of all roades in the Township of Whitpain.

    Signed by order of the Inhabitants of Whitpain, March ye 19, 1763,
    John Roberts
    Charles Jolly
    Abraham Wentz
    Jacob Levering
    Jacob Roberts
    John Lewis
    Andrew Knox
    Thomas Adams
    Philip Richardson
    Philip Shenenberger
    Joshua Dickinson
    Benjamin Dickinson
    William Davis
    Jonathan Taylor
    Joseph Conrod
    John Dehaven
    Joseph Roberts
    Joshua Richards
    Jonas Supplee
    George Robinson
    William Robinson
    Owen Thomas
    William Dehaven.

    ye is an archaic spelling of "the."
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    ©Roberta Tuller 2023
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