John Coalter


“This stone is erected in Memory of JOHN COALTER of Chatham.  Of humble origin, he rose to eminence Less by the display of uncommon talents than by moral worth. By an integrity that none ever questioned. A fidelity that evaded no duty. A firmness that defied a like temptation and danger. And a sincerity simplicity and kindness of nature That won the hearts of all who approached him. The records of his country testify the honourable posts which he filled. Of his private virtues all who knew him can speak. But the Depth of his unpretending goodness is known only to God whom he worshipped in the secret of his own heart. While in every act of his life he served him openly. To him who gave it the Spirit has returned. The dust lies here. His children have placed this Stone To record his virtues to his children’s children. He was born in Rockbridge, Virga Aug, 20th 1769 And died at Chatham, near this place Feb. 2nd 1838.”

“Touching this spot lie the Remains of St. George Tucker Coalter, Esq only son of John Coalter, who followed his Father to the grave before this tomb was completed. He died August 19, 1839, Aged 30 years 2 Months and 7 Days. A son worthy of such a father.”

Section - Section 7
ID -87

Birth -1769

Death - 1838

Age - Over 60

Gender - Male

Profession - Judge

Veteran- N/A

Data -

[1] John Coalter (August 20, 1771 – February 2, 1838) was born in Rockbridge County, Virginia. He was a tutor in the family of Judge St. George Tucker in Williamsburg and studied law at the College of William and Mary in 1789. After graduation he settled in Staunton, Virginia and practiced law there. After being Commonwealth’s Attorney for several years, he was appointed to the General District court for Staunton in 1809. On May 11, 1811, he was appointed to the Supreme Court of Appeals of Virginia. He owned Chatham Manor near Fredericksburg, Virginia.[1] About 1821, he moved to Richmond, Virginia where he lived until his death on February 2, 1838.

Coalter died in Richmond and was buried at Chatham Manor, but his remains were later moved across the Rappahannock River to the cemetery of St. George’s Church in Fredericksburg.His and his last father-in-law’s demise led to legal complications, as his widow Hannah Coalter wanted to free the slaves she inherited, which was not permitted at the time, although was permitted in a will, which she had drafted and redrafted by acclaimed lawyers before she died in 1857.

[2] John COALTER Judge (Va.
Born August 20, 1769 [location unknown]
Son of Michael Coalter and Elizabeth Moore
[sibling(s) unknown]
Husband of Anne Frances Bland Tucker — married June 5, 1802 [location unknown]
Father of Elizabeth Tucker Coalter
Died February 2, 1838 in Chatham, VA

[3]William and Mary – John Tyler letter to him in 1834
John Tyler, Senate Chamber [Washington, D.C.], to John Coalter, Fredricksburg, Va. Appreciates the honor conferred upon him by the citizens of Fredericksburg which was sent by him [JC]; his motives in the public office have been to uphold the Constitution and the laws and to restrain executive power; those maintaining opposite opinions have been diminished due to “that event which has transpired since many of the elections took place”; regrets inability to meet with them. 2 pp. TCy of ALS.

[4] He attended Liberty Hall Academy (now Washington and Lee University). He became tutor to the children of St. George Tucker and studied law. He returned to Augusta County where he practiced law.  He was appointed sheriff in 1791 and clerk of the District Court in 1793, was appointed judge of the Circuit Superior Court of Law in 1809, and a judge of the Court of Appeals in 1811, serving until 1831. Coalter was a member of the Virginia Constitutional Convention of 1829-1830. He married first Maria Rind in 1790; second, Margaret Davenport in 1795; third, Anne Frances Bland Tucker June 5,1802; and fourth Hannah Harrison Jones February 14,1822. He had at least three children by his third wife.
Died at Chatham, his estate in Stafford County, Virginia.

[5] Virginia Herald
[6] Judge Coalter was born in Rockbridge County on August 20th, 1771.  He was the son of Michael Coalter and Elizabeth Moore, daughter of James Moore.

He was a tutor in the family of Judge Saint George Tucker in Williamsburg and  studied law in William and Mary College.  In 1789, he took a course under  Chancellor Wythe and Bishop Madison, president of institution.  After completing  his law course he settled near Staunton and practiced law.  He was very much reduced in circumstances and at first used to walk to his courts with clothes  and papers in a bag on his shoulders.

At first he was attorney for the commonwealth and in 1809, he was appointed a  Judge of the General Court.  On May 11, 1811, he was promoted to the Court of  Appeals.  About 1821, he went to Richmond to live and soon after purchased  “Chatham” in Stafford County, (opposite Fredericksburg) on the Kings Highway, Route #37.  Judge Coalter resided at “Chatham” until his death which occurred on  February 2, 1838.

Charles  Augustus Marray, grandson of Lord Dunmore has drawn in his “Travels” 1839 a flattering picture of Judge Coalter in these picturesque surroundings.   In this picture his face denoted frankness, energy and shrewdness.

Judge Coalter married three times (1) Maria Rind, daughter of William Rind of  Williamsburg, Editor of one of the Virginia Gazettes published in that City at  the time of the Revolution.

He married (2) Margaret Davenport of Williamsburg and (3) Frances Bland Tucker daughter of Judge Saint George Tucker.  By his last wife he left issue.

When Washington Irving was here collecting information for his “Life of   Washington” Judge Coalter took him to “Chatham” to dinner.  It was in the spring   and he had for dinner jowl, turnip salad, poached eggs and corn pone, and dried
cherry roll and hard sauce for desert.

In the year 1796, a petition was presented to the General Assembly of Virginia  for permission to build a toll bridge across the Rappahannock river to  Fredericksburg from the lower line of land of “Chatham”.  This was granted and  records indicate that it was a toll bridge and owned by private parties for  nearly a century, and yet when the city purchased the bridge it had been owned by only three people, William Fitzhugh, Judge John Coalter and Charles S. Scott.   The bridge was formerly known as the “Chatham Bridge” but it is now call the  Free Bridge as there is no longer any toll charge.

In 1861, the bridge was destroyed by fire.
In 1889, by a flood.
In 1890, the site was purchased by the City of Fredericksburg and they erected  the present iron bridge which is about 1000 feet long.

Sources -

[1] wikipedia\
[2] wikitree
[4] Findagrave
[5] References in Virginia Herald
Married H. Williamson  16 Feb 1822  3×2
Posted Chatham  21 Jan 1824   3×4
‘Green Bottom’ For Sale  3 Aug 1825  3×5
Owner Of Chatham Bridge  20 Dec 1828  3×4
Chatham Bridge Repaired  25 Jun 1828  3×3
Owner Of Chatham Bridge  27 Jun 1829  3×5
Rappahannock Canal President  18 May 1833  3×3
Chatham Bridge Notice  19 Jan 1833  3×4
Political Committeeman  14 May 1834  3×2
U. S. Mine Director   20 Aug 1834  2×5
Bank Director  22 Jan 1834  3×4
Repaired Chatham Bridge  4 Feb 1835  3×3
Railroad Comm.  17 Oct 1835  3×3
Member Agri. Soc.   22 Apr 1835  3×3
Member Vigilance Comm.  23 Sep 1835  3×3
[6] Sue Gordon –

Notes - N/A;


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