Who Were They?

Lost and forgotten photos from the past

Rudd 4


This photograph, undated and with no location, was included with the other Rudd family photographs. The back of the photo identifies the family as follows:

Seated = Ed, Fred, Harry

Standing = Maude, Rosa, Bert J

And the last name Colter written beside that.

I must note that Harry, presumably the lad on the right front, is actually standing.

I started poking around on Ancestry because I really wanted to try to identify this family. That site really is wonderful. :-) I am going to tentatively date this photo to 1895 based on young Harry’s birth in 1890. Who are we looking at?

This is Rosalia Rudd Colter (4-29-59 to 2-11-22), married to James Henniger Gilbert Colter (12-28-47 to 7-10-22). Together they had several children:

Abigail – 1877-1878

Fred Tuttle – 1879-1944

Edward – 1880-

Eliza Maude – 1882-1975

Herbert or James Burton – 1887-1980

Harrison E – 1890-1937

For some reason James was not in the photograph. They lived in New Mexico in 1880 and 1900, so my guess is the photo was made in that locality. You may remember that Rosalia’s father was William Mann Rudd.

There’s some confusing and titillating information on James H. Colter, suggesting he was married to two women at the same time. James was born in Hartford, Nova Scotia, Canada. Well, the census records and family trees indicate he was married to Annie Colter, born 1858 in Nova Scotia, and having children John (1880), Lessettie (1889) and Cecil (1891) together. However, there is another record showing that James and Rosalia married February 22, 1877. I couldn’t find much other information, but it does make me wonder. Was James in Canada at the time of the photo? Maybe that’s why Rosa doesn’t look terribly happy. By 1900 she listed herself as widowed on the census, but other sources indicate that James lived until 1922 – and those sources are the Mormons and they don’t often get this stuff wrong!

Rosa died in San Jose, CA and is buried in Springerville, AZ, while James died in Prescott, AZ and is buried in Springerville, AZ. It adds to my curiosity. Did he leave her and she just claimed widowhood to save her dignity? Did he disappear and was presumed dead, only to turn up alive and able to survive Rosa by 7 months? They are quite likely buried in the same cemetery, and that indicates the family knew all along where the two were in order to bring them back together in death, and it is interesting that he was not returned for burial in Nova Scotia with his mystery family.

It is quite a lot of speculation and quite a story!

13 thoughts on “Colter Family

  1. Mustang.Koji says:

    Think of contacting them?


    1. Mrs Marvel says:

      I contacted the tree owner but of course it is dependent on them contacting me back. Fingers crossed!


  2. IntenseGuy says:

    Son Fred has a highway marker –


    I suspect James H was a prospector and went looking for gold or silver. Perhaps he was thought to be killed in a mine accident and later found?


    1. Mrs Marvel says:

      What a sad story about Fred! The Great Depression really ruined a lot of people. But at the same time, I am so glad he was successful enough that Arizona put out a marker on him.


    2. ruddmcginnis says:

      Actually James H. Colter was a large scale cattle rancher when they moved to New Mexico in the 1880’s, but his cattle operations were located between an Apache Indian reservation and Mexico, and they lost a lot of livestock to Indian rustlers.. So, he spent a lot of time fighting the Indians led by Geronimo, possibly. (The idea about having a second family in Nova Scottia – well, you are right, it was probably a cousin with a similar name. ) Cattle ranchers in those days spent a lot of time away from home, their wives had to make the best of it, and it didn’t mean their marriage was on the rocks. They were working hard to support their families and teach their kids how to survive in the old west! But Rosalia and her husband James H Colter are indeed buried together in the Springerville Cemetery with a headstone that says “Father – Mother, His Wife” and “We will meet again.” Many of the Rudds and Colters, and other families to whom they are related did a lot of traveling around, – to far distant places – but Springerville, Arizona will always be a special place “where it all began.” And many of those family members were truly Arizona pioneers!


      1. Mrs Marvel says:

        Wonderful to hear from you! Thank you for clarifying the Nova Scotia aspect of the story for us.


      2. Milt Cornwell says:

        If you’ll Google James H. G. Colter there’s an interesting interview he gave about 1915 or so that outlines the Colter travels and the ranches he started. He was involved in an indian fight with Geronimo and Victorio at his Alma, N.M. ranch for 3 days. The Apache’s killed 600 head of his cattle and took most all of his herd of horses. That fight coast him $30,000.00. That family moved to Kansas, N.M. Nutrioso, Az. Colter, Az and they did that several times. Their last trip to Cal. was when I suppose Rosalina stayed there. Her bro. Olney lived in Fresno, Cal.
        I would be interested in any information on Colters, McInnis, Murray, Udall, Williams, and Randles.
        Joethan Murray I have very little info. I would be interested in any info Ms. Borgford has on her grandfather that she would be willing to share. I will send any info to the extended “Rudd” family that I have accumulated as of now.
        Milt Cornwell


  3. Ed Donnell says:

    I have found a few name coincidences over 30 years of family history research for many families. My own grandmother was married to cousins both born in Oct of 1887 in Ireland named Thomas Callery, first one died in WWI , she married the his cousin 2 years latter, two children each marriage. as to accurace of record transcriptions, wellll.. ONce the Ancestry transcriber of the local 1920 US Census had the Sex and race columns switched (either in there eyes or spreadsheet ) and suddenly this little town in Nebraska had 128 philipino (coded with “F” ) females (“F”). out of less than 300 total residence in a German-russian farming community in 1920, there where no Philipino, or any Asians in the entire rural county . I submitted the correction and the folks at ancestry corrected it, they are good on accepting transcription corrections. HOw do you know it’s the sme man for both marriages? names, birthdays and locations can just mean coincidence or cousins (ran into these a few times over the years). Maybe he was the guy behind the Camera? small home studios where popular for those with a little pocket money for a hobby.


  4. Milt Cornwell says:

    Concerning Rosalina’s widowhood, I found that the Fred Coulter Ranch in Springerville is listed in the National Register of Historic Places. In the forms needed for extensive documentation as to why the ranch should be included there’s quite a narrative on Fred Coulter. In the narrative it says Fred went to work at 12 years old to support his mother and siblings who were living at home. His parents were separated. That means somewhere around 1891 Rosalina and James were separated. Fred actually put together property in the 500k + acres and ran 12,000 head of cattle. He was into politics as well. Bert was his manager. The ranch was called the cross bar ranch and included property that later turned into the John Wayne 26 Bar Ranch. Its an interesting narrative.


  5. Sharon Borgford says:

    According to a written account by my grandfather, J.S. (variously Joethan, Joe, Joseph, Joethan Sidney) Murray ( b.1882 d.1980), Rosalia and her husband had domestic problems and, as a result, she and their children went to live with her parents, William and Eliza Rudd.


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