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Allen Cole's Website

Genealogy of the Cole Family

All of what we currently know about the Coles is thanks to the exceptional research of my cousin Janie Bradshaw and her son Gary Cole. The Coles were not rich people, and they live in an area where many records have been destroyed by war.

From Civil War-era maps of the Caroline area, I think that our roots may be along the area where Beverly Run branches off from the Mattaponi River up to White's mill pond, roughly halfway between Sparta and Newtown, VA. This is an area where Caroline, King & Queen, King William and Essex counties all come together. Where two parallel branches exit Beverly Run to the west, there were two houses labelled in 1864 as J.Cole or J.Coles. From census records, I believe that these the were the homes of John Gatewood Cole, and his second son, James Singleton Cole. At the 1860 Census, John G. Cole was in the home of this son-in-law, Charles Woolfolk Jones, and the area of Jones Corner generally matches the geography of what I'm describing. The location today is in Caroline County, close to where Beverly Run Rd. & Stumpy Road meet.

At least one strain of Coles comes from Essex, England as does the Gatewood family. Gatewood data on the internet suggests that a large portion of population came to Essex County, VA during the British Interregnum, because they were loyal to the Stuart kings, and wanted to escape the rule of Oliver Cromwell. (it is this circumstance that caused Virginia to be known as "The Old Dominion") However, I cannot at this time actually trace either James Cole or Susannah Gatewood directly to those origins. Can you help me?

The most notable characteristic of this family is that it was consistently Baptist, intermarrying at several stages with the Broadduses (originally Broadhursts), who were Welch in origin and very involved in the Baptist denomination in its early American stages. Our common ancestry with the Broaddus's take us back to Edward Broaddus who was born in Wales around 1680 and emigrated to America possibly around 1715 settling on Gwynn's Island.

Some members of the family have indicated that they may be descended from William Cole of Denbigh (Newport News), and it is entirely possible. Others suspect that we may be linked to the Culpeper Coles who produced outlaw Jesse James. All possible, but no way to investigate. I hope to participate in the Cole DNA project in the next year or two. This might at least clear up some earlier origins.

One primary question that has surfaced is that of the name "Judson" which we have not yet located in our ancestry. The first family member that we know carried it was Henry Judson Cole, born in 1855. He named one of his sons William Judson Cole, but that child died early, and the name was then passed on to my grandfather Harry Judson Cole, who passed it on again to his eldest son. If you are a Judson and one of your female ancestors married a Cole, I'd sure like to hear about it.

John Cole (????) - I was recently told that we come from a John Cole who came here from England. Presumably, he was the father of James Cole, but I'll wait for further word from my cousin Gary on this.

James Cole (1717?-1798) Birthplace unknown. Was living and working in King & Queen County, VA as a joiner and carpenter in 1790. Married Susannah Gatewood (born around 1766-1774) and had two sons, John G. Cole and James Cole. Moved to King William County sometime in the range of 1793-1798 and died in 1798. We have almost no records of him except those arising from a business dispute from a transaction with William Richards in 1790. His sons were sued over this in Caroline County over 25 years later, and you can get a great feeling of the period from the text of the Richards vs. Cole chancery suit. After James' death, Susannah married Jesse Goulden and lived in Caroline County, where the Coles would remain for most of the 19th century.

John Gatewood Cole (1792-1864?) Like his father, John Gatewood Cole was a carpenter. Born in 1792 (probably in King & Queen County, VA), his family moved to King William County sometime prior to 1798 when his father died. His mother appears to have married Jesse Goulden of Caroline County sometime prior to 1810, and John most likely grew up in this household. He married Nancy Robinson Broaddus in Caroline County in 1812, mostly likely living in the vicinity of Sparta, Alps or Whites. In 1814, he and his mother Susannah were involved in a 'friendly' suit with his younger brother James to divide up his father's estate--which consisted of two slaves named Judy and Charlotte. In 1817, the estate of William Richards heard about this and sued John & James for money that their father owed for a horse purchased in 1790. John G. Cole shows up on the 1820 Census with a big household, but in 1850 the census shows John & Nancy living in the home of Charles Smoot. (we know of no relation) In 1860, the Census shows them living in the household of their daughter Susannah Fannie Cole and her husband, Charles Woolkfolk Jones in the vicinity of Whites Post Office. John died in 1864 and Nancy died in 1862. Both were buried at the Upper Zion Baptist Church, located on what is now Fort A. P. Hill.

William Harold Cole (1826-1903) I look forward to finding out more about this gentleman. His final resting place is supposed to be at Upper King & Queen Baptist Church near Newtown, VA. There is no marker. The 1850 Census has him employed as a manager and living alone in Caroline County. The 1860 Census has him listed as an overseer and living in Spotsylvania County. He also served in Company D of the 30th Virginia Infantry during the Civil War. (this was a Spotsylvania unit, the "Mount Pleasant Rifles") His brother Mordecai was in Company F, the Bowling Green Guards. There is an inscribed photo of William H. Cole in uniform in the possession of my cousin Milton Thacker of Appomattox.

So far, I cannot find William Harold Cole's service record, but he is described in the 30th VA's published regimental history. In 1853, he married Harriet George Thornley, a step-daughter of his older brother James Singleton Cole. In 1870, he was farming for himself in Caroline, and his brother Mordecai was living with him and working as a carpenter. In 1874, he married his second wife, Jane Maria Page and at some point moved to Newtown [King & Queen] VA, where he lived until his death in 1903. We believe that he is buried somewhere at the Upper King and Queen Baptist Church.

Henry Judson Cole (1855-1915) - Born in Caroline County, Henry Judson Cole lived and farmed in the vicinty of Sparta, raising a family with his first wife, Lucy Smith Broaddus, the daughter of his aunt Martha Jane Thornley. After Lucy died with the birth of their 12th child, Henry married Lura Elizabeth Jones (daughter of his aunt Susannah Fannie Cole) and moved to Hanover County. Lucy is buried at Salem Baptist Church in Sparta [Caroline] VA.

Note: It might seem unusual today for a man to marry not one, but two of his first cousins, but this was quite common not only the Cole family of the 19th century, but in the much larger Broaddus family going back to Colonial Times. Through Nancy Robinson Broaddus, we are descended from colonial immigrant Edward Broaddus (1680-1752) through both of his wives, Dolly Gwinn and Mary Shipley.

Henry and Lura Cole appeared to occupy two different farms in Hanover. The first was located immediately north of today's Hanover Wayside Park, and second one was immediately east of the present-day factory on AMF Drive near Mechanicsville. After Henry's death, his wife Lura moved into a small house near Ellerson. (located directly behind the Valero station at Meadowbridge & Atlee Roads) Living with her were her son Hollis and his wife Lottie, who was a telephone operator. That house is said to have housed the first telephone exchange ever built in Hanover County. Lura lived there until her death in 1924.

The final resting place of the Henry and Lura Cole is the cemetery of Cool Spring Baptist Church, on Atlee Station in Hanover County. Specific gravesites are unknown, so a general marker has been placed to identify those who are there.

Harry Judson Cole, Sr. (1898-1959) - "Dick" Cole was my grandfather. He came to Richmond before 1920, and worked various jobs, most notably as an electrician for the street car company. He married Pearle Allen in 1921, and in 1923 had his first son Harry Judson Cole, Jr. In 1925 purchased his lifelong residence of 515 Bancroft Avenue in Highland Park. Unfortunately, tough times came and he had to move to Newport News to work as an electrician in the Newport News Shipbuilding and Drydock Company. My father Gilford Allen Cole was born there in October 1930. After the return to Richmond, he worked for years as a collector for Templeman's Furniture and his last job--I think--was with Haverty's. He was a member of Northside Baptist Church for most of his life. His resting place is at Riverview Cemetery in Richmond, VA along with his wife Pearle, her parents and sisters.

There are two notable things about Dick Cole. First is the fact that he was a very hard working man (six days a week for most of his life), but he always found a way to lend money to his brothers and his sisters-in-law during hard times--even when those loans hurt enough to cause tension at home. The second notable thing was his close friendship with my other grandfather, George Cramer. They were fond of going to wrestling matches at the Richmond Arena, and were known for showing up at home with melted grocery items after their shopping trips took detours to the arena. Dick died on Christmas Eve 1959, and George Cramer joined him in six weeks on Feb. 5th, 1960. I'm sorry to have lost them at so young an age.

Gilford Allen Cole, Sr. (1930-2002) - My father Gilford Cole is currently profiled on the Allen page. His resting place is at Mount Vernon Memorial Park, Glen Allen, VA.

At some point, we'll get the genealogical research online.

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