Gideon P. Cole, a representative of the agricultural interests of Crawford county; is now following farming and stock-raising just outside the city limits of Girard. He was born in New Brunswick, at the head of the Bay of Fundy, on the 20th of March, 1827, and has, therefore, attained the seventy-seventh milestone on life's journey. He was the ninth in order of birth in a family of eleven children, all of whom are now deceased with the exception of himself and his sister, Mrs. Ruth Wheaton. His parents were Michael Grace and Cynthia (Estabrook) Cole, also natives of New Brunswick. The father was a farmer by occupation, and spent his entire life in the land of his birth, his death there occurring in 1869, when he had attained the age of seventy-six years. His wife, surviving him for some time, passed away in 1885, at the very advanced age of ninety-three years.
Gideon P. Cole was reared in the usual manner of farmer lads to whom toil comes in early youth. When still but a boy he began work in the fields. He was educated in the schools of New Brunswick, and at the age of sixteen years he went to sea as a sailor, accompanying his brother Rufus, who was a sea captain. He followed that life for five years and then made his way into the interior of the American continent, journeying westward to Illinois. He afterward spent another year as a sailor and then returned to Stephenson county, Illinois, where he followed milling and farming, conducting his dual pursuit there until 1868. In that year he sold his property and came to Kansas, driving across the country to Crawford county. He located in the northeastern corner of this county, about two and a half miles southwest of Cato, and there he lived until 1883. In that year he took up his abode at Farlington, where he remained for four years, and the succeeding year was passed in Girard, whence he removed to his present farm, pleasantly located just outside the city limits of Girard. Here he has one hundred and sixty acres of rich and arable land, and while living near Cato he was the owner of five hundred and thirty acres.
On the 25th of December, 1849, Mr. Cole was united in marriage to Miss Elizabeth Brown, a native of Michigan. They became the parents of nine children: Cynthia, who is now the wife of Leroy Hemmingway, of Liberal, Missouri; Mary, the wife of E. B. Black, who resides in Cato, Kansas; George, who is manager for the Illinois Life Insurance Company, at Topeka, Kansas, and is prominent in public affairs, having served as county clerk of Crawford county for three terms, while for three terms he was also state auditor of Kansas; Theodore, who died at the age of three years; Saphronia, who was a teacher in Crawford county for five years and is the deceased wife of R. T. Grant; Nettie, who was a teacher in Crawford county for ten years and is the wife of Dr. M. Coryell, one of the pension examiners of Fort Scott and a practicing physician and surgeon there; I. H., who is bond clerk at Topeka, Kansas, and was deputy clerk for four years; Nettie, who died at the age of four months; and Charles, who died at the age of three years. The mother of these children passed away on the 1st of August, 1870, and on the 12th of March, 1871, Mr. Cole was again married, his second union being with Sarah A. Brook, a daughter of Cooper and Harriet (Griffin) Brook, the former a native of New York, while the latter was born in Vermont. Her father died in 1885, having passed the eighty-second milestone on life's journey, and the mother passed away in 1894, when eighty-four years of age. To Mr. Cole and his second wife have been born seven children: E. Grace, who is engaged in teaching in the public schools of Kansas City, having followed the profession for seven years, she being a graduate of the schools of Girard and of the normal school; Gertrude B., who was educated in music, and is the wife of H. W. Hudgen, of Fort Scott, Kansas; Olive M., who died at the age of five months; Willis G., who is a graduate of the business college at Ottawa, Kansas, and is now engaged in the laundry business at San Jose, California; Rufus P., who died at the age of three months; Frederick O., who died at the age of nineteen months; and Ralph Gideon, who is now a student in the high school at Girard.
Both Mr. and Mrs. Cole hold membership in the Baptist church, take an active part in its work and do all in their power to promote its influence and extend its field of usefulness. For four years Mr. Cole has been one of the deacons of the church. He belongs to Girard Lodge No. 9, F. & A. M., at Girard, with which he has been identified since 1862, and in his life he exemplifies the beneficent spirit of the craft. His political allegiance is given to the Republican party, and he has been justice of the peace and road supervisor, and was a member of the school board for fifteen years. He takes a very active interest in all that pertains to the public welfare here, and has cooperated in the material, intellectual, political and moral advancement of the community. He has led a busy and useful life, characterized at all times by honorable dealing and by everything that is fair and just in his relations with his fellow men, and in the evening of life he receives the unqualified confidence and respect of those with whom he has been associated.Pages 491-494 from A Twentieth century history and biographical record of Crawford County, Kansas, by Home Authors; Illustrated. Published by Lewis Publishing Company, Chicago, IL : 1905. 656 p. ill. Transcribed by Carolyn Ward, in November, 2003.
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