BENJAMIN FRANKLIN COLE PHOTO LATER IN LIFE
Benamin Franklin Cole was born in 1830 in Palmyra, New York to Marquis Lafayette (Marcus) Cole (b. 1802 in PA.) and Debra Sherman (b. in Palmyra). His grandfather was also named Benjamin. He was married to Amy Cole. The elder Benjamin was a Justice of the Peace and later Highway Commissioner in Palmyra during the 1830's. By 1850 Benjamin may have been living with the John Rose family on a farm in Palmyra, Wayne County, New York (the Roses were all emigrants from England, having arrived in the US sometime after 1842). Benjamin married New York or English born Anna S. (b. 1835) and they had at least three children: Adelia (b. 1857),Adelbert (b. 1862) and Calista (b. 1865). By 1857 they were probably living in Wisconsin where their first child was born, but eventually moved to Michigan and settled in lonia County.
Benjamin stood 5' 7" with gray eyes, dark hair and a light complexion. He was a 31 year old machinist working for a railroad in lonia when he enlisted in Company D of the 3rd Michigan Volunteer Infantry on May 13, 1861. (Company D was composed in large part of men who came from western lonia county and Eaton county.)
During the Civil War at the Battle of Fair Oaks, (VA.)on May 31, 1862, Private
Benjamin Cole was shot in the mouth, the ball lodging in his jaw. He was treated
from June 4-16, 1862.Then during the Battle of Second Bull Run (VA.)August 29,
1862 Private Cole was shot in the right foot. By mid September he was reported
to be "doing well" in Trinity Church
General Hospital in Washington, D.C. He remained hospitalized until he was
discharged on February 11, 1863 at a United States hospital in Newark, New
Jersey for a fracture of the second metatarsal bone with loss of part of the
bone. In 1863 he applied for and receive a pension (no. 27890).
Benjamin returned to Michigan and settled back on his farm near his brother (1) George B. Cole in lonia County. By 1870 he was living on a farm (he owned some $3000 worth of real estate) in Sebawa, lonia County along with his wife and three children. By 1872 Benjamin was married to his second wife, Anna Boyle (what happened to the first family is not known) and had three more children: 1. William Franklin (b. 1872 in Greenville MI. d. 1942 in Mulvane, KS) married to Winifred (d. 1956, Emporia, KS.) William was an engineer for the Santa Fe Railroad living in Arkansas City, KS. Most of his working life.2. Harry Lee (b. 1877)3. George B. (b.1).Since William was born in Michigan it can be assumed he met his second wife there. :The family was living in Elkhart County, IN. in 1876. Benjamin was still working as a machinist. By 1880 the family was living in Florence, Marion County, KS. It is assumed that he was trying his hand at farming, but his,war wound caused him a significant amount of pain and hindered his work. Every place he move he obtained a medical exam and affidavit from a doctor to receive a disability pension. Although he continued to work different jobs, he continued to receive a pension for the rest of his life.
Family stories suggest that in 1885 or 86 Benjamin wanted to go further west but his wife Anna refused to move so they separated. Their divorce became final on March 20, 1886. .
Benjamin headed to Belle Meade (Meade) in southwestern Kansas in 1886 and filed
a claim on Crooked Creek south of Meade. Soon after, he crossed over the border
into "No Man's Land" (Oklahoma panhandle) and took "Squatter's
rights". He paid $16 at the land office in Beaver City. He built a sod
house north of Gate City near the Tuttle Cattle Trail (which ran to Dodge City)
south of the Cimarron River. There was a hand-dug well on the trail
At this time Gate City consisted of a two room soddie, one room served as a general store with a wooden box set up serving as a post office, the other room was living quarters for the family that ran it. He married Alida May Rounds (b. 1866, Saginaw, MI. d. 1953 Ft. Dodge, KS.) Alida came west with her family by way of Hannibal, MO.,(Alida taught at an Indian school as a teenager in Missouri), Winfield, KS. (two of her sisters married here.) and southeast Colorado. The Rounds had moved with seven other families to southeastern Colorado in 1887near present day Springfield. They built a sod church and planted crops but were plagued by dought and later moved to Gate City taking a claim near Benjamin Cole. Benjamin asked Alida who was 35 years younger to marry him. They were married in Beaver City on August 28, 1890.
Alida was born with a medical condition which caused her to shake constantly. In those days they called it spastic or St. Vitas' Dance, but was probably some form of cerebral palsy. She dealt with it her entire life but evidently didn't let it become a handicap.
Benjamin and Alida settled into the sod house on his claim and soon had one daughter, Ina Roamy Cole (b. 1891) They gathered cow chips for fuel to bum and picked up cow and buffalo bones to sell or trade for groceries. Benjamin's pension brought in $36 every three months, so they were considered "well off' compared to many. The country was harsh and dangerous. Contact with outlaws, rattlesnakes and prairie wolves was a regular occurance. When Alida was making baby clothes for Ina, she came across some men's clothes strung along the prairie.A shirt had mother of pearl buttons, so she twisted them off to use on the baby clothes. She later found out that a horse thief had been caught, stripped and hung by vigilantes and it was his clothes she had found. In the meantime, Alida's parents moved to northern New Mexico near two of their sons who were mining in the mountains. In 1892 Benjamin,Alida and Ina moved to the thriving border town of Englewood, Kansas. Benjamin bought two lots in the east part of town and built a dugout, 17' x 18' .It had one big room with all the windows facing south. He also planted locust and box elder trees. Benjamin worked part-time as a hostler for the Santa Fe railroad, oiling the engines when they turned them on a turntable at Englewood, which was the end of the line. He also had a loom which he wove and repaired fabric. He walked with a cane all the time as his foot never really healed and was basically folded long-wise from a metatarsal bone being removed after he was wounded in the war.
At some point Alida's sister Orpha and her husband Frank Young along with their four boys moved to Englewood. They bought the Cattle King Hotel and ran it for many years...
Early in 1898,Benjamin became ill and was soon bedridden. A doctor was called for and he had them move him to the hotel where he died on May 10, 1898.
Alida applied for Benjamin's pension which the government denied several times before [mally allowing a widow and orphan payment. In addition to the pension, Alida took in washing during the day and ironed in the evenings. She also wove rag rugs which she sold. She eventually built a three bedroom house, room by room. After Ina finished 8th grade, Englewood had no High School at the time, so she went to live with her half brother, William Cole and his wife and attended High School, possibly in Florence, KS. for a year or two.
In 1909 Ina married Henry Alonzo "Lon" Ford a local cowboy. At first they lived with Alida in her house in Englewood, but Lon became foreman of the Campbell Ranch and their family moved there. Ina and Lon had five children: Bonnie Ford Swayze (b. 1912) , Bertha Ford "Stanley (b. 1914), Ina Catherine Pord (b. 1916), Henry Ford Jr.(b. 1921), and Peggy Ford Mills (b. 1924). Lon nin for the office of Sheriff of Clark County in 1931 and continued being sheriff through the mid 1940's.
Alida lived in her home in Englewood until 1945 when she fell and broke her hip.
She lived with Ina and Lon in Ashland until she was taken to Ft. Dodge Soldier's
Home in Ft. Dodge where she died on January 31, 1953, one day short of her 87th
PHOTO AND BIOGRAPHY CONTRIBUTED BY SISTER PATRICIA STANLEY, CSJ.