Friday, May 29, 2015

The Elusive Charlotte Martin

I often wonder, with all the generations, documents, DNA testing, and new technology, why some of our ancestors are elusive. Take Charlotte Martin, wife of Jeremiah Cole, for instance. With the hundreds, maybe even thousands of people who have tried to discover her parentage, why haven’t some documents or tidbits of information risen from obscurity and surprised us all?

Census records are no help. If only the early census takers understood the importance of writing down individual names for every family. So many more puzzles would have unraveled today with the addition of that information. Yet the census records claim our Charlotte Martin was born anywhere from 1790-1795, even though her tombstone claims she was born in 1805. Some argue to believe the census record over the tombstone, but as history has shown us, both sources have proven inaccurate from time to time.

County histories of the places the Coles resided confuse the subject even more. The Coles lived in that specific area of Tennessee once claimed by Virginia, Tennessee, and North Carolina at different times. Documents suggest Charlotte was born in North Carolina. We can only guess whether her birth took place in the long-established counties of that state or whether she was born in Tennessee when North Carolina claimed the territory. The possibilities are endless.

Further rumors arise because researchers have confused Charlotte Martin with the daughter of Valentine Martin who was born in Surry County, North Carolina. Valentine’s daughter, Charlotte, was born on the 5 May 1795. Yet, I continually find that information connected to that of Jeremiah Cole’s wife, Charlotte.

Another practice that adds to the muddle is the insistence of some researchers to site Charlotte’s middle name as Idella. I have yet to find a record that proves this.

One claim we do know, is that a particular Joseph Martin lived on the property abutting Jeremiah Cole’s land in Carrollton County, Georgia. My next target of research is to find this Joseph Martin in the census records and discover what family is attached to him. Maybe if a member of that family has taken DNA testing we can discover a connection. It’s worth a try if we are to dispel the unsubstantiated claims of the present research.

Thursday, April 23, 2015

Jeremiah Cole's Parentage

About fifteen years ago, a cousin of mine, Earl Gage Cole, contacted my mother about his research on  Jeremiah Cole's parentage. Earl sent his research to be included in the Pinson Pages, and he was determined to provide this information to the DAR in 2000. I never heard back on the results of his submittals, but I'd like to share what proof he puts forth that Jeremiah was the son of Solomon Cole and Mary Pinson.

Unfortunately, no vital records exist for Jeremiah Cole. I often wonder why a man who became First Lieutenant and Captain of the Carroll Company, Georgie Militia as well as a Justice of the Inferior Court of Carroll County has so many pieces of the puzzle missing concerning he and his wife Charlotte Martin's parentage? As in all genealogical mysteries, we must provide the pieces we have available so others who hold additional information might step forward and share. I look forward to the day when all of Jeremiah's life history will rise, like cream, to the surface of our understanding.

All we do know about Jeremiah's birth and death are on his tombstone. I am grateful members of the family have stepped forward to take care of the cemetery where he and Charlotte reside. A new tombstone has now been erected for him. Although, I understand from comments on the Internet that Charlotte's grave is almost unreadable now. I sigh with relief that my visit to the cemetery in 1980 resulted in some nice photos of her tombstone and that others have shared my pictures elsewhere. But I digress.

What else do we know about Jeremiah's parentage?  The following are the tidbits of information Earl Cole so dutifully presented:

  • 1800 and 1810 censuses of Laurens County, South Carolina show Jeremiah in the proper ages for the Solomon Cole family at ages 6 and 16.
  • Aaron Pinson's Will and Estate Settlement, 1807, names Jeremiah's three brothers, John, Joseph, and Solomon Jr. and states there is an under age heir as well. Jeremiah was 14 years old at the time of the estate settlement.
  • Additional proof of Joseph as son of Solomon Cole can be found in Henry Peden's book, Marylanders to Carolina.
  • State of South Carolina-23 October 1821-Jeremiah is witness to Solomon Cole buying land in the Laurens District. Jeremiah was 27 years old at the time. The land adjoining Solomon's plot is owned by Joesph Martin, possibly a relation to Jeremiah's wife, Charlotte. I am currently trying to discover which Joseph Martin was Solomon's neighbor.
  • On 7 January 1834, papers for the John D. Boyd estate show Solomon, Jeremiah, and Joseph Cole (father and two sons) buying equipment together. Moses Pinson's son, Isaac Pinson, is married to Catherin Boyd, John's daughter.
  • Showing family connections, Isaac Pinson, brother-in-law to Solomon Cole, wrote an affidavit in 1833 to convince the army of Solomon's participation in the Revolutionary War. Jeremish Cole witnessed a deed for this same Isaac Pinson who gave his son, Elihu Pinson, 100 acres in Laurens in 1826. The deed was contested when Isaac Pinson died.
  • Ample census evidence shows the Cole and Pinson families living in the same community of Laurens, South Carolina. John Cole: 1800, 1810, 1820; Joseph Cole: 1810, 1820, 1829, 1830; Solomon Cole: 1810, 1829; Jeremiah Cole: 1820, 1829, 1830 (he moves to Carroll County, Georgia in 1834). The Georgia census shows the Pinson family also moved to Georgia: Elijah Pinson: 1830 Halll County, Georgia; Moses and Elijah Pinson: 1850 Cass County, Georgia (Cass County is adjacent to Laurens County.)
  • Solomon dies about 1841 in Carroll County, Georgia. The 1790, 1800, 1810, and 1829 censuses show Solomon living in Laurens County where he bought land in 1821 and applied for a pension in 1833 (turned down). He is not in the 1840 Laurens County census.
  • Laurens District Coroner's Inquisitions of 1802-1865, filed on the 26 November 1822, refers to Jeremiah Cole as Jerry.
  • Special Census of 1829 in Laurens County lists Jerry Cole (Jeremiah), Solomon Cole, Joseph Cole with 9 other Pinson entries: Isaac, Marmeduke, John, and Aaron Jr. among them.
  • South Carolina 1840 Census Index lists no Coles at all, but the Pinsons are still present with one of the children being named Jeremiah Pinson.
  • Laurens, SC Wills: the estate sales of William Dandy-26 April 1823- shows collection and purchases by Marmarduke Pinson, Moses Pinson, and Jeremiah Cole.
  • Abstracts of early Laurens County, SC records: Before 1814 Solomon Cole, Jeremiah's brothers, and the Pinsons are involved in early transactions. After 1814, when Jeremiah is 21, he participates in the records. See below:
           1796-1797 - John Cole (age 22) and John Pinson
           1800-1806 - Solomon Cole and John Pinson
           May 1806 - Moses Pinson, Aaron Pinson, and Solomon Cole
           1805-1806 - Joseph Cole (age 22) and Solomon Cole
           1806-1807 - Moses Pinson, Aaron Pinson, and Solomon Cole
           1813-1816 - Moses Pinson and Solomon Cole

           After 1814
           March 1816 - Isaac Pinson and Jeremiah Cole
           June 1816 - John Fowler and Jeremiah Cole

Although the above information isn't absolutely conclusive, Earl Cole made a strong argument to support the case of Jeremiah as the son of Solomon Cole and Mary Pinson.

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Jeremiah Cole’s Children

I sometimes wish I had access to Jeremiah’s life through a tunnel that stretches all the way back in time. Piecing the parts of his life together from the hundreds of sources on the Internet is haphazard at best. Take Jeremiah’s children. One source says he only had twelve children, yet from the various letters, books, and documentation I’ve studied about his life, I have managed to come up with sixteen possible offspring. That’s where I need the readers' help. Maybe one of you has better sources or stories passed down through the family that can straighten out the muddle.

Below is my list:

1. Rebecca Cole born about 1805 Laurens County, South Carolina; married Henry L. Jones about 1825 Carroll County, Georgia 

2. Luduska Cole born 1816 Laurens, County, South Carolina; married Daniel Jones 9 Mar 1837 Carroll County, Georgia

3. Gilbert Cole born 8 Feb 1819 Laurens County, South Carolina; married Mary Elizabeth Haynes 21 Dec 1843 Carroll County, Georgia; died 24 Nov 1903 Carroll County, Georgia
4. Male X born about 1820

5. Lucintha D. Cole born 22 Dec 1821; married Joel Tillman Crisp 23 Feb 1825 Carroll County, Georgia; died 1 May 1896 Laurens County, South Carolina

6. Henry Morlan Cole born 2 Nov 1823 Laurens County, South Carolina; married Elenor Ellen Matthews Jan 1850 Jonesboro, Craighead, Arkansas; died 15 Jan 1905 Jonesboro, Craighead, Arkansas
7. Briswell Elizabeth Cole 13 Mar 1824; married Sidney D Jackson Wright 23 Feb 1845 Carroll County, Georgia; died 1866 Calhoun County, Alabama

8. Eli Franklin Cole born 6 Jul 1825 Laurens County, South Carolina; married Clementine Burke 20 Dec 1849 Carroll County, Georgia; died 24 Sep 1885 Jonesboro, Craighead, Arkansas

9. Pinkney B. Cole born about 1827 Laurens County, South Carolina; married Claudia Isadore Hinton 15 Aug 1857 Mayo, Lafayette, Florida; died in Carroll County, Georgia

10. William Avan Cole born 1829 Laurens County, South Carolina; married Martha Elizabeth McLeandon 1854; died 18 May 1862 Lauderdale, Lauderdale, Mississippi.

11. Susannah Cole born about 1830 Laurens County, South Carolina; married Henry Franklin Haynes 27 Sep 1840 in Carroll County, Georgia

12. Seaborn Vandiver Cole born 29 June 1831 Laurens County, South Carolina; married Nancy J. Beall 20 Mar 1851; died 10/16 Jun 1898 Carroll County, Georgia

13. Aaron John Cole 22 Apr 1832 Laurens County, South Carolina; married Rebecca Fielder 13 Nov 1851 Carroll County, Georgia; died 28 May 1902/1906 Jonesboro, Craighead, Arkansas
14. Jeremiah Martin Cole born 15 Jul 1834 Carroll County, Georgia; married Mattie Elizabeth Johnson 4 Aug 1857 in Carroll County, Georgia; died 24 Aug 1906 Bowdon, Carroll, Georgia

15. Young Alonzo Cole born 28 Sep 1836 Carroll County, Georgia; married Sarah Haskie Stephens about 1867 Jonesboro, Craighead, Arkansas

16. Mary Ann Cole born 1840 Carrollton, Carroll, Georgia; married Jacob Williams 20 Sep 1860 in Bedford, Tennessee; 

Four of Jeremiah’s Sons
Four of Jeremiah’s children, Henry, Eli Franklin, Young Alonzo and Aaron, moved to Craighead County, Arkansas a short time after the county was established. They were hunters and were pleased with the abundance of game they found in Arkansas. Henry led the way and came first to see what the state held for them. He sent back approval, and Frank and Aaron joined their brother in 1857. Frank and Aaron went back to Georgia to pack up their belongings and families, and took the long way back through Texas to check out that state in 1868. Texas wasn’t their ideal, and since they had found sufficient game in Arkansas, they decided to go back. Their brother Henry had already settled five miles north of Jonesboro, near the Sterling Springs settlement. In the year 1869 Y. A. Cole, the fourth brother, left Georgia and settled near his brother Henry.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Jeremiah Cole’s Miltary Service

Jeremiah Cole served in the Creek and Civil Wars. He belonged to the Carroll Rangers during the Creek War and to Company I, 56th Georgia Infantry during the battle between the states. The 56th Infantry Regiment was formed from the following counties:

  • Company A - Campbell & Coweta Counties  
  • Company B - Carroll County  
  • Company C - Carroll County  
  • Company D - Hall County  
  • Company E - Fulton County  
  • Company F - Cobb County  
  • Company G - Milton County  
  • Company H - Carroll County 
  • Company I - Carroll County  
  • Company K - Heard County.

In the beginning of his service, Jeremiah Cole was a private in an appraisement of the Carroll Rangers’ property in July 1836 during the Creek War (Captain Wagnon, Camp Thomas). They had been fighting hostile Indians in Florida -- and the officers made an appraisal to evaluate the horses at the end of their campaign to see how many would make it home. The troops’ property included horses, saddles, and guns, and on this particular date, John Long, 1st Lt., Volunteer Burnett, 2nd Lt., and Mathew Reid, Ensign, initiated the evaluation. John Long, Valentine Burnett, and Mathew Reid sign their signatures to the document. The list included the kind of horse a soldier used, the age of the horse, the price of the horse, the price of the saddle, and the price of the gun.

Private: Jeremiah Cole, Bay H, age 7, $90, $18, $10
Jeremiah continued to climb in rank as he served his country. My mother once came across a record that stated Jeremiah became 1st Lieutenant during the years 20 June 1834 and 5 July 1837. Later another record stated Jeremiah became a Captain.

J.I.C.,Carroll Co.,Capt. - Carroll co., Ga. 19 Mar 1838 MR., 1829 - 1841; 15 Jan 1845 to 6 Jan 1849

The 56th Georgia Infantry participated in many skirmishes. The army split the regiment and attached it to other units as the war progressed. The following is a list of the battles in which they participated.  The regiment surrendered at Bentonville, North Carolina.

Nashville, TN
Franklin, TN
Edisto Railroad Bridge, SC (February 7,1865)
Binnaker's Bridge, SC (February 9, 1865)
Orangeburg, SC (February 12,1865)
Bentonville, NC (March 19-21, 1865

Almost all of Jeremiah's sons served in the Civil War as well.

Friday, April 9, 2010

Jeremiah Cole's Beginnings

No one will argue that family history is a never-ending search for facts and details about our progenitors. I have an abundance of information to share about my family lines, so I had a difficult time determining where I wanted to begin. One of my ancestors, Jeremiah Cole, holds a special place in my heart because my mother and I found his obscure grave in someone’s backyard in Carrollton, Georgia many years ago (see Grave Sightings on this blog site). For some reason he and his family consistently bother me and send me on Internet hunts for the details carving out his life. This is where I begin my sharing of facts and my quest for more information.

Jeremiah Cole, son of Solomon Cole and Mary Pinson, was born August 1, 1793 in Laurens, Laurens County, South Carolina. In 1815/1816 he married Charlotte (Lotty) Martin who according to her tombstone was born in 1805 and died March 1, 1880 in Carrollton, Georgia. Many have confused Jeremiah’s Charlotte with a Charlotte Martin, daughter of Valentine Martin, born May 5, 1795 in Surry County, North Carolina. But I have no reason to doubt that our Charlotte’s tombstone supplied the correct date of her birth. A James Martin and several other Martin households were located in Laurens County, South Carolina between 1821-1850. I think we need to start our search with these families to see if we can find Charlotte’s parentage among them.

By 1835, Jeremiah moved his family to Carroll County, Georgia, surveyed in 1827, where he is found in numerous deeds. He moved near Old Concord Primitive Baptist Church and homesteaded enough land for all twelve of his children to have a home. He and his wife with some small children lived in the wagon until they could cut logs and build a log cabin to house their clan. They had to keep a fire burning at night to keep the wolves away, but they had plenty to eat because large droves of wild turkeys flocked in abundance throughout the area.

Concord Primitive Baptist Church was located four miles North of Carrollton on 113. It was one of the oldest in the County, having been built about 1836. The church stood for 140 years. Clergy had preached at Concord on the second Saturday and Sunday in each month. Some of the old members were the Reids, Upshaws, Coles, Chandlers, and Holcombs.This is the church that Jeremiah joined, and its cemetery, where his family finally laid him to rest.

In 1837, Jeremiah won the bid of $749 to build the second jailhouse of Carroll County. It took him two years to complete. The criminals were located on the top floor, which was called the dungeon. The lower floor was where they kept the prisoners of smaller crimes. The jailhouse itself was made from logs cut to a square foot and the building stood 20 by 24 feet. The dungeon had a double wall of logs and triple cell doors made of two-inch oak plank, lined with sheet iron. From time to time, Jeremiah worked on the jail, replacing broken locks and making repairs. Eventually, Jeremiah, became a Justice for Carroll County, Georgia. There is evidence that he was one of the four Justices who tried the first murder in the county.

I will share some facts about Jeremiah's military experience in my next post. If anyone has pictures of Jeremiah's family, please let me know in your comments below.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Correcting Past Mistakes

In the summer of 1991, my grandmother, Pauline Cole Root, funded a family reunion trip to Jonesboro, Arkansas. Every year in Jonesboro, the Coles of Cole hill and the vicinity round about that corner of the state, continue the tradition of reuniting family. My mother and I had written two books on the Coles and their allied lines and were asked to give the most comprehensive presentation they had heard up to that point.

I remember the trip well. My Grandma Root, my Uncle Tom and Aunt Julie, my step father and mother, Grant and Kathe Hollingshaus, and my baby son, Adam, and I piled into a rental van and drove the long miles from California and Arizona to Jonesboro. My grandmother’s whole family made the effort to come from all over the United States for this special occasion. Once there, we all slept on the floor of a cousin’s empty house, and I enjoyed getting to know many people I had never met and seeing all the family sites for the second time in my life.

I had written the reunion address based on the information my mother and I had gleaned over the years concerning the Cole family. I put together slides with music which I would show while I narrated our family history. Mom created a beautiful family tree with pictures to present to my grandmother, and we brought several boxes of our books to sell to family members who were interested. I also wrote a family newspaper called the “Bear Facts Gazette” recalling the story of my grandmother’s early years in Jonesboro with her brothers and sisters.

Since that reunion, much to our dismay, we discovered that the first Coles in America were not those we had presented in our book. My mother has expressed many times her regrets and how she wished we could have corrected the false information. Unfortunately, genealogy is a puzzle. The fact that our ancestors lived in a time when records were often poorly documented or destroyed in the carnage of the Civil War, the time and effort we take to piece the puzzle together can be haphazard at best. When new information is found, we must backtrack and veer onto a different path to discover our past—thus, the reason I have decided to compile another Cole History, using the current information I have from my mother and my research.

I know my mother would want me to do this. But in order to present the most accurate information to date, this project will take a collaborative effort from the Cole family.

I ask that all family members who read this blog peruse the information I present and leave corrections and additions in the comments section after each article. Hopefully, as we join forces, our efforts will allow me to compile a wonderful book for our posterity.

Knowing who we are and who came before us unifies the family of all men. It reminds us that we are children of God. One of my favorite passages from William Wordsworth’s “Intimations of Immortality from Recollections of Early Childhood” sums up my feelings about who we are.

Our birth is but a sleep and a forgetting:
The Soul that rises with us, our life's Star,
Hath had elsewhere its setting,
And cometh from afar:
Not in entire forgetfulness,
And not in utter nakedness,
But trailing clouds of glory do we come
From God, who is our home.

As more people join this blog site, I hope to hear your comments and learn from your intimate knowledge of the family.

Friday, January 22, 2010

Grave Sightings

In the summer of 1980 my mother and I took a genealogy trip to hunt for our Cole and Hager lines. We traveled through Arkansas, Georgia, South Carolina, Tennessee, and Kentucky, the very states where our ancestors thrived from the 1800s to the present.

One stop in Carrollton, Georgia was particularly memorable. Mom and I were discouraged because we had searched an abundance of cemeteries for my fourth great grandparents, Jeremiah and Charlotte Martin Cole, but had never found them. We knew they had lived somewhere in Carrollton, and one morning we set out in our rental car to a remote part of community to see if we had missed other cemeteries. About four miles north of town, along Highway 113, we stopped and scoured another cemetery, but, again, came away without finding anything.

And then we spotted a small country store with all the flavor of the backwoods nearby. A man was sitting in a rocking chair on the long porch, and I had to laugh. The sight reminded me of a scene from Mayberry RFD. I was pregnant and ailing with morning sickness, so I stayed in the car while Mom got out to see if the man knew of any Coles buried in the area. He pointed her down the road and gave her some landmarks that led the way to a local’s home and backyard.

When we arrived no one answered the door. We didn’t want to invade the people’s privacy and walk their property without permission, but we desperately wanted to see who was buried behind the house. Down the road several children were playing ball, so we went to talk with them. One of the older boys, Jerry, was quite friendly and assured us the children went back there all the time. He offered to guide us to the cemetery with the admonition to check our “breeches for ticks” when we came out again.

He led us through knee and waist-high grass to a grouping of graves. As I tread through the underbrush, I was mortified, fearing a snake would slither out from beneath a rock at any moment. The cemetery was in poor condition, many markers were broken in half and lying in the dirt. Parts of the ground had sunken in, and it was difficult to see what lay under the carpet of weeds. But in the midst of our examination, we found our treasure: Jeremiah and Charlotte’s graves.

Mom and I could hardly contain our excitement. We chalked the worn stones and took photos of the ancient markers. We found other members of the family nearby too. We floated out of the cemetery that day, and, luckily, there were no snakes to surprise us or ticks to infest our breeches.

Later we discovered the cemetery had been part of the old Primitive Baptist Church where Jeremiah’s family attended. Someone had even documented and printed a list of the graves found in that cemetery. It wasn’t until recent years that a preservation association went in and cleaned up the grounds after a feisty battle with the home owners to assure others could access the cemetery. I will always remember our day in Carrollton, Georgia. It was the day we discovered Jeremiah and Charlotte Cole actually lived and breathed in that part of Georgia.