William Cole was the son of John Cole and Mary James. He was born on 11 December 1828 at Cradley,
The Cole family belonged to the sect known as “The United
The Cole family, consisting of John Cole, his wife Mary
James Cole, their two boys William and John, and three girls, Elisabeth, Sarah
and Jane Louise left
John and Mary had two other daughters, Susanna and Mary H.
who were born in
On 21 Jun 1844 John Cole went to church in Nauvoo. When he came home, he found his wife, Mary,
ill in bed. He stirred up the fire and
sat down on a chair near the stove to wait for the room to warm up. He fell over, and when he struck the floor he
was dead. According to the records at
the Visitor’s Center in Nauvoo and read by Susan Jones, a descendent of John
Cole, John Cole owned land two blocks from the
His death left his wife, Mary, with six children to care for. William Cole was the oldest son, and he took over the responsibility of taking care of the family.
Along with the other Saints, the Cole family was driven to
In the spring of 1846, the people of Nauvoo were driven west
by the angry mobs in
They lived at Winter Quarters all that winter. Almost all of the company suffered with black scurvy, and many of them died with it. In the spring William started with it. They dug artichokes, onions, and horse radish, all of which helped to break up the disease.
Then William went to
They traveled west in Bishop Hunter’s hundred, Joseph
Horne’s fifty and William Taylor’s ten.
They arrived in
In the fall of 1849 during the Gold Rush, William went to
William returned from
On 28 Jul 1860 William’s mother, Mary
Cole, married John Taylor’s father, James Taylor, in
According to Nephi Ward Records, William Cole married
Elizabeth Sarah Jenkins in 1856. She was
the daughter of James Jenkins and Elizabeth Wright. A son, John William Cole, was born 2 Feb 1857
The Nephi Ward records also indicated that on 29 September
1857 William Cole married Emma Jenkins, a sister to his first wife. They were married in Nephi by Bishop Jacob G.
later received their endowments and were sealed in the Endowment House 10 Aug
1867 by Wilford Woodruff. William was ordained a High Priest 3 Sep 1892
by William Paxman and received the second washing and
anointing in the
William and Emma were the parents of 15 children:
Name, Born, Died
William Cole, 23 Mar 1858, 03 Apr 1933
James Edward Cole, 18 Jan 1860, 18 Nov 1926
Emma Eliza Cole, 22 Dec 1861, 07 Nov 1865
Sarah Elizabeth Cole, 13 Feb 1864, 19 Feb 1942
Edgar Cole, 10 Jan 1866, 15 Apr 1880
Wilford Jenkins Cole, 25 Nov 1867, 23 Jan 1961
Cora Ella Cole, 13 Aug 1869, 21 Sep 1945
Mary Ann Cole, 17 Feb 1871, 08 Dec 1968
David Jenkins Cole, 05 Dec 1872, 06 Dec 1951
Urban Cole, 29 Oct 1874, 22 Sep 1911
Claude Vivian Cole, 02 Aug 1876, 06 Feb 1941
Richard Roscoe Cole, 30 Jul 1878, 01 Feb 1924
Edna Cole, 23 Sep 1880, 10 Nov 1934
Clara Delia Cole, 28 Jul 1883, 24 Aug 1958
Ruby Cole, 19 Sep 1885, 22 Sep 1953
They also raised three other children:
Ruby Sarah Elizabeth Cole Stickney
David Samuel Cole
Emma Guen Cole Davis
who were children of their son, David Jenkins Cole and his wife, Sarah Elizabeth Coulson Cole who died in childbirth.
During the early days in Nephi, the Indians were still bad in that area, so they decided to build a fort around the town, and William helped build it. It was nine feet high, three feet thick, and fenced off nine blocks, three blocks square. The settler’s cabins were all inside the fort. They had very little food while building the fort. Everyone ate weeds cooked for breakfast, a cold potato for dinner, and more cooked weeds or wild oxalis bulbs for supper.
William learned to speak the Ute language and it was a great help to him many times. The Indians were very bad around Nephi at that time. It was necessary for the settlers to gather wood in a group rather than alone. However, one time the entire group was captured. William Cole talked to the Indians and begged them to let the settlers go. At last they were released. If he hadn’t known the Ute language, they probably wouldn’t have come away without any trouble.
One other time while the settlers were gathering fire wood, the Indians captured a group of men. They finally let all of them go, except one. They took out knives and operated on him, leaving him to die. The settlers found him alive, but he was sick the rest of his life.
Three years after William and Emma were married, William
broke his leg. Inasmuch as there were no
doctors in Nephi at that time, the settlers were forced to doctor
themselves. A neighbor named
William had two children at this time. He couldn’t’ work, so he got a job herding cattle during the summer. Riding a horse that summer helped his leg to hear.
The two-story house William built for his family out of adobe brick is still standing in Nephi (1953) and people are living in it. It is located just three blocks from the main part of town.
In August of 1953, Donna Cornia interviewed Mary Ann Cole Francom, a daughter of William Cole. She stated:
Father was a small, thin man and very quiet. The children were very obedient to him, but it was Mother who disciplined us. Mother was jovial and full of un, but Father would never let us joke with her even on April Fool’s Day. He felt it wasn’t showing her enough respect and reverence.
Father came to
My hair was cut for the first time when I was twelve years old. Father always wanted my hair long and I remember one time, when I had it cut, I wore a bonnet all the next day so he wouldn’t see it.
When my sisters and I were old enough to go out with fellows, Father allowed us to go to only one dance a week. We had to be home at 9:00 o’clock in the winter and 10:00 in the summer. We could never stand at the gate and talk to our boy friends, but we could ask them to come in the house.
Father was a liberal giver to all donations and always picked the most choice items when he paid his tithing. He was a farmer all his life.
In his obituary it states that he acted as an usher at the tabernacle for years, and while he was an “unassuming person,” he had always been a faithful Latter-day Saint. He enjoyed good health until the last four months of his life. He did not suffer much pain, but was very weak and confined to his bed for the last four weeks of his life.
William Cole died 13 March 1911 in Nephi. In the cemetery records it indicates that the
cause of death was “general debility.” On
the death certificate it states that the chief cause of his death was
apoplexy. He was 82 years old at the
time of his death, and was buried in the
The above history was written by great granddaughter, Donna Cornia, from various written accounts and from information given by William Cole’s daughter, Mary Ann Cole Francom, to Donna Cornia in August, 1953.
A handwritten history, author unknown.
Nephi Ward Records, Films 0026218 and 1033729
Vital Records Index-British Isles, FHL 992143.
Endowment House Records, Film 1149515.
Mary Ann Cole Francom, daughter of William Cole as told to great granddaughter, Donna Cornia, in August, 1953.
Susan Jones, a great granddaughter of William Cole.
Cornia, Donna Vee. History of William Cole. 5 Nov 2000. Copied 22 Nov 2005 from an original publication by J.F.