Research by Stanley T. Cole, (1951), great-grandson of the late Congressman from Ohio, W. L. Cole, from his book, THE HISTORY OF MY TIME.
Thomas Cole, a Puritan minister, from Oxford, England, settled in Williamsburg, Virginia, with his wife and two children, in 1698. John, a third child, was born there in 1701.
The conclude of this family (tree) narrative, had its origin in England and planted its roots on American soil in 1698, is by William J. Cole, born in Fremont, Nebraska, September 18, 1885. By a previous marriage, 1909, I had one daughter, born in 1911. The wife died in 1916. The daughter married a United States Naval boy. She died in 1932, and he was lost in the Midway Naval Battle in the Pacific. In 1934 I married again, to Mrs. Mellie Wilson (nee Mellie Hunt); we have two children, a son, born in 1935 (Billy, nick name) Maynard, and a daughter, named Norma June, born in 1937. The son is married now (May, 1954), and the daughter is a junior in high school.
It is of much interest to relate here that the mother of these two children is one-eighth Cherokee Indian, and in view of the Indian blood in her veins, distantly related to the late, beloved humorist Will Rogers.
It is my hope, God willing, in the near future to revitalize the history of the times of this clan 1698, and in particular, from the beginning of the narratives of my grandfather, to this period by the study of his book, THE HISTORY OF MY TIME, which is replete with many momentous growth of this country and its changes in political and economic fundamentals, including the influencing and actuations of the period of my own life and times.
The following is all typed on a single sheet of paper. Though attributed to Daniel STENNARD, its source is unknown. (The Unicameral Amendment mentioned was adopted in 1934.) These newspaper articles appear to be someone's imagination, as you can see in a 1976 letter I received from the publisher of the Fremont Tribune.
Fremont Weekly Tribune, Sept. 24, 1885.
Born to County Clerk and Mrs. Cole, a son, at their home on W. 4th St., Sept. 18. The new-comer, according to his father, is a howling success and was named William John. Mrs. is a former school teacher in Fremont, and is reported fine. These young parents are very proud of the addition to the family. As usual, in similar cases, the County Clerk is passing out the cigars.
Fremont Weekly Tribune, January 16, 1886.
Fremont Weekly Tribune, January 23, 1886.
We used to think that this letter was proof that William John COLE served in the Nebraska legislature. View the actual letter. Any ideas about how "W. J. Cole" could have been typed on this letter?
F. L. Haller, Omaha, President
Lincoln, 15 December 1912Mr. W. J. Cole
I take it for granted that your chief concern just now is the business of the state you have been elected to serve in the Legislature. Knowing that you will be overwhelmed with pressing affairs as soon as the Legislature convenes, I take the opportunity at this time to call to your attention the work of the State Library Commission. Under separate cover I am sending you the last report of the Commission and I trust that you will read it with interest.
While the chief service of the Commission is to furnish library privileges to the people living in communities where they have no free collections of books, we also do a great deal for the small local libraries as you will find by consulting your own librarian, Miss Williams. That we can barely approach the task of serving the whole state with library facilities on $5000 a year can readily be seen but I hope that after reading this report you will feel that creditable results have been obtained with the amount at command. A new departure of the last legislature was to put a sum of money at the disposal of the Library Commission to be spent for suitable reading for the people in the state institutions. I hope that you will have an opportunity of asking Miss McMahon about the benefits of this work in your own institution. While we wish the support of all the Legislature in this branch of the state's educational work, we wish that support to be based on a knowledge of what work we are trying to do and the extent to which we are succeeding.
"White-Washing the Negro," the title of an article found among William's papers, appears to have been clipped from a magazine. The alleged article on this typed page has not been confirmed as true or rejected as untrue, but it seems to be plagiarized from the magazine article.
An excerpt from a speech by Wm Cole, before the Negro Club of Denver, entitled:
"White-Washing the Negro."
Mr. William Cole,
Dear Mr. Cole:
The following alleged article was found typed on a single page. It is included here because it claims that William COLE was a carpenter from Claremont, California, in 1926.
THE LIBBY CANNING PLANT AT CHINO CLOSED BY ORDER OF LOS ANGELES COURT
For a number of years attempts have been made at improving working conditions and treatment of women employees, mostly poor women, but have invariably met with failure, because of the coercive methods of the Company.
The Company has always operated on the open shop plan. The nucleus of a Company-sponsored union had always been encouraged. Quiet investigation, over a period of fifteen months, of a one man, self-appointed committee brought about and revealed conditions too revolting to print.
Wm Cole, a carpenter of Claremont and a representative of the American Federation of Labor, induced a number of the wives and daughters of his fellow-carpenters to get employment at the plant. It was through their co-operation of getting and compiling specific and definite data of continual violation of State Laws, as well as the County and State Sanitary laws designed to protect women workers, and the unafraid willingness of these selected workers to sign complaints that brought about the closing order from Judge Carlos A. Hardy of the Superior Court of Los Angeles County, closing the plant to make sanitary improvement and working conditions in conformity with the County and State Laws, the immediate payment of thousands of dollars to workers for over-time work, the prohibition of the use of the blacklist and the discharge of those signing the complaint and those who appeared as witnesses, the cessation of over-time work, except in cases of necessity to protect property or produce in danger of spoilage, the observance of the WOMEN'S AGE, WAGE AND HOUR LAW, AND A FINE OF $2500.00.
Many people feel that the penalties assessed against a monster-lust, degradation and cheating of women workers, the flagrant trampling under foot laws that have been approved by the people and sustained by the State Supreme Court, are wholly inadequate in proportion to the many revolting cases and practices presented to the Court.
This Mr. Cole seems to be a very reasonable and far-seeing man. He refuses to measure the value of the penalties imposed to the value of the good received by the workers in the days to come. From now on, we venture to say that this man Cole will be PERSONA NON GRATA by the unscrupulous employers of the State. It can be said with much gratification that he accomplished this service to the underpaid and under-privileged in the face of the fact and truth he succeeded where the constituted officials failed.
Whether the following article is genuine, it alleges to provide history just 3 months prior to my grandparents marriage in December 1933. I wonder if perhaps he typed this up prior to mailing my grandmother the original newspaper clipping (which is lost). Or did he fabricate the article as "proof" of his status?
For the first time in the history of Ontario, Labor-day was made an occasion of a colorful
celebration last Monday. Thousands heard the rare gifts of ready and pure elocution of the
Demosthenes of Labor: the Hon. William Cole of Claremont. He traced the struggles, the
hardships and poverty of the masses of the working people from Medieval times, the origin of the
Guilds in the Middle Ages, as the forerunners of the Labor Unions. He drew a vivid picture of the
last one hundred years in the United States and Europe, of the dire poverty and struggles of the
laboring people for a recognition of human rights. The right to organize, and to use that right, to
bring about a situation, to be as good, at least, as that of the least of burden.
The next 4 alleged newspaper articles appear typed on the front and back on one sheet of paper. Each is a comment on the speech reported above. If his purpose was to invent the whole thing for aggrandizement, why then is the first article so negative?
Los Angeles Times, Sept. 6, 1933
The speech by Wm Cole at Ontario on Labor day was a disgrace and insult to the intelligence of the people of that community, and the State in general, and a vicious and uncalled for attack on organized and patriotic business associations of the United States. The man knows how to use the English language to appeal to the so-called Roosevelt mob.
It was a rabble of an I.W.W., a dangerous communist and a menace to decent organized society. It can be put down as certain that this rabble rouser does not even represent, or speak, for but a very small part of the working people of California, and that part only the worst communistic elements that are using the laboring people as covers under which to spread discontent, destruction and decent established social conventions.
Oakland, Calif., Tribune, Sept. 10, 1933
The Address of William Cole, at Ontario on Labor-Day, has greatly ruffled the feathers of several gentlemen representing certain interests whose practices will not bare the light of day, find it more convenient to call the speaker names, than to offer any proof that the charges hurled into their repressive dens are not true. The Officers of the State Federation of Labor put themselves down on record that the speaker is very conversant with the facts as they are, and are only too well known by organized Labor and all other people who believe in fair play. These gentlemen are well aware of the fact that this man Cole has plenty more up his sleeve that they hope to smother under name-calling, such as the Times indulges in.
But the fact still remains that the conviction, in the Superior Court of Los Angeles County, of one of their kind, that received the wrath of the speaker's publicity, and as some are pleased to call it, "SURPRISING ASSAULT," still stands as a surprising confirmation of the stand of a man that is unafraid. If Cole is wrong, the Judgement of the Los Angeles County Court is wrong. But if the Court is right, and judging from the approbation of the public, and the acceptance of the verdict by the convicted, it must be right, then Mr. Cole is right. The Times realizes that it is one thing to indulge in name-calling in the matter of decisions of our Courts and individuals dedicated to fair play and elimination of oppressive restriction on Organized Labor Unions.
There is no doubt that William COLE was a carpenter, as I have seen his work with my own eyes, and he taught the trade to my father and my uncles. There is no doubt that he was a public speaker, as I have read many of his speeches. He was a school teacher around 1897 to 1900. The following article, if genuine, indicates a continuing interest in public school education.
Wm Cole again added laurels to his prestige as a public Speaker, in an address at Claremont yesterday, at the teachers session of northeastern Los Angeles County, in the hall of music at Pomona College. The address was the shortest, as well as the best in its effect upon the hearers, out of a dozen delivered to the teachers. President Studebaker, of Pomona College, declared: "It certainly stamps the man as a master of English language, fine diction and a profound exponent of present day needs and modern trends." Because of its brevity, clarity of thought and value of logic, the Sun gives it in full.
THE ADDRESS: - I cannot but feel impressed with the grandeur of purpose and the magnitude of
the results of the profession of which I choose to speak. I do not know we fully realize the
widespread benefits of our most commendable public school system. It has contributed more to
our national greatness than any other one factor. By it our country has attained the foremost rank
among the learned nations of the earth. It is the most sacred of our free institutions.
Along with the 1912 letter from the Nebraska Public Library Commission, the following letter from 1950, found among William's papers, is quite a mystery. The letter allegedly arrived with a letter (which I've seen) from Congressman Trimble on his letterhead about a different matter. In Mr. Trimble's letter there is a P.S. which mentions the census letter being enclosed. However, the typewriter used in the P.S. does not match the body of Congressman Trimble's letter. The letter below was typed on plain white paper with no letterhead and no signature. Regardless of the letter's authenticity, if you subtract 9 years from most of the dates, the information provided in this letter is generally accurate, except that the 1890 census burned in 1921. So, any ideas about what purpose this letter could have really served?
Honorable James W. Trimble
House of Representatives
Dear Mr. Trimble:
I am writing in reference to your recent communication, in which you expressed interest in behalf of Mr. Wm J. Cole, of Harrison, Ark., who, seemingly is uncertain, and in a dilemma, as to his exact age. In accordance with the data supplied by Mr. Cole to you that you have furnished, we find this record in the census of 1890 for Colfax County, Nebraska, and we feel certain that it covers his case and will be to his satisfaction.
John Tuma, by virtue of his father's naturalization in St. Louis, Mo., 1871, American
citizen; born in Germany, 1858.
The following is the first page attached to several pages that make up a speech on unicameralism, allegedly presented by William COLE in 1952 in St. Louis, Missouri. The page here is significant as it claims that Mr. LARKIN knew my grandfather as a child, and the introduction mentions several significant events in my grandfather's life during those once-missing 3 decades. None of the "facts" of this letter can be verified. Most have been disproven. If William COLE was not the man of distinction claimed here, I would think the opponents of unicameralism in Missouri that year would have exposed him in order to derail the campaign.
Friends and fellow-citizens: by virtue of my chairmanship of UNICAMERAL
ASSOCIATION has fallen to my lot [and] pleasure and great privilege of introducing, to you, our
guest speaker and my boy-hood acquaintance, whom I first met on his first day in school over 60
years ago, on the frontiers of Nebraska.