Finding Your Folks: Who the heck was Richard Cole?

Judy Fowler Kilgore's picture

This column is going to have both questions and miscellaneous facts since I'm curious, myself, about this Richard Cole. He appears in Coweta very early (1829) and I am trying to find out whether he is connected to the other Coles who were here … descendants of Robert Cole and Elizabeth Fambrough, or perhaps related to that Robert Cole somehow. Frankly, I have no idea at this point and I'm hoping someone out there can fill in the blanks. From Coweta court records, I know he was married to Susan Vance but I don't know where the marriage took place.

As I said, Richard appeared in Coweta very early, I believe he came from Oglethorpe County also, as did the other Coles, and purchased land in the First District of Coweta on 24 Dec. 1829. You will remember that some of the other Coles lived in the 10th District of Meriwether before moving over to the Fifth District of Coweta near Newnan. To my knowledge, none of the other Coles lived in the First District of Coweta until the late 1800s or early 1900s. For those of you who are unfamiliar with the land districts in Coweta, the First District is in the southeastern corner and takes in the towns of Haralson, Senoia, Turin and Sharpsburg.

Coweta Deed Book A, pages 337 and 338, shows that Lazarus Tilman of Jones County sold 202.5 acres in Land Lot 157 of the First District to Richard Cole of Meriwether County for $200 on 24 Dec. 1829. It is noted in the deed that Lazarus drew the land in the lottery. The witness was George Elliott. This land is located just slightly northeast of Turin, and it looks like Reese Road runs along the western boundary.

Richard bought more land in 1832, this time in the Fifth District, from Alexander W. Higgenbottom of Glynn County (Deed Book C, page 318). No county of residence is given for Richard in the deed but by this time he had already appeared in the 1830 Coweta census and was probably a resident of Coweta County. Again, the land was drawn in the lottery by the seller, Higgenbottom, and, again, Richard paid $200 for the entire land lot of 202.5 acres. The lot number was 184 and it appears to be about 8 miles north of Newnan. Witness to the transaction was John B. Tilman.

Richard bought two more tracts of land, one on 10 Feb. 1842 from Joseph Vance, probably his father-in-law (Deed Book G, page 143) and another on 23 April 1842, shortly before his death, from Samuel Evans (Deed Book G, page 140). Both were in the First District.

The land purchased from Joseph Vance was the north half of Land Lot 123 (divided from east to west) in the First District for $130. Witness was William Bailey. It was located northwest of Turin and southeast of Sharpsburg and is sort of the "empty space" between the two towns.

The land purchased from Samuel Evans is directly adjacent (west) of lot 123 and encompasses downtown Sharpsburg and the area where highways 54 and 16 intersect. It is described in the deed as " … where Joseph Vance now lives, 101.25 acres with the exception of three acres deeded by Joseph Vance to Elias Sharp …" The price was $500 and the witness was Richard Leavell. Both these lots were sold to Miles Jones on 7 Oct. 1845, 199.5 acres, by the administrator of Richard's estate.

Richard died in 1842, intestate, and Charles Leavell was the administrator of his estate. He left minor orphans Newton, Emily, Mary and Caroline, who each received about $300 when the estate was finally settled. Richard's widow, Susan Vance Cole, remarried to John Hunter, who received $4,290.64 " … in right of his wife Susan Hunter formerly Susan Cole …"

Apparently an older daughter also married a Hunter, as the estate papers read, " … to cash paid William J. Hunter in right of his wife Elizabeth Hunter, formerly Elizabeth Cole …" William received $290.64.

Richard's estate sale was held 14 Feb. 1843 and took up three pages in the court records. Some of the purchasers included Susan Cole (before she married John Hunter), Richard Leavell, John C. Vance, William B. Shell, W.E. Smith, James Ward, S. Dickson, J.J. Vance, Wm. L. Carmichal, Robert Bell, Charles Adams, John Williams, S.R. Evans, G.B. Davis, John Digby, John Wilson, Dan'l Jacobs, James Brown, Gordon Galoway, J.M. Shell, John Arnold and A. Summers. Most of you who have studied early Coweta residents will recognize many of these names as being residents of the First District.

The plantation rent for one year was $51 and the plantation where J. Vance lived was valued at $21,000. A Negro woman and her children were sold to S. Cole for $903.52 and 3/4 cent. No names were given.

So, who was this Richard Cole? Who were his parents? Where did he come from? Unconfirmed Internet sources say his birth and death dates were 18 May 1799 and 25 Oct. 1842 but his gravesite is not in the Coweta Cemeteries Book. In the 1830 Coweta census he was age 20-30 which would match his birth year and the court records match with his death date.

There is one coincidence worth mentioning and that is the Vance connection. James C. Cole, son of William T. Cole of Meriwether and Newnan, married Emily Sharp, daughter of Elias Sharp and Elizabeth Vance. Sharpsburg was named for Elias Sharp, so we know they were in the same area as Richard Cole's family. Was Susan Vance, Richard's wife, related to Elizabeth Vance, Elias Sharp's wife?


Stories about your families who lived on Atlanta's south side are always welcome. Send stories to or Mail to The Citizen, P.O. Drawer 1719, Fayetteville, GA 30214. All letters and e-mails I receive are subject to being used in the column.

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