Finding Your Folks: Errors in some Cole records

Judy Fowler Kilgore's picture

I have come across some errors in the official records that I feel need to be addressed before we go any farther on the Cole family we've been researching for the past few weeks. I had given you some deed information on Richard Cole, the earliest ancestor we have found so far for one Cole family, who purchased land in Coweta in 1829 and 1832. The first record was accurate except possibly for the county of residence of the seller, Lazarus Tilman. The second deed contained a serious error in location.

I found these errors when I was comparing the list of land lottery winners to the land lots and districts on the deeds themselves. Both of Richard's purchases were from persons who had won the land in the lottery. Lazarus Tilman did, indeed, win Land Lot 157 in the First District of Coweta which is down near Sharpsburg and Turin. The lottery records say he was from Jasper County and the deed says he was from Jones County. The discrepancy is significant you are attempting to track the movement of Mr. Tilman and find him in other county records. I point this out only for the benefit of those researchers who are related to him. Richard sold all of this land to George B. Herbert in 1831.

A huge discrepancy is found in Richard's second purchase of Land Lot 184 from Alexander Higgenbottom (who won it in the lottery), stated on the deed to be in the Fifth District, which would place the lot up north of Newnan. It was nowhere near there.

Alexander Higgenbottom didn't win land in the Fifth District - he won land in the First District, according to lottery records, and that land is adjacent to Lot 157 which Richard purchased earlier from Lazarus Tilman and sold to George Herbert. Now things start to make sense. Richard purchased a second lot (184) adjacent to the one he had just sold (157) and it appears to be at the end of the road where Tranquil Cemetery is located today. There is no burial place for Richard (who died in 1842) or his wife, Susan Vance Cole Hunter (who died in 1890), in the Coweta cemeteries book but several members of his family are buried at Tranquil. If Richard owned the Tranquil Cemetery land, my money would bet he was buried there. Susan's second husband, John Hunter, is buried with his first wife, Abigail Johnson Hunter, at Tranquil.

Another error was found in the Tranquil Cemetery section of the Coweta Cemeteries Book (page 24).

In the third column down on the right under W.T. Ragsdale it is stated that Arbesena Ragsdale was Arbesena Cole, daughter of Richard Cole and Susan Vance. Arbesena was the daughter of Susan but she was a Hunter, not a Cole. She was the daughter of Susan Vance Cole and her second husband, John Hunter. Census, cemetery and marriage records attest to this.

Arbesena was born 14 Feb. 1850, eight years after Richard Cole's death. She appears, age 8, in the 1860 census with her parents, John and Susan Hunter. Arbesena Hunter married W.C. Ragsdale on 14 Jan. 1886 and they are both buried at Sharpsburg Baptist Church. Those of you who have this cemeteries book may want to make a correction.

I also received the much-anticipated package from Bob Johnston in California. Bob not only sent his personal research file on the Richard Cole family, but also sent information from Jeannette Holland Austin's book, "Georgia Bible Records" (©1985) which contained two separate Bible records on the Isaac P. Gay family and an "old paper" on the Richard Cole family. The "old paper" was found tucked into the Isaac Gay Bible owned by Mrs. Carolynne Gay Sumner of Hartsville, S.C. The other Isaac Gay Bible record was owned by Mrs. W.W. Redwine of Fayetteville.

The connection of these two families (Cole and Gay) is found in the marriage of Richard Cole's daughter, Pelina Caroline Cole (also seen as Caroline P.), to Sanford Gay, son of Isaac Gay and Elizabeth Shepard (Redwine Bible) or Shepherd (Sumner Bible).

Although the information in the Cole family insert is unsourced and unverified, the information somewhat matches Richard's probate records here in Coweta County. Although I don't like to do it unless I warn you, I do occasionally pass on unverified information. Sometimes to ignore information just because it's not verified is to miss out on a lead that could uncover tons of information.

The "old paper" says that Richard Cole and Susan Vance were married 1 July 1827, location not given. They had the following children:

(1) James Madison Cole b. 11 April 1828, d. 16 Dec. 1862; (2) John Newton Cole b. 27 Feb. 1830, d. 20 Oct. 1862 (from other records, m. Mary Britton); (3) Elizabeth Jane Cole b. 8 July 1833 (from other records, m. William Johnson Hunter); (4) Emily Carr Cole b. 8 Dec 1835, d. 6 April 1867 (from other records, m. John A.Z. Shell); (5) Mary Louvenia Cole b. 7 Feb. 1838 (from other records, m. William N. Cole, relationship unknown); (6) Pelina Caroline Cole b. 2 Feb. 1840 (from other sources, m. Sanford Gay). I have seen several references to the name "Perlina" in this family and I wonder if that's what Caroline's name is really supposed to be.

This "old paper" also says that Richard Cole died 25 Oct. 1842, Susan Overton Hunter died 12 March 1890, and John Hunter died 20 Nov. 1871. Perhaps Susan's full name was Susan Overton Vance Cole Hunter.

I had a chance to look at John Newton Cole's estate records last week and I'll tell you about them next.

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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