Finding Your Folks: John Newton Cole

Judy Fowler Kilgore's picture

Well, I sure found out who the heck Richard Cole was, didn't I? I heard from many of you about Richard and his family, did some checking on the Internet, and did a lot of research at the Coweta Courthouse(s) and have pretty much exhausted my local resources on this family.

I still don't know who Richard's parents were but I do believe in my heart that if we go back there far enough, we will find him related somehow to the more famous Coles of Newnan who came from Virginia by way of Oglethorpe, Jasper and Newton counties. This would be the Robert Cole who married into the Fambrough family, his descendants, and the Williams and Johns who came before him.

Since our Richard was born in 1799, he would be a contemporary of Jesse Cole, born in 1797 (son of Robert and Elizabeth Fambrough Cole) - the one we chased through Georgia and into Alabama. That would make Richard's father a contemporary of Robert (Jesse's father) both probably born in the 1750s to 1770s, just to give you a rough time line on these earlier Coles.

My initial information on Richard's family came from that "old paper" stuck into the Isaac P. Gay Bible (so generously shared by Bob Johnston in California), since Richard's daughter, Pelina Caroline Cole, married Sanford Gay, son of the above named Isaac P. Gay. (I swear I believe her name was "Perlina.") Birth and death dates of Richard, his wife, and most of their children, were included in this "old paper."

I also found some information, some of it as yet unconfirmed, left in the Coweta County Genealogy Library's vertical files in 1991 by a Robert Ingram. Since both of John Cole's daughters married Ingrams (also seen as Ingraham), I am assuming Robert is a direct descendant of the family. A Robert Ingram (possibly the same one) also left information on online message boards regarding the Civil War service of John and his brother, James Cole. The messages are several years old and I have not confirmed their accuracy.

John Newton Cole was the second son of Richard Cole and all his estate records are on file at the Coweta Probate Office. I know his middle name was "Newton" because it is plastered all over the top of the pages of the annual returns books in huge, beautifully cursive letters. It says, as plain as day, "John Newton Cole." Not much is known about John's older brother and Richard's first son, James Madison Cole, except that both James and his brother, John, died during the Civil War.

John Newton Cole was born 27 Feb. 1830 in Coweta County and grew up in the Sharpsburg-Turin area along with his brother and four sisters. John was only 12 when his father died in 1842 and, I would imagine, he and his brother probably took over the male duties in the household until 1849, when their mother remarried. Her new husband was family friend and widower John Hunter, who had served as guardian of Richard Cole's children after his death. Later, the girls would choose their older brother, John, as their guardian.

On 24 Nov. 1850, in Coweta County, John married Mary Matilda Brittain, daughter of John Brittain and Lucinda Aikens, and they had four children:

(1) Emily Madora (Dora) Cole b. 12 June 1853, d. 26 Feb. 1907, married Virgil B. Ingram 13 Aug. 1868 in Coweta. There appears to be a family argument over Virgil's middle name, Blakely or Burrell. His gravestone says Blakely. Virgil was b. 31 Dec. 1842, d. 26 Dec. 1925 and is buried, along with Dora, at Sharpsburg Baptist Cemetery.

(2) Susan Alberter Cole b. 11 Oct. 1854 who only lived two years (unconfirmed, from Robert Ingram's notes in the vertical files. Could not find her in Coweta cemetery listings.).

(3) John R. Cole b. 4 Sept. 1856, married Emma Lula Sasser 16 Dec 1884 in Coweta. She was b. 30 June 1863, d. 24 July 1895, and was the daughter of William W. Sasser and Keziah Boyd. Lula is buried at Senoia City Cemetery and, as related before, is memorialized with a stained glass window at Senoia United Methodist Church.

(4) Narcissa Caroline (Carrie) Cole, b. 15 Jan 1857, d. 17 March 1903, married William Washington Ingram (also seen as Ingraham) 8 Jan. 1879 in Coweta. William was b. 17 May 1855, d. 22 Oct. 1915. He and Carrie are both buried at Tranquil Cemetery.

According to Civil War records online, John Cole died in Richmond, Va. on 20 Oct. 1862, with typhoid fever. His widow's pension said pneumonia. On Monday, Feb. 3, 1863, John W. Hunter applied for temporary letters of administration on his estate in Coweta County. Bond was set at $6,500 with security given by James Cureton. Permanent letters of administration were granted later. John Hunter continued to administer the estate through 3 Jan. 1887, when he was discharged and the administration deemed complete.

In John Cole's estate distribution (Annual Returns, Book R, p. 408) there were four heirs receiving equal shares: John R. Cole on 14 Oct. 1879, M.M. Cole on the same date, and N.C. Ingraham, and E.M. Ingraham, both on 9 Jan. 1880. All were children except M.M. Cole who was John's widow. Each received $105. Virgil Ingram purchased land from the estate in 1877 for $500. The number of acres or location weren't mentioned.

Bob Ingram's file shows that John's wife collected a Confederate pension of $60 per year beginning in 1893 and continuing until her death on 25 Nov. 1922. She is buried at Sharpsburg Baptist Cemetery.

As always, I welcome any additional information on this family.

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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