Finding Your Folks: A question about Emily Cole Singley

Judy Fowler Kilgore's picture

We're going to pick up where we left off last week with information from documents generously contributed by Tex Dix of Spalding County, a descendant of Emily Jane Cole and John Singley. The problem we had in the beginning was identifying the names of all the children of Jesse Cole (son of Robert Cole and Elizabeth Fambrough) and his first wife, Elizabeth Crawford. Elizabeth died before 1836, Jesse remarried, and all the "first" children were grown by the time the 1850 census was taken naming all his "new" children. We knew of only two sons for sure, Robert S. and William Thomas Cole, and that was only because someone had written stories about them in "Memoirs of Georgia" in 1895 and in "Coweta Chronicles" in 1928.

Tex found the names of Jesse's first family for us with those official documents from Henry County and I can't thank him enough for that. He did something similar to what I did at one time, and that is researching the person you think is not related so you can prove the one who is.

Tex's Emily Jane Cole Singley is thought by some to be one of Jesse and Elizabeth's daughters and by others to be the daughter of Marcus and Clarissa Strickland Cole. That is what we're hashing out here … and what we were doing last week when I ran out of room.

The documents Tex sent (photocopies of court records) do indicate that Jesse and Elizabeth had a daughter named Emily but she is never referred to as "Emily Jane" (or even Emily J.) and, in later censuses with her husband, Emily Jane Singley consistently says she was born in North Carolina, when our Emily was definitely born in Georgia, probably in Henry County.

Also in later censuses, Emily J. and John Singley are shown living next door to a Marcus Cole and his wife, Clarissa, who are from North Carolina. Tex maintains that these were his Emily's parents, not Jesse and Elizabeth. Tex also thinks that Jesse's child referred to as Emily and the one referred to as Elizabeth were one and the same.

While I am inclined to agree with Tex that his Emily Jane Cole Singley was more than likely the daughter of Marcus and Clarissa Cole, I am still mulling over whether Jesse and Elizabeth had separate daughters named Emily and Elizabeth. Because of the way the documents are written, I am inclined to believe there were two of them … Elizabeth and Emily, not "Elizabeth Emily."

We had examined four official court documents which named these children in various ways and there is one more, a deed, where the children's guardian sold the land in Henry County given them by their uncle, Thomas S. Crawford in 1829 (Land Lot 107 in the Sixth District). Henry County Deed Book K, page 258, states: " … I, William T. Crawford, Guardian for the children of Jesse Cole to wit Robert S. Mary Ann, Sarah, Frances C., Betsy E (or C) and William T. Cole …" and the document is dated 6 Dec. 1843. The land was sold to Elijah Foster, the highest bidder, at $301. Apparently the land was being sold to pay expenses for the children and had been properly advertised, as stated in the deed. It was recorded 18 Jan. 1844.

So, we see in this document there is no Emily and "Betsy" is more than likely Elizabeth. Was Betsy E. actually Elizabeth Emily?

There is one more thing Tex mentioned and that is the 1850 census of Henry County where the household of H.T. Stanfield shows an E.E. Cole (female), age 20, born in Georgia, living with H.T. and his wife, F.C. Stanfield, age 26. Tex believes this "F.C. Stanfield" is Frances Caroline Cole and her sister, Elizabeth Emily, showing that Jesse's daughter was born in 1830 in Georgia.

In the same census (1850) in Butts County (adjacent to Henry), household 318, is Tex's Emily J. (Cole) Singley, born about 1825 in North Carolina, married to John Singley. Her children are Mary, Elizabeth, James and John. Next door (household 319) are Marcus (age 63) and Clarissa (age 55) Cole, both born in North Carolina, with their children Thomas (18), Arrena (16) and Lethe R. (14, female), all born in Georgia.

That last child, "Lethe," is something we may have to take up another time. My dear friend Frances Arnold's husband had an ancestor named Aletha Ann Cole and she ended up in the same general area as these other Coles. "Aletha" may have been a Cole family name and might help us tie other Cole families together.

So, wrapping things up, were there two Emily Coles? Based on the evidence I've seen, I would say yes: one the daughter of Jesse and Elizabeth Crawford Cole and another probably the daughter of Marcus and Clarissa Cole.

Did Emily Cole, daughter of Jesse and Elizabeth, marry John Singley? Again, based on the evidence I've seen, I doubt it. But, I wish I had access to more Henry and Butts County records so I could find out what happened to both Emilys and who all the other daughters married.

Did Jesse and Elizabeth have a daughter named Elizabeth and another named Emily? Again, I do believe so. As for what happened to the younger Emily I do not know and would have to see more records to find out.

This reminds me so much of the Mary E. Tidwell situation we came across a year or so ago where there were two of them born about the same time to different Benjamin Tidwells. At least in Emily Cole's case the fathers have different names.

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.

login to post comments | Judy Fowler Kilgore's blog