Transcribed from "An Illustrated History of The Big Bend Country, embracing
Lincoln, Douglas, Adams and Franklin counties, State of Washington",
published by Western Historical Publishing Co., 1904.
JOHN C. COLE has the distinction
of being a member of the first party that settled in the Brents country,
the names of the settlers being mentioned elsewhere in this volume.
He came with team from Walla Walla across the Lyons ferry on the Snake
to Cottonwood Springs, now Davenport, and thence to Spokane. He had
the opportunity to purchase lots then (it was 1879), on what is now Riverside,
for twenty-five dollars per lot. Seeing nothing to warrant the investment
of that amount, he refused, although he had the money to buy with.
He returned to Walla Walla. In 1880, he came to the place where he
now lives, about four miles north from Creston, and located land.
For the first five years, he was obliged to go each summer to the wheat
fields of Walla Walla and work harvesting to get means to improve the land
the balance of the year. Working along this way, he built up a good
place and now has a fine estate. In 1886, our subject and his cousin,
D. R. Cole, built the first store in Wilbur and embarked in the general
merchandise business which was conducted successfully until 1889, all goods
being hauled from Spokane. Then he turned his attention to his farm
and since that time has labored assiduously for building up and improving
the country. Having amassed a goodly holding and demonstrated that
he is a man of ability and worth, who now is entitled to and generously
receives the confidence and esteem of his fellows.
John C. Cole. was born in Washington county,
Virginia, on May 18, 1858, the son of Andrew and Polly (James) Cole, who
are mentioned elsewhere in this work. He was educated in the public
schools and labored with his father until twenty years of age. In
1878, he came to Douglas county, Oregon, thence to Walla Walla, and later
on through the Palouse country and to Lincoln county as mentioned above.
In 1889, Mr. Cole married Miss Nellie A.,
daughter of John and Nancy Gross, and a native of Smyth county, Virginia.
In 1897, this lady died and in 1900, Mr. Cole contracted a second marriage,
Miss Sophia Olson, a native of Norway, becoming his bride on this occasion.
Mr. Cole has two children, Grover C., and Norge L. The first one
was one of the very first white children born in Wilbur. In 1888
Mr. Cole made a trip to Virginia, then back to Oregon, where he was married.
Mr. Cole has experienced the trying path of the frontiersman, and among
their other difficulties, they have had to endure the threatened attacks
of the Indians, under Chief Moses. He has met and overcome these
things in his career with a manliness and wisdom that have placed him above
obstacles and hardships and is now a substantial, respected man and patriotic