Rev. John Cole, Greenville, was born in Cumberland County, Kentucky, January 9, 1812. He is the son of Samuel and Mary (Brown) Cole. Samuel Cole was born January 23, 1778. He was married to Mary Brown December 6, 1798; she was born January 5, 1779, and died November 11, 1851. They were the parents of ten children, of whom the following are now living: Benjamin, who was born June 17, 1809, and now resides in Kansas; John, of Bureau County; Nancy, born October 24, 1816, now in Texas, and David, born April 22, 1823, now of Clay County, Ill. Sampson Cole, the oldest son, was born July 8, 1801. He came to Bureau County in 1831, when he removed to Arkansas, then to Texas, and finally to Los Angeles, Cal., where he died in 1881.
In about 1822 John Cole removed to Memphis, Tenn, with his parents, and a short time after this to Arkansas, where the father died. In 1825 the family settled in Union County, Ill, where our subject remained till the spring of 1830, when he settled in what is now Champaign County, and in November 16, 1831, he came to this county, and has since resided here. During the Black Hawk war he enlisted at Hennepin, but most of his service was at Fort Wilbur, in LaSalle County.
When first settling in this county it was in Hall Township, but about a year later he settled in Selby, where he resided till 1866, when he removed to Tiskilwa, and December 20, 1882, came to the farm one-half mile south of New Bradford, where the family owns 432 acres, one of the best stock-farms in the county. Mr. Cole’s occupation has mostly been that of a farmer, but for some years he was engaged in the mercantile business in Tiskilwa. Mr. Cole’s early life was spent on the frontier, and among the Indians, and so he was thoroughly fitted to fill the part of a pioneer in the settlement of this county.
His was one of the early marriages of Bureau County, as he married September 30, 1832, to Jane Tompkins, who was born in Carter County, Tenn., September 19, 1817. She is the daughter of William and Elizabeth (Owens) Tompkins. William Tompkins was born November 20, 1772. He settled in Champaign County, Ill. In 1829, and entered land where Urbana now stands. In 1831 he removed to Bureau County. In 1834, while returning to this county from Tennessee, he died in Champaign County. Of his family of thirteen children but four are now living, viz: Martin, born July 3, 1809, now of Mineral, Ill.; Elizabeth Holbrook, born February 19, 1814, now resides near Tiskilwa; Mrs. Cole and Elijah Tompkins, of Clarke County, Iowa, born October 22, 1822.
Mr. and Mrs. Cole are the parents of the following named children: Elizabeth, born January 20, 1834, wife of G. B. Wheeler, of Kansas; Maria J., born December 31, 1836, wife of William Chenoweth, of Arispetown; Mary L., born April 5, 1844, wife of Robert Patterson, of Arispetown; Samuel, born June 6, 1848 and Charles W., born May 13, 1850. The two latter are farmers in Greenville town.
In politics Mr. Cole was Democrat till 1856, since which time he has been Republican. For about forty-seven years he has been a member of the Methodist Episcopal Church, and most of the time a minister, and has probably preached more funerals that any one else in this county, and has married a number of couples, children of those he had married in early life.
Source: History of Bureau County, Illinois, H. C. Bradsby, Editor. World Publishing Company Chicago 1885