George Lester Cole (born 1840), the author's 2nd great grandfather, his wife Alida (Reas) Cole, and their 7 children and families, took up homestead in the Old Vegreville District of Canada's Northwest Territory during the years 1900 to 1902. Surnames of others in this family group who also relocated from the United States at this time were Leach, Harding, Tierney, and Trenhaile.
George and his friend, William Ross, laid claim to 13 quarter sections (over 2,000 acres) during their first visit to the area in 1899. The following spring, the Willis & Carrie (Crossman) Cole, Tom & Inez (Cole) Tierney, Ezra & Kate (Harding) Cole, and Merton & Sarah (Harding) Cole families arrived, and in 1901 Henry and Nellie (Cole) Trenhaile followed as did George, Alida and their teenaged daughter, Stella. Ezra & Etta (Cole) Leach arrived in 1902.
-1877 to 1901, George resided in Battle Plain, Rock, MN, near the towns of Hardwick and Edgerton.
-1864 to 1877, George lived in Milton, Dodge, MN, near the towns of Mantorville and Kasson.
-1849 to 1864, Ezra Cole b. 1790, my 3rd great grandfather and wife Venlora, and their friends and relatives in the Leach family, made their homes first in the "Indian Lands" of Marquette (later Dodge) Co., WI and then in 1855 relocated to Marion, Waushara, WI.
-May, 1842 to 1849, Ezra and his adopted Leach children lived in Downie and Blanshard Townships, Huron District, Canada West, near the present-day town of St. Marys, Ontario.
-1804 to 1842, Ezra lived in LeRay, Jefferson, NY.
-1796 to Feb, 1804, Philip Cole b. 1745 (the author's 4th great grandfather) lived in Litchfield, Herkimer, NY later called Winfield, Oneida, NY.
-Jun, 1793 to 1796, Philip resided in Wells, Rutland, VT where the couple's 8th child Sarah aka Sally was born. Sally married Henry Govin and this family later lived in Norwich, Ontario, Canada.
-1771 to 1793, Philip, wife Mary and seven of their children lived in the towns of Windsor and Williamstown, Berkshire, MA. The childrens' names were: Lucy (b. 1776, nothing is known of her so she may have died young); Philenda (b. 1778, married Luther Stevens); Mary aka Polly (b. 1781, married Nathan Cole, son of Benjamin Cole and Sabra Brown); Anna (b. 1783, married Isaac Cornwell); Olive (b. 1785, married Barnabus Eaton); Philip Jr. (b. 1788, d. May, 1804); Ezra (b. 1790, married Venlora Stratton-Leach).
Philip was a Windsor, Berkshire, MA Revolutionary War Veteran as were his brothers John and Benjamin. By analyzing various land transactions that occurred between 1771 and 1784 in Berkshire, MA, it seems certain that Philip's parents were Samuel Cole b. 1704 and Patience Allen of Pomfret, Windham, CT and that Philip's brothers, Samuel Jr., John, Joseph, and Benjamin all resided in the Berkshires during all or a portion of this time frame. It also seems probable that Samuel's parents were Phillip and Mary (Hadley) Cole of Amesbury, Essex, MA. Mary was a daughter of Samuel and Jane (Martin) Hadley. Philip and Samuel's other sons-in-law, Richard Goodwin, Ephraim Pemberton, and Thomas Potter all owned land adjoining their father-in-law, Samuel. It is believed Philip's roots lead to the southern portion of York, ME and more particularly to the towns of Wells, Arundel, Kennebunkport and Cape Porpoise.
Questions still to be answered are:
(a) Buried next to Ezra in Marion Cemetery, Waushara, WI is Byron Cole. He was born in 1831 in Ashford, Cattaraugus, NY. Are Byron and Ezra related? Byron belongs to the Salem branch of the Cole clan. If my yDNA places me in a York, ME branch and they in turn are of the Salem branch, who then is the common ancestor? I really would like to see a direct descendant of Byron take a DNA test.
(b) How, if at all is Zebulon Cole (son of William Cole) born March 20, 1733/34 in Farmington, CT related to Philip? They were neighbors of one another in Wells, VT. Zebulon's great grandfather, Henry was from Middletown, CT and ap
- Three Generations of Alberta Wheat Pool Members (538 KB)
Page one of an article from the February 13, 1948 edition of "The Alberta Wheat Pool Budget" newsletter that featured a story on George's youngest son, Willis, Willis' son, Lemuel, and Lemuel's son, Dale ,one of the few, three-generation farm families belonging to the Alberta Wheat Pool, founded in 1926.
- Three Generations of Alberta Wheat....page 2 (671 KB)
Page 2 of a 1948 article in the "Alberta Wheat Pool Budget" newsletter
- Old Vegreville Townsite Historical Monument (595 KB)
This cairn was erected to mark the location of "Old Vegreville" which stood on this site from 1891 to 1905. The town was moved (on skids, virtually overnight) in 1905 to rendezvous with the new Canadian Northern Railroad right-of-way. Coincidentally, Alberta became a Canadian province that same year.
- George L. Cole Family circa 1893 (723 KB)
Standing L to R: Willis Cole, Nellie (Cole) Trenhaile, Merton Cole, Inez (Cole) Tierney. Note: Willis & Nellie were twins.
Seated L to R: Ezra F. Cole, George L. Cole, Stella Cole, Alida (Reas) Cole, Etta (Cole) Leach.
- Board of Trade Publication 1912 quoting W.G. Cole (939 KB)
This is taken from a 1912 Vegreville Board of Trade publication promoting the area with a declaration that "No man (unless he was born lazy) can fail to make good in the Vegreville District. Try it and see." Willis Cole, a prominent local farmer, tells of his accomplishments since coming to the area approximately twelve years prior. The remainder of his testimonial can be found on the next page.
- Official Approval of Homestead Patent Application (1190 KB)
The "official" document issued by The Canadian Government, Department of the Interior, advising Willis G. Cole on February 15, 1905 that his application for homestead patent on SE 28-51-15W4 was approved on January 31, 1905. The document is dated October 17, 1904 and sealed on October 24, 1904. File Number 949953
- Board of Trade Publication 1912...page 2 (971 KB)
See comments under previous page concerning the 1912 Vegreville Board of Trade Publication and Willis Cole's comments.
- July 4, 1908 Picnic at Old Vegreville (1601 KB)
This photograph shows all the transplanted Yankees celebrating U.S. Independence Day in their new Canadian home. The Cole, Trenhaile, Tierney, Leach & Ross Families. Willis Cole is shown at center, standing to the left of the man with the white beard, William Ross. John Leach, the author of the essay, "A Homesteader's Experiences", which appears elsewhere on this page, is shown standing at the extreme right. This is not "The Picnic" referred to in John Leach's essay although a similar type of celebration was held every July at Old Vegreville.