Biography - FRANK COLES, JR.

But one year previous to the establishment of the Albion Journal, there was born in Edwards county the present editor of that remarkably interesting and well-conducted sheet, Frank Coles Jr. He has been identified with the paper since 1903 and its career in his hands has been a most successful one. Mr. Coles is a leading Republican and for some twenty years has been actively concerned in the affairs of the party, while previous to that he pored over the pages of its history and drank inspiration from its high traditions. Mr. Coles is bound to Edwards county by the primary tie of birth within its fair borders, the date of his nativity being December 22, 1868, and its scene the homestead-farm of his parents. His father, Joseph G. Coles, a widely known and honored citizen of this section, was born April 8, 1843, also on this farm and his father, William Coles, a native of England, settled in Edwards county in the early '20s, when its history was young and the pioneer was hewing down the forest primeval and bringing the virgin soil to subjection. He entered government land and such was the origin of the Coles farm. The young Englishman, soon after his arrival in America, married Rachel Garrison, who was born in South Carolina in 1804, and in 1814, migrated to White county, Illinois, and later came on to Edwards county and located near Grayville. Their son, Henry S. Coles, was the first white child born on the present site of Grayville. The father of Frank Coles answered to the dual calling of Baptist minister and farmer and the maiden name of the mother was Julia Compton of Wabash county. These worthy people reared four sons and four daughters, as follows: Frank Jr.; Rachel, now Mrs. Thomas J. Jacobs, of Albion; Florence, wife of Clarence G. Johnson, of Albion; Harry P. Coles, residing in Aberdeen, South Dakota; Charles S. and Joseph Ross, of Glendive, Montana; Nannie, who lives in Albion, Edwards county; and Ollie, wife of Homer May, of Whittier, California. The father is a veteran of the War Between the States, having served for over three years of that dread period in the cause of the Union as a member of Company B, of the Eighty-seventh Illinois Infantry. He was often in the thickest of the fray, participating in the battle of Vicksburg, the Red River Expedition and the Mississippi River Campaign. The mother passed away on October 7, 1887, when but forty-two years, her birth having occurred in 1845.

Frank Coles Jr. has passed the greater part of his life in this locality and like the usual boy received the foundation of his education in the common schools. Following that he became a student in the University of Indiana at Bloomington, in which institution he completed his work in 1894. He then entered the field of pedagogical endeavor and taught school until 1898, becoming principal of the Grayville schools and later of the Bone Gap schools. In 1898, he was elected county superintendent of schools of Edwards county and in 1902 was reelected, serving two terms of four years each. He filled the office with much ability and in the years in which he stood at the helm in county educational matters a number of good things were inaugurated.

As mentioned in a preceding paragraph Mr. Coles is an active Republican. He has several times served as delegate to the state conventions and his influence in party ranks is by no means inconsiderable. Mr. Coles became editor of the Albion Journal in May, 1906, but since 1903 he had been a director of the paper. He is an able representative of the Fourth Estate and is a forceful and edifying writer. In addition to the activities mentioned, he has several other interests of wide scope and importance. In 1902 he assisted Walter Colyer in organizing the Albion Vitrified Brick Company and for three years served as a director. Also for the past ten years he has been secretary of the Edwards County Independent Telephone Company, operating the lines throughout Edwards county.

Mr. Coles is one of the most popular of lodge men and has a number of fraternal connections. He is a member of the Knights of Pythias, of Albion; of Delta Tau Delta fraternity at the University of Indiana; of the Independent Order of Odd Fellows; the Modern Woodmen of America; Ben Hur and the Benevolent and Protective Order of Elks of Mt. Carmel. His church is the Presbyterian.

On July 14, 1898, Mr. Coles established a home of his own by his marriage to Lucretia Blair, daughter of Hugh A. Blair, former postmaster of Grayville. Under their roof-tree are sheltered four promising children, as follows: Ivon, Ruth May, Joseph Blair, and Lucille.

Mr. Coles has one of the best equipped newspaper and printing plants in all Southern Illinois. His paper is one of the most widely read and most efficiently edited in the section and its popularity is amply attested by the fact that it has a weekly circulation of 2,300. He is a most accurate and methodical business man and prides himself on conducting the business with wonderful exactness, and by means of card systems he keeps in touch with every inhabitant in Edwards county. Edwards county is indeed fortunate in the possession of so enlightened and able a moulder of public opinion.

Extracted 11 Nov 2018 by Norma Hass from 1912 History of Southern Illinois, by George W. Smith, volume 3, pages 1593-1595.

Templates in Time