Biography - FRANK COLES, SR

Frank Coles, Sr., a retired farmer of Albion, is one of the more prominent and influential men of his community and of Edwards county. Since giving up his agricultural operations he has devoted some of his attention to real estate matters, and has acquired a considerable property of a valuable nature in and about Albion, as well as holding an interest in a tract of Mexico land, of more than two thousand acres. He has been connected with the Albion Journal for several years and is president of the Journal Publishing Company. On the whole, his interests are varied and of a large and expansive nature, so that he is one of the busiest men in Albion. An admirable citizen, possessing all the requisite qualities to fit him for that part, he is regarded as one of the valuable and substantial men of his community, and his best efforts may always be depended upon in any matters portending to increase or enhance the public welfare.

A native of Edwards county, Mr. Coles was born on a farm near Grayville on February 3, 1845. He is a son of William H. Coles and Rachael (Garrison) Coles. The father was born in Liverpool, England, in 1799, and emigrated to America in 1818, and was a member of the first colony to settle near Grayville. There he passed his life as a farmer, living quietly on his farm near Grayville until the time of his death, which event occurred in 1852. He was the son of Samuel and Sarah (Standustreet) Coles of Liverpool, England, the parents of both of whom were merchants and property holders in Liverpool. The Coles heirs claim title to three important business blocks in that city. Rachael Garrison, the wife of William Coles, was born in the year 1806, in South Carolina and came to White county, Illinois, in 1809, with her parents. Her father, James Garrison, was one of the pioneers of Illinois and here Mrs. Coles spent the remainder of her life. She lived to be ninety-four years old, dying in 1899, and could well remember when this part of the state was a wilderness and inhabited by Indians and wild beasts. Mr. and Mrs. Coles reared nine children of the ten born to them and of that number four are yet living: William S., a resident of White county; Joseph G., on a farm near Grayville; Frank and Mrs. Mary J. Scott. Those deceased are James F., Henry S., Albert G., Ann and John W.

The son, Frank, attended the district schools and worked on his father's farm, and between the ages of twenty- three and twenty-seven he employed his winters by teaching in the country schools. When he was twenty-seven years old he settled down to farm life in earnest and tilled his farm of 160 acres with all energy and persistence until 1883, when he removed to Albion. He still owns a fine farm of 240 acres of river bottom land, a particularly fertile and valuable tract, and he has a small farm of twelve acres near to the city. He recently disposed of a farm of sixty-four acres. Farm lands have been particularly attractive to him and he has carried on a steady trade in that line for years, buying and selling and gradually adding to his private holdings when he found something unusually attractive to him. He owns a fine orchard ten miles south of Houston, Texas, which he visits every winter. He also holds a considerable quantity of residence and business property in Albion.

From 1885 to 1902 Mr. Coles was engaged in the furniture business in Albion, in company with N. E. Smith; he still retains a half interest in the business block in which the store is located. His realty business, together with the interest he has in the Albion Journal and in the publishing business of which he is president, gives him ample duties to occupy all his time, and despite his advancing years, he is one of the most active men in his community. Mr. Coles is a Republican in his political views, and has ever been prominent and active in politics in his county and in Southern Illinois. He is regarded in his section of the state as the "Old Wheelhorse" of the party, and has for years been chairman of the Republican County Committee. He has done his share in the service of his county, and was in the office of assessor for four years, from 1890 to 1894. He was appointed public administrator by Governor Dineen in 1911. Mr. Coles is a member of the Christian church.

Mr. Coles has been twice married. In 1871 he married Sarah E. Emerson, daughter of Sanford Emerson. She died in 1897, leaving four children. Eva, the eldest, is married to George W. Smith of Virginia, Illinois, and has three children: Venita, Marlin and Elston; Frederick is now deceased; Mrs. Kate Sax lives in Arkansas, and the fourth born is Constance Quindry. In 1899 Mr. Coles married Sarah M. Hodgson, daughter of John Hodgson of Albion.

Extracted 11 Nov 2018 by Norma Hass from 1912 History of Southern Illinois, by George W. Smith, volume 3, pages 1580-1581.

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