COLE, Emory O.--Recognition of the fact that the tillage of the soil is the natural and most desirable occupation to which man is heir, and to which every other is subsidiary and all use in the end must yield, is increasingly manifest in all classes of human society, and is supported largely by the thought and effort of men foremost in the councils of the nation, and by that most important factor of all, the wide-awake, thoughtful and resourceful agriculturist himself. Of those who incorporate science and invention into their labor as upbuilders of prosperous communities, none are more favorably known in McDonough County than Emory O. Cole, who, after varied business and political experiences in other parts of the country, settled on his present farm of five hundred acres in the fall of 1883. Born in Streetsboro, Portage County, Ohio, June 4, 1833, Mr. Cole is a son of N. W. and Samantha (Osgood) Cole, natives of Connecticut and New York, respectively, the former of whom started upon his independent career as a singing master in New York State. Ambitious, after his marriage, of improving his prospects, the elder Cole located at an early day in the vicinity of Streetsboro, Portage County, Ohio, and in 1846 moved to East Troy, Wis., near where be purcnased land and engaged in farming until the death of his wife in 1851. Thereafter the family was divided, the father and his son, Emory O., remaining on the old place until the former enlisted in the Civil War in a Wisconsin regiment. It was his fate to die amid the shot and shell of battle, and to fill a hero's grave in the little cemetery at East Troy, Wis. Of his three sons and two daughters, four are still living: Emory O., Wilson M., general agent for the Rochester Nursery Company at Salt Lake City, Utah, J. E., a resident of Colorado Springs, Col.; Elhira B., a resident of Spokane Falls, Idaho.
Emory O. Cole was thirteen years old when he moved with the rest of the family to Wisconsin, and he there began his independent career as operator of a threshing machine, which line of work he continued about fourteen years in connection with general farming. He next engaged in teaming from East Troy to Milwaukee, before the era of railroads, and for a time was in the grocery business on a small scale. On October 8, 1860, he united in marriage to Sarah A. Dickerman, who was born in New York, January 11, 1833, a daughter of Henry and Catherine (Stafford) Dickerman, natives of Vermont and Connecticut, respectively, the former born October 7, 1799, and the latter, May 8, 1795. The parents were married in February, 1816, in Rockdale, Chenango County, N.Y. where Mr. Dickerman engaged in the lumber business for some years, about 1837 removing to Michigan, two years later to Naperville, Ill., and still later taking up his residence near Chicago, Ill. Mr. and Mrs. Cole located in Burlington, Wis., where the former operated a grocery store and subsequently engaged in the manufacture of brick. In 1872, a few months after the great fire, he removed to Chicago and engaged in the livery and undertaking business, succeeding later to the position of City Oil Inspector, to which he was appointed by Mayor Monroe Heath. Two years later, upon the election of the Democratic Mayor, Carter Harrison, he engaged in the grocery business, and in 1883 traded his store for his present farm in McDonough County, the same having been formerly the property of the pioneer, Horace Head. Of late years Mr. Cole has practically retired from active life, and his farm is operated by his son, George M., who makes a specialty of high grade cattle, horses and hogs.
Mr. Cole cast his first presidentlal vote for Abraham Lincoln, and ever since has staunchly supported the Republican party. His public spirited, extended experience, good judgment and executive ability have made him an important and useful local political factor, and he has served six years as Township Treasurer, four years as a member of the Board of Supervisors, several years as Chairman of the County Central Committee, and also has been Secretary of the latter organization. Mr. Cole is President of the Pioneer Club of McDonough County, and is also President of the Deland Tourist Club, of Deland, Fla. In this capacity he has annually taken his family to Florida for the past seven years. Fraternally, be is connected with the Richard Cole Lodge No. 697, of Chicago, and of which he is a Past Master.
Mr. and Mrs. Cole are social as well as home-making factors in their township, and represent the best in its progressive life. Both represent families of marked musical tendencies, Mrs. Cole's father being a violinist of merit. She herself was a teacher of music in Wisconsin prior to her marriage, and is a graduate of the first Female College of Chicago, the educators thereof having come from the Emma Willard School, at Troy, N.Y., now a branch of Vassar College. She still retains a vital and absorbing interest in music, being an ardent admirer of Wagner and other great composers. Five children have been born to Mr. and Mrs. Cole, two of whom died in infancy. Frederick E., the oldest son, born March 26, 1865, married, in 1905, Dorothy Ethel Peak, a stenographer, and at present is employed by the James H. Rice Paint Company, of Chicago; George, the twin of Archie, is represented elsewhere in this work; and Archie is a traveling salesman for the James H. Rice Paint Company, of Chicago.
Source: The Historical Encyclopedia of Illinois and History of McDonough County, compiled by Dr. Newton Bateman, and Paul Shelby, 1907.