Prominent among the stock raisers of Comanche-co. is Charley M. Cole who, with is son, Pete, operates one of the best ranches in the county and sells each year several hundred head of whiteface cattle, as fine as is ever seen in the Kansas City market. A number of times Mr. Cole has topped the market with his cattle. He takes a pardonable degree of pride in the fact that in recent years he hasn't had a scrub on his ranch. On the Cole ranch in Avilla-tp., between five and six thousand acres in all, there are now over 500 head of fine cattle. It is not putting it too strong to say that Charley Cole knows the ranch business "from a to izzard." He has had enough ranch experience to fill several volumes, were it all told. Not long since a Western Star reporter heard him tell of how he got into the cattle game, and here is a summary of the way it happened:
Monitor-co., Missouri, was Mr. Cole's birthplace. His father, P. B. Cole, was for many years one of the leading stock raisers of that county. He raised mules as well as cattle. Back in the latter 70s and early 80s some of the neighbors of the elder Mr. Cole came to this part of Kansas and, after looking around some, decided to locate in Barber-co., where the possibilities of good pasture for cattle seemed particularly inviting. A ranch was picked out, and Charley Cole's father furnished the financial backing in stocking the ranch with some good cattle. For seven years the ranch was carried on in that way very successfully. Finally P. B. Cole decided that Kansas had more attractions for a stock raiser that did Missouri, so he moved to Barber-co., with his family. That was nearly 40 years ago. Charley was then a young man chock full of ambition and perseverance. He wanted to get into the ranch business on his own hook, and he soon found a way to do it.
In the summer of 1884 his father came over into Comanche-co to look after the collection of an account from some one who had come from Barber-co. over into this county and settled near the old town site of Avilla. Charley came along, too, and it was then that this county caught his eye as a cattle country. He decided then and there to some day own a ranch in this county. But his funds were limited. All he could do was to got to work for some one and save his money and buy a few head of cattle, which were then very cheap, and that is just what he did. His progress as a ranch owner was necessarily rather slow for a few years, but he kept on working and saving until he owned quite a bunch of cattle. Then along in the latter 80s, when everything looked rather discouraging for farmers and stockmen alike, and when it seemed that half of the people were leaving the county for the new country of Oklahoma, G. Wash Vickers made known to Charley his desire to sell the bunch of fine cattle which he then owned and which were running on the Vickers ranch along the Salt Fork in Avilla-tp. Charley's answer was that he wasn't able to buy, but a deal was finally made and Charley thus added another good bunch of cattle to his small herd. Mr. Cole made "good money" on his cattle investments.
Finally Mr. Vickers, who had already gone to Oklahoma, placed his ranch on the market, and naturally he was anxious to sell to Mr. Cole. Again that meant going in debt for Mr. Cole, but the deal was made, and Charley says that that was one of the luckiest deals he ever made. He says that the good fishing on the Vickers ranch at that time was one of the things which attracted him to it. He got the land at a very low price most of it at $1.25 per acre. Now that land is worth well, a good many times that amount. The ranch is especially well watered and is well located. Mr. Cole is one of the stayers in Comanche-co., and he says that his glad of it, and that he doesn't know of a place on earth where he would rather live that right in good old Comanche.
Charles M. & Minnie (Barbour) Cole
In 1884 when Charles M. Cole came to Comanche County and established a cattle ranch of his own in the southern part of the county, he bought land, engaged extensively in the cattle business and prospered. He now owned a splendid ranch of 3,500 acres, all fenced and well improved and was one of the ideal stock ranches of southern Kansas. He made a specialty of Hereford cattle and blooded horses and through his industry had become one of the wealthiest men of Comanche County. He then resided in Coldwater, where he had one of the best modern residences in the county. Mr. Cole was united in marriage December 25, 1878 in Moniteau County, Missouri, to Miss Minnie Barbour, the marriage ceremony taking place in the same house in which the groom was born. Mrs. Cole was the daughter of W.H. and Jane (Compton) Barbour, residents of Moniteau County, Mo, where Mr. Cole was born August 24, 1862. Her parents came to Missouri from Kentucky. Mr and Mrs. Cole had two children: Myrtle May, born 23 Jan 1880, married George McDonald, Coldwater, Ks, & Parmenas Marshall, born 20 Jan 1882, married Alice Kluttz and they had four children, Mildred, Hallie, Herman and James Lloyd. The Cole family were well known and highly respected and had many friends in Comanche County.
To Parmenas Marshall Cole and Alice (Klutz) Cole there were three other children added. A baby died a few days after birth; Minne Ruth, April 25, 1919, Jackie born August 16th and died.
Mildred married Alonzo Atteberry. They had three children, Lonita, Joe, Marilyn. Mildred passed away in 1977. Hallie married Gale Baker, they had one daughter, Janet.
Herman remained a bachelor, taking good care of his parents the remainder of the days. He passed away in 1976.
James Lloyd married Helen Alder. To this union was born three boys, James, Timothy, and Roger.
Minnie Ruth married John Claude Bramlett, May 24. To this union was born four children: Marcia Claudine, Betty June, Glenn Byron, and Connie Jean.
Pete (Parmenas Cole) passed away in the year of 1966. Alice Cole passed away in 1974. Leaving to survive their family Lloyd, Hallie, Ruth and many grandchildren.
Written by "Ruth" about 1981, published on page 315 of "Comanche County History" along with a photo of Mr. & Mrs. Ed Coles. (The above account doesn't have typographical errors, it is reproduced as it was published in the book.)
Myrtle May (Cole) McDonald Smalley, daughter of Charles M. and Minnie (Barbour) Cole.
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