John T. Cole, one of the most highly respected citizens of South Otter township, Macoupin County, owning some of the best farming land in the township, 200 acres in section 15 and 160 acres in section 22, - was born in August, 1820, in Tennessee. He is a son of William and Susan (Brown) Cole.
The Cole family is an old and honorable one in Tennessee, where it has grown and prospered for generations. William Cole was a son of William Cole, and was born in Sullivan County, Tennessee, where he followed farming as had his father and grandfather before him. He married Susan Brown, a member of an equally prominent family of Washington County, Tennessee.
The venerable subject of this biography attended the schools in his neighborhood during his boyhood days and grew up on his father's farm, where he remained until 1850. On November 14, 1845, he married Elizabeth Baird, who also still survives, through all these years having been a cheerful, helpful companion. She is a daughter of Thomas and Jane (Hall) Baird, also natives of Tennessee. With his wife and young children, Mr. Cole came to Macoupin County in 1850 and located in Barr township, where he purchased a farm, upon which he lived for 15 years. In 1865 he disposed of that property and came to his present farm which is advantageously situated within three and a half miles of the bustling little village of Nilwood. Mr. Cole, during his years of active life, devoted himself to general farming and the stock raising, attaining great success, raising some of the finest crops and the best horses and cattle in the county. For some years he has delegated the active labor of the farm to younger hands but still enjoys looking over the fertile lands he so long cultivated, and in noting the development of the fine stock in which he has always taken an interest.
Mr. and Mrs. Cole became the parents of 11 children, all of whom but two have been spared to them, and now they are the center of a large circle of loving and obedient grandchildren. The family record is as follows: Jane, who married John Whittaker, and had tow children, Frank and Albert, - her second marriage with John Johnson, resulted in a daughter, Dora; Samuel, who lives in Carlinville, engaged in the stock business, married, as his first wife, Julia Olbert and they had four children, Emma, Cora, Frank and Dollie, - his second marriage was contracted with Belle Hayes of Carlinville; Thomas, who is a farmer on his father's land in section 22, married Sarah Ross, and they have these children, - Harry, Oscar, Charles, Truman, Clyde, Grace, Fred, Blanche, Opal, Howard and John; Oscar, who farms his father's land in section 15, married Susie Ross and they have two children, Bernard and Marie; Ruth, who married Ballard H. Woods, resides on the home farm; Wesley, who farms in section 22, married Minnie Caynor; Lulu, married, first, W. Conley, and second, R. C. Adams, and had one child, Lois who is deceased; Everett, who farms in section 22, married Ida Bates and they have four children, Birdie, Coy, Lola and Lela; and Ida, who married Frank Huber, a grain dealer of Nilwood. The two deceased were Emaline and Christina.
Mr. Cole has been a life long Democrat of the old school. He has lived to see many wonderful changes in governmental affairs and in his earlier years took an active part in the campaigns. For a long period he has been a valued member of the Methodist Church. Time has touched both Mr. and Mrs. Cole with a gentle hand and even in advanced age they are blessed with health as well as the affection of kindred and the esteem of the community.