Pages 225 - 226
The first settler in the area which is now the town of Dunkirk, Seth Cole was born in Massachusetts in 1756 and died at his wilderness home where the Canadaway Creek enters Lake Erie on July 10, 1810. A simple government headstone marks his grave carrying this inscription: “Seth Cole / Born 1756 / A Soldier of the Revolution”.
According to official Massachusetts records, Seth Cole entered military service in state troops from Worthington, Mass., serving from May 8, 1777 to July 8, 1777 at Ticonderoga in Capt. Christopher Bannister’s company in Col. David Wells’ regiment. Later the same year, from Sept 20 to Oct 14, he was on duty at Stillwater as a member of Capt. Benjamin Bonney’s company of Col. Ezra May’s regiment. His third term of service was from June 16, 1778 for 9 months at Fishkill as an enlisted man in Captain Webber’s company of Colonel Chapin’s Massachusetts regiment. He is reported as of age 22 during this term of service and as being 5’9” in height. (Massachusetts Soldiers and Sailors, III, p. 784)
Seth Cole was 49 years old when he brought his family from Paris, Oneida County, N.Y., to the shores of Lake Erie. Celia Sanford [Sampson, see below – LPM note], his wife, was a native of Chesterfield, Mass., and she proved herself a heroine of the War of 1812 in a celebrated military-naval action at the mouth of the Canadaway Creek where their rude, log house was situated. Their next home, a frame structure, is still standing as a one-story wing attached to a more recently constructed two-story house on the property of the Holy Cross Apostolic Center on Route #5 west of Dunkirk.
The children of Seth and Celia Cole were: Erastus, a soldier in the War of 1812, posted at Lewiston, N.Y., Seth Jr., Vareness, Polly, Senath, Maria, Minerva, and Nancy. Erastus Cole and his wife, Sally Burch, are buried in Forest Hill Cemetery, Fredonia, N.Y.
Seth Cole is listed as the original purchaser of land in Twp 6, Range 12, in 1805 (Turner, Pioneer History of the Holland Purchase, 1850, p.461), probably lots, or parts of lots, #1, #2, and #9, lying within the present town of Dunkirk.
The story of Seth Cole and his widow's exploit during the War of 1812 is told in Elizabeth L. Crocker's Yesterdays, Book II, 1961, pp. 8-11.
Pages 490 - 494
Page 225, Volume I
Making use of legal documents, official papers, and genealogical material not hitherto consulted by historians in the county, including himself, the compiler is now able to present an accurate account of Seth Cole.
Seth Cole was born at Plympton, Massachusetts, in 1756. His father, Ebenezer Cole [or Consider Cole, according to other sources – LPM note] was the son of John Cole of that part of Plympton which was taken from that town and incorporated as the town of Carver June 9, 1791. Ebenezer Cole was born 17 October 1711 and died 31 December 1790 (Families of Chesterfield, Massachusetts, p. 93).
The mother of Seth Cole was Ruth Churchill, “a daughter of the second William Churchill of Plympton,” according to the statement of Lewis Bradford, Town Clerk, in Plympton Town Records. She died 2 September 1806.
Ebenezer and Ruth (Churchill) Cole were the parents of 11 children, namely, Ebenezer Jr., born 1739; Obadiah, Barnabas (Barnibas), born 21 February 1760; Lemuel, Johanna (Joanna), Jesse, born 1764; Amaziah, William, Seth, Hannah, and Ruth. Seth Cole was the ancestor of Mr. LeRoy Cole of Erie, Pennsylvania, and Johanna, who married Nathaniel Bryant, was the ancestor of Edna (Mrs. LeRoy) Cole of Erie, Pennsylvania. To no one more than Mrs. Cole is the compiler indebted for assistance in preparing this account.
The family arrived in Chesterfield, Hampshire County, Massachusetts, in 1762, according to South Worthington Parish Records.
Five of the eight boys in the family served as soldiers in the American patriot-forces during the Revolution: Ebenezer, Barnabas, Seth, Jesse, and Amaziah, who held the rank of Lieutenant. Seth and Barnabas, from documents in the Seth and Celea Cole file #R2120 in the Bureau of Pensions Office, appear to have served in the same units during their war service; and their wives, Celea and Mehitable respectively, judging from the same documents, appear to have been warm and affectionate friends as well as sisters-in-law.
Seth Cole’s service-record was summarized in a communication from A.D. Hiller, Executive Assistant to the Administrator, Bureau of Pensions, to E. May Christy, RFD #2, Silver Creek, New York, dated 12 December 1939. We quote the paragraph:
“Celea Cole, while living in Pomfret, New York, applied for pension March 20, 1839, which might have been due on account of the service of her husband, Seth. At the time of her application, she was aged seventy-five years and stated that her husband, while living at Chesterfield, Massachusetts enlisted in June or July 1775, and served eight months as private in Captain King’s company, Colonel Ward’s or Colonel Wells’ Massachusetts regiment at Roxbury and other places; soon after that tour, he enlisted again in 1776, served a year with his brother, Barnabas Cole, as a blacksmith in Captain King’s company, Colonel Ward’s Massachusetts regiment; that he enlisted in the summer of 1777, served three months, was in the battle of Bennington, at the capture of Burgoyne, also enlisted at various other times on alarms, dates of service and names of officers not stated; that he was still serving at the time of the Execution of Andre, and that his service in all amounted to two years six months.”
In passing, note that the pension application of Celea (Samson) Cole, the widow of a Revolutionary War soldier who spent 2 years 6 months on active duty, herself a heroine of the War of 1812 and the mother of sons who fought in the War of 1812, was rejected. In the words used by A.D. Hiller in his communication to E. May Christy of Silver Creek mentioned above, “Celea Cole’s claim for pension was not allowed as she failed to furnish proof of the alleged service of her husband, as required by the pension law.”
Regarding Seth Cole’s marriage and the name of his wife, we quote again from the letter of A.D. Hiller of the Bureau of Pensions to E. May Christy of Silver Creek: “Seth Cole married September 15, 1780, in Norwich, Hampshire County, Massachusetts, Celea Sampson or Samson.”
That the name of Seth Cole’s wife was not Celia Sanford is the chief fact established by the just-quoted excerpt from the official letter from the Bureau of Pensions and is consistently confirmed by every document and genealogical source the present compiler has examined. Invariably she signed her name “Celea” – “Celea Cole”. Proof of this statement is her signature to her will; her declaration when applying for a widow’s pension March 20, 1839 before Benjamin Walworth, one of the Judges of the Chautauqua County Court of Common Pleas; her signature to a deposition made by Mehitable Cole March 20, 1839 in support of her claim to a pension; and her signature to an affidavit subscribed and sworn to before F.H. Ruggles, Justice of the Peace, 28 November 1840, and certified and endorsed by him.
Joseph Sampson was the father of Celea, wife of Seth Cole. Support of this statement will be found in LDS Archives, Salt Lake City; the Sampson chapter in The Giles Memorial by John Adams Vinton; The Descendants of James Cole of Plymouth by Ernest Byron Cole, 1908; and Vital Records, Duxbury, Massachusetts. Joseph Sampson is listed in the Index of the 1790 Census of the United States.
It is not difficult to understand how Celea Sampson’s name could be written Celea Samson, as in her sister-in-law’s deposition before Judge Walworth March 20, 1839, when she said, “that she was well acquainted with said Seth Cole and was present when the said Seth Cole was married – that the said Seth Cole was married to Celea Samson in the town of Norwich adjoining the said town of Chesterfield in Hampshire county aforesaid on the 15th day of September AD 1780 – This deponent was present at the time of said marriage and saw them married – The marriage was solemnized by a Justice of the Peace by the name of Kirkland, but this deponent does not know his Christian name…”
During the 1790’s Seth Cole and his family settled at Paris, Oneida County, New York. The 1800 Census listed his household at Paris, Oneida County, as consisting of 3 males under 10, 1 male 10-16, 1 male 16-26, 1 male 26-45; 3 females under 10, 2 females 10-16, 1 female 26-45.
Seth Cole died 10 June 1810 at age 54 years. His burial was one of the earliest in Pomfret Pioneer Cemetery, Fredonia. The date of Celea (Sampson) Cole’s death is not known [1845, Fredonia according to other records – LPM note], nor the place of her burial. The last documented date regarding her is March 20, 1839, when she applied for pension.
In compiling the list of Seth Cole’s children one is confronted by a figure of mystery in this soldier’s story, Vareness Cole, a young man who died “instantly” 21 February 1809 in the town of Pomfret, Chautauqua County, New York, where Seth Cole and his family were already living in their log-cabin home at the mouth of Canadaway Creek when Seth and Celea Cole’s last child, Nancy, was born 11 March 1805. The name of Vareness Cole appears in a list of Seth Cole’s children prepared by Mrs. Laurna Merriell of Campbell, California, but it is not included in the list of her 10 children named and remembered by bequests in the will of Celea (Mrs. Seth) Cole drawn up 14 December 1832. The 1800 Census shows that Seth Cole had 10 children at that time, so if Nancy was born in 1805, there would have been 11. In the 1800 census 5 boys and 5 girls are listed. After 1805, there were 5 boys and 6 girls. After Vareness’ death in 1809, there were 4 boys and 6 girls, the count of 10 listed in Celea Cole’s will of 1832. Sometime between 1805 and 1832 one male child dropped out of the count. Was it Vareness, who died in 1809? Or might he have been only Seth’s child but not a child of Seth and Celea?
Seth and Celea (Sampson) Cole were the parents of 10 children, according to the names listed and remembered by bequest in their mother’s will dated 14 December 1832, a copy of which is in the compiler’s possession.
1. Daniel S. – Born in 1781 at Norwich, Hampshire County, Massachusetts, he married Hannah (Niles) Conwell. As privates in Capt. Jehiel Moore’s company, 18th Regiment, New York State Detached Militia, he and his brother Erastus participated in the assault and battle at Queenston Heights, Ontario, 13 October 1812. In the disastrous events at Black Rock and Buffalo 30-31 December 1813, he and Erastus were also present, and Daniel S. Cole of Pomfret was one of the Chautauqua County men taken prisoner along with Friend Johnson, Oliver Stetson, William Martin, and Daniel C. Gould. (Cf. Obed Edson, History of Chautauqua County, New York, Boston: W.A. Fergusson & Co., 1894, p. 236).
2. Seth, Jr. – Born 1785 at Norwich, Massachusetts. His name appears on the roster of Capt. Martin Tubbs’s Company on active duty 1 August to 26 September 1814 (Foote, Historical Papers, VII, 68)
3. Mary (Polly) – Born 8 January 1789 at Norwich, Massachusetts, she married a Mr. Brown. The August 16, 1871 issue of the Fredonia Censor reported the death of Mrs. Polly Brown, formerly of Dunkirk and sister of the late Erastus Cole, on July 23, 1871 at Harborcreek, Pennsylvania, aged 82 years. Buried next to her father in Pomfret Pioneer Cemetery, Fredonia, is Arvilla Cole, 1810-20 March 1834, identified in the cemetery register of burials as “daughter of Polly Brown”.
4. Celea – Born 4 March 1791 at Norwich, Massachusetts, she married a Mr. Newton. Her birth and that of her sister Mary (above) are recorded in Town of Norwich, Hampshire County, Massachusetts, records. Her name is also spelled “Celia”.
5. Erastus – Born 14 June 1793 in Massachusetts [actually at Paris NY, according to other sources - LPM note], he married Sally Burch, who was born 5 March 1799 in New York state, the daughter of Jonathan Burch, Jr., 1766-1838, and Sally (Hosford) Burch, 1766-1845, of the town of Portland, Chautauqua County, New York. They were married June 1, 1821 at Westfield, Chautauqua County, New York.
Erastus Cole and his wife Sally (Burch) Cole are both buried in Forest Hill Cemetery, Fredonia, Section C, Lot 108. He died 21 May 1870. According to the Cemetery’s register of burials, she was born 5 March 1799 in Herkimer County, New York, and died 13 February 1874 at LaSalle, Niagara County, New York.
The four terms of duty served by Erastus Cole are recorded in the Judge E.T. Foote Papers, VII, 38, 42, 60, 68.
6. Minerva – The twin of Erastus, she was born 14 June 1793. She married Daniel Lewis Andrus in 1816. See Joel Andrews.
7. Maria – She married (1) David Dodge and (2) Dr. C. Terrill of Harborcreek, Pennsylvania.
8. Sally – She married a Mr. Gilmore and had died before 14 December 1832, the date of her mother’s will, for only her heirs are mentioned in the document.
9. Sylvenus – In his mother’s will all her land was bequeathed to his brother Erastus with the exception of one acre “which I give to my son Sylvenus Cole which acre lies between my house and the old log house …” Sylvenus Cole served as a Private in Capt. Jehiel Moore’s Company from 4 July to 4 October 1812 with his name recorded as Sylvester Cole and from 4 October to 31 December 1812 as Sylvenus Cole (Foote, Papers, VII, 38, 42).
10. Nancy – Born 11 March 1805, she married Chauncy Burch of Portland, brother of Sally Burch, the wife of Erastus Cole, her brother. Their marriage in Fredonia was reported in the Fredonia Censor of 1 September 1824. Chauncy Burch was born 27 April 1803. Late in life he became minister of the Greenfield Free Baptist Church, North East Township, Erie County, Pennsylvania. Nancy (Cole) Burch died 20 August 1881.