Byron Cole, a prominent farmer of the town of Richfield, owns a good farm of 192 acres in District No. 3, upon which he systematically and successfully carries on general farming, dairying and hop-raising. His father, Joseph Cole, was born in Columbia, Herkimer County, and learned the trade of blacksmith, which he followed for many years before he became of age. Attaining his majority, he married Achsah Pearl, of Fairfield, and died at the age of forty-four, his wife dying when nearly eighty-one. They were the parents of seven chidren, vis: Hamilton deceased; E. Darwin, living in Clinton; Washington and Wellington, twins, both deceased; Byron, the subject of this sketch; Marion P. and William H., both living at Clinton.

Byron Cole was born in Cedarville, Herkimer County, March 2, 1830, and attended school until he was thirteen years old. About that time his father died, and afterward until he was twenty-one he worked on the farm and attended school as opportunity offered. Then, in company with two of his brothers, he bought a large farm in the town of Columbia, Herkimer County, and the three worked it in partnership eight years, Byron at the end of this period selling out to his brothers, and marrying Caroline Miller, who was born in Columbia, Herkimer County, October 9, 1830, and was one of ten children. One, John, died when twenty-one years old, and nine are yet living, viz: Adam, Jacob, Philip, William, Mary, Mrs. Cole, Cornelia, Melinda and Kate. All married but William and Cornelia who occupy the old Miller homestead in the town of Columbia. After marriage Mr. Cole went to the town of Exeter, and worked a farm for five years, when he bought the place upon which he now lives. At that time the farm contained fifty-seven acres, and to this he has added from time to time until it now contains 192 acres. He and his wife have had seven children, viz: Clayton, living at Winfield, married Jennie Bowen, and they have three children - Lee, Merton and Clyde; Carrie M., wife of Clark Getman, has had four children, only one of whom, Lynn, is now living; Blanch V., wife of William H. Dayger, a farmer of the same town, has one child, Carrie; Florence and Ada are both deceased; William J. and Emerson are at home.

In religion both Mr. and Mrs. Cole are Universalists, and in politics Mr. Cole is a Repubican. He is a man very much interested in his town, and though solicited often to accept public office he has almost invariably preferred to devote his attention to his farm, the only exception being that at one time he served as Roadmaster. He is a most genial gentleman, a good neighbor and citizen, highly esteemed in the community, and has many friends.

Mrs. Caroline Cole is the daughter of William J. and Nancy (Haner) Miller, both of whom were born in the town of Columbia, Herkimer County, and both lived and died near where they were born and where they spent all their lives. Mr. Miller lived within a few weeks of being fourscore years, while Mrs. Miller lived to the ripe age of eighty-eight. The parents of both were among the earlier settlers of the town of Columbia, where the father of William J. Miller erected and conducted one of the first gristmills of Herkimer County, and he and his wife lived to be very old people. The older stock of both the Miller and Haner families were identified with the Dutch Reformed Church, and the male members of the families were Whigs and Republicans.

Source: Biographical Review of Otsego County, New York, 1893.

Byron Cole's profile was kindly sent in by Tammie Collins. Tammie's especially interested in the town of Columbia, the hamlet of Cedarville and the local surnames Cole, Skinner, Miller, Dayger and Pearl.

"My roots go back to Andrew Miller (founder of Miller's Mills) - Byron's wife Caroline Miller was a descendant. I'm having trouble finding much on the Coles, Daygers & Pearls. Thinking maybe Dayger was a derivative of Dygerts - which I have gathered much info on, just haven't been able to make the connection."

Tammie is also a direct descendant of Gershom Skinner:

"I have traced Sarah Skinner's heritage back to the infamous Gershom Skinner who was involved in the attack on the grist mill. Sarah was my g-grandmother. Sarah was the daughter of Christopher and Anna Dayger Skinner. Christopher was the son of Benjamin and Rachel E. ? Skinner. Benjamin was the son of John and Elizabeth D. Fox Skinner. John was the son of Gershom and Margaret Getman Skinner. Somewhere in my notes I must have come across a reference that Gershom may have come from CT - possibly Wilbraham. I believe his birth date may have been 3/30/1751 and that he came to NY probably prior to 1783. He married Maria Margaretha Getman on 9/30/1783 in either Montgomery or Herkimer Co (I have conflicting sources on this). His father was possibly Josiah Skinner but I have no proof of that. Josiah also emigrated to NY from CT so Gershom may have come as a child. Very possibly could have been other brothers and or sisters as well. I am at a road block here but hopefully with continued digging I may find an opening somewhere."

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Created: 6/14/00
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