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Early Settlers - Frank Cole – Hillside Cemetery, Kinsley, Edwards County, Kansas

Odd as it may seem, the Kansas climate is/was beneficial to many individuals. Those who suffered from consumption (tuberculosis) found that our semi-arid climate helpful. Frank Cole was one of those people. He left New York and came to Kansas in the late 1870s. Frank sent for his wife Helen, to join them. She was filled with apprehension as she had heard stories about the “wild and wooly west.”

Frank Niram Cole was born in New York in 1851. At the age of 21, he married Helen Beecher (b. 1851) on June 4, 1873. A set of fraternal twins was born to the couple, however, they both died of scarlet fever and are buried in New York.

Their first few years in Kansas were spent in Sedgwick County where their son, Frank Henry “Frankie”, was born. The family came to Lewis in 1888 where Frank had a tree claim. Frank was a carpenter, and his skills were put to work as he built many buildings in and around Kinsley. In the early 1890s, he opened a furniture store.

Frank Cole was a respected member of the community. He was a councilman for many years and served one term as mayor. He served two terms as a Kansas representative from 1907-1910.

Helen Cole was one of three women who organized The Provident Society. It was an early-day thrift store but free. When doctors were scarce, Helen became a midwife and delivered many babies.

Frank continued working and improving Kinsley until his death in 1922. Helen passed away in 1938. They are both buried in Hillside Cemetery.

Note: Frank and Helen’s youngest daughter, Mary Amelia Cole was born in Edwards County in 1886. In 1911, she married Joseph Vang. They were the parents of three girls.

“Frankie” had been sick for several years and went back east to find relief. He died in 1901 and is buried with his twin siblings in Millville Cemetery in New York.

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