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When the history of Wallowa County is written, the names of the pioneers are first, when the history of our nation is written let the names of those who fought her battles appear first. In both of these commendable positions appears the gentleman whose name heads this paragraph, and it is with especial (sic) pride and pleasure that we grant him representation in this volume. He was one of those noble men who assisted to open this county; and when dark clouds hung thick over our nation, the banner had been subjected to insult, and freedom’s institutions were trembling before the enemies’ attack, he was quick to throw himself into the breech and he fought faithfully during the entire time of the war of the Rebellion, being valorous and intrepid in battle, faithful in military duty, and upright and true in all his relations.
Samuel D. Cole was born on May 30, 1843 in Marshall County, Tennessee, being the son of William P. and Elizabeth Cole. The early years of his life were spent with his parents, gaining in this time a good education, and spending the rest of his time with his father upon the farm. While still a child, the parents removed to Hardin County, Illinois, and in 1852 they went thence to Jasper County, Iowa. In that county, in August 1862, when yet but nineteen years of age, our subject enlisted in Company I, Thirty-ninth Volunteer Iowa Infantry and from that date until the close of the war Samuel D. Cole was known as one of the most courageous and intrepid fighters that ever shouldered a musket. He was with General Sherman at the battle of Cross Roads; he fought in the battle of Altoona Mountain, and at Buzzard Roost and also participated in numerous other battles and skirmishes. At Altoona he was taken prisoner, afterward being released, when he joined his regiment and fought until the last enemy had laid down his gun and the last insult to the flag had been wiped out. During this entire time he received but one slight wound and upon June 25, 1865, he laid down the implements of war and repaired to the quiet industry of life. At the present he is a prominent member of the G.A.R. post at Flora, and it is with pleasure that we point to the career of the noble man who stood faithfully in this time of danger. Immediately subsequent to his discharge, he went to his home in Iowa, and in 1866 went to Johnson County, Nebraska: whence in the summer of 1879, he emigrated to the Grande Ronde valley, living there until 1887, when he came to his present home, situated seven miles northwest of Flora and two miles north of Arko.
On January 28, 1867, in Johnson County, Nebraska, the marriage of Mr. Cole and Miss Lucy Greenfield was celebrated and to them have been born the following children. Charles, near Hereford, Baker county: William, James, Jack, Hattie, wife of William Fordice: Ada, deceased: and Albert. On June 7, 1882, in the Grande Ronde valley, the messenger of death entered the home of Mr. Cole and snatched his beloved companion and true wife. Her remains lie in the Grande Ronde valley until this day. Mr. Cole with his three sons, James, Jack and Albert, owns one section of fine land where they live. It is all well fenced and improved in an excellent manner and they are among the leading agriculturists and stockmen of Wallowa County. In addition to this it is our pleasure to state that Mr. Cole is highly esteemed by all his fellows and has conducted himself in such a sagacious and prudent manner, coupled with uprightness and sound principles, that he has won the admiration and approval of all who are acquainted with him.