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John Albert Cole, a prominent citizen of San Bernardino County, is the fourth of a family of nine children of James A. Cole. He was born while his parents were en route to California, in April 1858, and hence has always considered himself a native son of the “Golden State.” His father was a native of Illinois, where he was born March 8, 1828. He married Miss Kelly in Little Rock, Arkansas, her native city, and settled in Columbus, Ohio, which was their home for a number of years. He was a farmer and horticulturist by occupation, and on arriving in California in 1858 located on the farm in Old San Bernardino, where he passed the rest of his life, and died in July 1887, his widow still resides on the old homestead, which consists of fifty-eight acres, valued at $37,000. Fourteen acres of the place is devoted to the production of English walnuts, the trees being twenty years old. Three hundred sacks of walnuts, weighing eighty-live pounds each, were sold as the product of the orchard in 1888.
The subject of this memoir has been a life-long resident of San Bernardino County, and has divided his attention between horticulture, hotel-keeping and the livery business, in which he has been very successful. On November 19, 1885, he joined in marriage with Miss Nettie Waters, second daughter of the late James W. Waters, Sr. In the fall of 1886 Mr. Cole was elected Sheriff of San Bernardino County, on the Democratic ticket, and assumed the duty of the office January 1, 1887, which he filled with ability for two years. He was renominated by the party as his own successor, but, 1888 being a year of Republican victories, he was defeated by Mr. Seymour, the present sheriff, by 136 votes, though he ran over 500 votes ahead of his ticket. Mr. Cole owns a twenty-acre grove of six-year-old orange trees in Old San Bernardino, of the choicest budded varieties, which yielded this past season 1,000 boxes of fruit, it being the second crop from the orchard. He also has some valuable city property in San Bernardino.
Mr. Cole is a gentleman of fine business qualifications, and highly esteemed for his integrity of character and affability of manners. He is a member of Token Lodge, No. 290, I. O. O. F., and of Colton Lodge, No. 37, Knights of Pythias.