Morris F. Cole. The following sketch contains the important facts in the life and family record of a Champaign County citizen whose name always stood for all that was honest and of good report in the community. It also was significant of thrift and business integrity. Mr. Cole was a farmer, spent his life, which was prematurely cut short at the age of forty-nine, in Champaign County, and had gained a competence for himself by his well directed labors.
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He was born on a farm in section 24 of Philo Township, November 27, 1867. His death occurred at his home April 8, 1917. His parents, Charles F. and Maria (Pease) Cole, were natives of Massachusetts and were early settlers in Champaign County. His father was a practical farmer, and died in this county January 7, 1899. The mother is still living at Philo. They had eight children: Nellie, deceased; Belle, wife of Millard Porterfield, of Fairmount, Illinois; Hattie, wife of J. N. Black, of Mahomet; Angie, wife of J. T. Black, of Peru, Indiana; Morris P.; Royal G., of Cortland, New York; and Stella and Charles, both of whom died in childhood.
The late Morris F. Cole was reared at home and in the local schools acquired a good education. At the age of twenty-one he went out to Wyoming and put in three years of adventure and exciting experience as a cowboy on the ranches. He returned to Champaign County in the winter of 1892, was married soon afterward, and he and his wife started housekeeping on a rented farm. He handled about 300 acres of rented land and worked it profitably for himself and its owners for about seventeen years. In the meantime he began buying land of his own and at the time of his death had 200 acres in section 25 of Philo Township.
Mr. Cole was married February 2, 1893, to Lydia Thrash, daughter of John and Matilda (Knepper) Thrash. Her parents were born in Fairfield County, Ohio, and moved to Champaign County, Illinois, in 1873, locating on a farm in Philo Township. Her father died March 8, 1917, and thus Mrs. Cole suffered bereavement of her father and husband within a few weeks. Her mother passed away October 4, 1906. Mrs. Cole was one of seven children: Emma, wife of A. J. Pettigrew of Wayne County, Illinois; a daughter who died in infancy; Perry of Tolono, Illinois; the fifth child also died early; William lives in California; Mrs. Cole is the next; and John H. lives at Fort Wayne, Indiana.
Mr. and Mrs. Cole had five children: Hazel Mae, Estella M., Nina B., Charles F. and Gladys L. All the children are still living except Nina.
Mr. Cole was not only a practical and progressive farmer but a man who commanded the confidence of his fellow citizens and was frequently entrusted with offices of responsibility in the community. He served as road commissioner, school director, was active in the Champaign County Agricultural Association and also held the offices of assessor and collector. He was affiliated with the Modern Woodmen of America, the Independent Order of Odd Fellows and the Court of Honor, the Knights of Pythias, and the Loyal Order of Moose. He and his family worshipped in the Presbyterian Church.