Jonathan Fairbanks and Clyde Edwin Tuck

Past and Present of Greene County, Missouri

Early and Recent History and Genealogical Records
of Many of the Representative Citizens

STEPHEN HENRY COLE. A well-known and successful north side groceryman is Stephen Henry Cole, who belongs to that class of American citizens who are enterprising, thoroughgoing and industrious, and who rise in a few years by their own efforts from a condition of dependence to one of stability and independence. In fact, he is a self-made man in all which that much-abused term implies, and the property he has accumulated is the result of his own honest industry.

Mr. Cole was born in Pemiscott county, Missouri, July 29, 1856. He is a son of Mexico Cole, who was born in Tennessee in 1811, where he spent his boyhood, removing from there to Pemiscott county, this state, in 1832, among the early settlers, and bought a farm at Cottonwood Point, which he developed and on which he established his future home. This land is still in the possession of the Coles. Although much of his attention was given to his farm, he practiced medicine a great deal, having been a physician of the old school. In 1831 he married Julia Chilcutt, in Henry county, Tennessee, and to this union sixteen children were born, and in addition they reared two orphan boys. Of this large family only two are living at this writing, Stephen Henry, of this sketch, and Mrs. Nancy Patrick. Several of the sons served in the Confederate army, one under Gen. Sterling Price. The death of Dr. Mexico Cole was a tragic one, he having been killed in a cyclone in 1869, a tree having fallen on him while riding through the woods on horseback.

Stephen H. Cole grew to manhood on the home farm where he worked when a boy and in the winter he attended the rural schools in his community. On December 11, 1880, he left home and came to Seymour, Webster county, and there ran a transfer line for a period of eight years, then began his career as groceryman in that town, where he remained seven years and enjoyed a good business with the town and community, then removed to Springfield, where he followed the grocery business at various stands for a period of seventeen years, with the exception of eight months spent in Oklahoma in a grocery store. He now operates a modern and neatly kept grocery at 1000 East Commercial street, where he carries a large stock of staple and fancy groceries and, dealing courteously and honestly with his scores of customers, has built up an extensive trade.

Mr. Cole was married, August 6, 1876, to Nancy L. Cunningham, a daughter of Green and Nancy (Martin) Cunningham, natives of Tennessee and North Carolina, respectively. Mr. Cunningham has devoted his active life to farming, having removed from his native state to Pemiscott county, Missouri, about the year 1863, in the winter. His family consisted of nine children, only two living at this writing, our subject's wife and Belle Randolph, who lives in Senatobia, Mississippi.

To Mr. and Mrs. Cole six children have been born, namely: Mrs. Etta Gentry is the wife of a merchant at Canyon City, Colorado; Frank is engaged in the transfer business at Shawnee, Oklahoma; Mrs. Carrie Moore is the wife of a coach builder and they live in Springfield; Mrs. Iva Carter is the wife of Harry A. Carter, the storekeeper at Villa Grove, Illinois, for the Chicago & Eastern Illinois railway; Earl is engaged in the transfer business with his brother at Shawnee, Oklahoma; Charlie died when twenty-three years of age; he was next to the youngest in order of birth.

Politically Mr. Cole is a Democrat. He belongs to the First Congregational church, Springfield. Fraternally he is a member of the Independent Order of Odd Fellows, with which he united twenty-nine years ago, having joined at Seymour, Missouri, Lodge No. 363, and he has never transferred his membership. He has been given a twenty-five year badge by this order. He is one of the best known grocerymen in Springfield and enjoys a wide friendship among his erstwhile patrons and his present customers as a result of his excellent personal characteristics.


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