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Genealogy - Confusing the dead,                             while irritating the living -                                  Di Ann Tarhalla

My name is <Mary Carez-Pirayesh> and I started this site along with the help of a few other family genealogists - Vergil Harris, Don Norman, Harold Somerville, Edgel Gaston, Helen Peggy Gaston-Carez-Cooper, Dorothy Carez-Johnson, Kim Mathers, David Johnson, Kim Queen, Mike Bungard , Linda Gaston-Wagner, Bobby Kuhl and some newly met relatives and historians.
This site was created using This is a great system that allows anyone like you and me to create a private site for their family, build their family tree and share family photos. If you have any comments or feedback about this site, please click to contact me.  And, although I appreciate any and ALL information you might have; if you provide additional names for me; please provide birth dates, death notices, or any conact info that you do have (even if you're not sure of it); it would also be greatly appreciated.  Thanks in advance for any additional information and/or photos that you are able to provide!!!  It's wonderful to fill in the missing pieces!!!
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Local news:Jobs Temple Methodist Church built by Conrad & Christian Kuhl among others
Posted by: Mary Pirayesh on May 8 2010 11:40

s Temp;e Methodist Church, Gilmer County, WVBegun in 1860 and completed after the Civil War, this hand-hewn log church building is the oldest in the county. Built with local poplar trees and clay chinking, the church is 9.5 miles from Glenville on West Virginia Route 5 West. A paved driveway, parking lot and picnic shelter are available for easy access and recreation.Conrad, Christian and several other individuals some of whom were known to be former CSA soldiers built the log church Jobes Temple near Glenville, WV. The Methodist church is still in use, is listed on the National Register and their names are on markers at the site.

Christian Kuhl was ordained as a Methodist minister after the war.

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Local news:Info on Christian Kuhl from an article in Orlando Stone Soup Newspaper Blog
Posted by: Mary Pirayesh on May 4 2010 13:49

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Saturday, March 03, 2007

A Bountiful Repast At Old Col. Yancey's

Following is an excerpt from Christian Kuhl's Civil War memoirs written in 1911.

"We at once proceeded up the Little Kanawha River and found ourselves at the mouth of Oil Creek at a bountiful repast at Old Col. Yancey's - the first of the great army dinners ever prepared in Braxton during the Civil War, prepared I suppose, by the family of Col. Yancey and friendly neighbors to still our first military wolfishness. Thanks to those kind friends, as well as to those long departed orators whose patriotic and able speeches we enjoyed so much after dinner, by Capt. Mitchell, Col. Yancey, Hon. Robert Marshall, Rev. Mr. Wm. Ervin of the Stouts Mills and others. After dinner I helped Captain grind his little Spear at Yancey's grindstone and the Captain remarked--"Now if we meet the enemy I shall endeavor to make my mark." So getting another recruit -namely Jacob Plyman who, Col. Yancey assured his family, should be well cared for if he went. We proceeded to Lewis County to the Skin Creek Church where we sheltered for the night."1
To the right above is the Confederate flag that was flown from March 5, 1861 to May 26, 1863.

Some of the players in the above narrative:
The author, Christian Kuhl b. 1839, was the uncle of Henry Harrison Cole b. 1861, of Three Lick. Christian Kuhl was a son (and Henry Harrison Cole of Orlando was a grandson) of Henry Kuhl, who was executed for his actions supporting the Confederacy.
See Henry Kuhl's story in the Feb '07 entry A Family Torn by the Civil War
To the right are 2-great grandsons of Henry Kuhl and 3-great nephews of Christian Kuhl, Elzie, Charles and Alvin Cole of Three LIck

2. Capt Mitchell was John Elam Mitchell was a Methodist Protestant minister, active in churches along Clover Fork and Oil Creek. His family had settled south of Jane Lew. Another source confirms that he "raised a company of soldiers for Confederate Service in Gilmer County." One of his sons, MelvilleMitchell, joined the 62nd mounted infantry, Co. G. This was the company of Imboden's Raiders in which several Oil Creek/Clover Fork men served. Another relative, Benoni Mitchell, was tried for southern sympathies along with our Clover Fork men.
The Rev. John E. Mitchell was the grandfather of Homer Mitchell who married Lula Henline.
To the right are greatgrandsons of the Rev. John E. Mitchell, Homer and Stanley Mitchell of Orlando, with a fish they caught in Oil Creek in the 1920s. (Click on photo to enlarge it.)

3. Joel Yancey b. 1798, settled at the confluence of Oil Creek and the Little Kanawha. He and original Orlando Settler Alexander Skinner had business dealings, and two of Yancy's daughters would stay on Oil Creek. Mary Ann would marry Confederate Veteran James N. McPherson, whose parents were original settlers on Oil Creek.
To the right, a century after the repast at Col. Joel Yancy's, three of his xg grandchildren, Gary, Kim and Nancy Stutler, children of Bill and Pat (McPherson) Stutler, walk Oil Creek Road home from Sunday School at the Methodist Protestant Church in the 1960s with their grandmother Edith (Skinner) Stutler. (Click on photo to enlarge it.)

Below is the text that comes before the excerpt printed above. See the rest of the memoir provided by DavidKuhl at the site of Hacker's Creek Pioneer Descendants.

Company D, 31st Virginia Infantry

August 12, 1911
My daughter has for many years asked me to write down for her future references my experiences and what long has become history of the "War of the Rebellion", to tell it just as it happened to me. So, I will proceed to give a true statement that may be relied upon by future generations.

On the 31st day of May, 1861, there arose a cry that the Abolitionists were coming over from Ohio and elsewhere from the North to invade Virginia, now West Virginia. They overran our country, destroying property, Compelled our men to enlist, taking horses, cattle, arms and ammunition. They also insulted mothers and wives when the men were away from home. This was Too strong a proposition for freemen to sit still and do nothing and not take sides. So I, with many of my fellow citizens of Gilmer County, gathered up all available arms and ammunition. We had Squirrel Rifles with a few rounds of ammunition some had Dirk knives and others had Revolvers (those old fashioned guns were known as Pepper Boxes). Two "pepper boxes" shown to the left. These guns were not dangerous unless they were thrown at a man, certainly not dangerous as firearms. We supposed that the object of the invaders was to abolish slavery in Virginia and throughout all the slave states. This supposition proved true later on. In 1862, I believe, Mr. Lincoln's Proclamation declared all the slaves freed in the southern states. As above stated in May 1861, at a general meeting in the town of Glenville, Gilmer County, West Virginia and then Virginia, I volunteer with many of the Democrats from Said County and we organized a Company of Infantry called the "Virginia Volunteer Infantry". This Company elected Rev. John Klem Mitchel as their Captain, who was killed soon after in a skirmish near Arnoldsburg, Virginia. 3

Said Mitchel a brave, gallant officer fell while leading his men in battle. The other officers at that first organization were as follows: First Lt., H. McNemer, Samuel S. Stout (youngest son of the late Hezekiah Stout), 2nd Lt., Lem. C. Lynch, 1st Sergt., Fleming E. Turner, 3rd Sergent., and James J. Norman, 2nd Sergt. Later on from time to time and at the other reorganizations their successors were elected as follows: J. S. Kerr McCutchen, Captain, who by seniority was promoted Lt. Colonel and after the war migrated to California. He was a most heroic officer and survived the many conflicts in which his Company and Regiment engaged, but he carried several battle scars on his body. He still lives in Exeter, Tulare County, California. He is now well stricken in years, 80 some years old, and as honorable as he is old. Lt. Stout also still lives and is in California.

At the reorganization in 1862, this scribe became promoted to the Office of the 1st Sergeant, in which capacity he served until the surrender in 1865 and commanded Company "D" through many of the successful battles in which said Company and Regiment were engaged. He too, was wounded four times and once taken prisoner. Wounded and taken prisoner at Ft. Stedman near Petersburg, March 25, 1865, just before Lee's surrender in April 1865 at which my brigade made a desperate dash through three lines of the Union Yankees in the midst of the Grant's forces. For want of promised support, which failed to get up in due time, proved a failure and resulted in the capture of many of our best men in company with myself and Captain John H. Yancey, a gallant officer and son of Hon. Col. Yancey who then lived and owned a large farm at the mouth if Oil Creek, Braxton County, West Virginia. Said Captain Yancey still has a sister living on Oil Creek who is the wife of Rev. Neal Clawson. This scribe passed through the deadly scenes some 32 or 33 regular hard fought battles besides picket and skirmish fights, and under the great leadership of those great and heroic Generals Lee, Stonewall T. J. Jackson, Jubell Early and Yervill Gorden, Pegram and others usually came out victorious.

Now back to Glenville in May 1861, a company was wanted to have 100 men, but we only succeeded in enlisting some 60, and being pressed for time we moved southward to a place called Rendevoose (probably rendezvous), and scene of action with what forces we had, or we would be cut off by the invading foe.
continued. . .

comment 1
War was declared April 12, 1861. By May, 1861 Christian Kuhl had joined with 60 of his family and neighbors to form a volunteer company that called itself the Gilmer Rifles. It became Co. D of the 31st VA Volunteer Infantry.
Two other first person accounts of the Civil War from men in the 31st The Diary of A Confederate Soldier: James E. Hall of Elk Creek, Barbour County, near Philippi ofArchibald Atkinson, Surgeon, CSA born Smithfield, Isle of Wight Co., Va., February 23,1832;died Baltimore, Md., October 29, 1903.

1. This is from a twenty-four page document written by
Christian Kuhl, First Sergeant of Company D, 31st Virginia Infantry, aka Gilmer Rifles, CSA. The memoirs were compiled in 1911 from his memory. They have been typed and transcribed several times and probably contain many errors. They are provided for your use by David B. Kuhl.

2. Connie Ball, 2380 Crescent Dr., Paris, TX 75460. 3 June 1999, about Capt John Elam Mitchell, from Rootsweb: "Raised a company of soldiers for Confederate Service in Gilmer County, Virginia (now West Virginia) and went out as their Captain. He had to resign on account of his health, but stayed on as a Chaplain with the Confederate Army in Virginia and Maryland until his death on 25 May 1862. He is buried under a church building in West Virginia."

3. Kuhl's memory that John E. Mitchell died soon after a skirmish at Arnoldsburg differs from Connie Ball's information that he resigned, served as a chaplain and then died.


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Genealogy:Conrad Kuhl and Christian Kuhl during Civil War
Posted by: Mary Pirayesh on May 4 2010 12:29


Rev. C. Kuhl & his blood stained coat from Civil War BattlesYour ancestor was Conrad Kuhl born in Prussia. Christian was Conrad’s younger brother born in Baltimore. The attached links you to a picture of Christian held by the Library of Congress displaying his Civil War CSA battle jacket with blood stains and bullets holes. The picture was taken at the 50th anniversary of the Battle of Gettysburg which was held in October 1913. The battle took place in July 1863. National Archive and Records Administration military records state that Christian was acting company commander when he was shot and captured during the battle of Petersburg in March 1865 and had been acting company commander for two years.

According to David Wooddell of National Geographic Magazine, when Lee surrendered the CSA two weeks after Christian was captured, Christian’s regiment received a salute from the Union forces and was one of only two regiments to receive such a salute.

After the war, Christian signed the oath of allegiance and was released from Lincoln Army Hospital in June 1865. Conrad was released from a Union Prison (either Camp Chase or Fort Delaware). Conrad, Christian and several other individuals some of whom were known to be former CSA soldiers built the log church Jobes Temple near Glenville, WV. The Methodist church is still in use, is listed on the National Register and their names are on markers at the site.

Christian was ordained as a Methodist minister after the war.

Dave Kuhl
210 Glen Eagles Drive
Ocean Springs, MS 39564

---------- Forwarded Message ----------
From: Mark Dukas <>
Subject: Photo on Flickr of Rev Kuhl
Date: Mon, 28 Sep 2009 10:41:11 -0700

Hi there,
I came across your name via a Google search. I am a fan of the
Library of Congress photos that are being posted in batches to Flickr.
There is one recently posted of a Gettysburg reunion event and a
photo of a person called. Rev. C. Kuhl. Doing a Google search turns
up the typed account. Do you think it might be your relative? here
is the link to flickr, FYI.

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Local news:Some Kuhl Family History by Donna Gloff of Detroit, MI And Additions by Marilyn Cole(Kuhl) Posey
Posted by: Mary Pirayesh on Jan 25 2010 11:30
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Friday, September 05, 2008

Henry Harrison Cole of Three Lick

Marilyn (Cole) Posey's extensive collection of family photos and her research on the Kuhl/Cole family are the basis for this entry and have been the basis for several entries that run from the Civil War through the 1900s, including
. . . Mar '08 The Rose and Her Bud

David Parmer, in fine Stone Soup tradition, has taken Marilyn's material and contributed additional material from his extensive resources, including Ruth Mick and Mrs. Clifford Wine.

Right: Henry Harrison Cole

by David Parmer
Henry Harrison Cole's Grandfather:
Henry Kuhl, Immigrant and Pioneer
Henry Kuhl was born in Bendorf, Prussia when the boots of Napoleon’s French army were marching across and laying waste to central Europe. He was still a youth during the second Napoleonic war, which ended at Waterloo. Kuhl’s native Prussia was deeply involved in both conflicts, and as with most wars, it is the common man in uniform who bears the most casualties and the families of the common soldier who do the most weeping.

Prussia was a state of landed gentry. Huge estates were owned by a few aristocrats. There was little opportunity and even less future in war-like Prussia for a common man like Henry Kuhl; so like his Scotch-Irish, German and English counterparts of the previous century, he set sail with his family for America, the land of opportunity, and hopefully peace, for a common man. He was thirty seven years of age when his immigrant ship set anchor in Baltimore harbor in 1839.

A Braxton County Beginning
After arriving in Baltimore Henry Kuhl, his wife Catherine and their three sons, William and Conrad who were born in Prussia and Christian who was born in Baltimore, migrated first to Lewis County and then to hilly, west central Braxton County and a farm on Toms Creek, a tributary of Cedar Creek. The Kuhl family arrived in Braxton County before 1841. By the time the census taker in 1850 found his way to Toms Creek, the Henry Kuhl family had increased by three more children, John, Henry and Rebecca.

The Kuhl farm on Toms Creek as it looked in the late 1900s.

The Kuhl family lived a hard-working, productive life for the next decade creating a productive farm from virgin timbered hills. In 1861, Henry Kuhl, in the placid, verdant hills of his Braxton County farm, once again heard the sounds of guns, a reminder of his Prussian youth.

The Civil War
The Union troops came as an invading army. As do most invading armies, the soldiers, mostly from Ohio, took what they wanted from the local farmers and threatened those common folk who did not pledge loyalty, in act and deed, to the Union cause.

Throughout northwest Virginia, in the area that would become central West Virginia, the loyalties were divided between the cause of the Union and continuing allegiance to the Commonwealth of Virginia. Spies for each competing faction were everywhere. Union sympathizers were reported to Confederate-leaning partisans and southern sympathizers were reported to the Union occupiers. Acts of cruelty, murder, arson and robbery were committed in the name of each side by neighbors who prior to the invasion had lived peacefully, side by side.

The Casper Prislor Affair
During the early days of the Civil War in what is today central West Virginia, strangers were particularly viewed with suspicion. Unfortunately, one of those strangers, a Union soldier, sympathizer or camp follower by the name of Casper Prislor came skulking to the out-of-the-way farm of Henry Kuhl. The Kuhl farm had earlier been victimized by thieving Union soldiers. The suspicious Prislor was killed by a wary Kuhl and a farm hand named Gabriel Windon. This regrettable act was reported to the Union army whose officers arrested Henry Kuhl and Windon for murder. They were tried by a military tribunal and were hanged at Sutton as an example to local farmers that violence against the Union cause could have fatal consequences.

Henry Kuhl's Son Conrad Kuhl, Confederate Prisoner
The second oldest Kuhl son, Conrad, had been present at the time his father and Windon had killed the Yankee Prislor and was arrested along with his father and Gabriel Windon. Marilyn Cole Posey, great-great-great-granddaughter of Henry Kuhl, who has done extensive and important research on the death of Casper Prislor, reports that the military tribunal found that Conrad was not a principal in the murder of Prislor, but was nonetheless involved. Conrad was sentenced to imprisonment for the duration of the war and ordered to wear a ball and chain on his ankle for the time of his imprisonment.

According to Thomas Bland Camden in his article published in the Weston Democrat in 1927, he was imprisoned along with Conrad Kuhl at the notorious Federal prison camp at Camp Chase, Ohio for the duration of the war. Camden reported that Conrad could easily slip in and out of the ball and chain fixed to his ankle. Camden also reported that Conrad became a skilled jewelry maker while in prison and that Conrad had fashioned a nice ring for him with his initials, “T B C,” inlaid in the ring. In addition to Fort Chase, Conrad Kuhl was also imprisoned at Fort Delaware.

Henry Harrison Cole's Father:
William Kuhl, Farmer and Union Soldier
In 1860, just before the Civil War, William Kuhl, then twenty-six years of age, married Mary Hefner. William and Mary Kuhl, according to the 1860 census-taker, were living on a farm on Rocky Fork in northeastern Gilmer County. Mary was the daughter of Peter and Susannah Hefner who lived on the adjacent farm. Another neighbor of William and Mary Kuhl on Rocky Fork was James and Rebecca Ratliff and their six children, among them a son named Henry F. William Kuhl’s farm on Rocky Fork was about fifteen miles from the farm of his father Henry Kuhl on Toms Run.

Left: William and Mary (Hefner) Kuhl
After the outbreak of hostilities in the spring of 1861, William Kuhl soon received word of his father’s implication in the death of Casper Prislor.

William Kuhl Changes His Name to Cole
William, the older of the two Kuhl sons who had emigrated from Prussia, disapproved of his father’s implication in the death of Casper Prislor and felt that the family name had been disgraced by the act. Maybe to atone for the act of his father, William joined the Union army, and as a statement of his denunciation of his father, changed his name from Kuhl to “Cole” on his enlistment papers into the Union army, and thereafter went by the name of “Cole.” William’s younger brother, Henry J., following the lead of William, also joined the Union army under the name of “Cole.” There must however have been some uncertainty regarding a change of name by William because the 1870 census-taker reported William’s last name as “Khule” and in 1880 the census-taker still reported it has “Kuhl.” Obviously, since the family name was still being spelled as “Kuhl” as late as 1880, there is an inconsistency within the family tradition as to when the spelling of the name changed. William and Mary’s children however seemed to be consistent in spelling their last name as “Cole,” which became the accepted spelling of family name thereafter. When our Henry Harrison Cole married Mary Jane Heater in 1882, the official record of the marriage lists his name as “Cole.”

Henry's Parents William Cole Family
Quiet times again returned to central West Virginia after the hostilities of the Civil War. It was still a hard life, scratching out a living for a large farm family on a hilly Rocky Fork farm. Notwithstanding the difficulty in making a living, William and Mary Cole were fruitful and multiplied. By the time of the 1870 Gilmer County census, William and Mary were the parents of four children, our Henry Harrison, aged nine, Peter, aged five, Lurana, aged three, and Sarah, aged one. The 1880 census reported that William and Mary were the parents of three additional children, Susanna, aged nine, Elizabeth, aged six, and Lovey, aged three.

William Cole continued to farm during his lifetime and also, according to his great, great granddaughter Marilyn Cole Posey, operated a grist mill at Blackburn on lower Rocky Fork. Mrs. Clifford Wine of Indian Fork recalls the remnants of an old mill which were stored in an old barn on her father’s property on Rocky Fork, once believed to be a part of the William Cole farm. William died in Gilmer County in 1891. His widow, Mary, passed away in 1914. William and Mary are buried in the Blackburn Methodist Church Cemetery.

Left: #1 is Toms Creek, #2 is Rocky Fork and #3 is the confluence of Grass Lick and Three Lick.

Henry HarrisonCole

Henry Harrison Cole, the oldest son of William and Mary (Hefner) Cole, and Mary Jane (Heater) Cole were Gilmer County residents from the time of their marriage in 1882 until 1901. From 1884 until 1899, they became the parents of eleven children who were born in Gilmer County. The oldest child Bessie was born in 1884, Ida in 1885, Mabel in 1887, Susan Rosetta in 1889, Charles Q. in 1890, twins Lana and Laura were born in 1892, Simon in 1895, Jesse in 1897, and a second Susan Rosetta in 1899. After the family moved to Lewis County, two additional children, Verdie Elizabeth and William H., were born to Henry Harrison and Mary Jane (Heater) Cole in 1902 and 1906.

Left: Son Charles Quinton (center) with his sons Alvin "Slim" and Harold Quinton.

Right: Daughter Bessie Cole, wife of David Wimer, then wife of Uncle Zeke's good friend Rufus Blake, in her later years.

Henry and Mary Jane Cole Move to Three Lick
In 1901, Henry Harrison Cole purchased a one hundred thirty acre farm from Aldinah (Cosner) Bennett and George Hezekiah Bennett, her husband, in the vicinity of Three Lick and Grass Run and moved his family to the outskirts of thriving Confluence. This farm at one time had been owned by David N. Godfrey, a well-known Orlando resident. There Henry took up general farming and raising his family for the next twenty-five years.

First Row: Simon Cole, Bessie (Cole) Wimer Blake, Henry Harrison Cole, Susan Rosetta Cole, Verdie Elizabeth Cole (on lap), Mary Jane (Heater) Cole, Jesse Cole.
Second Row: Nellie Wymer, David Wymer, Furman Wyer, Mabel (Cole) Wyer, Charles Quinton Cole, Laura Cole, Cora Wimer, Ida (Cole) Wimer

Henry H. Cole's Demise
The Summons
Pete Moran, the Orlando postmaster, sorted the mail from Weston which had arrived on the early morning train on a February morning in 1926. Among the many letters in the mail sack was a letter from the Circuit Clerk of Lewis County addressed to Henry H. Cole of Route 2, Orlando. Pete dropped the letter in the box of Alva Barnett, the Route 2 mail carrier, for further sorting and for delivery.

Henry Cole was a farmer and lived with his wife Mary Jane near the mouth of Grass Run of Three Lick, just north of Orlando. The mail carrier, Alva Barnett, usually reached the home of Henry Cole in Grass Run area late in his delivery route, which took a circuitous route by way of Posey Run, Rocky Fork, Indian Fork and Three Lick. Arriving in the Three Lick area in mid afternoon, Alva dutifully slid the letter for Henry into his mail box and nudged his horse along on down Three Lick. Mail was eagerly awaited by rural patrons. Henry Cole opened the important-looking letter and found a summons from the Circuit Clerk of Lewis to report for grand jury duty in the Circuit Court of Lewis County for the March 1926 term of court. Henry knew his duty and meant to comply.

Jury Duty
Serving on jury duty in 1926 in Lewis County was no easy obligation to fulfill for a rural citizen from the southern Collins Settlement District. There were no passable roads from Three Lick to Weston in the winter of 1926 and a trip to Weston meant a trip by rail. Serving on a jury may also have required that the jury pool be available for court for a number of days without the possibility to return home at the close of each day’s court session.

Town Run
In 1926, Weston was a bustling town and was the center of commercial activity in Lewis County. Glass plants flanked the outskirts of the town and gas well drilling contractors were busy. Main Street was full of prosperous stores. The Insane Asylum loomed large in the town’s identity and economy.

Town Run in 1926 was a thickly populated section of Weston, dotted with modest frame homes which were primarily occupied by the glass plant workers, asylum employees, railroaders and shop workers. Located on the southern end of town, it was also convenient to the Lewis County Courthouse, the place Henry Cole was to report for jury duty.

A Deadly Fire
In 1926, Minnie Radcliff, a fireman for the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad, lived with his wife Jessie and his six children on Willow Street in the Town Run section of Weston. Minnie generally worked between Weston and Grafton. Minnie was the son of Henry F. and Eliza Radcliff. Henry’s parents, James Ratliff and Rebecca Ratliff, lived on Rocky Fork in Gilmer County during the 1860’s and were neighbors of William Cole, father of Henry Harrison Cole.

We don’t know why Henry Harrison Cole was staying with the Minnie Radcliff family in Weston on Friday night of February 26, 1926 awaiting jury duty which did not begin until the following Monday. Maybe the early family connection as neighbors on Rocky Fork led Henry to seek a bed at the Radcliff home and spend a few days visiting. Whatever the reason, it was a fateful, and fatal, decision by Henry Harrison Cole.

At some point in the evening, fire broke out in the Radcliff home. During the confusion, Mrs. Radcliff became convinced that one of her children was still in the blazing house. Hysterically, Mrs. Radcliff proclaimed this belief and Henry, who had been standing on the street watching the blaze, went back into the inferno in search of the child. Maybe his inability to find the child caused Henry to stay in the burning house longer than was wise. Henry Cole of Three Lick perished in the blaze as the burning house collapsed. Henry H. Cole was never known to be a courageous or noble man, but now he is remembered as a hero. As a footnote to his death, the newspaper account of the fire reported that the child who was supposedly in the burning house, had been out of the house all along, safely in the arms of a neighbor.

Left: Henry and Mary Jane (Heater) Cole

A Solemn Return
The corpse of Henry Cole was prepared for return to Orlando by the McKinley Undertaking Company of Weston. There is little cosmetic help for a corpse as badly burned as Henry Cole so a modest casket was selected and according to Ruth Mick, the body returned to Orlando by horse and buggy. Winter travel was difficult in the days of crude country roads from Weston to Three Lick. Flooding on Oil Creek also made travel difficult. After a difficult journey, the casket bearing the corpse of Henry Cole returned to his Orlando home. His widow, Mary Jane, had been seriously ill for several days and fear of contagion prevented her from opening her home to mourners and prevented her from leaving. Mary Jane viewed the badly burned corpse of her husband from a window before the casket was sealed for burial. The raging flood waters of Oil Creek made it impossible for a burial that day and that final act would have to wait until the next day, February 28th. With due solemnity, Reverend Emory F. Keller of the Orlando United Brethren Church officiated at the burial of Henry Harrison Cole, the grandson of a German immigrant and son of a Civil War veteran, as he was buried in the Orlando Cemetery.

. . . . .

Comment 1 by Marilyn (Cole) Posey

William Cole, the father of Henry Harrison Cole, operated a grist mill near Blackburn. The grist mill was located in the meadow on the right at the intersection of the Indian Fork Road and the Rocky Fork Road. The William and Mary (Hefner) Cole home was located across the creek and on the hill overlooking the mill. My great-great grandparents attended the Blackburn Methodist Church and are buried in the church cemetery. William died in 1891 and Mary died in 1914.

Comment 2 by David Parmer

Simon Cole, one of the younger children of Henry Harrison and Mary Jane (Heater) Cole, enlisted in the United States Navy during World War I. In late November, 1918, after the war was over, but while he was still serving aboard the battleship U. S. S. Pennsylvania, Simon received a telegram from home advising him that his teen aged sister, Elizabeth, had passed away. The telegram has been preserved to this day. After his discharge from the Navy, Simon returned to Orlando, married Tressie Sibyl Heater, daughter of Andrew Jackson and Ora (Riffle) Heater, and eventually moved to Gassaway. Simon was a long time employee of the Hope Gas Company. His son, Simon Junior, was also a long time employee of Hope Gas Company and was a long time Mayor of Gassaway. Simon’s youngest son, Jim, recently retired as the Executive Vice President of Allegheny Wood Products, one of the largest lumber companies in West Virginia. Jesse Cole, also a son of Henry Harrison and Mary Jane (Heater) Cole, moved from Buzzardtown [Posey Run area] to Gassaway in 1935 to operate a garage and filling station for his older brother Simon.

Left above: Simon in his Navy uniform
Left: Simon and Tressie Sibyl (Heater) Cole

Comment 3 by David Parmer

The name “Ratliff” seems to be spelled as many different ways as there are letters in the alphabet. Minnie Radcliff, with whom Henry Harrison Cole was staying the evening of his death, was the grandson of James Ratliff of Rocky Fork. Other variations of the name are Ratcliff, Ratcliffe, Redcliff, Redcliffe, Radcliffe, Ratleff. All of the ways the name has been spelled creates problems in genealogy research. Most “Ratliffs” seem to acknowledge that they are still related to the persons who spell the last name differently.


Anonymous said...

very nice. I am a kin to the cole's and enjoyed reading the article and would to find out more my

I enjoyed reading the article and am glad the i am related to the cole's .My Grand Mother was Lovey Cole.

jane said...

I loved this site. found out I have a photo of Henry H and Mary Jane Heater Cole. had no idea who they were and now another puzzle piece fits !!
I am related thru William and Mary Hefner Cole
my gr grandmother Virginia Cecil Cole Keller

jane said...

I am so glad to see this site. I have a photo of Henry H and Mary J Heater Cole and didn't know who they were
I am related thru Wm and Mary Hefner Cole
and Virgina Cecil Cole Keller..

Donna Gloff said...

Jane, thanks for writing. Do you have any photos you'd like to share? Also, I'd love to add your branch of Orlando's family tree posted at RootsWeb.(See

Please e-mail me at

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