Home » Arkansas » Random Newspaper Find

Random Newspaper Find

Do you ever go off on tangents with your genealogy research? If so, welcome to the club!

I often go off on tangents with my FAN club. For the past several months, I’ve been on one of those tangents — researching the descendants of James Crawford and Rebecca Anderson Maxwell Crawford.

My most recent quest involves the descendants of Cynthia Crawford and John Crafton. This family is elusive! Born between 1824 and 1832, their children include John S., Barzilla, Patrick H, Rachel and Mary I. Even though I have approximate birth dates for all of the children, I only have a death date for John S. Crafton.

This past week, I’ve been investigating the family of Mary I Crafton who married Jacob Cole in Indiana in 1865. According to Find a Grave, Jacob Cole died in 1893 in Ouachita County Arkansas. In an attempt to learn more about Mary Crafton Cole, I started investigating the Arkansas branch of the family thru their son James Franklin Cole.

Since I didn’t know a lot about this family, I used connections on Find a Grave to identify the family. From the Find a Grave memorial for James Franklin Cole, I learned his wife was Elizabeth Francis Holt. I also was able to identify 3 of the children: Harvey E Cole, James Dewitt Cole and Ora Mae Cole.

When working with a ‘new’ family, I also use the FamilySearch tree to see what other researchers have concluded. Based on the location of his birth and death and his wife’s name, I matched James Franklin Cole in my RootsMagic database to James Franklin Cole (1866-1952) [L164-8WB]. Since FamilySearch had two additional children, Herbert Lee Cole and Roy J Cole, I added them to the family.

My next step was to locate information to support the family configuration obtained via Find a Grave and FamilySearch. Ancestry hints to census records provided support for the family configuration.

However, none of this provided a tie between James Franklin Cole of Arkansas and the Cole family in Clay County, Indiana. That’s when I turned to newspapers to try and locate obituaries for the Cole family in Ouachita County, Arkansas.

So far, I haven’t found any obituaries. However, I did find one of those ‘gossipy’ tidbits that provides a major clue. According to the gossip,

Mr. and Mrs. Roy Cole of Conroe, Texas visited Mr. and Ms. J. D. Cole and Mrs. J. F. Cole Friday.

Local News, The Camden News (Camden, Arkansas), 13 December 1956, page 12; digital images, Newspapers.com (www.newspapers.com : viewed online November 2019).

That little tidbit not only provides a location for the family of Roy Cole in 1956 but also indicates that his mother, Mrs. J. F. Cole, is still living.


The next random find involves G. B. Cole. At first, I browsed past the article about the retirement of Police Chief G. B. Cole since I didn’t have any G. Cole in the family. However, something caused me to go back and read the article. This article is interesting for its information about the use of an automobile by the police. However, buried in this article is the birth date and parents of G. B. Cole. This retirement article places George Bernard Cole in the family of James F. Cole and Elizabeth Francis Holt, and potentially a great-grandson of Cynthia Crawford Crafton.

G. B. Cole

Police Chief G. B. Cole will retire on December 31, 1970, after 31 years of service with the Camden Police Department. Cole’s letter in which he stated his intention to retire was read Monday night to members of the City Board of Directors by City Manager Robert Herchert.

George Bernard Cole, 60, was born February 12, 1910 at Ogemaw. He was the son of James F. and Elizabeth Francis Holt Cole. He graduated from Stephens High school.

The veteran police office attended one semester at Harding College at Morrilton. He was force to leave college because of the depression. However, later he attended Draughon’s Business College at Little Rock.

Cole joined the Camden Police Department July 14, 1939 under the administration of Mayor D. W. Harell. He worked as a patrolman until World War II, during which he was drafted by the Cotton Belt railroad to work in the special agent’s department out of Dallas. He took a leave of absence from the police department.

Cole stated he had an opportunity to work for two other railroads, Missouri Pacific or the Frisco but joined Cotton Belt because he knew most of the officers in this area.

He worked in Dallas for more than a year and was transferred back to Camden. He said that was in December of 1944. He said they were building the Naval Ammunition Depot when he returned.

After the United States dropped the atomic bomb on Japan and the enemy surrendered, I obtained my release and rejoined the local police force,” Cole said.
In the meantime, Harrell was re-elected Mayor and on August 29, 1945, Cole was appointed Chief of Police.

Cole stated that one of the most puzzling crimes during his career with police work is the disappearance of Maude Crawford on March 2, 1957. Cole, holding a wanted poster in his hand, said, “we sent one of these to every major city in the United States and nothing has turned up.” The poster reads that a $1000 will be given the person who furnishes information leading to Mrs Crawford or her body.

“We checked out hundreds of leads but all were futile,” he said.

Cole said he had a love for police work and it was with sadness he was leaving his job.
The police chief is married to the former Maxine Morgan of Stephens and they have two children and four grandchildren. Their son, James Cole, works for Humble Oil and Refining Company in Houston and their daughter, Betty Joe Roberts, resides with her family Orlando, Fla.

The Coles are members of Maul Road Church of Christ.

In My own mind, after gathering statistics we, in Camden, have as low a crime rate as any city of the same size in the United States, I attribute this to the splendid cooperation by both races in Camden,” he said.

When Cole first joined the local police force there were four other members. “A.R. Lamb who moved here from Little Rock was acting police chief. Morris Cawthon was motorcycle patrolman and he and Lamb worked the day shift, while S. E. Padgett, Sr., and I worked nights. We had extra help on weekends,” he said. Cole mentioned that none of the members of the force when he joined are living today.

In the late part of 1939, Mayor Harrell purchased for the department its first auto. Prior to that all calls were answered by taxi cabs. “It was a ’40 model Ford,” Cole said.
Cole stated that during the rainy season, officers had to park the patrol car at about where the [Grapetite] plant is now on Grinstead Street, if they received calls over in Southeast Camden. “Cars couldn’t travel into the area and we had to leave our car and walk over to where ever the call was, make the arrest and walk back to the auto, he said. When a taxi was used it would wait most of the time.

Today the Camden Police Department operates four autos, and Cole has recommended that the city purchase another one next year. The 1970 budget provides for 15 policemen and Cole has asked for a 24-man force next year. This includes the dispatcher and metermaid.

“G. B. Cole,” The Camden News (Camden, Arkansas), 6 October 1970, page 1; digital images, Newspapers.com (www.newspapers.com : viewed online November 2019).

With this article and the 1910 and 1920 census for the Cole family, I was not only able to add George B. Cole to the family, but also another daughter, Mabel Cole.

So far, I haven’t found that ‘magic bullet’ linking the Arkansas Cole family to the Indiana Cole family and thus to Mary Crafton Cole. However, I am still looking!