It is uncertain on which side of the debt issue Cole campaigned. Republicans had generally supported full funding of the debt. Conservative newspaper accounts of the race called Cole a Funder, cited him as a supporter of the McCullough Act (the Funders' solution), and used his victory as evidence that Readjusters had not won a majority in the General Assembly. Most black voters, however, had begun to favor restructuring, if not repudiating, the debt. Cole's victory over the Conservative candidate John R. Motley by a vote of 803 to 635 in a county that favored the Readjuster position suggests that Cole probably expressed at least an openness to restructuring the state debt.
Nothing certain is known about Cole's life after his term in the House ended on March 9, 1880. Later that year the census enumerator in Essex County listed him as a farmer. There is no indication in the land and tax records that he owned any property in the county, so if he did farm, he probably rented or worked as a tenant. Cole does not seem to have sought political office in Essex again and appears in no subsequent county records. Most likely he left the county to pursue other opportunities, but it is not known where he might have gone. Records from Washington, D.C., identify several men named George W. Cole, but although their ages and occupations offer plausible possibilities, no evidence ties any of them directly to the former Virginia legislator. Whatever his fate, Cole played a role in one of the most important political movements in nineteenth-century Virginia.
1840s - Late in the decade, George W. Cole is born in Athens, Georgia, to William Cole and Martha Cole.
1872 - George W. Cole enrolls in the junior class of the Hampton Normal and Agricultural Institute.
1873–1874 - George W. Cole leaves the Hampton Normal and Agricultural Institute.
1879 - George W. Cole settles in Essex County.
1879 - George W. Cole is the Republican candidate for Essex County's seat in the House of Delegates and is elected to that office.
March 9, 1880 - George W. Cole's term in the House of Delegates ends.
April 21, 1879 - George W. Cole and Edith Banks, of Essex County, marry. They will have at least one daughter.
Cite This Entry
- APA Citation:
Whitley, W. B., & the Dictionary of Virginia Biography. George William Cole (d. after June 10, 1880). (2016, August 5). In Encyclopedia Virginia. Retrieved from http://www.EncyclopediaVirginia.org/Cole_George_William_d_after_June_10_1880.
- MLA Citation:
Whitley, William Bland and the Dictionary of Virginia Biography. "George William Cole (d. after June 10, 1880)." Encyclopedia Virginia. Virginia Foundation for the Humanities, 5 Aug. 2016. Web. READ_DATE.
First published: January 22, 2015 | Last modified: August 5, 2016