My biggest and longest standing brick wall is my Cole family. My gggrandfather, Benjamin Franklin Cole (he always went by Frank) truely seems to have been brought by the stork! I have not been able to find parents or siblings for him.
Frank was born July 1, 1837 somewhere in Penna. His obit says he was born in Huntingdon County but I have done enough searching there to be fairly sure that is incorrect.
Family story has that he ran away from home and his obit says "His younger days were spent in the "Wild West" where he saw service as a mail carrier for several years". and another obit says "Deceased went west as a young man and drove overland stage on the old Santa Fe trail from Fort Leavenworth, Kansas to the Pacific coast". The Santa Fe trail didn't go to the Pacific coast so that much is inaccurate. There was also the family story that he rode for the pony express.
I did find a Frank Cole on a 1859 Kansas state census living in the County of Leavenworth, township of Delaware but there isn't enough information to tell if this is "my" Frank Cole. I found Frank on the 1860 census for Independence, Jackson County, Missouri. He was living with 8 other men in their 20's in what I assume was a boarding house headed by E A Cox and his family. Frank was listed as a mail conducter and two of the other men were stage drivers.
I also found a Frank Cole that joined the Union army in Missouri in 1861 but again I haven't found enough information to know if it's my ancester.
His obit did say he returned east after the civil war and married, Jan. 1865 to Miss Harriet Giles of Johnstown, Cambria County. That's back again in Pa. However, I don't believe they got married in Johnstown because Frank was not listed on the yearly tax rolls for that county anywhere around those years.
Even if I found where they got married, I may not find any records. I'm sure they wouldn't have gotten married in a church because Harriet was Catholic and Frank was not.
After I first found them in Tyrone, Blair County on the 1870 census (with their name spelled Coal) and on the tax rolls from 1868- 1873 for there, I was able to follow them around central Pa.most of the time after that.
Harriet died in Jan. 1888 after she and Frank had had 13 children, 10 of which lived to adulthood. That was before county death records were kept so I only have her tombstone and Frank's obit. that records her death.
Frank died April 16, 1917 at the home of his daughter, in Clearfield, Pa. I have his death certificate and two obits but there is no mention of parents or siblings. And though Harriet died so much earlier than Frank, he never remarried.