Biography of William Coles
Erie County, OH Biographies





WILLIAM COLES. A business record of forty five years is the honorable distinction of William Coles, who has spent most of his life in Sandusky, and whose energy in the management of his own affairs has also at different times been diverted for the public benefit through different public offices he has held.

William Coles was born in Peterboro, England, March 14, 1845, a son of Isaac Coles, who was born in the same locslity. Though the grandparents spent their lives in England, three of the sons, James, Stephen and Isaac Coles, all came to America and all became early residents of Sandusky. James died a few years ago leaving one son, while Stephen has no children. Isaac Coles grew up and married in England, and about 1848 came to America, accompanied by his wife and three children They made the voyage on a sailing vessel, being six weeks on the sea, and after landing at New York came west to Sandusky. This was then a small settlement, and a large part of the land now included in the city was covered with trees and hazel brush. During 1849 Isaac Coles was employed in driving horses to draw freight cars up and down Water Street. Only the older citizens can recall that somewhat primitive railroad. The rails were wooden stringers, covered with strap iron. This employment led Isaac Coles to a trucking business in 1850, and he began operating a two wheeled dray. During the cholera epidemic in the city he carried the dead to the cemetery on this vehicle. That old cemetery was located on Pearl Street. Isaac Coles continued in the general dray and transfer business twenty five years, and after that lived retired until his death at the age of eighty six He married Sarah Escom, who was born in England and died at the age of eighty one. She reared twelve of her fourteen children, namely - Harriet, William, Stephen, Jane, Phebe, Nettie, Fanny, James, Isaac, Thomas, Polly and Sally. The first three were born in England.

William Coles was threes years old when brought to Sandusky, and owing to the large family at home and other conditions his education was much neglected, and from the time he was eight years old he began to be self supporting. He was employed in different kinds of work, with attendance at school only during the winter months. While still young he bought on credit a team and began hauling freight around the city. He went at this work with the same energy which has characterized all his activities, paid for the team in a short time and then bought other teams and equipment and set up as a general contractor in the freight and transfer business. He continued this business in growing proportions with offices on Railroad Street until 1909, and has now completed fully forty five years of business activity.

On December 24, 1864, Mr. Coles married Jane Bayless, who was born in England, and was the only member of her father's family to come to America. During the Christmas season of 1914 the Coles family and many friends celebrated the auspicious event of the fiftieth anniversary of the wedding of Mr. and Mrs. Coles. They reared five children: Sarah E., William, Mary, John, Alfred. Sarah E. lives with her parents. William met his death by accident at the age of twenty one, while John died at the age of nineteen, and Alfred died in childhood. The daughter Mary is the wife of Dr. F. F. Lehman, and has two children.

Mr. Coles is affiliated with Perseverance Lodge No. 329, F. & A. M. For many years his fellow citizens have imposed upon him important responsibilities of a public nature. He served as a member of the board of education eight years, as a member of the board of safety six years, and also in the city council. While on the board of education the Seventh and Ninth Ward schoolhouses were built, and while he was on the board of safety two new fire steamers were bought for the fire department, the No. 5 Engine House was built, also the No. 3 Engine House and the Ninth Street bridge. During his membership in the city council the paving work was done on Columbus Avenue, Market Street, Tiffin Avenue, Wayne and Hancock streets, and during that time he was chairman of the committee on paving

From:
A Standard History of Erie County, Ohio
By: Hewson L. Peeke
Assisted by a Board of Advisory Editors
The Lewis Publishing Company Chicago and New York 1916


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