John Cole


Spelled and referred to variously (Cool, Kool), "Johannes Cool" was born in April 1745. He was the son of Lambert and Maria Kidney Cole. He grew up a middle child in the small family of a first ward tradesman.

In August 1765, he was left £50 in the will of "Albany" merchant Joseph White who called Cole "my lad."

In May 1762, one "John Cole" was among those soldiers who "passed muster" in Schenectady in the company of Captain Cornelis Van Dyck. That individual was 22 years old and a native of Orange County (perhaps not this subject). In 1767, John Cole's name appeared on the roster of an Albany militia company.

In November 1770, John married the younger Albany native Anna Daniels at the Albany Dutch church. At that time, both partners were residents of the city of Albany and he was characterized as a "yeoman." By 1780, four children had been christened in Albany. The last child, christened "Pemberton" late in December 1780, probably honored John's predecessor as jailer, skipper and then Tory refugee William Pemberton - the boy's godfather.

Cole appears to have been a city resident for most of his life. However, he mostly was not noted in the community-based record examined so far. With one exception, his name does not seem to appear among the municipal placeholders during his adulthood. But he may have been the "Mr. Coe in the house of Mr. T. Collard" listed on the city assessment roll in 1766 and taxed modestly. In March 1779, only the property of his widowed mother appeared on the first ward tax list. The October tax roll, however, assessed two pieces of property under the name "John Cole."

John Cole was a member of the Albany Masonic Lodge and as such was known to Sir William Johnson. By the 1770s, he was soliciting the appointment as Jailer in Albany. He had worked for the incumbent jailer and was allegedly "ill used by Pemberton." Throughout the decade, he was referred to as the "jailor" although actual documentation has been sparse.

Finally, in December 1780, the City Records noted that he was dead and was the "former jailer of Albany." His impoverished and then homeless widow was left to the charity of the Albany government.

biography in-progress


the people of colonial Albany Sources: The life of John Cole is CAP biography number 7667. This sketch is derived chiefly from family and community-based resources.

first posted 3/20/15