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Past and Present of Livingston County
Volume 2. Biographies
by Major A. J. Roof. 1913
Willis Cole. the owner of a well improved and highly cultivated farm of two hundred and ten acres on section 34, Jackson township, Livingston county, is a native of this county, being horn April 13, 1855, and a son of Moses and Sarah (Wilson) Cole, the former of whom passed away in 1901, while the latter still makes her home in Jackson township.
Educated in the virtues of honesty, industry and thrift by his parents, Willis Cole acquired his learning in the public schools of Livingston county, laying aside his schoolbooks at the age of fifteen years. Early acquainting himself with efficient methods of agriculture by assisting his father in the minor duties on the home places, he continued with the same for six years after leaving school, but at the end of that time began his independent career by renting land and engaging thereon in agricultural pursuits. Energetic and progressive, he soon obtained results and was later enabled to acquire the valuable farm of two hundred and ten acres upon which he now resides, There he has erected a handsome residence and other substantial farm buildings, making such improvements and instituting such equipment as are considered indispensable to modem and intensive farming. He devotes his land to such grains as are best adapted to soil and climate and also engages in stock-raising, receiving gratifying returns from both lines of endeavor.
On April 17, 1979, Mr. Cole was united in marriage to Miss Susanna Wagner, a daughter of Frederick S. and Anna (Wortz) Wagner, both of whom have passed away, the father's death occurring in 1899 and that of the mother in 1910. Both the parents found their last resting place in Sampsell township. Mr. and Mrs. Cole are the parents of the following children: May, the wife of T. E. Stith, a farmer of Oklahoma; Awilda G., at home Ella, the wife of Thomas Bills, who follows agricultural pursuits in Livingston county; Ollie, Mary and John W., all at home: Claude, who passed away in 1881; Moses U. who died in 1885 and an infant, who passed away in 1900.
In his political affiliations Mr. Cole is a republican and, being public-spirited, keeps himself well informed upon all matters affecting county, state and nation. His ability has been recognized many times in his election to various township offices. He is a worthy exemplar of the Masonic order, being a member of the blue lodge, and also is affiliated with the Modern Woodmen of America. Energetic and active, he has brought about his own success by progressive and scientific methods but has done more than that, for his labors have been instrumental in increasing the resources of this section and developing agricultural standards, contributing thereby to general advancement and development.