m. 29 OCT 1797
m. 3 MAY 1860
Facts and Events
Byron Clay Cole (1825-1894)
Photo taken about 1893
Biography of Byron Clay Cole
Byron Clay Cole was born on 30 June, 1825 in Carmel, Putnam County, New York, the 12th and youngest child of Elisha Cole IV and Rebecca Hopkins. The Cole and Hopkins families were both prominent families with Massachusetts and Mayflower ancestry, that both moved from the Barnstable (Truro and Eastham parish), Massachusetts area to early Dutchess (later Putnam) County, New York in the mid-1740's. The family of his father, Elisha Cole IV, descends from the immigrant Daniel Cole who married Ruth Chester, and the family of his mother, Rebecca Hopkins, descends from Stephen Hopkins and his wife Mary, both Mayflower passengers who came to Massachusetts and helped to establish the Mayflower Colony in 1620. The Hopkins lineage has been fully accepted for membership into the Society of Mayflower Descendants, and a "5-Generations Project" book for Stephen Hopkins and his descendants is available from the Society that details many descendants of the Hopkins family.
Shortly after reaching adulthood in 1851, Byron and his brother Rufus Cole travelled across the country during the time of California's "Gold Rush" and settled to an area just outside of Ashland, Oregon, "Line three miles south of the Siskiyou Summit, just about a mile inside Oregon." ("Oregon Geographic Names" by our heroes Lewis A. McArthur and Lewis L. McArthur) Prior to 1860, the Oregon-California Trail over the Siskiyou Summit on the Oregon-California border was a path used by Indians and fur trappers traveling on foot or on horse back. This same trail was used later by the cattle drovers, and later by the gold seekers and their packmules and finally by the first emigrant wagon trains of the late 1840s and early 1850s. ("Oregon A Report to the U.S. Department of the Interior, Bureau of Land Management" by Mark Tveskov, Kelly Derr, Nicole Norris, & Richard Silva, Department of Sociology and Anthropology Southern Oregon University November 26, 2001).
Byron and Rufus Cole took a donation claim on the border and built a stagecoach station there. Byron sold his stake in 1859 and purchased a couple hundred acres of land to the north and built a hotel expecting the completion of a rail line. When the rail line came through in 1887 (this became a main line of the Southern Pacific Railroad), the post office and a new rail station both took the name "Colestin" by 1892, named after its founder, Byron Cole. For many years, Colestin was a busy, bustling area with an influx of visitors and settlers from many other areas of the country. The unique geologic formations, combined with volcanic activity created "mineral springs" in the area and Cole's resort hotel became a destination for healing among tourists and local residents. (Oregon Century: Part 18, by Ron Brown) In Southern Oregon, multiple volcanoes produced the rocks of the Colestin Formation; ash as well as basalt, andesite and rhyolite lavas. Erick Bestland of Flinders University, South Australia, notes at least separate episodes of volcanic activity in the Oligocene Colestin volcanoes of southern Oregon; a basaltic shield volcano, a small stratovolcano and a rhyotite vent. ("In Search of Ancient Oregon: a Geological and Natural History", by Ellen Morris Bishop)
The "Colestin Mineral Springs and Resort Hotel" gained fame all up and down the Pacific Coast for its hospitality, fresh air, food, and mineral water, and became known as "The Summit of the Siskiyou's". Colestin was populated enough then that it was considered a town, and had its own post office. Sometime after Byron Cole opened his hotel, which featured his mineral water "on tap", he also established a bottling works, which tourists could take the mineral water with them. This led to a larger business endeavor to market “Colestin Natural Mineral Water”, advertised as “Recommended for kidney, stomach and rheumatic troubles, biliousness, etc.”, thoroughout the Oregon and Siskiyou, California area. The motto of the bottler was “A sparkling table water unequalled for medicinal properties”. This company lasted well into the 1900's, at least past 1943, when the company received some negative publicity when 9 cases of its water was seized by the federal government for "mis-branding" for "false and mis-leading statements on its label". (U.S. vs. 9 Cases of Colestin Natural Mineral Water, 8 Sept. 1943), no doubt part of the government's efforts to stop what it felt were "exagerated claims" of many similar products of this time period.
Byron must have periodically travelled back to his parent's home, because on 3 May, 1860, he married Chloe Ann Knox, the daughter of Edmond Knox and Hannah Henion, in Norwalk, Connecticut. Byron Cole took his bride back with him to the Ashland, Oregon area, where they built a large family of 10 children (6 boys and 4 girls) over the next 20 years. Byron Clay Cole passed away on 18 January, 1894, most likely at his home in "Colestin", just outside of Ashland, Jackson County, Oregon. His wife Chloe Ann outlived him for 20 years.
Many years after the death of Byron Cole, most (or all) of his family apparently moved away from the Colestin, Oregon area. The "Colestin Mineral Springs and Resort Hotel" which Byron established, continued to do well until the main line of the railroad shifted to Klamath Falls and tourist traffic dropped off. In addition to the Cole's, many of the other nearby settler's families also moved away, causing the Colestin Post Office to be closed in 1943. By the 1980's, the old hotel was gone and only the valley named for Byron Cole, remains.
Additional information on Colestin Mineral Springs
Additional information available at: "Colestin Mineral Springs"