Every day, thousands of people drive up and down US-127 between Jackson and Leslie; and every one drives by this little unassuming cemetery. It's tough to see, especially in the summer when the leaves are covering it from view. Even so, there are many eagle-eyed commuters who catch a grave or two out of the corner of their eye and take notice.

I have driven by this place hundreds of times for many decades and finally my curiosity got the best of me. I pulled off the Berry Road exit and turned south on State Road until I reached the site. I looked around for a sign telling what the name of it was.....but there is no sign.

So I did a little research when I got home and found out the name: Cole Cemetery. As with many cemeteries, it was named after one of the first families to be buried there. I found the listing of over 160 burials and discovered a whole handful of Cole family members – fifteen, to be exact.

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The first Cole member to be buried here was two-year-old Chauncey Cole, who passed away on December 29, 1842 (Chauncey is not to be confused with another Chauncey Cole, who died at age 32 and was buried here in 1850). Little Chauncey, the son of Horace and Lucinda Cole, may have been the first Cole to be buried here, but not the first burial – the very first was Ellen Jannet Freeman, who died in January 1840 at just 6 months old.

So why was the cemetery named after the Coles and not the Freemans?

Horace Gould Cole was a farmer and dedicated church member in Rives Township for over forty years. He later donated part of his land for the Cole school and the cemetery, which was given his name. Horace & Lucinda had a total of thirteen children; Lucinda's maiden name was King, of which there are thirteen King family members in the cemetery. The Freemans are also well-represented here, with a total of nine family members.

Sporadic burials occurred over the decades and seemed to slow way down by the 1950s with only two in 1953. one in 1961, one in 1973, a few in the 80s & 90s and the last one (so far) in 2002.

Even though it looks well-kept from the road and is basically litter-free, upon getting out of the car and walking through I saw so many vandalized grave markers - it's a sad thing to see. Many classic old 1800s tombstones have been knocked down, broken, cracked and shattered. Other than that unfortunate fact, it's a serene (even though it's a stone's throw from the noisy highway), beautiful little cemetery. It's worth a few minutes of your time to stop and do a walk-thru.

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