Bessie Labonte Cole
One of the original eight individuals who gathered in August of 1916 to form the first Red Cross Chapter in Miami County, and later, in January 1917, appointed to its Board of Directors, was Bessie Lebonte Cole. Bessie was born in Hamberg, Michigan in 1864. Her father was from New York and her mother from Vermont. On January 20, 1892 she married James Omer Cole who had a one-year-old grandson named Cole Porter. During 1900 James and Bessie visited the British Isles, Italy and France for four months but their residence was in Peru. She was a member of Trinity Episcopal Church. Besides her service in the American Red Cross Chapter of Miami County she also served on the National Council of Defense Women’s as Chair of the Home and Foreign Relief Committee for Miami County. On February 3, 1923 Bessie became a widow, but she must have felt strong by 1925 because she applied for a passport. Her plans included a visit to France, Holland and Belgium. At 60 years of age her passport photo depicts a determined woman and describes her as having blue eyes. In 1940 she remained living in Peru with her chauffer, a gentleman named Garland. Then unexpectedly during the summer of 1944 Bessie died of a heart attack. She passed away at her home which was known as the “Old Fashioned Garden” in Butler Township, Miami County and was buried in Mount Hope Cemetery.
and submitted by Mary Rohrer Dexter
“Bessie LaBonta Cole (1864-1944) - Find A Grave...” Find A Grave, www.findagrave.com/memorial/28343080.
“Mrs. J. O. Cole, Prominent Local Resident, Is Dead.” Peru Daily Tribune, 1 July 1944.
“‘United States Census, 1900," Database with Images, FamilySearch (Https://Familysearch.org/Pal:/MM9.1.1/M9MX-C3D : Accessed 22 April 2018), James O Cole, Peru Township Peru City Ward 2, Miami, Indiana, United States; Citing Enumeration District (ED) 104, Sheet 15A, Family 327, NARA Microfilm Publication T623 (Washington, D.C.: National Archives and Records Administration, 1972.); FHL Microfilm 1,240,393.”
“‘United States Census, 1910," Database with Images, FamilySearch (Https://Familysearch.org/Pal:/MM9.1.1/MK53-CG9 : Accessed 22 April 2018), James Cole, Peru Ward 2, Miami, Indiana, United States; Citing Enumeration District (ED) ED 127, Sheet 9A, Family 226, NARA Microfilm Publication T624 (Washington D.C.: National Archives and Records Administration, 1982), Roll 371; FHL Microfilm 1,374,384.”
“‘United States Census, 1940," Database with Images, FamilySearch (Https://Familysearch.org/Pal:/MM9.1.1/V1YD-D86 : Accessed 22 April 2018), Bessie Cole, Peru, Peru Township, Miami, Indiana, United States; Citing Enumeration District (ED) 52-18, Sheet 8B, Line 70, Family 202, Sixteenth Census of the United States, 1940, NARA Digital Publication T627. Records of the Bureau of the Census, 1790 - 2007, RG 29. Washington, D.C.: National Archives and Records Administration, 2012, Roll 1078.”
“‘United States Passport Applications, 1795-1925," Database with Images, FamilySearch (Https://Familysearch.org/Pal:/MM9.1.1/QV5Y-ZQMZ : 16 March 2018), Bessie Cole, 1925; Citing Passport Application, New York, United States, Source Certificate #12241, Passport Applications, January 2, 1906 - March 31, 1925, 1209, NARA Microfilm Publications M1490 and M1372 (Washington D.C.: National Archives and Records Administration, N.d.).”
“‘Virginia Marriages, 1785-1940," Database, FamilySearch (Https://Familysearch.org/Pal:/MM9.1.1/XRMN-KS4 : 11 February 2018), James O. Cole and Bessie Labonta, 20 Jan 1892; Citing Richmond, Virginia, Reference p 70; FHL Microfilm 2,048,498.”
See Bessie LaBonte Cole's women's registration card:
Side 1: womenregistrationcard2925.jpg
Side 2: womenregistrationcard2925a.jpg