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Berton Vorce Cole
Birth: Oct. 25, 1881
Van Buren County
Michigan, USA
Death: Feb. 21, 1937
Prescott Valley
Yavapai County
Arizona, USA

History of Page County, Iowa by W. L. Kershaw, et al. 2 vols. Chicago: S. J. Clarke Pub. Co., 1909 p. 374-375


Burton Vorse Cole is one of the substantial and progressive young business men of Shenandoah, where he is secretary and treasurer of the Shenandoah Hosiery mills. His birth occurred in Van Buren county, Michigan, October 25, 1880. His father, Harrison Vorse, was accidentally killed in the Michigan pineries when his son was but six months old and he was adopted by J. L. Cole, of Fremont county, Iowa, who had reared his mother to womanhood. Mr. Cole came to Iowa from Michigan in 1866 and located upon a farm in Fremont county, where he resided until 1880, when he took up his abode in the city of Shenandoah, making it his place of residence until his death in 1894.

Burt Cole, for so he is known throughout the city and county where he has always resided, was educated in the public schools of Shenandoah and in the Lincoln Business College, of Lincoln, Nebraska, being there graduated with the class of 1901. After the completion of his commercial course he secured a position as bookkeeper with the Barnet Lumber Company, of McCook, Nebraska, there remaining for a year. In the spring of 1902, however, he returned home and went to work upon the farm belonging to his adopted father, continuing its cultivation for five years. In 1907 he came to Shenandoah and entered the drug store of Webster & Company, in which he had owned an interest since 1898. For two years he gave his time to the management of the drug business, having a well appointed establishment to which was accorded a gratifying trade. On the 1st of June, 1909, Mr. Cole sold his drug business and became connected with the Shenandoah Hosiery Mills as above stated.

On the 4th of November, 1902, Mr. Cole was united in marriage to Miss Vena Clarke, a daughter of Christopher Columbus and Martha (Lea) Clarke. Her paternal grandparents were David and Eliza (Russell) Clarke, natives of Washington and Green counties, Kentucky, respectively. The former was born in 1799 and was a son and grandson of Revolutionary soldiers, his grandfather being Captain John Clarke of the Virginia line. In the pioneer times of southern Illinois David Clarke removed with his family to McDonough county, that state, his first home being a little log cabin. He continued to reside there throughout his remaining days and after the death of his wife, in 1875, made his home with his children until he passed away in November, 1883, at the age of eighty-four years. He was known throughout that section of the state as "Uncle David" Clarke, and was an unique and interesting figure on the streets of Macomb, continuing to his last days to wear a silk hat and a heavy gray blanket shawl, as was the custom of his earlier years. He was for many years justice of the peace in the town. Unto him and his wife were born a large family of children, but only four are now living: Mrs. Margaret Marietta Chapman, of Los Angeles, California; C. C. Clarke, of Springdale, Arkansas; S. J. Clarke, of Chicago; and Mrs. Anna Eliza Chapman, also of Los Angeles, California. C. C. Clarke, the father of Mrs. Cole, was born in Macomb in 1839 and is now seventy-eight years of age. He lived for many years in his native town and afterward removed to Bentonville, Arkansas, where for some time he conducted a grocery store. He is now carrying on a fruit farm near Springdale, Arkansas. He married Martha Lea and they had eight children: Damon, who: is married and resides in Little Rock, Arkansas; Gertie, who died in early womanhood; Carrie, at home; Edith Marie, the wife of Dr. Charles Forrest Perkins, of Springdale, Arkansas; W. Lea, who is with the S. J. Clarke Publishing Company, of Chicago; Jessie May, the wife of Harry Risteen, who is living in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma; Charles, who is married and resides in Springdale; and Vena, now Mrs. Cole, the youngest of the family. It was while on a visit to her sister, Mrs. Perkins, then living in Shenandoah, Iowa, that she met and married Mr. Cole. Unto them have been born four children, of whom three are living: Richard V., Ross C. and Catherine. The family occupies a pleasant home at No. 120 East Grand avenue. Both Mr. and Mrs. Cole are well known in Shenandoah and their interest in and talent along musical lines has made them popular in homes where a love of music is a characteristic feature.
Burton Vorce Cole is my great-grandfather and unfortunately I have come to find out he was not a very nice person. After his father Harrison Vorce died, his mother, Kittie, married George Churchill and had three daughters. For some unknown reason she gave Berton up for adoption around age nine to James Lamb Cole and his wife Anna Hill Cole, the same people who had raised her. When James Cole died, Berton inherited all of the great wealth from his adoptive parents and he became a different person. The family had been very affluent with two homes, one in Shenandoah and a huge ranch outside of town. Berton began gambling, drinking and womanizing, left his wife many times, even when she was pregnant, and she would continue to take him back after each episode. After time he went through all of the money and they lost everything. The family left town and moved to Williams, Arizona where they had to live in a converted boxcar. One of their sons was born in that boxcar. Berton was an alcoholic that couldn't keep a job for long. His wife died of influenza and the older children were left to fend for themselves. A few were taken in by relatives for a time. Only the youngest, age 2, got adopted. Berton abandoned his children and died from injuries sustained during a drunken bar fight. 
Family links: 
  Stephen Harrison Vorce (1852 - 1882)
  Kittie L. Nutting Churchill (1863 - 1946)
  Vena Bertha Clarke Cole (1880 - 1923)*
  Richard Vorce Cole (1903 - 1991)*
  Forrest Cole (1905 - 1905)*
  Ross Cole (1907 - 1962)*
  Kathryn Lea Cole Curd (1909 - 1991)*
  Clarke Clifford Cole (1910 - 1991)*
  Helen Marie Cole Provence (1916 - 1999)*
  Harry James Cole (1919 - 1996)*
  Virginia Mae Cole Welker (1921 - 1997)*
  Blanche Vorce/Buck Beattie (1878 - 1899)**
  Berton Vorce Cole (1881 - 1937)
*Calculated relationship
Father B.V. Cole Died Feb. 21, 1937
Mountain View Cemetery
Coconino County
Arizona, USA
Created by: Michelle Shreve
Record added: May 05, 2008
Find A Grave Memorial# 26627929
Berton Vorce Cole
Added by: Michelle Shreve
Berton Vorce Cole
Added by: Michelle Shreve
Berton Vorce Cole
Added by: Michelle Shreve
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- Mojo Warren
 Added: Jan. 13, 2014
Rest in Peace, Berton Vorce. See you and your family in Heaven.
- Mary
 Added: Jan. 18, 2011

- Phyllis killgore
 Added: May. 11, 2008
This page is sponsored by: Michelle Shreve

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