Weymouth Harris Cole (1.14.1879–11.19.1973)

by Alden Cole on January 26, 2015 · 0 comments

“There is nothing better for a man, than that he should eat and drink, and that he should make his soul enjoy good in his labour.” – Ecclesiastes 2:24

1896HarrisCole2ViewsWPMy grandfather Weymouth Harris Cole was the fifth son in a family of six sons and one daughter born to Clark Remich Cole (1.1.1841 – 1.21.1915) and Mary Weymouth Cole (1.14.1849 – 4.9.1937), Harris being born on his mother’s 30th birthday in fact. The photos above are of him at ca. age 17, probably 1896, portraits taken his senior year at Thornton Academy, which he supposedly did not finish because he was needed on the farm. Work came first; education second.

1918(?)Harrisw-wagon&horsesWPFirst decade of the 1900s: Harris is up front on an empty hay wagon, about to go off to the fields with some help for a load of hay. He’s in his late 20s/early 30s; the barn in the background built in 1903 still looks unfinished.
1920(?)Harrisw-CalfWP1920s: Harris in a posed photo with a Guernsey cafe in front of the barn; snapshot by his sister-in-law Gertrude Sherman Cole, during one of that family’s yearly visits to the farm from Providence RI.
1930s: Harris harnesses up three work horses getting ready for some major work. I still remember him doing field work in the 50s with his team of horses, even though tractors had become a standard component in farm life by then. Like many of his generation, my grandfather was technophobic; he never learned how to drive. He knew ‘how’ he liked to work, and didn’t change his ways as technology bypassed the old familiar methods he was comfortable with.

1925.ShuckingCornWP1940s: Shucking corn at the front of the barn. Caught in a disarming moment, possibly by Charlotte Cole his daughter, this is the only photograph I’ve come across so far of my grandfather showing his sense of humor, which was quite sharp. Otherwise he was pretty serious, both when posing for photographs, or dealing with life in general. But he too had a sensitivity to power of art: he loved the poetry of Robert Frost.

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