County: Bon Homme
John A. Cole was born April 1, 1875, three miles south of the farm near Tyndall where he now lives. His parents homesteaded in 1869, coming to South Dakota from Missouri in a covered wagon.
One of his most vivid memories is the walk of a mile and a half from school with his brother through the 1888 blizzard, walking against the storm. Mr. Cole taught school in 1892, attended Yankton college academy the next year, taught school again and then went to Fremont, Nebraska, Normal. The following year he homesteaded in Charles Mix County.
After proving up his place in 1901, he rented it and moved to his father’s homestead. In 1909 he married Mary Benesh, a cousin of former President Benes of Czechoslovakia. In 1912 they purchased the 320-acre farm where they now live; the second family to own the place.
They are the parents of seven boys.
Mr. Cole was a Bon Homme County delegate to the 1933 AAA meeting in Washington and served ten years as a committeeman. He has been county vice president of the Farmers’ Union, a supervisor of the Scotland Soil conservation district ad a director of the Farmers’ Mutual insurance association.
Mr. Cole raised purebred Hampshire hogs and good red polled cattle. He used purebred boars and bulls. He raised between 50 and 240 hogs every year.
Part of the original place was a tree claim. The Coles have also planted a shelter belt. Mr. Cole holds an annual school picnic for his old pupils. In 1942 on the fiftieth anniversary 18 of the original group were present. All 27 of the group were living at that time. The group meets at the same building four miles north of Tyndall. Mr. Cole believes he holds a record with his pupils.
In 1945 he moved to Tyndall, but he keeps busy helping to manage the home farm and two farms belonging to his sons. He retains an interest in many farm organizations and seldom misses a meeting of any of them.