It was Mr. Cole who nearly sixty years ago secured a charter and organized, at the Falls, the first Good Templars lodge, started in Wisconsin, Iowa, Missouri and the territories beyond the Mississippi and Missouri river. From the effort in this village grew thousands of lodges in western states and territories. In his declining years Mr. Cole laid special stress upon four lines in which he played a part: His pioneership in Sheboygan Falls and the county, his ability to have always been hospitable in home and honest in business, his leadership in the establishment of an order whose aim was to help men. to lives of sobriety, and his willingness to give two of his three boys to help Abraham Lincoln in the Civil war.
To an old friend he said: "If I am credited with nothing else I shall be satisfied." I venture that the day will never come when Charles D. Cole and his services will not be spoken of by his people of Sheboygan Falls.
One of Mr. Cole's soldier boys, Nathan, still a resident of Sheboygan, who was a member of the Fourth Wisconsin, was dangerously sick in a hospital in Virginia. The father immediately went to Washington, where he was informed by the military commander that he could not go to his son because of important military movements in contemplation."
"I will see Secretary Stanton,' said the distressed old gentleman, and he started for the war department. There was a long line ahead of him major generals, brigadier generals, colonels, senators, representatives and others, all anxious to have a word with the war secretary. At that time Mr. Cole was old, gray and bent., Mr. Stanton left his desk to glance down the line to see how many more were coming to see him. His quick eye caught sight of the bent, white-haired, pale-faced old man and he sent a messenger to Mr. Cole, with directions to conduct him to the secretary's desk ahead of forty military men and congressmen.
As Mr. Cole came into his presence the secretary arose, extended his hand and said: "My good man, what can I do for you?" Mr. Cole told him of his sick soldier boy and his anxiety to go to him. The great secretary, one of the busiest men in Washington, wrote a pass for Mr. Cole to go south, and another paper which gave the father the right to take his sick soldier home on an indefinite furlough."
It was never safe after that for any one to criticise Secretary Stanton in the presence of Charley Cole. Upon his recovery, Nathan was made a lieutenant in the Twentieth Wisconsin apd was frightfully wounded at the battle of Prairie Grove. Later he was made a major. James, the other son, was made a lieutenant in the Fourth Wisconsin.
Information gathered and adapted from History of Sheboygan County, Wisconsin, Past and Present
Carl Zillier, Editor
Pubished by The S.J. Clarke Publishing Company, 1912, Chicago, IL