Cornelius Cole

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Cornelius Cole
United States Senator
from California
In office
March 4, 1867 – March 4, 1873
Preceded byJames A. McDougall
Succeeded byAaron A. Sargent
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from California's at-large district
In office
March 4, 1863 – March 4, 1865
Preceded byTimothy Guy Phelps
Succeeded bySeat eliminated
Personal details
Born(1822-09-17)September 17, 1822
Lodi, New York, U.S.
DiedNovember 3, 1924(1924-11-03) (aged 102)
Los Angeles, California, U.S.
Political partyRepublican
SpouseOlive Colegrove
Alma materWesleyan University

Cornelius Cole (September 17, 1822 – November 3, 1924) was an American politician who served a single term in the United States House of Representatives as a Republican representing California from 1863 to 1865, and another term in the United States Senate from 1867 to 1873. Cole, who died at the age of 102 years, 47 days, is the longest-lived U.S. Senator.[1]


He graduated from Wesleyan University in 1847 and was admitted to the New York bar. In his lifetime he practiced law in his adopted state of California first in San Francisco, then in Sacramento. After returning to California following his retirement from national politics, he practiced in San Francisco again and finally in Los Angeles with his eldest son Willoughby.

On March 8, 1856, Cole was one of the organizers of the California branch of the Republican Party, acting as secretary and writing the manifesto. The 22 men who signed the organizing document included Edwin B. Crocker, the organizer of the new party, and Collis Potter Huntington. From August 1856 to January 1857, Cole and James McClatchy edited the Sacramento Daily Times, which was printed in the 54 K Street offices of the Central Pacific Railroad. It was short lived lasting only a few months after the 1856 National election.

Cornelius Cole in June 1922 at age 99

Additionally, he was nominated on the Republican ticket for Clerk of Sacramento Court but failed to get elected. In 1858 he was elected as District Attorney of Sacramento County. In 1862 he and his family moved to Santa Cruz located on Monterey Bay. It was from there he went to the US Congress in 1863.

In 1880 he moved to southern California where he owned one of the original Spanish/Mexican land grants, what is now known as Hollywood, then was dubbed Colegrove after his wife, Olive Colegrove.[citation needed] There are several streets now named after the family; Cole St., Willoughby Ave., Eleanor St. and Seward St.

The eastern California community of Coleville in Mono County is named for Cornelius Cole.

Cole's brother, George W. Cole, was a Union Army officer in the American Civil War who attained the rank of major general by brevet. After the war, George Cole was acquitted of the murder of L. Harris Hiscock, whom he accused of having an affair with Mrs. Cole.[citation needed]


  1. ^ "Congressional Record: Proceedings and Debates of the ... Congress". 1969.
  • Cornelius Cole, "Memoirs" (New York, 1908)
  • Catherine Coffin Phillips, "Cornelius Cole California Pioneer" (San Francisco, 1929)
  • Leonard L. Richards, "The California Gold Rush and the Coming of the Civil War" (New York 2007)

External links[edit]

U.S. House of Representatives
Preceded by Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from California's at-large congressional district

Seat eliminated
U.S. Senate
Preceded by U.S. senator (Class 3) from California
Served alongside: John Conness, Eugene Casserly
Succeeded by
Honorary titles
Preceded by Oldest living U.S. senator
January 10, 1909 – November 3, 1924
Succeeded by
Preceded by Most senior living U.S. senator
(Sitting or former)

February 27, 1919 – November 3, 1924
Succeeded by
Preceded by Oldest United States senator ever
October 11, 1921 – present
Succeeded by