One of the elder residents of the Grimsby area is Mr. William Cole of Grimsby Beach, who recently (May 3rd) celebrated his 93rd birthday. Mr. Cole has spent some 21 years in this district and before that he spent 47 years in Western Canada.
Bill, as his friends call him, first saw the light, in the year 1857, in the town of Drummondville, which is now a part of the city of Niagara Falls. As a young boy he drove teams of oxen for the local farmers and was taught his elementary school work by a lady of the district.
Boys of that day, however, didn't waste much time on schooling and before long the Coles moved to Ridgeway where Bill was apprenticed into the carriage making trade. While still in Ridgeway Bill's father enlisted to fight the Fenians, who were at that time carrying out their series of famous raids in the area.
Mr. Cole first came to the Grimsby area to work for a summer budding peach trees and then went to Hamilton ("Footin' it") where he was offered a job cutting cord wood at the high rate of $2.00 per month. This was not to his liking so Bill decided to head West.
He took a train to St. Boniface where he landed with exactly 5 cents to his name. To get to Winnipeg, he had to borrow the 10 cent fare on the ferry. His first job in the West was on the Canadian Pacific Railroad which was then in the process of construction, and at this he stayed for some years. The construction crews were often in danger from hostile Indians and more than once Bill thought that he wouldn't come out in one piece.
From the railroad, Mr. Cole returned to his old trade and eventually to carpentering and various other jobs. When Louis Riel started his rebellion, Bill enlisted in "The Mounted Scouts" which were under the command of General Starage and Major Walker. The "Scouts" were under the colors of the "Royal Northwest Mounted Police". As a result of his service, Bill was taken on a recent trip to Vimy, France, with some Canadian War Veterans and is a fully paid up member of the local Legion.
During his stay out west, Bill found time to come home for a visit and get married. He took a brief wedding trip to the United States and returned to the west where he remained until 1928. When he came back East, Mr. Cole lived for a short time at the Village Inn, which he termed "a highly fashionable place", until he bought his present home.
Mr. Cole lost his wife last year and since then has lived alone. He is a non-drinker and smoker ever since he was converted and baptized in a real mountain stream. As Bill puts it, "I became a full grown Baptist".