Hannah Cole arrived in Missouri in 1809 with her husband (William Temple Cole) and kids. The next year, the Indians killed her husband and she found herself alone in the wilderness with 9 kids to take care of. For whatever reason, she decided to stay in Missouri and soon built a house on a bluff overlooking the Missouri River (where the city of Boonville is now). Hannah & her family were among the very first white families to settle in the area. And I mean settle, not just row by like Lewis & Clark.
Hannah’s house was turned into a fort & used by settlers for defense during the war of 1812, where it provided a safe water source for settlers. The first County Circuit Court session was held there and she obtained the first business license to operate a ferry (in 1816) across the river. After Boonville was settled and established as the county seat, her fort was used as the first school, church and voting place in the county. Hannah eventually moved about 15 miles south of town where she died in 1843.
Boonville hasn’t shied away from their women’s history. If you search Monroe street you can find a plaque marking Hannah’s fort. There is also Hannah Cole Primary school and a statue of her in the Morgan Street Park, located just off Main Street.
The statue was erected during the Lewis and Clark anniversary in 2004. For that I suppose I can forgive them for surrounding her statue with busts of men.
You can also visit Hannah Cole Roadside Park next to the Briscoe Cemetery, where she is buried, 15 miles south of town on Highway 5.
18 thoughts on “Hannah Cole”
I found out this past year that Hannah Cole is my ancestor. This past summer we visited Boonville and saw the statue. I wish I would have seen this post before out trip because we couldn’t find the site of her fort. You have a lovely blog!
Thanks for the support, Deb! Hannah was a fascinating woman. There used to be a grey sign along East Morgan Street that had an artist’s rendering of her fort with a description. I need to get back there and see if it is still up.
I am also related… she is my 6x great grandmother! I wish I could go and see the statue and other things dedicated to her.
Hi, Hannah Cole was my great great grandmother . Coming soon to Missouri to explore the area.
I just learned Hannah Cole is my and my sisters 5th great Grandmother. My great grandfather is “Daddy Cole”. He was a sheriff in Houston, TX. My grandmother is Carolyn Cole (maiden name). I would love to chat with you and see how we are connected!
Hi Caitlin, I am from Texas and my husband is a descendent of Temple and Stephen Cole. His name is Leslie Brooks Long, his mother was Mary Ruth Cole Long and grandmother was Ada Marie Cole. We are looking for information about and special days that commemorate Hannah Cole, information on Hannah’s Foundation, or any Reunions ( gatherings) of Hannah Cole’s descendants. Any information you can help us with would be very helpful and appreciated.
my daughter is Hannah cole have lots of kind folk in mo
related as well! I really want to visit these places. Wish we had a map marking the spots. Also, This branch of the Coles are actually related to the Boone family. Will post link.
David please post the Boone resource. Hanna was my 3 gen mother and as I understand she traveled to Missouri with her husband and kids along with Daniel Boone’s sons. My wife’s family is from East Tennessee and Kentucky and also we’re friends with the Boone family.
I too am an ancestor of Hannah Cole. I read somewhere that when the statue of Hannah was constructed that the artist used some of her female ancestors as models.
Thanks for the information.
My Grandfather is Carrel D. Cole of St. Joseph MO. I cannot wait to drive up to Boonville and see the history. My daughters are ready as well.
She is my 6x great grandmother! 🙂
This post says to look on Monroe Street for the location of the fort, that is a typo the marker is on Easr Morgan, not Monroe, Right in the 1200 block. It is on the left as you are traveling east.
I too am an ancestor of Hannah Cole. I wrote the poem on the back of the program for her stature dedication ceremony. There is a Cole Family foundation where many are involved here in Central Missouri. I am not as dedicated as my cousin Marianne Fues. Many of us are here in Columbia, Missouri or still around Boonville and Prairie Home, Missouri. We also fund a Cole Family Scholarship that can be found on the website. You must be able to prove to that you are a Cole descendant though. Proud to be related to Hannah Cole and please donate on the Cole Family website to the foundation or the scholarship fund. We appreciate it.
Laura Beth Cooper
My Grandmother loved researching. Our family history. We are direct descendants of Hannah Cole.
Please let me know how we can protect our historical monuments in MO
She is my 5x great-grandmother. Very brave woman.
She is my 4 X grandmother, would love to know more about her.
Hannah is my 5 x grandmother. I was born in Boonville and lived there till 1975. I have a copy of our Cole family history from the association. Love reading the stories and research.