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The land upon which Six Penny Creek AME Church was constructed was owned by the Cole family and Isaac Cole was a founder of the church[1].

Isaac Cole

Isaac Cole (1825-1890)[2] was a woodcutter at Hopewell Furnace from 1858 to 1883[3]. In the 1860 Census of Union Township, Isaac (32), Ann (25), Ann M (11), Albert (5), and Rachel (2) Cole lived together. Isaac Cole's wife was a member of the Badley/Bodley/Boardley family. Albert was in school, and the family was listed as all being born in Pennsylvania[4]. Various members of the Six Penny Creek Community served in the Union forces during the Civil War[5]. Isaac Cole enlisted in the Union Army in 1864 at forty years of age where he became part of Company H, 22nd Regiment, United States Colored Troops[6] (the Cole family still live on the land owned by Isaac Cole and members of the Cole family have served in every war since the Civil War[7]). Isaac Cole was listed in the U.S. Civil War Draft Registrations Records of 1863-1865[8]. Isaac (50) was residing with Annie (36), Alfrid (15), Rachael (12), Howard (10), Clara (9), Charles (5), and Aushun J (2) Cole[9]. He was listed in the 1870 Census of Union Township, Berks County, PA as a laborer[10]. Isaac Close was listed as being born in Maryland, whereas the rest of his family is recorded as being born in Pennsylvania[11]. In the 1880 Census of Union Township, Isaac Cole was listed as a stone mason, as were two of his sons, Alfred and Howard[12]. He (51) lived with his wife Annie (42); his children Alfred (25), Howard (20), Clara (18), Charles (14), Arte (12) Emma (9), and Katy (6); and a collier named William Ford (41)[13]. All of Isaac Cole’s children were attending school except for Alfred[14]. Everyone residing in the house was listed as being born in Pennsylvania[15]. Isaac Cole was involved in preparing for "colored woods camp meetings" in the area[16]. In 1885 a balloon launched from Girard College by Dr. W.H. Hammond of Washington D.D. and aeronaut L.H. King of Philadelphia landed on land owned by Isaac Cole[17]. Isaac Cole passed away on August 21, 1889[18]. He was buried in Mt. Frisby AME church cemetery[19]. Cemeteries within free communities that contain the graves of Civil War veterans serve as a reminder of the community's commitment to freedom and equality[20]. In the 1900 Census of Union Township, Ida (30), Annie (12), George (9), Ralph (6), and Theodore (1) Cole were living in the house of Ida Cole’s father Robert Miller (68). Ida Cole and her children were all listed as being born in Pennsylvania. Everyone in the family except for the two youngest Cole children could read and write[21]. Also in the 1900 Census of Union Township, Howard Cole (16) was a servant and farm laborer in the house of Jacob Smith, a farmer. He could read and write and was listed as being born in Pennsylvania[22].

Howard Henry Cole


  1. Speros and Lynch 2013, 47
  2. Find a Grave
  3. Crimmins 2018
  4. United States Census, 1860
  5. Homan 1958
  6. Hebblethwaite 2010
  7. Homan 1958
  8. National Archives and Records Administration
  9. United States Census, 1870
  10. United States Census, 1870
  11. United States Census, 1870
  12. United States Census, 1880
  13. United States Census, 1880
  14. United States Census, 1880
  15. United States Census, 1880
  16. Reading Times 3 September 1882, 4
  17. Reading Times 14 March 1885, 1
  18. Reading Times 22 August 1889, 3
  19. Speros and Lynch 2013, 47
  20. LaRoche
  21. United States Census, 1900
  22. United States Census, 1900


  • Crimmins, Peter. 2018. Forging a Sense of Hopewell Furnace’s History Through its Citizens and Visitors. WHYY.[1]
  • Find a Grave, database and images ( : accessed 01 February 2021), memorial page for Howard H Cole (26 Jul 1861–10 Nov 1936), Find a Grave Memorial no. 203531937, citing Saint Michaels Cemetery, Birdsboro, Berks County, Pennsylvania, USA ; Maintained by N.D. Scheidt (contributor 47099775).[2]
  • Find a Grave, database and images ( : accessed 22 November 2020), memorial page for Pvt Isaac Cole (1825–1890), Find a Grave Memorial no. 101121496, citing Mount Frisby Church Graveyard, Berks County, Pennsylvania, USA ; Maintained by N.D. Scheidt (contributor 47099775).[3]
  • Hebblethwaite, Frank. 2010. “Isaac Cole, 32nd Regiment U.S.C.T.”[4]
  • Homan, Wayne E. 1958. The Underground Railroad. Historical Review of Berks County, Berks History Center.[5]
  • LaRoche, Cheryl Janifer. 2017. Free Black Communities and the Underground Railroad: The Geography of Resistance. Urbana, Illinois: University of Illinois Press.
  • National Archives and Records Administration (NARA); Washington, D.C. Consolidated Lists of Civil War Draft Registration Records (Provost Marshal General's Bureau; Consolidated Enrollment Lists, 1863-1865); Record Group: 110, Records of the Provost Marshal General's Bureau (Civil War); Collection Name: Consolidated Enrollment Lists, 1863-1865 (Civil War Union Draft Records); NAI: 4213514; Archive Volume Number: 1 of 2.[6][7]
  • Reading Times. 1883. Colored Woods Meeting Near Geigertown, September 3, 1883.[8]
  • Reading Times. 1885. A Balloon Landing Along the Hay Creek, March 14, 1885.[9]
  • Reading Times. 1889. Birdsboro Local News, August 22, 1889.[10]
  • Speros, Susan and Michelle Lynch. 2013. Prioritizing Berks County Cultural and Historical Resources Within and Nearby the Hopewell Big Woods. Friends of Hopewell Furnace NHS.[11]
  • United States Census, 1870, database with images, FamilySearch [12]1 : 15 June 2019, Pennsylvania > Berks > Union > image 52 of 56; citing NARA microfilm publication M593 (Washington, D.C.: National Archives and Records Administration, n.d.).
  • United States Census, 1880, database with images, FamilySearch [13] : 24 December 2015, Pennsylvania > Berks > Union > ED 68 > image 24 of 31; citing NARA microfilm publication T9, (National Archives and Records Administration, Washington, D.C., n.d.).
  • United States Census, 1900, database with images, FamilySearch [14] : 5 August 2014), Pennsylvania > Berks > ED 115 Union Township > image 20 of 24; citing NARA microfilm publication T623 (Washington, D.C.: National Archives and Records Administration, n.d.).
  • Walker, Joseph E. 1969. A Comparison of Negro and White Labor in a Charcoal Iron Community. Labor History 10, no.3 (June): 487-497.