Start | R Gordon | T Banbury | R O Taylor | C L Barnes | C C Douce | A Cole

Augustus Cole, c1851-1940

 Background and birth

He was born in Kingston, 20th December, 1851, and was brought up by his grandparents, Richard Hill and Jane Hill of Happy Hut.

 . . . . . . . . . .


Mr Cole had almost no school career, he was practically a self-taught man. 
When he was 17 years of age he apprenticed himself to Messrs. C P Lazarus & Co, of West End Foundry, Kingston, Jamaica, where he was taught in the various branches of that renowned establishment. 

During the time he was engaged in the foundries he was studying Theology under the Venerable Archdeacon D H Campbell, M A, as well as pursuing his English course of learning. In 1886 he entered the Jamaica Church Theological College, and completed his full course.

Diocese of Jamaica - Synod Reports 

1887 Appendix D pp 38-9 
Theological College - Students - includes 'also during past year ... A Cole ... under training at the College for all or part of year.' 

p 50 list of students at the Theological College since 1883 includes ... A Cole 1886 

1888 p 71 Theological College 
'Mr A Cole who having completed his College course has returned to his station.'

 . . . . . . . . . .

 Early employment:


He spent three years between this firm [West End Foundry] and the workshop of Louis McCormack, Esq. He next entered Central Foundry, carried on by W H Lewis, Esq. and six months after he was appointed foreman of the whole foundry, and held this position for a further period of three years, when he was called and appointed Catechist and Teacher of Bella’s Gate School in St Catherine, on the 24th October, 1875. He spent 13 years as a teacher and Catechist of the Church of England in Jamaica, during which period he was master of the following schools, viz: Bella’s Gate, St Catherine, St Mark, St Ann, Aenon Town (which he founded) between Cave Valley and Burro-Bridge, and Bybrook, Portland.

. . . . . . . . . .

 In the Church of England

The catechist:

 Diocese of Jamaica

- Synod Reports

 1876 p lxx Catechists List - 9. Cole, A, Bella's Gate, Old Harbour 

1880 Appendix P p cx 
A Cole catechist - Cave Valley 

The Jamaica Churchman, July7, 1885, page 1 col 2-3

Confirmation at Bybrook.

On Sunday, June 28th, the members of the church worshipping at the above named mission station had the pleasure of welcoming the Bishop, who attended for the purpose of holding a confirmation.The Rev. R. K. Dunbar, superintending clergyman, and Mr. A. Cole, and Mr. Crisp, catechists, were present. Sixty candidates connected with Bybrook, and thirteen from Claverty Cottage, which is in charge of Mr. Crisp, were duly presented. The entire service was of the most impressive nature. Bybrook mission station appears to be flourishing rapidly under the care of Mr. Cole, and we cannot wit[h]old a word of good cheer and encouragement for the energetic manner in which Mr.Cole is labouring.

Life of Archbishop Nuttall

Frank Cundall, 1922, page 79


I reached Bybrook about 7 o’clock. I investigated various matters connected with the station, the day and Sunday schools, etc. Then had service at eight. There were 73 persons presented for confirmation, all of whom had given evidence to the catechist of a real desire and purpose to dedicate themselves to the service of God. There were about 500 persons present at the service. I had, among other things, to make arrangements for building a new church, the present temporary structure requiring to be superseded by a more substantial and commodious building. The people have already commenced to give labour, material, and money towards this new building. They provide the cost of maintaining their catechist, and help to sustain their day school, which is a large and flourishing one. Now what I want to point out is this. Here in a remote part of Jamaica is a station which, within my recollection, was commenced with only one family to attend service. It has been assisted to a certain extent by our Home Missionary Society; and it has had the monthly visits of a superintending clergyman. All else has been done by a black catechist and the people of his charge. The station is flourishing in every way; and in numbers and spiritual influence is as important as many of our old established churches. Not only so. The catechist goes out into the surrounding regions to hold evangelistic services at various centres two or three times a week. These services are very simple, suited to the present needs of the people. The catechist’s addresses (which are now and then written and sent to me for criticism) are clear, earnest gospel sermons. And people are being led to the love and service of their Saviour. Already in two places a number thus gathered in have formed themselves into branch stations and buildings are being erected for regular services and meetings. This catechist is one to whom our Divinity School has for several years given much help in study, etc. He stands nearly at the top of our list, and I am now contemplating having him up for further training, with a view to ordaining him Deacon for Bybrook, and so hoping to assist him towards greater usefulness. 

(The above extract from a letter from Archbishop Nuttall, which Cundall quotes, shows the esteem and concern that the Archbishop felt for Augustus Cole, who was the Black catechist referred to.)

 The deacon:

Diocese of Jamaica

- Synod Reports 

1889 p 43 Ordinations 
            10 May 1888 '...Augustus Cole... deacon' 

The priest:

The Jamaica Churchman 
1890 Feb 26 p5 col 1 Ordinations [to priesthood] 
                         Kingston Parish Church- 19th January 7.30am 
                         includes - Augustus Cole

The Rev. Augustus Cole was appointed to the Cure [St. David's, Yallahs] in July 1897 by the late Archbishop Nuttall. Two years later he resigned from the Diocese and proceeded on a tour of the United States during which time he preached in many of the biggest Churches there, and filled temporary appointments in several States. He was called to the Port Limon Episcopal Church in succession to the Rev. Mr. Ansell, but declined the position so as to be in his native land. He was again offered the Yallahs Cure, which he accepted, and how well he laboured and raised up the Church from its ruins and promoted its life will be best seen from a look into its history. In the words of our late beloved Archbishop: “There was hardly another man besides Mr. Cole that I could send there to build up the Church, and how well he materialised my hope.” 

 The Jamaica Churchman, June, 1913 page 4

 St. David’s Church, Yallahs
His Grace the Archbishop, accompanied by his Chaplains and Secretary, 
visited Yallahs on St. Mark’s Day for the purpose of holding a confirmation and to consecrate the restored Church.
The Confirmation Service commenced at 8.3O a.m. and His Grace admitted, 
by the laying on of hands, 13 men and 20 women into the full communion of the Church.
The Consecration Service followed almost immediately. In the statement read 
by the rector (Rev. A. Cole) the history of St. David’s Church was reviewed. 
It is reported to be the oldest or one of the oldest Churches in the Island. 
Its date of establishment cannot be exactly determined, though bricks found 
in the old building, from their peculiar form and size, point to a period anterior to the 18th Century.
The genesis of the building which the Archbishop consecrated dated back to 
1890, when the late Rev. J. D. McPherson commenced a new building on the 
same site on which the old one stood. He however erected only the Eastern 
section, and fitted up that portion for use. The greater part of the work 
has been done by the present Rector, who has steadily persisted in the work until the Church has at last been completely restored.
The Church is capable of accommodating 450 worshippers and has cost 
considerably over £500 exclusive of much free labour. The Rector’s interesting 
statement went on to show that “Two small portions of the walls of the old building have been preserved in the structure of the restored one.”
The Archbishop addressed the congregation and spoke in high terms of the 
Rector’s steady work.

[It is of interest to note that the Rev Mr McPherson had charged Dr Robert Love with raising the cry of 'Colour for colour' in St Thomas during the Legislative Council elections in 1896.] 
               Daily Gleaner, June 8, 1917, page 10
 The Rev. Augustus Cole, rector of St. David’s Church Yallahs has obtained 
leave of absence from the Bishop of Jamaica, and will shortly be off to enjoy 
a well earned rest and cessation from his strenuous duties which he has been 
faithfully performing here close on twenty years. The present condition of his 
health may perhaps force him to resign altogether from the Cure at the 
expiration of his leave, but it is sincerely hoped that his health will have been 
completely repaired to enable him to lengthen his services here.

 . . . . . . . . . .

 Augustus Cole on his life:

 from the Daily Gleaner, January 21, 1926

[from report of function for Cole on Sunday Jan 10]
Albeit, if I had the remotest idea that my simple reference to my 66 years' service in the church would have led on to this function, and the inevitable publicity, honestly, I would not have said one word about it. Well, I am bound to say it took me about three weeks prior to 24th September, 1875 - the day I left Kingston, to take up my first appointment - to decide and surrender myself to the Heavenly Call. My greater anxiety was to feel certain that the Lord had really called and chosen me for the ministry of the Gospel, since so many are called, but not all chosen. In this the Lord did not leave me long in doubt. He has furnished me with a long series of unmistakeable evidence, and personal manifestations, that my ministry came direct from himself. My next trouble was - What the will of God would be in my case. This the Lord showed me would be "Service" and "Suffering" - labour and sorrow. Service would be done under the greatest possible disadvantages and oppositions, Suffering would be acute, complex and lifelong. My service, however, has been to do all in my power, to the best of my ability, with all my might, looking unto Jesus without intermission. Popularity I never sought, and never desired, for woe be unto that minister of Christ, who seek and win popularity; to live and preach the Gospel in that atmosphere. I have not been much of a tactician, if any at all. I have always thought it a dangerous study, and a still more dangerous practice, especially for a minister of the Gospel. The name of Jesus Christ alone can win this whole world, and thousands of the other worlds, without much or any human tactics.

Well, I spent years 12 ½ in the schoolroom. My school was one of the largest in Portland, and I have lived to see and hear of some very gratifying achievements of quite a few of my pupils; some as Government officials, wealthy merchants, and large proprietors; others as teachers, artisans, ministers of the Gospel (one was a rector in England) Magistrates, clerks, medical and legal men etc. 
I have preached in about 500 different churches, including a few in seven cities of United States of America; and Central America. I have also preached in nine or ten parishes in Jamaica, in four of which I preached in every church and station, while in one of them, I have had charge of every cure at one time or another. I have established seven mission stations, including Aenon Town in St. Ann and Grace Church in St. Thomas.
During one period of my ministry, I used to minister to between 1,200 and 1400 Communicants at the Altar every month.
My first confirmation after my ordination numbered 147 candidates and over 100 of them had been my pupils.
During the 50 years under review, I committed numerous blunders and mistakes: the remembrance of them is very grievous, the burden intolerable. In regard to success, I have nothing to say, only God alone knows what success is, and what it stands for. For example Jesus Christ was said to be the greatest failure this world had ever seen, and still He has been the most wonderful success yet known on this earth. What was success, and what was not, will be declared on a day to come. I have simply tried to do the will of God and with him leave the issue.
As a Justice of the Peace, with what light I possess, I have always striven to do justice and judgment between man and man and when possible to reconcile and pacify.
Please accept my warmest thanks for the beautiful souvenir now presented to me. I can assure you that I esteem and appreciate it most highly and I shall never forget the generous donors. Again, let me thank you very gratefully and sincerely, and may God bless you, indeed; bless your households and all who are near and dear to you at home and abroad, and may He water you with His Grace, fill you with His Spirit and in due time show you His glory.
The Rev. Mr. Cole then offered a prayer of thanksgiving, after which the Doxology was sung and a happy function came to a close.

The public man:

Daily Gleaner, July 23, 1921
The Rev. A. Cole, J.P., was sworn in as a Justice of the Peace for the parish of St. Thomas by His Honour Mr. H. C. Robinson, R.M. for the parish a short time ago. His recent appointment by His Excellency as a Justice of the Peace is well received by all. He recently resigned the Rectorship of St. David's Church owing to ill-health.

The family man:   
In 1878, he wedded Angelina, the eldest daughter of Mr Samuel and Mrs Elizabeth Roune of Clarendon. Five children were born to this union - two daughters and three sons Hilda Jane, Mona Morton, Enos Playdelhill, Cyril Havergal and Evan Augustus.

His legacy:
Mr. Cole has always taken a keen interest in the spiritual, social and industrial life of his parish. The Rev. Mr. Cole, as is well known, is one of the best preachers of the Anglican Church in Jamaica, and had a brilliant college career. He became the “idol of the St. Thomas pulpit” Nor had his efforts been confined to the service of the Church alone. He has done much to develop the agricultural resources of the district and has also worked in the cause of education and otherwise. His efforts in recruiting need no comment here.

 Memorial Service

Daily Gleaner, August 27, 1940

Mr Cole, the Archdeacon [Ramson] said, was born in St Andrew 89 years ago and was the eldest of eight children. He attended an elementary school until he was 15 years of age and then came on to Kingston and was apprenticed to the well-known engineering firm of Messrs Charles P Lazarus and Son. He served this firm for several years and left as general foreman.

During this period he took up classical studies under the late Venerable Archdeacon Campbell. His ambition was to become a teacher which he eventually attained, and taught in several schools in the island with success. 

Mr. Cole next felt a call to the Anglican Ministry and then entered the Church's Theological College where he had a brilliant career and was ordained in 1889 as Deacon at Half Way Tree Parish Church, and made a priest a year later.

He was appointed to the Birnamwood Cure in Portland where he worked for several years, his next appointment being to the St. David's Cure, Yallahs in 1897, where he served for two years. He then left for the United States of America and did missionary work in many states. Mr. Cole next travelled through Central America where he continued missionary work especially in Costa Rica and Panama.

On his return to Jamaica, he went back to St. Thomas where he resumed as rector, until weight of advancing years compelled him to resign after over 30 years of devoted service.

Apart from the sources mentioned on the page, the main sources for information on the Rev. Augustus Cole are his entries in various editions of Who's Who in Jamaica.