Grampa Bill's General Authority Pages
No picture available. Zera S. (Smith) Cole

1805 - 1886
  • Born 1805 Middlebury, Vermont
  • Baptized as a young man
  • Zions Camp 1834
  • Ordained Seventy and called to First Quorum of Seventy 1835
  • Suffered persecution in Missouri and Illinois
  • Migrated to west with saints
  • Married Lydia Ann Childs 1864
  • Died 1886 Salt Lake City, Utah

    Zera Smith Cole, Veteran of Zions Camp and member of the First Quorum of the Seventy, was born April 20, 1805 in Middlebury, Vermont, the son of John Cole and Cynthia Smith.

    Zera was introduced to the Gospel at an early date, for by 1834, he was participating in Zions Camp, the expedition from Kirtland, Ohio to Missouri to provide succor to the saints who were suffering persecution at the hands of the mob.

    Years later Zera S. Cole related an incident of Zions Camp to Elder O. B. Huntington as the two were at work for the dead in the Logan Temple. We quote from George Q. Cannon, Life of Joseph Smith the Prophet, p.531-532: "Brother Cole was with the Camp of Zion which went up to Missouri in 1834. While traveling across a vast prairie, treeless and waterless, they encamped at night after a long and wearisome day's march. They had been without water since early morning, and men and animals suffered greatly from thirst, for it had been one of the hottest days of June. Joseph sat in his tent door looking out upon the scene. All at once he called for a spade. When it was brought he looked about him and selected a spot, the most convenient in the camp for men and teams to get water. Then he dug a shallow well, and immediately the water came bubbling up into it and filled it, so that the horses and mules could stand upon the brink and drink from it. While the camp stayed there, the well remained full, despite the fact that about two hundred men and scores of horses and mules were supplied from it.

    After Zions Camp broke up and the various parties began to make their way back to Kirtland, Ohio, Brother Cole traveled in the company of Elder Heber C. Kimball who related, "June 30th I started for home in company with Lyman Sherman, Sylvester Smith, Alexander Badlam, Harrison Burgess, Luke Johnson and Zera Cole. They elected me their captain.

    "We proceeded on our journey daily, the Lord blessing us with strength and health. The weather was very hot, but we traveled from thirty-five to forty miles a day, until about the 26th of July, when we arrived in Kirtland; having been gone from home about three months, during which time, with the exception of four nights, I slept on the ground." -Orson F. Whitney, Life of Heber C. Kimball.

    A year later, in 1835 Zera was ordained a Seventy and called into the First Quorum of the Seventy, a quorum equal in authority with that of the First Presidency and the quorum of the Twelve. He must have taken his leave from the Kirtland area and settled in Missouri for we find that he was among those who filed redress petitions seeking compensation for the losses sufferered at the Missouri mobsters and mobocrats. Like the other saints, Elder Cole received no redress. And like other saints, he was expelled from Missouri, probably settling with the body of the saints near Nauvoo, Illinois.

    When the saints likewise were expelled from Nauvoo, Zera made the trek west, where March 2, 1864 he married Lydia Ann Childs. No children are listed from this union. Although Zera was almost fifty-nine at the time of this marriage, we find no earlier marriages.

    We know that Father Cole as he became known in his older years remained active in the Church and was anxiously involved in temple work for the story of Joseph and the well was related within the walls of the Logan Temple where he was performing ordinance work.

    We quote from Andrew Jenson, Church Chronology, that on "February 14, 1886 (Sunday) Elder Zera Cole died in Salt Lake City."

   History of the Church, vol. 2, pp. 183, 204
   Andrew Jenson, Church Chronology, February 14, 1886 (Sunday)

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