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Eliza (Cranston) Cole (1793-1891)

Eliza Cranston was born on May 22, 1793 in Bristol, Rhode Island and died ninety-eight years later on April 30, 1891 in Providence, Rhode Island. Her longevity meant that Eliza experienced many more of the highs and lows in life than the average human being. She was the daughter of Stephen Cranston and Sarah (Salisbury) Cranston of Bristol. On October 13, 1808, the eminent Reverend Alexander Griswold of St. Michaels Church in Bristol married her to George Cole of Warren, RI. Eliza bore her only daughter, Eliza Ann Cole, a year later. Her daughter lived to be eighty, but still died before Eliza. After the death of her husband, Eliza Cole remarried to a much older widower named Daniel Phinney. After Phinney died, Eliza again lived as a widow for another thirty-four years. She died in Providence and was buried at the North Burial Ground alongside her first husband, George Cole. The most interesting thing about Eliza is the history she lived through. She was born during President Washington’s administration and died during President Benjamin Harrison’s administration. Living such a long time allowed Eliza to witness many of the great conflicts as well as innovations that characterized 19th century America. Living for ninety-eight years in that era is impressive for many reasons, and Eliza Cole’s life helps us to remember how much and how rapidly the world changed in that century. Read More...

Joshua Choiniere, Student at Rhode Island College