RPG Stuff – Cole Family History
History of the Cole Family, an New England family rife with hauntings and bad luck. From 1500-2100
In the 1500s, the patriarch of what would become the Cole family was a Spanish born pirate working under a Letter of Marque for England. Bartolome Gómez, sailing a converted merchantman, the La Galga, would fly under the Spanish Flag to take over Spanish Treasure Galleons. He would usually flag the captain of the Galleon down by pretending to have dispatches from Madrid for the Captain. Once aboard, his men would quickly capture the Galleon, kill the remaining crew and sail the ship to England.
Unfortunately he was in Plymouth England at the time Spain attempted to invade the island nation. Pressed into service by the Admiralty, under the command of Captain Gómez, the La Galga acquitted herself quite well. Two Spanish ships were sunk at the same time. Over the next two days it would help to sink three more ships, and even came to the aid of Sir Francis Drake himself by drawing fire away so that Drake’s ship could maneuver into a better position. For his actions, Gómez was awarded a Knighthood and a Charter to found a colony in North America.
Unfortunately Bartolome Gómez died before he could outfit the Colony expedition. His son, Tomé Gómez inherited the charter, title, and most importantly his father’s ill gained fortune. By 1620, he had changed his name to Thomas Cole to attract additional English investors in the colony. He managed to build a small fleet of three merchant ships and 400 colonists. They sailed to Virginia and founded a colony near what is today Salem Massachusetts in November of 1623. The winter killed over half the English colonists due to exposure and starvation.
In the early spring of 1624, Gómez, now Cole, seeing the colony needed more man power to clear land and build farms decided to sail to Africa. His goal was to purchase slaves and bring them back to do the back breaking work while the English colonists searched for Gold and other exploitable minerals. Unfortunately by the time he returned, the colony had all but disappeared. With a ship hold full of slaves, he sailed south to Virginia and sold them there.
After six more voyages, and styling himself “Commodore,” Thomas Cole had amassed a fleet of seven ships. Three ran the slave trade while the rest traded up and down the coast of New England and Britain. Like his father, he also engaged in piracy. He would outfit and fund the voyages of other captains, sold the stolen goods from these voyages by inserting them into his legitimate mercantile business, and took half the profits. By 1650 the Commodore was one of the richest men in North America.
Tired of the weather in Virginia, and at the suggestion of his wife, Amice, Thomas turned his eyes back to the nascent colony in Massachusetts. A large house and farm was built there by slave labor and the family moved in 1655. Thomas died the same year from pneumonia, having lived in house less than a month. His wife Amice, with the help of a slave woman named Constance raised his twin daughters Anne and Lora but sold the merchant business.
Some say that due to his wretched life, Thomas Cole could not move on. He would be known to haunt the house and farm. Any suitors attempting to marry his wife to get their hands on his fortune would eventually be found dead from unknown causes. After six such attempts, eyes turned from Amice to her beautiful daughters. No longer the center of attention, and half insane from the unexplained deaths and continued hauntings, Amice threw herself off a nearby cliff in 1671.
At sixteen years old, the daughters Anne and Lora were left with a sizable fortune and even more suitors. The hauntings at the house because even worse over the next decade with thirteen suitors dead under mysterious circumstances. Out of desperation, their enslaved servant Constance proposed a VooDoo ceremony to cleanse the house. The daughters agreed and it appeared to be successful. Buoyed by that success, both women took an interest in the occult and magic to the determent of all other activities.
Attracted by the Cole Sisters’ wealth, and hearing rumors of their interest, both charlatans and real practicers of witch craft and magic schemed to get their hands on it. The Sisters eventually both fell for a charming man named Elbert Hubbard who promised to teach them “sex magic”. His betrayal of them both and the fight between the sisters eventually led to both being accused of witch craft at the start of the Salem Witch Trials. Their house was burned, the fields salted, and the slaves escaped to freedom.
Lora, pregnant with Hubbard’s child, was smuggled away by the Constance’s own son Lucian. Anne unfortunately was caught, put on trial and sentenced to hang. Before doing so though, she uttered a curse upon her sister and her offspring that the family would be met with nothing but tragedy.
Lora died in a difficult child birth. Lucian named the boy Raymond and raised him in a small cabin in the woods. They lived as farmers. Lucien would trade his labor get the boy schooled. Raymond would go on to teach himself to read from a Bible owned by his grandfather Thomas Cole. At the age of thirteen, Raymond realized that the Bible contained a cipher. It took him nearly three years to decode it, but found instructions to a hidden cache of gold buried by Thomas in Pirate tradition. With the help of Lucien they returned to Salem, followed the map and managed to dig up a substantial amount of gold, silver and jewelry.
Based on the stories about his grandfather, Raymond and Lucien then traveled to the capital in New York City and started a mercantile business. Raymond took his first ocean voyage across the Atlantic to buy goods. Lucien was tasked with building a warehouse and store front. Together they ran the business, Lucien would manage day to day operations of the store and Raymond would eventually buy his own ship and provide goods. Raymond officially gave Lucien his freedom and in gratitude, Lucien took on the Cole name and pledged an oath to look after the Cole family.
By 1740, the Cole Family Mercantile had expanded to seven locations across New England. Lucien had died a year earlier, but his own sons each managed one of the locations. Raymond Cole amassed a fleet of three ships plying the trade routes. Needing a substantial amount of money, he sold the merchant portion of the business to Lucien’s sons and sat down to marry into Society. His eyes upon the daughter of an alderman named Rebecca.
The two soon married and had a son named Alden. In 1745, the family curse reared its head. Raymond and Rebecca perished in a carriage accident. The four year old Alden was left in the care of another of Lucien’s offspring, grandson Silas. Silas Cole had been engaged as a butler by Raymond Cole and took over the duties of raising Alden in the family tradition. In addition to his duties as caretaker, he continued to run the Cole family merchant ships and even remerged the split business back into a single entity by buying out his uncles’ stores.
Alden Cole, growing up in the great merchant family, of course became a Captain of one of the ships early on. At the age of thirty he foresaw a rich future in supporting the American Revolution. The Cole Family pushed for independence, helped to finance the revolution, procured needed supplies for the Continental Army and acted as Privateers attacking British merchants and stealing their goods. At the end of the war, Alden Cole turned his eyes towards China and the profits to be found in the Orient.
Naming himself Commodore Cole he led a fleet of ships into the Beaver for and Opium Trade. In 1790 his own son, Philoman Cole joined the family business. Looking to make his own mark on the family business, he moved to Paris where he made contacts among the nobility and acted as a go between for the American politicians and society. Seeing the French Revolution about to unfold, he traveled to Bavaria to see what connections could be made there. This is where he met and befriended the young Princess Sophie. The Princess was enamored of this American who’s family had made their riches again and again.
On his last voyage before retirement, Alden Cole’s ship was lost at sea. Upon receiving the news, Philoman returned to New York and took over the family business, bringing it to even more prosperity with his new European connections. The hotel suffered several set backs though. Unexplained deaths, murders, and the death of the Commodores’ wife soon after childbirth
Using his family fortune, Commodore Philoman Cole started construction on the hotel in 1829. He envisioned a grand building worthy of European Royalty, specifically his friend Princess Sophie of Bavaria. The vision of his hotel was wildly publicized in New York papers and was soon mentioned around the world. Sparing no expense, and using all the latest technologies and building techniques of the day it was completed in 1831.
VIP guests from the world were invited to attend the inaugural opening. Among them Princess Sophie of Bavaria and President Andrew Jackson. By all accounts the opening was a success. The Dorothea Hotel was mentioned in the same sentences as the great hotels in not only New York but around the world. Reservations were being made years in advance. Buoyed by the art of some of the finest cooks in the United States at the time, the Dining room and ballroom both became hubs for the rich, famous and influential to be seen at. Newspaper men, authors, poets and various hanger ons would congregate in the lobby to watch the comings and goings of the influential and perhaps gather a bit of news to write about.
Unfortunately tragedy quickly struck the hotel. Unexplained disappearances of guests at the hotel immediately plagued its reputation. Most attributed the disappearances as merely those trying to escape creditors and the stories immediately dismissed. But muckrakers among the ever present press corps could not let the stories go, and stories of the grand hotel circulated among the lower classes.
An unexplained fire in 1835 that took the life of the wife and daughter of an investing owner in the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad. Rumors of murder, insurance fraud, and shoddy workmanship were all floated about. The uproar and promises of investigation into the management of the hotel were front page news for weeks. Investigations by private detectives uncovered the remains of an incendiary device in the damaged hotel room, which in turn triggered more rumors and front page news.
A mere two years later, news of “The Midnight Murders” became the talk of the town. The dismembered bodies of young boys were found scattered around the neighborhood over the period of a single month. One of the victims was an employee at the Hotel. A through search of the building for the missing boy finally revealed mass murderer Cornelius Hunt in the middle of the gristly act. Hunt later revealed in his confession that he needed the blood of thirteen strong but innocent boys to complete a dark ritual meant to make himself immortal.
The newspapers of course had a field day with that story, and despite the Commodores best efforts, the reputation of the hotel seemed to be permanently tarnished. To make matters worse, residents and employees started reporting strange activities in the hotel. Most were merely mischievous noises and objects randomly moving around. But the Russian Ambassador reported the definite feeling of hands shoving him just before he tumbled down the main stairs.
After the reputation hit the Commodore moved into the hotel with his new bride, Amelia, in an attempt to show the hotel had no curse. Unfortunately, shortly after giving birth, Amelia Cole died from complications of the birth. The baby boy, William, soon became a favorite of the hotel staff and guests. All, including his father doted upon him. But by the age of four years old his caretakers repeatedly reported that young William had