The Root House, one of the oldest surviving homes in Marietta, is run by Cobb Landmarks & Historical Society as a working museum. William Root was a self-educated man and first pharmacist in Marietta. Cole, known as “Miss Mary,” was also a member of CLHS and instrumental in the preservation of the Root House.
“(Mary) loved the class and The Root House,” said Teri Cole, (unrelated to this Cole family) who chairs the Furnishing & Acquisition Committee of the Root House. Committee members include Maryellen Higginbotham, Patricia George and Carolyn Anderson.
After receiving the donation by AHSC, the F&A Committee looked for something appropriate for the 1850s house and Mary. After several years, the committee purchased a set of Shakespeare books from an antique store in Vinings. They are the “Knights Cabinet Edition of The Works of William Shakespeare, London: Wm. S. Orr & Co. 1851” — nine volumes of works contained in six small leather bound books with endpapers.
On April 23, Shakespeare’s Birthday, the F&A committee made a formal presentation of the books along with the AHSC.
“We have many wonderful mid-19th century books in the secretary in (the Root House) parlor, but none by Shakespeare. The committee thought the perfect solution to the memorial donation would be a set of books by Shakespeare, 1850s of course,” Cole said. “Studying the classics and owning Shakespeare’s works was an important part of the culture of the period.”
Like the Root family, the Cole family is part of Marietta’s history. Mary came to Marietta from Texas as the bride of Bayard Cole who met her while working as an engineer for Lucius Clay. Mary, a librarian lived at a women’s boarding house.
“The boarding house was so well-known for its food that many young men came to have Sunday dinner. That’s how (Mary and Bayard) met,” said Pam Cole, the daughter-in-law of Mary and member of the AHSC.
Though Mary was new to Marietta, Bayard’s roots date back to 1837 when Henry Greene Cole arrived to build the Western & Atlantic Railroad from Chattanooga to Terminus, later known as Atlanta.
“(Henry Greene Cole) was mainly in charge of building the bridges and trusses across rivers and gorges,” said who is married to Nicholas Cole, the son of Mary and Bayard.
The Cole family presence in Marietta started early on. “(Henry Greene Cole) with William Root and other merchants founded St. James’ Episcopal Church (off the Marietta Square),” Pam said.
Henry Green Cole married Georgia Fletcher and had five children: Mary Warren Cole, Fletcher Cole, Daniel Webster Cole, Maude Cole and Dewitt Clinton Cole (Bayard’s father).
Louise and Dix Fletcher owned the Fletcher House off the Marietta Square later called the Kennesaw House. The house was sold to the Fletchers by Marietta pioneer John Heyward Glover, Jr.
Prior to the sale, it was known as the Marietta Motel, the place where Andrews’ Raiders slept the night before they stole The General during the Civil War escapade known as The Great Locomotive Chase. Today it houses the Marietta Museum of History.
In 1907, Bayard’s parents, DeWitt Clinton Cole and his wife, Mary “May” McIntosh Cole, built the home place situated at the corner of the North Marietta Parkway and Cole Street known as the “Cole House.”
“We always called the it the ‘Big House,’” said Pam. Bayard and Mary later lived in the home, and today Pam and Nicholas occupy the home.
Mary and Bayard married in 1943 and planned to move home to Marietta. “May put Mary’s name in, nominated her to become a member of the Shakespeare Class,” Pam said.
May, the first society editor of the Cobb County Times, died before the couple settled in Marietta. “Mary came to Marietta as a new bride and lived here until she died at 94,” Pam said. “She was active all those years in the Shakespeare class as well as Cobb Landmarks. She was so knowledgeable and well-read,” Pam said.