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Harriotte Middleton Gillespie Cole


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Harriotte Middleton Gillespie Cole
Harriotte Middleton Gillespie Cole
Historic Hillsborough Commission

At a Glance

Harriotte Gillespie Cole lived much of her adult life in Chapel Hill, NC with or near her sister Sarah Ann Cole Taylor.

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Harriotte (Hattie) Middleton Gillespie Cole, born September 8, 1827, was the fourth daughter of James Carney Cole and Mary Catharine Snead Cole of New Bern. According to information from surviving members of her family (the Dr. Isaac Taylor family of Chapel Hill), “Miss Hattie” attended the Burwell School at the same time her youngest sister Lavinia was there. Lavinia is listed in the 1848-51 catalogue, and she herself states that she attended the school in 1848-49.

After the Civil War, Miss Hattie and her oldest sister, Mary Catharine Cole, Miss Cattie, went to Chapel Hill to live with their sister Sarah Anne Cole (Mrs. Alexander Taylor) in the beautiful house (no longer standing) on West Franklin Street, later known to Chapel Hillians as the Cole House. Mrs. Taylor had two sons, Dr. Isaac Taylor and James Cole Taylor. When Miss Hattie’s sisters died, she continued to live in the house with her nephew, James Cole Taylor, taking care of her.

Artist William Meade Prince, in his book, The Southern Part of Heaven, described going to tea as a small boy with his mother at Miss Hattie Cole’s and hearing her remembrances of the “War Between the States”:

She (Miss Hattie Cole) lived in a house set back from Franklin Street with a big wisteria vine on the pillars of the porch. Mother used to go to see her sometimes and I went along. We would sit down in the parlor and Mother and Miss Hattie would have tea which Miss Hattie poured from a big, fancy China teapot with bright flowers painted on it. She told me it was an heirloom. She always had some lemonade for me. There was a sturdy Windsor chair she always made me sit in. I think it was Mr. Jim Taylor’s chair, her brother-in-law who ran the bank. They must have been very rich with all that money, but sometimes their chairs were very wobbly and I thought unsafe."

When Miss Hattie became extremely feeble, she and her nephew James, moved to Morganton, North Carolina where Dr. Isaac Taylor, her other nephew, was head of the Broadoaks Sanitorium. She died in the Isaac Taylor’s Morganton home “at a ripe old age.” She never married and was always known as Miss Hattie. She was an ardent Methodist and a sting church worker “whose Christian virtues and generous hospitality adorned her lovely home in Chapel Hill.” [1]

Biographical Data

Harriotte was called Hattie.

Important Dates

Harriotte Middleton Gillespie Cole was born on September 8, 1827, in New Bern, NC. She died 1921.

Places of Residence



  1. The Southern Part of Heaven by William Meade Prince, New York, Rinehart & Co., 1950, pp. 54-55..