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William H Cowles

"The Honorable William H. Cowles is a prominent representative of the business interests of Plantsville, where he carries on operations as a liveryman, merchant and dealer in coal. He is a man of keen perception, great sagacity, and unbounded enterprise, and, to these characteristics may be attributed his success.

Mr. Cowles was born in Southington March 19, 1850. His father, Charles Augustus Cowles, was born January 1, 1808, and was married September 24, 1839 to Mrs. Delia V. (Stedman) Bradley, widow of Charles Bradley. The children born to them were Charles B.; Frederick A.; Jane L., wife of Alfred N. Parmalee; and Fanny M. The father acquired a competence in trade in the South, became a large landowner in the vicinityof Plantsville, Conn., and was extensively engaged in farming. He died in Plantsville June 6, 1873.

Addison Cowles, the paternal grandfather of our subject, was born in Southington, Feb. 17, 1770, and was married, Feb. 24, 1800 to Phebe, daughter of Dr. Jesse Cole. He lived in Plantsville Center, where his wife died March 13, 1824, aged 46 years, and his death occurred Feb. 23, 1828. His father, Ashbel Cowles, was born in Southington Sept. 29, 1740, and was married April 29, 1769, to Rhoda, daughter of Jared and Rhoda (Judd) Lee. He lived west of the Plantsville Cemetery. He was an extensive reader, possessed a very retentive memory, and was well versed in historical facts and dates. He held several offices, serving as constable as well for years, first selectman in 1792, and also held the military rank of captain. He died Sept. 19, 1815. He was a son of Josiah Cowles, who was born in Farmington November 20, 1716, and was married November 11,1739, to Jemima Dickinson. Soon afterward he located in what is now the town of Southington, where he bought land extensively. His wife died Oct. 19, 1746 and he was again married, November 22, 1748, his second union being with Mary, daughter of Samuel and Mary (Pynchon for) Scott, of Southington. He was a man of great energy of character, took a leading part in church and the society matters, held several important town offices, and held the military rank of captain. He was the father of 18 children, and his descendants are numerous and scattered. Josiah Cowles died June 6, 1793. His father, Thomas Cowles, was born in Farmington Feb. 4, 1686, and was married Jan. 6, 1714, to Martha Judd, eldest daughter of Thomas and Sarah (Freeman) Judd, of Waterbury. He resided in Farmington, where he died March 11, 1751. His father, Samuel Cowles, was born in Farmington March 17, 1661, and was married May 12, 1685, to Rachel Porter. He lived in Farmington, where he died Oct. 14, 1748. He was a son of Samuel Cowles, who was born in 1639, and was married Feb. 14, 1660, to Abigail, daughter of Timothy Stanley, of Hartford. They made their home in Farmington, and he was one of the 84 proprietors of that town in 1672. He died April 17, 1691. His father, John Cole, was one of the first settlers of Hartford, but soon after 1640 he located in Farmington, and while residing there was induced to change his name to Cowles, in order to avoid the inconvenience of being taken at times for another John Cole, living in the same place. From that time the descendants of his eldest son, Samuel, have spelled the name Cowles. John Cole was a farmer, and a deputy to the General Court in 1653 and 1654. In 1662 he removed to Hadley, Massachusetts, where he died in September, 1675. He married Hanna ???, who died in Hartford, March 6, 1683, aged 70 years.

The subject of this sketch passed his boyhood in Plantsville, where he attended the common schools, and later he was a student in the Amenia (N.Y.) Academy. Since 1876 he has been engaged in the coal, livery, and trucking business in Plantsville, and now enjoys an excellent trade. His political support is always given to the men and measures of the Democratic Party, and he has been called upon to serve as a member of the board of selectman of Southington, and also to represent the town in the State Legislature. Fraternally he is a member of the Knights of Pythias. On Sept. 21, 1881, Mr. Cowles was united in marriage with Miss Mary K. Messenger, a daughter of John and Mary (Shupp) Messenger, of New York, and to them have been born two children, Clarence A and Harold L." (p. 152-153)