[ View Thread ] [ Post Response ] [ Return to Index ] [ Read Prev Msg ] [ Read Next Msg ]

Andrew Sutherland Cooley


Posted By: Dan B. Cooley (email)
Date: 1/5/2010 at 20:23:55

(additional surnames in bio)

Andrew Sutherland Cooley was born in Pittsford, Rutland County, Vermont, 11 Jul 1804 to Noah Cooley (b. 1782) and Jane Sutherland (b.1787) themselves natives of Vermont.[1] The year after the War of 1812 ended (1815) Noah Cooley purchased several lots in the Holland Land Purchase in "Western Country" (present Niagara and Erie Counties, New York).[2] At some point after those purchases, Noah and family permanently relocated from Vermont to a homestead on Ridge Road near present-day Lockport, Niagara County, N.Y. I have assumed his wife, Jane, and children Andrew Sutherland, Samuel Thurman, Caleb Carroll, and Jane Eliza accompanied him on the initial move though they could have arrived at a later time after Noah became established.

Andrew and Salome Start a Family

About 1827 Andrew married Salome Warren (see separate biography) in or near Lockport, N.Y. Their first documented child, Andrew Sutherland Jr., was born in New York in 1830. There could have been as many as two "census children" born before 1830 (U.S. Census, Michigan Territory) but, if so, they did not survive to the 1840 U.S. census.[3]

About 1831 the family of at least three and possibly five moved to Michigan Territory (Michigan became a state in 1837), settling in Franklin, Oakland County, where two children, Steven and Thomas, were born.[4]

The family resided in Michigan only six years when in late 1837 they left Franklin and moved to a small, northeastern Iowa settlement known as Prairie La Porte ("Door-to-the-Prairie") in soon-to-be Clayton County, then a part of Wisconsin Territory.[5] Once again, I have assumed the entire family came together in the initial move to Iowa though one family anecdote has Andrew staying alone in Clayton County for a year before summoning the rest.

Prior to the family’s arrival in Iowa, Frederick Andros, a medical doctor, had staked the first claim in Prairie La Porte on 6 Jan 1836.[6] It so happens he had resided contemporaneously in the same township, Franklin, Michigan, where Andrew lived. Andros was interested in the lead mining at Galena, Illinois, so he had left Franklin about 1833 to pursue that goal. However, shortly after arriving in Galena, he had a change of heart and he continued his journey up and across the Mississippi River to present Dubuque (opened for settlement in 1833 by the U.S. Government, the year Andros arrived, and chartered and named Dubuque in 1837) where he practiced medicine for three years. Andros left a detailed account of his travels westward, an excerpt of which can be found in "Garnavillo, Gem of the Prairie" by Arnold D. and Laverne E. Roggman.[7] It is interesting to note from his journal that in 1833 Andros passed through a tiny settlement of about 30 buildings on the southwestern shore of Lake Michigan, a settlement that would soon become Chicago.

Although it is not known whether Cooley and Andros met in Franklin, it seems likely that there was some communication between the two so I have assumed that Cooley and family traveled somewhat the same route as Andros.

The Early Settlement of Prairie La Porte/High Prairie

The name "Prairie La Porte" was soon abandoned in favor of "High Prairie" though exactly when is unclear. There was already a Prairie La Porte on the Mississippi River (present Guttenburg) that sprang up about the same time and became the first county seat so the High Prairie name was probably in use by 1836.

From "The History of Clayton County 1882", Dr. Andros "was followed by John Gillett" according to an account dated 16 Feb 1859 by an early settler, Jesse Clement.[8] However, in an interview of John Gillett by James O Crosby, Gillett states "I came to this county in winter of 1835 6th Jany. 18th made a claim...and in June got here with my team and 3rd day of June began breaking prairie on High Prairie - 1st breaking." Since Andros and Gillett arrived and made claims about the same time, Gillett doubtless meant 1836. He continues, "in winter of '36-'37 Dr. Andros and I...killed more [turkeys] than we could eat..." and "Cooley came on in fall of '36 or spring of '37".[9]

In the same book page 786, "[In 1837] came Andrew S. Cooley, who settled on section 31...[10]

Reconciling Gillett's recollections and "The History of Clayton County", we can say Andrew Cooley’s arrival in High Prairie occurred about a year after the first settlers Andros and Gillett (in 1837). Once in the area, he staked a claim in Section 31 so in late 1837 from his perspective, Dr. Andros was located one mile north, possibly another early arrival, Richard Only, about one and a half miles further north, the future Jacksonville (Garnavillo) town site two miles north and John Gillett about 3 miles north.

"Up until 1840 and a bit beyond, things were quiet, neighbors were miles apart, and much of the land was still unclaimed. The early arrivals knew that there would be hardship and big changes awaiting them. The ideal home sites would have fine level prairie ground, a spring in the farm yard and a sufficient stand of timber for all their needs."[11]

Getting the Family Settled

The first few years would have been daunting for the Cooleys. Cabin erection requiring the hewing of logs and neighbors' help for certain tasks, would had to have been undertaken by the family alone.

"With an axe the pioneer could erect a cabin, make firewood and provide fencing material, but the building of a log house, to have a bit of refinement, would require just a little lumber for the floor, the roof sheathing, the loft planking, and a door. Also, the interior should hold the luxury of a table and a bench made of boards."[12]

This implies the need for professionally sawn logs to add the finishing touches to a cabin but the first sawmill in Garnavillo began operation 15 May 1852 (the Upper Buck Creek Mill about one mile east of the village), therefore, any settler arriving before 1852 would have had only his and his neighbors' axes to erect a cabin unless lumber was imported from elsewhere.[13] In fact, a sawmill was built in 1843 at Elkport about 13 miles south that could well have provided sawn logs for cabin construction.[14]

Andrew Settles In

The "History of Clayton County" states: "The first birth was either that of Storrs Andros, son of Dr. Frederick Andros, or that of Noah Cooley, a son of Andrew S. Cooley."[15] From the journal of Dr. Andros, his son was born in the summer of 1836 while Noah Cooley's birth date has been determined from U.S. census records to be September 1838.[16] Thus, Storrs Andros clearly won the Clayton County first-born contest.

In his first public record in Iowa, Andrew was on jury duty. Again, from same book in a section entitled "Early Court Sessions": "[In April, 1839] the petit jurors for this term were...A.S. Cooley..." among others. In 1839 the county seat was (the real) Prairie La Porte (Guttenberg), so Andrew had to travel about 10 miles to the southeast.[17]

A New Homestead

After squatting in Section 31 for about four years, Andrew formally acquired the east half of the northwest quarter of Section 32, Twp 93, Range 3 from the United States Government in 1841 with a Federal Land Patent, Certificate No. 1645.[18] It was the highest, flattest tract in Section 32 yet less than a mile from Cedar Creek as a water source.

From the "Reminiscences of Amelia Murdock Wing", daughter of Judge Samuel Murdock, another early, High Prairie settler, "Previous to the Homestead Act of 1852, settlers bought land from the government at $5 an acre. The term pre-empted land was applied to it. The first farm south of Garnavillo to be thus pre-empted was the farm of Reuben Noble...In the neighborhood of "Evergreen Farm" [Judge Murdock's farm] just about a mile south was the Stillman place. This, too, had been government land. About a half-mile below Stillman's was the Kilham place, also government land. Another government home nearby was owned by the A.S. Cooley family...Near the Cooley place stood the little country school house, dear to the memory of so many who got their first schooling there."[19]

A section of "Garnavillo, Gem of the Prairie" entitled "Lost Hollows of Garnavillo" contains the following: "Cooley Hollow...has its source south of Garnavillo in Sec. 32 and carries on southward where it enters Cedar Creek. It was named after early landowner, Andrew S. Cooley..."[20]

While farming in a "hollow" may appear less desirable (the elevation ranges from 1000 feet above sea level down to about 900 feet at the southern boundary of Section 32), most Cooley Hollow lands were acquired by 1845 and are completely farmed today (1998).

As a comparison, in Andrew's former section to the west, Section 31, Cedar Creek dominates as well as in Sections 30 and 19 to the north and Section 1, Twp 92 to the south. Although Cedar Creek watershed elevations range from 1000 feet down to about 820 feet, all of this land was acquired by 1856-57. Timber was evident in this area where present-day Jigsaw Road curves south down into Section 1 (1998).

Clayton County Board of Commissioners

An early Clayton County political struggle concerned the location of the county seat.[21] In a James O. Crosby interview of Andrew Cooley ("one of the earliest to come"): "Under the Act of 1840, the Commissioners in 1841 met and selected a site on the NE qtr of Sec 18-93-3 [Section 18, Township 93N, Range 3W] by name "Alotat" [a Native American Sac word meaning "gander"]. The vote was had pursuant to law and resulted in favor of Prairie La Porte [present day Guttenburg].[22] That is, when the relocation to Alotat (present site of Garnavillo) was presented to county voters in an election held in August 1840, it was rejected in favor of Prairie La Porte, where the county seat remained for three more years.

But in 1843 the pressure was on once again to move the county seat away from Prairie La Porte, so the Iowa Territorial legislature passed an act relocating "the seat of justice of Clayton county...[to] the north 80 acres of the SE¼ of Sec 18, Twp 93N, Range 3W...[to be named] Jacksonville."[23]

From a James O. Crosby interview of Andrew Cooley, "James & Emily Watson gave the deed to the 80 acres as a gift for the county seat and the town of Jacksonville. County Commissioners shall use all the proceeds of the sales of said land to erection of public buildings for the use of said county and for no other purpose or use whatever."[24]

Soon after Jacksonville became the county seat, Andrew S. Cooley became a member of the Clayton County Board of Commissioners, along with Eliphalet Price and Thomas C. Linton. These three men were installed for the 1842-43 term, but their first meeting didn't take place until Oct. 2, 1843. The first order of business at that meeting was to publicly advertise that the next term of the district court was to be held in Jacksonville in January of 1844.[25]

Also, the Board "fixed the grocery licences at $25.00 per annum, bar license connected with a tavern for $25", and it was ordered that "no license be issued for the sale of liquors within five miles of the Winnebago lands".[26]

In February 1844 the Board ordered a survey of Jacksonville to be conducted by the County Surveyor, C.S. Edson, on March 10, 1844. By an odd quirk, Edson's survey drew Jacksonville's axes at a 21° angle to true east-west (69° to true N-S). While this had little impact on the town itself, subsequent surveys of adjacent farm land would become a major headache. It is likely Edson used an old Native Americn Indian trail as the main axis of the town, now SR 52.[27]

Later in the year, on Aug 5, 1844, Andrew was elected Justice of the Peace for the Jacksonville precinct, Clayton County, Territory of Iowa, another position in county government concurrent with his position as a County Commissioner.[28]

In April 1845, the Commissioners, possibly in response to the political strife of the time, changed the names of three streets in Jacksonville from Jefferson, Madison, and Jackson to Watson, Rutland and Niagara, respectively.[29] The influence of Andrew Cooley can readily be seen in two of the names: He was born in Rutland County, Vermont and was married in Niagara County, New York (mid 1820s). Rutland St. presently borders Old Cemetery on the south, Niagara St. on the east of the cemetery with St. Paul Evangelical Lutheran Church on the north in the town of Garnavillo.

Jacksonville becomes Garnavillo

It wasn't long before the name of the county seat, "Jacksonville", fell into disrepute. Among other reasons, the U.S. Post Office often mistakenly sent mail bound for the Iowa Jacksonville to a much older and well established Jacksonville, Illinois. In 1846, the issue was presented to the Board of Commissioners, still retaining Andrew Cooley, but now with two new members, John Downie and Joseph Quigley. The Board advertised for the submission of new names, and, after eliminating many suggestions, they decided on the name "Garnavillo" with the following proclamation issued on April 15, 1846: "Whereas...it is therefore ordered by said board, unanimously, that the name of said town of Jacksonville shall be changed to Garnavillo, and hereafter all transactions of business with the board shall be dated at Garnavillo as the present county seat of Clayton County."[30]

Seven Years Service

Andrew Cooley served for four more years as a Commissioner after Jacksonville became Garnavillo. All in all, he served continuously from 1843 through 1850, when the Office of the Commissioner was dissolved and the office of county judge created which office thenceforth carried out the normal duties of the Board of Commissioners.[31]

A Jump Up in Politics

Andrew's years in local politics apparently piqued higher aspirations: "In July of 1856 the Democrats nominated for [state] senator Andrew S. Cooley, of Garnavillo...the Republicans, at a convention at Elkader, nominated H.B. Carter of Elkader for senator." The election was held in November of 1856 and "the result of the election [in Clayton County] was a complete victory for the Republicans, the vote being...for senator, Carter (Rep.) 1043; Cooley (Dem) 421...[32]

The Republican victories in Clayton County ran counter to the nation as a whole. In the U.S. presidential election, the major candidates were John C. Fremont (Rep), James Buchanan (Dem), and Millard Fillmore (American Party). Clayton County went to Fremont but Buchanan won nationwide.

It is instructive to examine the stands taken by the presidential candidates on slavery vs. abolition: Buchanan, considered pro-Southern, favored popular sovereignty and state’s rights but did not support the right of states to secede. Candidate Fremont, a Republican espousing abolition, made a strong showing in most of the Free states including Iowa. Ex-president Fillmore of the new American Party appealed to former Whigs of the South and drew a substantial vote there.[33]

Thus, assuming Andrew S. Cooley ran on a similar platform as James Buchanan (straddling the fence between abolitionists and secessionists) he took a decidedly unpopular position on slavery in the Republican state of Iowa, which John C. Fremont won handily.

The 1860s and 1870s

The U.S. Census of 1860, Garnavillo Twp, Clayton County shows an Andrew S. Cooley household of twelve members: Andrew (ae 56) and Salome (ae 51), seven unmarried children and the William Gladden family of three including Emily C. Cooley, their 9th child.

The U.S. Census of 1870, Garnavillo Twp, Clayton County shows an Andrew S. Cooley household of seven members, Andrew (ae 66), Salome (ae 61), four unmarried children, and Ann Gladden ae 10.

The U.S. Census of 1880, however, finds Andrew (ae 76) and Salome (ae 71) in Mendon Township where they were living in McGregor close to several of their children.

What Happened to Garnavillo?

Besides Andrew Cooley, other influential men of Garnavillo had also left their little town for McGregor and elsewhere. One reason could have been the failure to attract a railroad forever dooming Garnavillo to be an "Inland Town".

Since the 1850s several prosperous men had invested in the establishment of railroads in Clayton County. Their campaigns suggested that a community without a railroad would be at an extreme disadvantage with little chance of survival.

In Garnavillo, at least eight men, including first-settler Dr. Frederic Andros, Judge Samuel Murdock, and James O. Crosby, became involved in organizing railroad companies with the goal of attracting at least one line through the town. Crosby even financed the survey of the Turkey Creek Valley as one possible route.

Alas, none of these attempts were successful and by the mid 1870s it had become apparent that no railroad train would ever steam through Garnavillo. By 1878 many of the original planners had left in discouragement.

The loss of a rail line may have been the straw that broke the camel's back for Garnavillo, but earlier setbacks contributed such as the removal of the county seat to Elkader in 1854 which struck a mighty blow against the community including loss of the newspaper of record. Several attempts were made to regain county seat status for the town but it would never return.

Another campaign to establish a university in Garnavillo also failed.

All these losses added up to a knock-out blow to the little community "and [it] went into a rather steep and steady decline".[35]

Mendon Township (McGregor)

After mid-19th century McGregor had gained a reputation as a town of opportunity. Mississippi River steamboats were numerous during the 1850s and 60s. The ports of McGregor, Clayton, and Guttenberg were bustling with passengers.[36] Thus, McGregor appeared to offer a vitality that Garnavillo had lost in the quarter-century 1854-1879.

Andrew and Salome, now in their 70s, were found in Mendon Twp in the U.S Census of 1880 (167th dwelling, 170th family). Since they were getting along in years, they probably moved to follow their children rather than for the pursuit of new opportunities. The 171st family enumerated (168th dwelling) was that of Robert Reed Cooley, Andrew's 13th child born 14 May 1847 in Garnavillo, and Robert's wife Stella Owen (my great grandparents). The 179th family (172nd dwelling) was Louis T. Cooley, Andrew’s 10th child, his wife, Eddie, their two children, and brother, Hersey Churchill Cooley (12th child), and his wife Christina A.[37]

Back to Garnavillo

Albeit Andrew and Salome lived in McGregor for a few years, they must have left their hearts in Garnavillo, because they are found back there in an 1885 State of Iowa census living in the household of their son-in-law Fred Cook whose wife was their 14th child, daughter Clara. Unfortunately, someone in the household told the enumerator that Andrew and Salome were "Old Father" and "Old Mother", and that's the way they were recorded.[38] Children should have more respect.

Old Cemetery in Garnavillo

Andrew died in 1890 and Salome five years later. They are buried along with a son and grandson in the same plot in Garnavillo's Old Cemetery in the block west of St. Paul's Lutheran Church (known earlier as The German Lutheran Church). A description of the gravestones follows with the reference point at the NE corner of the cemetery where South Rutland St. intersects with West Niagara St:

* Father/ A.S. Cooley/1804-1890; Granite marker 30' from N, 55' 6" from E

* Mother/Salome Cooley/1809-1895; Granite marker 34' 4" from N, 55' 6" from E

Buried in the same plot is their son, Peter S., who died of wounds received in the Civil War Battle of Murfreesborough, Tenn.,[40] and their infant grandson, Verne Alton, son of Robert Reed Cooley and Stella Alfresine Owen.[39]

CCH1882 "History of Clayton County, Iowa; Together with sketches of its cities, villages and townships, educational, religious, civil, military, and political history; portraits of prominent persons, and biographies of representative citizens." Illustrated; Inter-State Publishing Co., Chicago, Ill. , 1882 (Note: There is a second volume dated 1916 with the exact same title but containing biographies only)

CG Cooley, Mortimer Elwyn, "The Cooley Genealogy", The Tuttle Publishing Company, Inc., Rutland, Vermont, 1941

CENSUS United States Decennial Census 1790-1930

WNY Livsey, Karen E., "Western New York Land Transactions", Genealogical Publishing Company, 1991

GLO Bureau of Land Management (BLM), General Land Office (GLO) Records Automation web site http://www.glorecords.blm.gov/ "This site offers researchers a source of information on the initial transfer of land titles from the Federal government to individuals (Federal Land Patents). In addition to verifying title transfer, this information will allow the researcher to associate an individual (Patentee, Assignee, Warrantee, Widow, or Heir) with a specific location (Legal Land Description) and time (Issue Date).

GGP Roggman, Arnold D. and Laverne E., "Garnavillo Iowa: Gem of the Prairie, History 10.000 B.C. to 1876 A.D.", Sutherland Printing Co, Inc, Montezuma IA 50171, 1988

HC A.T. Andreas, "History of Chicago from the Earliest Period to the Present Time", Chicago, 1884

ISG1838 Hair, James T., "Iowa State Gazetteer"; Chicago: Bailey & Hair; Clayton County p 126-131 "…embracing descriptive and historical sketches of counties, cities, towns and villages, which include much valuable information respecting the agriculture, manufactories, commerce, educational and religious institutions, population and history of the state : to which is added a shippers' guide and a classified business directory of the manufacturers, merchants, professional and tradesmen of Iowa, together with their business address by James T. Hair / Chicago: Bailey & Hair, 1865, 803 pgs."

SM Charles Sellers and Henry May, A Synopsis of American History, Rand McNally & Co, 1963

1 CG pp547-8
2 WNY p137, p162
3 CENSUS Michigan Territory, 1830 and 1840
4 Ibid 1830
5 CCH1882 p786
6 Ibid p250
7 GGP pp107ff
8 CCH p250
9 CCH p484
10 CCH p786 The part about Mendon Township is not accurate because Andrew is found in Garnavillo Township in the 1870 U.S. Census.
11 GGP p61
12 Ibid p83
13 Ibid p85
14 Jennings Family Album at http://iagenweb.org/clayton/album/jennings.htm
15 CCH p786
16 CENSUS 1900, Kansas, Leavenworth
17 CCH p56 From http://iagenweb.org/history/moi/moi23.htm ("Making Of Iowa/Chapter XXIII/Law And Medicine") "The first court of the [Iowa] Territory was held by Judge Wilson in November, 1838, at Prairie la Porte, Clayton County."
18 GLO Federal Land Patent Iowa, Dubuque Land Office
19 GGP pp418-425
20 Ibid p481
21 Ibid pp137ff
22 Ibid
23 CCH1882 pp66-67
24 GGP pp137-8
25 CCH1882 pp66-67
26 Ibid p68
27 GGP p63
28 Ibid p528
29 Ibid p64
30 It is amusing how the name Garnavillo was come up with. From GGP pp64-65, at a gathering in the local tavern, Judge Samuel Murdock (who wrote a history of Garnavillo) supposedly sang a song entitled "Kate of Garnavilla" about an Irish lass from Garnavilla, County Tipperary in Ireland. At some point in the song the Judge was required to rhyme with the word "pillow" so he sang Garn-a-vill-OH instead of Garnavilla. The "Garnavillo" stuck and was proposed and accepted as the town moniker.
31 CCH1882 p277
32 CCH1882 "County Politics" pp109-111
33 SM "A House Dividing, 1843-1860" pp183-186
34 CENSUS Iowa 1860-80
35 GGP pp308-311
36 Ibid p542
37 CENSUS Iowa 1860-1880
38 Iowa State Census, 1885, Clayton County, Township of Garnavillo
39 GGP p122 A survey of Old Cemetery was made in 1974 by Mr. & Mrs. A.D. Roggman. As published, the survey has an interesting title: "Old Cemetery; Established in 1844; A Graveyard of Young People." Statistics of the survey bear this out: Out of 312 burials, 117 were aged 0-10 (37.5%) and all those under 30 years of age, 162 (52%).
40 P.S. Cooley/Co E. 27th/Iowa Inft./Born Oct. 1843/died Aug 15/1873; Vertical slab 23' 9" from N, 55' 6" from W.

~Compiled by Dan B. Cooley

Messages In This Thread


Clayton Biographies maintained by Sharyl Ferrall.
WebBBS 4.33 Genealogy Modification Package by WebJourneymen


Post Response

Your Name:
E-Mail Address:
Principal's Name:
One Biography per submission please! Non-Biographies will be deleted!
Please include the source of the Biography.

If you'd like to include a link to another page with your message,
please provide both the URL address and the title of the page:

Optional Link URL:
Optional Link Title:

If you'd like e-mail notification of responses, please check this box:

Verification Test: Please type the two letters
before submission   (helps stop automated spam):  



[ View Thread ] [ Post Response ] [ Return to Index ] [ Read Prev Msg ] [ Read Next Msg ]