IAGenWeb Project - Clayton co.

C. W. Cowles
Mendon Twp.

C. W. Cowles, chief bookkeeper for the firm of W. & J. Flemming, manufacturers of all kinds of lumber, was born in the city of Milwaukee, Wis., Feb. 14, 1844. His parents were S. D. and Sarah (Ostrander) Cowles. The former was a native of Connecticut, and died at Lansing, Ia., in February, 1856. He was formerly a merchant of Milwaukee. She was a native of New York, and died in September, 1862. They had a family of three children, two sons and one daughter, viz.: James W., who enlisted in Company K, Fifth Iowa Infantry Volunteers, was taken prisoner at Iuka, and died in the Andersonville prison; Charles W. and Sarah D., wife of John Flemming. Charles W. attended the schools of Milwaukee, Wis., and Lansing, Ia., and graduated from Sloan's Commercial College, of Chicago, in March 1862. He went to Lansing, Ia., where he was chief bookkeeper for a lumber firm one year, and was clerk on the steamers "Milwaukee" and "Diamond Joe," running between St. Paul, Minn., and Dubuque, Ia., one year. He then began to work for W. & J. Flemming, keeping a stock of lumber at Postville, Ossian, Conover, Cresco and Le Roy, until 1868, when he was appointed chief bookkeeper for the firm in their office at North McGregor. Mr. Cowles was elected Mayor of South McGregor in 1879, and re-elected in 1881. In politics he is a Republican. He relates the following incident of Joe Reynolds, better known as "Diamond Joe." While Mr. Cowles was clerk on the "Diamond Joe" steamer, an old gentleman from the East was traveling on the river, looking at the country and interrogating everyone. Diamond Joe was on the boat, but a stranger would never guess he was the owner of the boat, as he dressed very plainly, and was always working at something. In this instance he was putting a hinge over a state-room door; he had his box of tools beside him and was hard at work when the old gentlman from the East came along; he and Diamond Joe had a long talk about the country, Mr. Reynolds giving the old gentlman all the information he could of the country. The old fellow remarked to others on the boat that the old lame carpenter (meaning Diamond Joe, who was lame), gave him more information than any of them, which caused considerable merriment.

source: History of Clayton County, Iowa, 1882, p. 973
transcribed by Sally Scarff and Marlene Chaney


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