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Edwin D. Cowels (1843-1914)
Prominent newspaper business man in Michigan.

History of Michigan, Vol. II, by Charles Moore (1915)


Edwin D. Cowels is widely known throughout the state of Michigan, for he is a newspaper man by profession. For fifty years of his life he has been interested in the newspaper business, first as reporter and then as editor. His many years association with men and affairs, his analytical mind and close observation, have combined to make him a power in the editorial circles of the state. Mr. Cowles is now editor and president of the Bay City Tribune.

The father of Edwin D. Cowles, Horace Cowels was a native of the state of Connecticut. The ancestral line of the family is traced to two brothers who came to America from England, in 1632, settling in New York. Horace Cowels was a successful farmer and removed to New York in his early life, remaining there until his death. He married Miss Lydia Cowles, his cousin.

Edwin D. Cowles was born in Wayne county, New York, on the 6th of December, 1843. His father died when he was six months old, and his mother only lived until he was nine years of age. He was reared by his grandfather and was early forced into the world to earn his own living. He was fifteen years of age when he began to support himself. Having received a fair education in the district schools of New York State, he had also acquired a taste for knowledge and the printed page, so he entered a printing office. This was in 1859, and two years later he enlisted in the Union army for service in the war with the Confederacy. He enlisted in the Tenth Regiment of Michigan Infantry and served four years, becoming Sergeant-Major of the regiment. He served under Grant and Halleck in the Corinth campaign, and later under Rosecrans and Palmer in the Fourteenth Army Corps. He was also with General Sherman in the famous march to the sea through the Carolinas and Georgia.

After the close of the war Mr. Cowles returned to his newspaper work. He settled in Lapeer, Michigan, and became connected with the Lapeer Clarion. Later he removed to Flint, Michigan, and became an employe of the Wolverine Citizen. He remained here until 1870, when he removed to Bay City. Here he was engaged in newspaper work until 1873, going during this year to Saginaw, Michigan, as city editor of the Daily Enterprise. In March 1874, he left the Enterprise to become editor of the Saginaw Daily Courier. He was very successful in his work and did much to raise the standards of journalism in the state. He was with the Daily Courier until 1889, when it was merged with the Herald. He became part owner and president of this consolidation and the paper was under his management until 1903 when he sold his share. In April, 1904, he purchased half interest in the Bay City Tribune, becoming editor and president. He has made the Tribune a powerful influence in Bay City and the surrounding country, and is everywhere respected for courage and fidelity with which he stands for high public ideals.

Mr. Cowels has no business interests outside of his paper, but he has always taken an active part in politics. He is a member of the Republican party and is one of the active workers during all campaigns, although he have never sought or filled public office. In the fraternal world he is a member of the Benevolent Protective Order of Elks, and of the Maccabees. He is a member of the Grand Army of the Republic and has never lost his regard for those men in blue with whom he fought for the honor of the Stars and Stripes. He is a member of no church but gives of his money and time to all denominations.

Mr. Cowles has been twice married. His first marriage took place in Oakland county, Michigan, in 1865. His wife was Miss Lucy Randall, a daughter of John Randall, of Oakland county. Her father was one of the old settlers of that region. Mrs. Cowels died in February, 1909, at the age of sixty-four. Three children were born of this marriage. Fred G. Cowels, the eldest, is the publisher of the La Crosse Leader-Press, of La Crosse, Wisconsin. Clarence L. Cowels is an architect in Saginaw, and Charles H. Cowels lives in Alabama, near St. Elmo, where he is engaged in farming. Mr. Cowels' second marriage took place in 1909, on May 30. His wife was Miss Hatie Kraemer, a daughter of Martin Kraemer, who was one of Mr. Cowels' comrades during the the Civil war. He was of German birth, as was also Mrs. Cowels' mother, and like Mr. Cowels, he served through the war. No children have been born to Mr. And Mrs. Cowels. Their home is at 415 Tenth street, and Mr. Cowels may be found in his office, 715 North Adams street.

Additional Notes.

    1900 Census: Saginaw, Saginaw Co., Mich.

  • Cowels, Edwin D. - b. Dec. 1841, New York
  • Lucy, wife b. Aug. 1843 Mich.
  • Charles H., son - b. Aug. 1876 Mich.

    1914 - Michigan Manufacturer and Financial Record - Dec. 5, 1914.

  • Edwin D. Cowles, aged 71 years, editor-in-chief and president of the Bay City Tribune, died Nov. 27 at his home in Bay City after an illness of a few weeks.
Related Pages/Notes

Related Pages:
Lewis, Griffin
McCabe, James C.
Snyder, Irving W.
Bay Co. Civil War History.
People Referenced
Cowels, Charles H. (son)
Cowels, Clarence H. (son)
Cowels, Edwin D. (subject)
Cowels, Fred G. (son)
Cowels, Horace (father)
Cowels, Lydia (mother)
Grant, Gen.
Halleck, Gen.
Kraemer, Hatie (2d wife)
Kraemer, Martin
Palmer, Gen.
Randall, John
Randall, Lucy (1st wife)
Rosecrans, Gen.
Sherman, Gen.
Subjects Referenced
10th MI Inf.
14th Army Corps
Bay City, MI
Bay City Tribune
Civil War
Flint, MI
LaCrosse, WI
LaCrosse Leader-Press
Lapeer, MI
Lapeer Carion
Oakland Co., MI
Saginaw, MI
Sag. Daily Courier
Sag. Daily Enterprise
Sag. Herald
St. Elmo, AL
Union Army
Wayne Co., NY
Wolverine Citizen
WRITINGS: History As It Was Written Then.