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Cowles, Charles Holden

by Horace W. Raper, 1979

16 July 1875–2 Oct. 1957

The signature of Charles Holden Cowles from a 1909 letter. Image from the U.S. National Archives and Records Administration.Charles Holden Cowles, editor, deputy clerk of U.S. District Court, state legislator, and congressman, was born in Charlotte, the son of Calvin J. and Ida Augusta Holden Cowles. His father was at that time director of the U.S. assay office in Charlotte, and his mother was the daughter of former Governor William W. Holden.

Cowles moved with his parents in 1885 to Wilkesboro, where he received his early education and completed a commercial college course. Because of family tradition and close political ties, young Cowles was destined to lead an active life in the Republican party. Shortly after his twenty-first birthday he was elected to the board of aldermen in Wilkesboro (1897); he then was appointed deputy clerk, U.S. Court, Statesville and Charlotte, serving from 1899 to 1901. He was private secretary to Congressman Edmond Spencer Blackburn in 1901–3. He won election to the lower house of the state legislature in 1904 and was reelected in 1906, 1920, 1922, 1924, 1926, 1928, and 1932. In 1908 he was elected to the Sixty-first Congress (4 Mar. 1909–3 Mar. 1911), and in 1912 he was nominated for the U.S. Senate by the Progressive Republican (Bull Moose) party, though he declined to enter the race. He also served as a North Carolina delegate to the national Republican conventions from 1904 through 1916.

Cowles was founder, editor, and publisher of the Wilkes Patriot of Wilkesboro for many years but sold his interests in 1920. Like his newspaperman grandfather, W. W. Holden, he was a fearless and energetic reporter and always worked for the economic advancement of his section of the state, as well as the good of the Republican party. During World War I, he served as a member of the Council of Defense for Wilkes County and was chairman of the Wilkes County War Savings Committee; during World War II he was chairman of War Price and Rationing Board No. 1 for Wilkes. On 6 Sept. 1916 he married Louise S. Lunn, a teacher in the Wilkesboro High School and a daughter of L. L. and Lula Haliburton Lunn of Winston-Salem. The Cowleses had one daughter, Carolyn Louise. Cowles was buried in the St. Paul's Episcopal Church cemetery, Wilkesboro.

References:

Biog. Dir. Am. Cong. (1950).

Calvin D. Cowles, Genealogy of the Cowles Families in America (1929).

Raleigh News and Observer, 4 Oct. 1957.

Additional Resources:

"Cowles, Charles Holden, (1875 - 1957)." Biographical Directory of the United States Congress. Washington, D.C.: The Congress. http://bioguide.congress.gov/scripts/biodisplay.pl?index=C000826 (accessed January 24, 2014).

Calvin J. Cowles Papers, 1773-1941 (bulk 1875-1907) (collection no. 03808). The Southern Historical Collection. Louis Round Wilson Special Collections Library. University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. http://www2.lib.unc.edu/mss/inv/c/Cowles,Calvin_J.html (accessed January 24, 2014).

"About Us." The Wilkes Journal-Patriot. http://www.journalpatriot.com/site/about/ (accessed January 24, 2014).

Charles H. Cowles to Joseph Cannon, Wilkesboro, N.C., January 14, 1909. Materials from the Speaker of the House Joseph Cannon's Trunk, 1903 - 1909, Records of the U.S. House of Representatives, 1789 - 2011, Record Group 233. U.S. National Archives and Records Administration. http://research.archives.gov/description/6788928 (accessed January 24, 2014).

Charles H. Cowles to William B. McKinley, Wilkesboro, N.C., January 20, 1909. Materials from the Speaker of the House Joseph Cannon's Trunk, 1903 - 1909, Records of the U.S. House of Representatives, 1789 - 2011, Record Group 233. U.S. National Archives and Records Administration. http://research.archives.gov/description/6788929 (accessed January 24, 2014).

Charles H. Cowles to Joseph Cannon, Washington, D.C. March 5, 1909. Materials from the Speaker of the House Joseph Cannon's Trunk, 1903 - 1909, Records of the U.S. House of Representatives, 1789 - 2011, Record Group 233. U.S. National Archives and Records Administration. http://research.archives.gov/description/6788924  (accessed January 24, 2014).

Charles H. Cowles to Joseph Cannon, Washington, D.C., April 29, 1909. Materials from the Speaker of the House Joseph Cannon's Trunk, 1903 - 1909, Records of the U.S. House of Representatives, 1789 - 2011, Record Group 233. U.S. National Archives and Records Administration. http://research.archives.gov/description/6789078

Image Credits:

[signature]. Charles H. Cowles to Joseph Cannon, Washington, D.C. March 5, 1909. Materials from the Speaker of the House Joseph Cannon's Trunk, 1903 - 1909, Records of the U.S. House of Representatives, 1789 - 2011, Record Group 233. U.S. National Archives and Records Administration. http://research.archives.gov/description/6788924  (accessed January 24, 2014).

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Copyright notice

This article is from the Dictionary of North Carolina Biography, 6 volumes, edited by William S. Powell. Copyright ©1979-1996 by the University of North Carolina Press. Used by permission of the publisher. For personal use and not for further distribution. Please submit permission requests for other use directly to the publisher.

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