As a veteran of the terrible Civil War, a successful business man in the east, a traveler to many sections of the west, a substantial farmer of Nez Perces County and an upright and capable man of integrity and sound principles, we grant to the subject of this article consideration in the history of his County.

Henry D. Cooley was born in Whitewater, Wisconsin, on July 18, 1842, being the son of Orville and Caroline (Curtis) Cooley. The father was born in Attica, New York, in 1823, and died in Minnesota in 1895. He was a pioneer in California in 1849, also a pioneer in Wisconsin and Minnesota, having owned some of the land where Milwaukee now stands. The mother of our subject was born in New York and died in Minnesota in 1890. In 1859 the family removed to Rochester, Minnesota, where the father bought land.

When the Civil war broke out, Henry D. was stirred with patriotism and on June 26, 1861, he enlisted in Company B, Second Minnesota Infantry, under Colonel Van Cleve. He fought at the battles of Mill Springs, Shiloh, the siege of Corinth, Chickamauga, Perryville, Kentucky, Atlanta and also made the famous march to the sea under Sherman. He was veteranized in Chickamauga. Mr. Cooley was in the grand review at Washington and the contrast between the well dressed troops from the Potomac and the ragged veterans just out of the terrible march to the sea, was very apparent. Mr. Cooley was taken to Fort Snelling, Minnesota, and there mustered out on July 11, 1865.

He returned to Rochester, bought land and settled to farming. In 1872 he came to Walla Walla and one year later returned to Minnesota and there bought wheat until 1891. In that year he went to Palouse and opened a confectionery store but later went to the Okanogan country in Washington. Returning to Palouse, he remained until the opening of the reservation and then took his present place, about three miles southeast from Melrose. He has a good orchard and raises the cereals and some stock.

On November 3, 1867, at Rochester, Minnesota, Mr. Cooler married Miss Josephine, daughter of John and Cornelia (Gere) La Dow. The father was an early pioneer farmer in Minnesota and came to Washington and settled near the Idaho line in 1888. Mrs. Cooley was born in McHenry County, Illinois, in 1847, and has the following brothers and sisters: Emmett, a preacher of the Christian Church in Palouse: Lora Palmer, in Walla Walla: Hattie Cox and Stella McConnell both in Palouse; Thomas, in Nez Perces County and enjoying the distinction of carrying the first mail from Lewiston to Spokane. Mr. Cooley has the following brothers and sisters: Alta Hubbard, and Ella Orderkirk, both in Rochester, Minnesota: Vernon, killed in an accident on his farm at Gary, South Dakota. Four children have been born to Mr. and Mrs. Cooley Louis R., at home; John, in Nez Perces County: Marion Wellis, and Leonard, both in Spokane.

Mr. Cooley is a member of the G. A. R. and a strong Republican, while his wife is a Prohibitionist. They are both members of the Methodist Church. Mr. Cooley is a strong advocate of good schools and labors for this end with zeal.

Back to: Nez Perce Biographies

Source: An Illustrated History of Northern Idaho, Embracing Nez Perce, Idaho, Latah, Kootenai and Shoshone Counties, Western Historical Publishing Company, 1903