The New York Times/Edwin Cowles
All Northern Ohio was in mourning last night on account of the death of Mr. Edwin Cowles, editor of the Cleveland Leader and of the News and Herald, and for twenty-five or thirty years one of the most prominent figures in the State. His death occurred yesterday morning at his residence, 759 Case-avenue, Cleveland. Mr. Cowles had been in ill health for five or six years, and had determined upon another trip to Southern France, where he had recently spent a year or more.
He spent at various times several months at the health resorts of Europe best known for their curative power, and at one time, although almost hopelessly ill, he so far recovered his health as to be able to return home and resume his business duties. In the Summer of 1888 he had spent nearly two years, most of that time and invalid in the care of skillful physicians. Since his return he was much of the time a sufferer, but was able to give his attention to business.
For the last three weeks Mr. Cowles was confined to his house by an attack of influenza, and much of that time he passed in his bed. Though suffering from extreme weakness, his indomitable will asserted itself, and his friends and family found reason to hope that he would soon rally from the attack. But the inroads that disease has been making for several years finally undermined his once powerful and vigorous constitution.
His physician, Dr. L. M. Brooks, was at Mr. Cowles's bedside during the entire night of his death. He died without the slightest pain as quietly as if passing into a profound sleep.
Mr. Cowles leaves a widow, one daughter, Mrs. Charles W. Chase, and three sons, Eugene H., Alfred., and Louis H. Cowles. The funeral services will take place Thursday afternoon. The Rev. Dr. C. S. Pomeroy of the Third Presbyterian Church will deliver the funeral sermon
Mr. Cowles was born in Austinburg, Ashabula County, Ohio, Sept. 18, 1825. He was a son of Dr. E. W. Cowles, and was of Puritan and Huguenot parentage. The Rev. Thomas Hooker, the first clergyman of Connecticut, was one of his ancestors. Abigale White, another ancestor, was the first white child born in New-England.
Mr Cowles went into the publishing business with Mr. Smead. They remained together until 1852, when he became a member of the firm of Medill, Cowles & Co., publishers of the Forest City Democrat, which was a consolidation of the True Democrat and the Forest City. The name Forest City Democrat was changed to the Cleveland Leader. A year after that Mr. Cowles's partners went to Chigaco and bought the Tribune, of which Alfred Cowles was the business manager. In the Winder of 1854-5 the germ of the Republican Party was formed in the Leader editorial rooms as a meeting was helf there which resulted in the first Republican Convention, which was held at Pittsburg. Col. R. C. Parsons, Joseph Medill, John C. Vaughn, Judge R. P. Spaulding, and J. F. Keeler, were at the meeting, which resulted in the consolidation of the Know-Nothing, Whig, and Free Soil Parties into the Republican Party.
Until 1866 Mr. Cowles was the proprietor of the Leader. At that time the Leader Printing Company was formed and Mr. Cowles was made business manager, and subsequently became editor in chief.
In 1861 he was appointed Postmaster of Cleveland and held the office five years, at which time he established the free-delivery system. Mr. Cowles was one of the strongest abolitionists, and shortly after the battle of Bull Run he wrote an article on "Now is the Time to Abolish Slavery," which created a sensation all over the country. he was a firm Republican and was the first to advocate many of the reforms which that party has accomplished. He was bitter in his denunciation of Catholicism, and his paper has always been a mark of scorn by Catholics.
Mr. Cowles had a peculiar impediment in his speech. There has probably never been a case like it. The cause of this impediment was a mystery until he was about twenty-five years old, when Prof. Kennedy discovered that it was caused by a defect in his hearing. He never heard the hissing sounds of the human voice, and consequently did not make them himself. He never heard the notes of a piano or an organ of the seventh octaves, never heard the upper notes of a violin, the fife, or other high music. He never heard the song of birds and always supposed, until his peculiarity was discovered, that the music of birds was poetic fiction.
When Prof. Kennedy was experimenting upon him Mr. Cowles was put in a room with twenty canary birds, but, although he placed his ear close to the cage when they were singing, he never heard a note.