Monday, May 27, 2013

Remembering Colonel Cowles

The remains of Colonel David S. Cowles arrived back in Hudson in early June 1863, aboard the Oregon, the same steamer that had carried the 128th Regiment to New York City the previous September. The following notice appeared in a Hudson newspaper:
THE LAMENTED COL. COWLES.--The remains of Col. Cowles arrived in this city per steamer Oregon yesterday morning, in charge of the committee from this city appointed for that purpose. They were conveyed immediately to City Hall, where they remained in state until half-past 2 p.m. to-day when they were to be removed to the Presbyterian church.
The condition of the remains were such that it was found to be impracticable to open the coffin, either in New York or on its arrival here, which was a very great disappointment to not only his relatives, but also his many friends in this city and county.
The city is thronged with people as we go to press, and places of business closed in accordance with recommendation of Mayor.
On June 10, 1863, while in Louisiana the siege of Port Hudson continued, the Hudson Common Council, at a special meeting called by Mayor Jacob Ten Broeck, passed a resolution to create a "burial place for all officers and soldiers who have died or been killed, or may hereafter die or be killed in the service of the United States in the line of the duty during the present rebellion, who were residents of this city at the time of their enlistment."

In 1869, the remains of Colonel David S. Cowles were moved to the center of this burial plot, and a "single shaft of granite," which "cost $15,000 and weighs about eleven tons," was erected to mark his grave. On January 14, 1869, the Hudson Gazette said of the monument: "It is simple and substantial and will stand to mark the grave of a noble gentleman and Christian soldier for generations."

The burial place devoted to the Grand Army of the Republic as it appears today


  1. For anyone who missed it earlier, it was Colonel Cowles's nephew David S. Cowles who sold his South Bay acreage to the Standard Oil Company in 1888.

    (I've since located a photograph of the latter David's wife, if it's possible to offer information that's even more irrelevant!)

  2. $15,000 in 1869 was an enormous amount of money. 50 years later one could buy a car for $1000. In 1922 ( a year I researched) a salary of $15,000 would have the purchasing power of $750,000 today. It's hard to believe that the granite monument in the Hudson cemetery could have cost that much.

    -- Jock Spivy

    1. Be that as it may, $15,000 is amount reported in the Hudson Gazette on January 14, 1869. The monument is still with us. The same cannot be said for the car purchased fifty years later for $1,000.

  3. I thought I'd never have the chance to mention it, but the parcel of land that David Cowles sold to STANDARD OIL in 1888 cost the petroleum giant $2000.

    This was the land for the petroleum facility which was active for almost 30 years afterwards.

    Fortunately the city finally discovered David Cowles's sale earlier this month - 125 years later. But will it be able to locate the words "STANDARD OIL DISTRIBUTION DEPOT" on the historic fire insurance map which was viewable at the City of Hudson website until recently?

    I'm sure it's been discussed at length, whether Crawford Engineering and Associates should "find" that map or not. My money's on them NOT finding it, because that's the way things go around here.