Biography of Hon. A. E. Cooley


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Cooley, Hon. A. E., was born in the town of Ellisburg, September 23, 1837. He is a descendant of one of a colony of Huguenots who fled from France and settled at Landstone in the south of England early in the seventeenth century, where many of the family still live. They seem anciently to have been rather a "bad lot," but cut nogreat figure in any way, though it appears that one Hugh Cooley (Colet) was rather a conspicuous rascal and was in a fair way to become notorious, if not noted, when his career as well as his head with that of his son John was cut off at the same time; and soon after several members of the family were invited by the authorities to emigrate, which they willingly did, and some of them came to the colony of Massachusetts, and settled with the immortal twenty nine "crested" Mayflowers. The coat of arms of these Cooleys has not yet been discovered, but was probably "Vert ground, 2 Plow handles Rampant, Hoe couchant D'argent, Spelling Book Dormant erased." Later many of the family removed to the foot of Lake Champlain and near Windham, Vermont. They appear to have been fighters, for at least five of them, four patriots and one tory, were killed in the Revolutionary war. In 1804 eight brothers and two sisters came into Jefferson county from Windham, and some of them, including John, the grandfather of A. E., who had married one Clare Taintor, settled in Rodman and were the ancestors of the Cooley family now there. John Cooley, jr., married Fanny, an adopted daughter of the late Eben Brown of Lorraine; she was a descendant of one Pierre St. Clair, who caine to Massachusetts with the Coo]eys and had a hard time of it, being a Papist. John, jr., followed various pursuits, chiefly mechanical, and was noted for his consistent failure in every business undertaking. A. E. Cooley went through the common, academic and a partial collegiate course of education, studied law with the late Judge Conklin and Austin Abbott, took his degree at the National Law School, standing second in his class of nearly one hundred, and was admitted to the bar at Porighkeepsie in 1861. He enlisted in the same year in Co. K, 94th N. Y. Vols., and remained in service until the consolidation of his regiment, when he was mustered out with the supernumerary officers with the rank of captain. Since then he has been engaged in the practice of law, and in addition he was for many years extensively engaged in lumbering and shipping at the west, in which he made by good luck quite a fortune, which he speedily 'ost in speculation. He is at present also largely interested in farming. He served six years as school commissioner and twelve years as special county judge. In 1873 he married Frances M., daughter of the late Dr. James Whitley. They have three children living: Fanny, May and Martha. In politics he has always been actively Republican, and though a lawyer has never been plaintiff or defendant in an action on his own account.

Our County and it's people
A descriptive work on Jefferson County, New York
Edited by: Edgar C. Emerson
The Boston History Co., Publishers 1898

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