William H.H. Cowles

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William Henry Harrison Cowles (April 22, 1840 – December 30, 1901) was a North Carolina Democratic politician who served four terms in the United States House of Representatives.


A native of Yadkin County, North Carolina, Cowles served in the Army of Northern Virginia during the American Civil War, rising to the rank of lieutenant colonel. After the war, he attended Richmond Hill Law School and moved to Wilkesboro and practiced law. From 1874 through 1878, Cowles served as the elected solicitor (district attorney) for the state's 10th judicial district. In 1884, he was elected as a Democrat to the 49th United States Congress, and was reelected for three additional terms. He did not run for a fifth term. While in Congress, Cowles chaired the Committee on Expenditures in the Department of Justice (Fiftieth Congress) and the Committee on Mines and Mining (Fifty-second Congress).

He was the uncle of Republican Congressman Charles H. Cowles, and he was the grandfather of Democratic N.C. state Senator Lura S. Tally.

He was a member of the 9th regiment of the 1st North Carolina cavalry. He enlisted 5/16/1861 and was eventually promoted to lieutenant colonel by the war's end. He fought under JEB Stuart and led Stuart’s rear guard when crossing the last river back to CSA territory ending Stuart’s “ride around McClellan”. Upon Stuart’s death in 1864 General Wade Hampton took command and W H H Cowles was with Hampton until capture at Petersburg at the war's end. He was wounded twice during the war.

His home and law office at Wilkesboro was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1982.[1]


  1. ^ National Park Service (2010-07-09). "National Register Information System". National Register of Historic Places. National Park Service. 

External links[edit]

United States Congress. "COWLES, William Henry Harrison (id: C000829)". Biographical Directory of the United States Congress. 

U.S. House of Representatives
Preceded by
Robert B. Vance
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from North Carolina's 8th congressional district

Succeeded by
William H. Bower