COWLES, EDWIN W. (19 Sept. 1825-4 Mar. 1890), a prominent newspaper editor, was born in Austinburg, Ohio, and came to Cleveland in 1839 as a printing apprentice. In 1844 Cowles and Timothy Smead formed a printing partnership. Cowles printed the OHIO AMERICAN and True Democrat, acquiring an interest in the latter when it merged into the Forest City Democrat in 1853, making it the CLEVELAND LEADER in 1854.
Cowles led the Republican party in Cleveland, hosting, with his new partner, Joseph Medill, a meeting calling for the first Republican Natl. Convention, held in Pittsburgh in 1855. Cowles secured sole control of the Leader, became its editor, and made it the area's leading radical Republican voice. After the Republican victory in 1860, Cowles was rewarded with the Cleveland postmastership, where he pioneered free mail delivery. However, under Pres. Andrew Johnson, he was replaced as postmaster by GEO. A. BENEDICT, editor of the more moderate Herald.
Cowles was as outspoken a nativist as he was a Republican, heading the Cleveland chapter of the anti-Catholic Order of the American Union, and carrying on an editorial war with MANLY TELLO, editor of the Catholic Universe. He was the city's last representative of the era of personal journalism and was eulogized even by rivals. Cowles married Elizabeth C. Hutchinson in 1849 and had 3 sons and 2 daughters. When two of his sons invented a new melting process for aluminum, Cowles devoted his declining energies to promoting a company to exploit their discovery. He died at home.