A Narrative History
The People of Iowa
SPECIALTREATMENT OF THEIR CHIEF ENTERPRISES IN
EDUCATION, RELIGION, VALOR,INDUSTRY,
EDGAR RUBEY HARLAN, LL. B., A.M.
Curator of the
Historical, Memorial and Art Department ofIowa
THE AMERICAN HISTORICAL SOCIETY, Inc.
Chicago and NewYork
GARDNER COWLES is one of Iowa's native sons whose names are listed among America's foremost publishers.Mr. Cowles has been in the newspaper business for more than a quarter of a century, and is president of the company publishing the Des Moines Register and the Des Moines Tribune.
He was born in Oskaloosa, Iowa, February 28, 1861, son of WilliamFletcher
and Maria Elizabeth (La Monte) Cowles, and grandson of Russell andDorcas
William Fletcher Cowles was for many years one of the notable figuresin
the Methodist ministry, a pioneer church leader of Iowa, his name being
intimately associated with early Methodist history.He was born inCortland, New
York, May 11, 1819.During the Civil war he was twiceappointed by President
Lincoln revenue collector of the Fourth District of Iowa.He served several
terms as presiding elder and was three times elected amember of the General
Conference.Among the churches served by him aspastor were those in
Oskaloosa, Keokuk, Muscatine, Mount Pleasant andBurlington.Rev. William F. Cowles married Maria Elizabeth La Monte on February 24, 1857.His wife was born in
Schoharie County, New York.Her father, Thomas La Monte, was a native of Charlottesville, New York. By this marriage there are two children, La Monte Cowles, a lawyer ofBurlington, Iowa, and Gardner Cowles.Their mother died
Gardner Cowles attended Penn College for one year and Grinnell Collegefor
two years.He was graduated from Iowa Wesleyan College in 1882, withthe A.
B. degree, and the same institution gave him the Master of Arts degree in
1885.In 1882, just after his graduation from college, he was elected
superintendent of schools of Algona, Iowa, and held the position for two years. From 1884 to 1903 he was actively engaged in business in Algona. In November, 1903, he purchased a majority interest in the Register and LeaderCompany, later the Register and Tribune Company of Des Moines, Iowa, and since that time has given his time and energies to his publishing interests. He has been
president of the company for more than twenty-five years, which company publishes the Des Moines Register, the Des Moines Sunday Register and the Des Moines Tribune.He is a director of the Iowa-Des Moines National Bank & Trust Company of Des Moines.
Mr. Cowles served two terms in the Iowa House of Representatives, from1899
to 1903, and in 1916 was a delegate to the Republican national conventionin
Chicago.Mr. Cowles is a Republican, but personally is identified withthe
independent wing of the party.He is a member of the Des moines,Prairie,
Hyperion and Wakonda clubs of Des Moines, and is also a member of the board of trustees of iowa Wesleyan College of Mount Pleasant, Simpson College of Indianola and of Drake University of Des Moines.
On December 3, 1884, Gardner Cowles married Florence M. Call, ofAlgona,
Iowa.She is the daughter of Ambrose A. and Nancy Henderson Call,prominent
figures of Northern Iowa.Florence M. Call graduated fromNorthwestern
University in June, 1884.They have six children.Theoldest, Helen, a graduate of
Northwestern University, is the wife of James D. Le Cron.Mrs. Le Cron is a
successful writer and the author of several books,and for several years she
was a book editor of the Sunday Register.Thesecond child, Russell Cowles,
is an artist, a graduate of Darmouth College, andlives in Santa Fe, New
Mexico.He won the Prix de Rome for mural paintingin 1915, and his work has
brought him successful rank in his profession. Thethird child is Bertha, wife
of Sumner D. Quarton, of Hollywood, California.She is a graduate of the
University of Iowa.The third daughter,Florence, is the wife of David S.
Kruidenier, of San Diego.She waseducated in Goucher College, Baltimore. The two younger sons are bothactively engaged with the Register and Tribune. Both are graduates of Harvard College.John Cowles, the second son, is associate publisher, and Gardner Cowles, Jr., is the managing editor of the papers.