Sunday, January 28, 2018


A transcript of the Honorable James Cooley's Daily Record for 1850 until his death on September 20, 1851 was recently discovered in the Granville Library Historical Room. The transcript was typed by Avola Hiers around 100 years after James Cooley wrote the original entries. Avola was the wife of Ralph Hiers, the 2nd great grandchild of James Cooley. The transcript is now online thanks to a joint effort of the Granville Library's Historical Room and NCCHP.

This is a significant historical document recording life in Granville in the 1850's. Because James Cooley was a local attorney and state legislator he was closely involved with the lives (and deaths) of many Granville families. Those who have read the journal say they felt like they had been taken back in time.

Although most days reflected normal business and farming life, the journal has it's moments of drama, tragedy and humor. James remarks sadly on the death of an infant in one family, the child being "a fine, fat boy." In another instance a woman showed up at James' office expecting to be given her inheritance and upon being told she would need to wait for the estate to be settled she attacked him, screaming and pulling his hair and ears until he finally had to pay her $2 just to go away. He was later advised by her family that she was "given to fitts." On another day he paid off a debt to a local widow, saying he was "glad to be out of her clutches." Then there was the relative of his wife who committed suicide, "a miserable and intemperate man." Not to mention the court case involving "bastardy" (look that one up) which determined, as Maury Povitch might say, "You ARE the father!" All in all, not much has changed in this world!

James Cooley was 72 when he died and although he had an active law practice he was also a hard working farmer and good citizen who was generous with his time and labor. Right up to his death he was helping neighbors trim their apple trees and painting fences around the North Burying Ground.

He was also the father of James Parsons "J.P." Cooley, who with Silas Noble would found Noble & Cooley in 1854. Present-day NCCHP officers Matt Jones, Liz Smith and Jay Jones are the 3rd great grandchildren of James P. Cooley.

To view the typewritten transcript CLICK HERE.

To view the original handwritten document CLICK HERE.

Hope everyone is planning on attending the 10th Annual Ice Harvest on February 3rd!