[List] Interesting letter form The Cooley Family Association of America

michael@newsummer.com michael at newsummer.com
Sat Apr 21 23:08:06 PDT 2007

Thanks, Mary! This is fabulous! If you don't mind, it's going on the website.
(But not tonight. I've been working at my computer all day.)

This is really sad and, as she says, has caused endless trouble. Hopefully, we
can help set the record straight.


On Sat, 21 Apr 2007 22:06:50 -0700, Mary Cooley wrote
> I found this letter in the files of Ron Jones/Bernita (Jones) Sharp. 
>  I believe the letter may have been written to my husband's cousin; 
> although, I don't believe I have ever heard anyone call him "Denny".)
> The Cooley Family Association of America
> Dean Mortimer E. Cooley, Founder
> 39 Woodland Place
> Ft. Thomas, KY 41075
> July 31, 1977.
> Dear Denny,
> I am so glad you are of an enquiring mind.  This is one of the necessary
> attributes of a good genealogist.
> That book of Lura Coolley Hamil has caused us plenty of headaches 
> with folks accepting her data as "gospel proof".  Yes, we have a 
> copy of it.  One of the several cousins who published it some twenty 
> years after Mrs. Hamil died, when they found it on a shelf in a 
> house to be dismantled, - she spent just barely five months on her 
> research! - sent my husband a copy. Genealogically speaking it 
> should be labeled with a huge "Skull and cross bones".  Mrs. Hamil 
> went about grabbing up anything she felt might go together, has 
> mixed up many different Cooley families, etc.
> After her statement that the Dutch Cool, etc. took on the English spelling
> of Cooley due to the influence of having married English wives, my husband
> and I went up into Orange Co., Rockland, Green Co, NY to study the court
> house records.  I may honestly report to you that most of the 
> Cooleys in that area were direct descendants of Daniel Cooley who 
> came there from Massachusetts with his family.  Other New England 
> Cooleys gradually followed suit.  The way in which she arbitrarily 
> decides to change the spelling of the name, latch on to the most 
> likely family for that group, is pretty sad. All I can say to you 
> and anyone else who sees that book (oh! That it had never been 
> printed), for goodness sake find proof first from some other 
> reliable source before accepting it.  I am horrified that it should have
> been microfilmed without first someone to check its authenticity!
> On the lineage that I sent you, wherever I included a date and place 
> of marriage or a settlement of an estate I have proof from a court 
> house for it.  Some of the information came from family Bibles, some 
> from cemetery records and some from census records, as well as old 
> letters, such as the one of John Pierce Cooley saying that his 
> grandfather was born and raised in Virginia.
> Clay Co., MO. - Administration Papers of the estate of Joseph Cooley 
> granted widow Keziah Cooley 9/12/1826 - he died leaving eleven heirs 
> and representatives as follows:  Polly Mitchell of Tenn., John 
> Cooley, Elizabeth White, Hannah Wilson, Evaline Cooley, Christopher 
> Cooley, Casander Cooley, Harrison Cooley, Jackson Cooley, Franklin 
> Cooley and Eli Cooley - all of Missouri - Joseph Cooley d. 4/3/1826 -
>  adm. 6/14/1826 - Adm. Keziah Cooley. You will note that the first 
> four children are those of the first marriage as I gave them to you.
> Now, the Daniel Cooley to whom I referred as perhaps being the 
> brother of your Joseph died in Ray Co., MO.  Just in case it might 
> be of help to you for someone else sometime I'll give you excerpts 
> from the settlement of his estate.  The adm. were John Staley, Wm. 
> S. Miller, and Joshua Oakey - the estate adm. 9/6/1826 - Heirs of 
> Daniel Cooley, dec. - (6 sons & 6 dau.)
> Sons: William, John, James, Daniel, Elias, & Reuben - also Aaron 
> Cooley of Adair Co., KY. who was located 11/18/1828
> Daus: Anna Munday, Rebecca Hardwick (wife of Thomas Hardwick), Sally
> Mayberry, Polly Smart, Elizabeth Salley & Malinda Turner.
> If you want any of the family set-ups in detail I'll be glad to copy 
> them for you.
> Frank and I have done extensive research in southwest Virginia, travelling
> up and down some long, pretty steep and curvy roads to get there,
>  but did get quite a bit of Cooley data.  There are Josephs and 
> Daniels galore, but so far, I can't pick out the correct two about 
> whom I have been writing. There was also another Daniel who came 
> with his wife Elizabeth (Spurlock) Cooley from Fincastle Co., VA. 
> into Kentucky, settled in old Lincoln County, died there and his 
> family remained there.
> One of the counties we worked in Virginia was Bland Co. to which I believe
> Mrs. Hamil refers.  Well, the Joseph T. Cooley who lived there was 
> the son of Thaddeus and Elizabeth Cooley of Wythe Co., VA.  He was 
> b. 5/17/1793 in Wythe Co., Va. & died in Bland Co., VA. 5/22/1862 -
>  after having married three times - he is buried in Ceres, Bland Co. 
> beside his first wife "in the garden".  He and his first wife, Sally 
> Ragsdale whom he m. in Wythe Co., VA 4/15/1815 had as their first 
> child Marion Lee Cooley who m. 3/8/1866 in Bland Co., VA. Catherine 
> V. Baumgardner - they did move to Missouri living in Kansas City,
>  Jackson Co., Mo.  That might help a little to settle the 
> information in the "skull & cross bones" book.  There were a number 
> of Cooley families in southwestern Virginia, most of whom were not 
> any kin to each other, and they belonged in Virginia.
> The above same Joseph had a brother, Daniel whose wife's name was Elizabeth.
> They had at least four children.  But, they lived in Grayson Co.,
>  Va. where I found his will probated 5/1812.  His widow remarried 
> after his death to David Collins.  This Daniel had bought property 
> in Grayson Co., Va. 3/22/1803.
> I trust I have laid to rest any doubts you may have had about your lineage
> from Joseph.  I'll be happy to try to answer any further questions 
> you may have.
> It will be very nice to have you as a member of the Cooley Family
> Association of America.
> Very sincerely yours,
> /s/ Elizabeth Cooley
> _________________________________________________________________________-
> This is taken from the brochure of The Cooley Family Association of America;
> Dean Mortimer E. Cooley, Founder:
> "The COOLEY GENEALOGY, completed and published by Dean Cooley in 
> 1941, is a work recording all of the information which Dean Cooley 
> had accumulated in almost sixty years..The main section of THE 
> COOLEY GENEALOGY records the descendants of Benjamin Cooley, who 
> settled in Longmeadow, Massachusetts circa 1640.
> Other Cooley immigrant lines have been documented as part of the Association
> records.  Cornelius Coele of Holland settled in New York state; his
> descendants in Pennsylvania spelled their name Cooley and Colley.  Samuel
> Coley was one of the first settlers of Milford, Connecticut.  Peter Cooley
> sailed from London with his three sons and settled in Virginia just 
> prior to the Revolution.  Abraham Cooley came to New York state 
> about 1780, and having "visited relatives" moved to North Carolina 
> and later to Virginia. Various spellings are numerous; public 
> records contain such variations as Cooley, Coley, Colley, Cully, 
> Culy, etc.  The COOLEY ASSOCIATION is concerned about all 
> individuals with a Cooley name in their pedigree."
> Mary Cooley


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