Biography - George W. Coughanowr

GEORGE W. COUGHANOWR. As postmaster of Dongola almost continuously since 1889, George W. Coughanowr is perhaps the best known man in this city. Certain it is that no man in Dongola has given better service to the city, or served more faithfully in any public office, than has he. He received his first appointment from Benjamin Harrison in 1889, and with the exception of those years covered by the administration of Grover Cleveland, has been the incumbent of the office continuously. He has seen the office grow in size and importance until it has been raised to a third class station, the advance taking place in 1906. On the whole, his services to the city, both in his official capacity and as an open-minded, straightforward citizen, have been of a character that would be difficult to estimate.

George W. Coughanowr was born on February 1, 1849, at Lebanon, Ohio. He is the son of Henry W. Coughanowr, a native of Pennsylvania, and __ (Powell) Coughanowr. Henry W. Coughanowr removed from Pennsylvania to Illinois in 1851. In 1853 he settled in Paris, Illinois, and engaged in the shoe business, being a shoe-maker by trade, in which business he prospered most agreeably, and where he remained until 1865, when at the close of the Civil war, he removed with his family to Carbondale. There the elder Coughanowr engaged again in the shoe business, adding also harness manufacturing. He remained there, occupied thus until his death came in 1886. They reared a family of seven children, namely: Louisa, now deceased; William, also deceased; Isaac Newton, killed in battle at Stone River during the Civil war; Henrietta, died at Carbondale; Mary, who married Charles Curl and resides at Paris; Josephine, married E. Patton, and George W. of Dongola.

George W. Coughanowr lived as other boys until he reached the age of fourteen, at which time he left home and enlisted in the Union army as a drummer boy. He was a member of Company H, Sixty-fourth Illinois Volunteers, and served his country with as much devotion, heroism and bravery as any veteran of the great Civil war. With his regiment, he saw service under General Sherman, and he took an active part on many a bloody field. His first battle was at Snake Creek Gap, and he was at Dallas and the battle of Kenesaw Mountain. He was in the siege of Atlanta and participated in Sherman's famous "march to the sea." Throughout the entire period of his service he saw continuous skirmishing and fighting, and whether on march or on the field of battle, the youthful drummer boy lent inspiration to his comrades, arousing their flagging energies to deeds of greater valor. From Savannah they went to Beaufort, South Carolina, marched through the Carolinas, was at Raleigh, North Carolina, when Lee surrendered, and later participated in the Grand Review at Washington. He was mustered out with his company on July 15, 1865, and returned home to Illinois, passing through the hardships and vicissitudes of army life unscathed, and with a memory stored with the manifold incidents and adventures attendant upon a three years' service in the drum corps of the Union army while engaged in a great war.

Settling down to quiet civil life again, he entered his father's establishment in Carbondale and learned the shoemakers' trade. Later he clerked in a dry goods store at Grand Tower and following that he served in the same capacity in Carbondale and Carterville. He removed to Dongola in 1879, and was occupied as a clerk in that city until 1906. He was appointed postmaster of Dongola during President Harrison's administration, holding the office continuously, except for the interval of time covered by Grover Cleveland's administration, as previously mentioned. Up to 1906 he handled the post-office in conjunction with his other duties, but since it was raised to a third class post in 1906 he has given his full time and attention to the position. On December 20, 1911, he was reappointed for an additional four years.

In 1881 Mr. Coughanowr married Rosa Davis, daughter of Syran Davis, a one time sheriff of Union county. Mr. and Mrs. Coughanowr are the parents of one child, Bertha, who ably assists her father as Deputy postmaster.

Mr. Coughanowr is a member of the Dongola lodge A. F. & A. M. and of the Anna post of the Grand Army of the Republic. He is also a director and stockholder of the First National Bank of Dongola. As a firm adherent of the Republican party, he has always taken an active interest in political affairs of his county, and his support and aid are always to be relied upon in any movement that may be calculated to add to the welfare of the community.

Extracted 16 Jan 2018 by Norma Hass from 1912 A History of Southern Illinois, volume 2, pages 784-786.

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