Bolivar Breeze, Sept. 4, 1896
"Uncle" Ben Cowles, is Bolivar's oldest citizen. He was 93 years old last month, and has resided in Bolivar 73 yeas. He told a reporter yesterday that he cast his first vote for Andrew Jackson, that he had never voted anything but the straight Democratic ticket except once. He voted for Horace Greeley. He will vote for William Jennings Bryan and he despises Democrats who bolt the ticket. His mind is as clear as a bell and he comes down town every day and tells pioneer stories by the hour. (Submitted by Richard Palmer, Syracuse)
from: Bolivar Breeze - June 8, 1899 - Researched & Submitted by Richard Palmer
Benjamin F. Cowles
Born August 12, 1803 - Died June 3, 1899
DEATH OF B. F. COWLES.
For a Year He Had Been as a Child.
One of the few remaining pioneers of Allegany county, Benjamin F. Cowles of Bolivar, passed into the realm of shadows a few minutes past three o'clock on Saturday afternoon, aged 96 years.
For several years he had the distinction of being the oldest resident of Bolivar, and one of the oldest of the county. Up to a year ago he was able to walk down town every day and spend several hours at his favorite haunts. Since then he has scarcely been out of the house. His sight failed him at intervals, his mind wandered and when death came it found him a child again.
Mr. Cowles was born in East Hartford. Conn., Aug. 12, 1803. With his father's family he moved to Otsego County, N. Y., when he was ten. There he attended district school a few terms, working on a farm or in the woods in summer. When he was 23 years old he came to Bolivar, and settled down and cleared up a farm. Here his life has been passed.
When he came Bolivar consisted of six log houses, and he followed a trail through the woods from Angelica, which was then the nearest point to the turnpike that wound among the hills across the state. He walked from Otsego County a distance of 200 miles.
An extended sketch of his life was printed in this paper two years ago and will scarcely need repetition here.
His wife died in I883. He leaves a daughter, Mrs. Mina Hovey and a son, Porter Cowles, both of Bolivar. Brief funeral services were held at the house on Tuesday afternoon, conducted by Rev. F. W. Berlin. The interment took place at the Bolivar Cemetery.