Lura Edna Coolley was born to Cyrus P Coolley and Paulina A Biggs on 26 August 1878. Her grandparents were Rev Jonathan Cooley and Malinda Berry Maxwell. She was a great-granddaughter of John Andrew Cooley Sr (1767-1847). She graduated from Lincoln College in 1898 and married Dr Frederick Lee Hamil in Cass county IL in 1900. They had one child, Ralph Edward Hamil (1902-1945). In addition to the work on her family history, she published a book of poems, Little Book of Garden Songs, in 1921. She died in Illinois on 9 January 1933.
Note that the Y-DNA of a descendant of John Andrew Cooley's is an exact match, to 37 markers, of the Y-DNA of a descendant of William Cooley and Elizabeth Firmin. The genetic information--as well as the genealogical--makes it reasonably certain that John was the son of William.
The following letter is as transcribed and submitted by Mrs Mary Cooley of Grants Pass, Oregon. Comments were added by Mary. The original letter is in the possession of Dennis Young and can be found among his online PDF archive of Mildred Cooley Tallant's papers.
Please see my comments on this letter. Most of what Hamil says here cannot be reconciled with the public record. The DAR no longer accepts Hamil's book as evidence of descent.
July 11, 1932
Mrs. Mildred C. Tallant,
911 Chapala Street,
Santa Barbara, California;
My dear Cousin:
To begin with, I owe you an apology and I hope you realize that it is most sincere. I wrote you a letter weeks ago, stamped it and then very foolishly decided to hold it until I was absolutely certain of my ground, not wanting to make any mistake in so important a matter.
My mistake was in not realizing that once started on the wind-up of my book I would not have time for further letterwriting and would do just as I have done, stuck to it at the neglect of everything else.
At any rate, the book is now in the hands of a publisher who wanted to look it over and I shall use part of the time that must elapse before I hear a word from it, in catching up on my correspondence, your letters first of all.
Let me thank you first for all you did for me in sending that last long transcript of the family in Oregon and upper California. It meant everything to me to have that information. It meant a lot too, to Mrs. Vanderhorst, who spent an afternoon with me some weeks back and we went over it together. Many of the girls had married since she had word of them. I am very proud of a snap-shot she brought me of the view from her father's place and she thought she could find me an extra copy of the Pacific shore line where Miller Cooley located.
In an old history of Oregon that I secured from the State Library at Springfield I found references to Eli Cooley and others in the migration of 1852. In fact I am quite pleased with my Oregon-Missouri chapter, and feel that it adds interest and definiteness to my history as a whole.
But I have not yet told you what was really my opening sentence in the letter I wrote and did not send. You will see that I called you "Cousin" in the beginning. Well, we are that at some remove. For Elizabeth and Daniel Cooley who located in Kentucky in 1783 were you will find, I am positive, [here Mildred Tallant has written "Do not think this is correct."] the parents of your James. And Elizabeth, baptized in New York state in the old Mahackemack (Minisink) Dutch Reformed church on March 25, 1764, the daughter of John Cooley and Annetje (Decker) Cooley. John Cooley has a fine Revolutionary record and I have it complete. The Decker line runs back ten generations from you and me, the VanCurler 10, and the Coely line ten generations.
Now for your search on Daniel and Elizabeth you try that Bland County, Virginia, lead, I believe that the Joseph Cooley who was born May 17, 1793 and married Maud Woods was an older brother of James (Your James) and that owing to Indian troubles or something Daniel and Elizabeth lived in the neighborhood of Bland County, their children being born there instead of in Kentucky. You know it was all one state at that time. And my solution of the extra James Cooley you had is borne out by my records. The oldest of them, James Cooley of the Revolution was born in 1760 in Pennsylvania son of Joseph Cooley who married 1st Margaret Miller and had John born 1755, died after 1799 (he was the John who took up land in Kentucky and went on to Missouri, your Howard county John.); Joseph Miller Cooley b 1756 and married 1st Margaret Jackson and 2nd ----Casey, and his children were the Nancy that Mrs. Herron is hunting, an Abraham that may have died, and the young James who died in Missouri in 1829 - he was 17 when his father went to Missouri - all by Margaret Jackson and by the wife named Casey he had the five sons whose names you sent me, Jackson, Eli Casey, and Christopher who went into Oregon and Harry and Frank who remained in Missouri.
John of Howard County lost his wife Sarah whom he married in 1780 in Maryland and married, in 1799, in Kentucky a Rachel McHenry. He lived there for a time and I make Aaron Cooley his son, not a brother of your James. I think James made his home near or with them in Madison County after he was grown. Doubt if Daniel or Elizabeth ever lived there at all.
Now don't get this part mixed, though I am telling it badly. John b. 1755, Joseph Miller b. 1756 and your Daniel born 1758 who married Elizabeth Cooley, a cousin far removed, were sons of Joseph by Margaret Miller. He married 2nd in New York state by special license in 1759, Sarah Trepalier and James Cooley born 1760 (the Revolutionary James) and Andrew born 1763 in New York of whom I have no further record. Were the children of Joseph and his second wife Sarah Trepalier. He married in PA a Margaret Baldwin, who survived him.
You have the record of John Cooley (Howard County, Missouri). I have his Revolutionary record, marriage, etc. I have no record of Daniel Cooley as fighting in the Revolution in Pennsylvania but he may well have gone into Virginia with William and his own younger brother James and be listed there. At any rate you have the Revolutionary credentials through Elizabeth daughter of our Revolutionary John.
I hope to get down to Springfield soon and will take a further look for what I can find. Have been so tired out since finishing this big job of copying that the hot weather is all I can manage. That is another reason I did not get you written. Have used the type-writer for this letter as I felt it would be much easier on you. I write a fairly illegible hand at best and when tired it is a dreadful thing to decipher.
I found that the Cooleys you found in the old book were Longmeadow and with your permission I will send that data on the Dean Cooley, who is getting some new material on the Massachusetts Cooleys.
I know none of my material seems very clear to you but if you could see it all together and in the form it will appear finally you would understand the relationship. For instance your Daniel son of Joseph was a grandson of Robert Cooley a pioneer of Pennsylvania and the uncle of my (Revolutionary) John's father. Clear as med, isn't it? It takes a chart larger than a piano bench to show the relationships and I have more than 1500 names placed and dated.
So let us hope that the depression won't make my work wasted. In the meantime one copy is to retire to my husband's fire-proof safe so that wrecks or failures of publishing companies can't jeopardize everything. And when and if it ever gets into type I will surely write you immediately. For only some one who has labored over a task like that can imagine what tireless energy is involved.
Please write me when you can and let me know at once if you get anything further on the Virginia end of the puzzle. I will keep right on the trail and let you know what I find.
Hoping you will forgive me for being so tardy. I am Yours most gratefully,
Lura Coolley Hamil
[handwritten addition] Was interested in your birth year. Mine was 1878, August twenty-sixth. Married 1900.
Mrs. F. L. Hamil
229 North Union Street
[Mildred has written along the side of the second half of the letter: "I have not tried to corroborate these statements and findings because I think they are not of my line, but they may be valuable findings for you." Mildred had loaned this letter out to someone as there is a note on the top of the first sheet to "Please return to Mrs. E. C. Tallant, 9 H or 911 Chapala St., Santa Barbara, Calif." Also on the very bottom of the letter, Mildred has circled Mrs. Hamil's address and written "She d. Jan. 9 - 1933."]