Guide to the Henry Thomas Cowley Papers 1871-1917
Cage 28

Summary Information

Manuscripts, Archives, and Special Collections, Washington State University Libraries
Cowley, Henry Thomas
Henry Thomas Cowley Papers
Cage 28
Date [inclusive]
115.0 items.
General Physical Description note
.5 linear feet of shelf space.
Correspondence with the Presbyterian Board of Foreign Missions and the United States Office of Indian Affairs, reminiscences, legal documents, clippings, and other papers concerning missionary and educational work among the Nez Perce and Spokane Indians, conflicts with the Lapwai Indian Agency, the purchase (1883) and sale (1887) of the Spokane Chronicle, and a successful land suit against the Northern Pacific Railroad Company.

Preferred Citation note

[Item Description]. Cage 28, Henry Thomas Cowley Papers. Manuscripts, Archives, and Special Collections, Washington State University Libraries, Pullman, WA.

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Biographical/Historical note

1838 Born, October 9, Seneca Falls, New York
1866 Married Lucy Abigail Peet in Russelville, Ohio
1867 Graduated, Antioch College
1871 Graduated, Auburn Theological Seminary. Ordained and appointed Protestant Missionary and Agency Teacher to the Nez Perce Indians with Henry Harmon Spalding
1873 Accepted position as school teacher in Elk City, Idaho, after being suspended from position at Kamiah
1874 Moved to Spokane Falls as missionary and Indian Sub-Agent to the Spokan Indians
1882 Resigned missionary and sub-agent positions
1883 Purchased Spokane Falls Chronicle
1886 Northern Pacific land suit initiated
1887 Sold Spokane Chronicle
1898 Northern Pacific land suit decided in Cowley's favor
1916 Died January 28, San Diego, California

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Scope and Contents note

Approximately two-thirds of the collection consists of photocopies of material by and related to Cowley which Clifford M. Drury had collected for his biography of Cowley and had turned over to the Cowley family.

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Administrative Information

Publication Information

Manuscripts, Archives, and Special Collections, Washington State University Libraries © 1972
Terrell Library
P.O. Box 645610
Pullman, WA, 99164-5610

Conditions Governing Access note

This collection is open for research use.

Immediate Source of Acquisition note

The papers of Henry Thomas Cowley, Indian missionary, were given to the Washington State University Library in 1949 by Mrs. Agnes Cowley Paine, daughter of H.T. Cowley.

Existence and Location of Originals note

The photocopies in this collection are from the files of the Office of Indian Affairs in the National Archives; from the Presbyterian Board of Foreign Missions on deposit at the Presbyterian Historical Society; as well as some material from other sources.

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Controlled Access Headings

Corporate Name(s)

  • Nez Percé Indians--Missions--History -- Sources
  • Northern Pacific Railroad Company
  • Presbyterian Church in the U.S.A. Board of Foreign Missions
  • Spokane evening chronicle
  • Spokane Falls chronicle
  • Spokane Falls evening chronicle
  • Spokane Indians--Missions--History -- Sources
  • United States. Bureau of Indian Affairs Lapwai Agency


  • Missionaries -- Washington (State)--Correspondence

Personal Name(s)

  • Cowley, H. T. (Henry Thomas), 1837-1917 --Archives
  • Drury, Clifford Merrill, 1897-
  • Paine, Agnes Cowley. waps


  • Indians of North America--Missions--History--Sources
  • Missionaries
  • Native Americans
  • Pioneers
  • Washington (State)

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This collection of the papers of Henry Thomas Cowley was used by Clifford M. Drury in preparation of his A tepee in his front yard: H.T. Cowley and the founding of Spokane (Portland, Oregon, Binfords & Mort, 1949). The original manuscript material in this collection is cited by Drury as the Paine Collection.

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Collection Inventory

Series 1: Papers of Henry Thomas Cowley 

Indian Service Correspondence. Correspondents: Guy Haines, H. Clay Wood, John B. Allen, Charles D. Warner, H. Price, G.H. Atkinson, Charles E. Monteith. 1880-1883   9.0 items.


NPRR Land Suit Papers. Correspondence, circular, summons, affidavits, title abstracts and other legal papers. Correspondents: Henry Villard, William Tecumseh Sherman, C.B. Wright. 1880-1900   11.0 items.


Spokane Chronicle Papers. Bills of sale and inventories of equipment and supplies. 1882-1887   6.0 items.


["Concise review of town, 1874 to 1887."] 9 p. typescript, with envelope. Published, with some changes, by N. W. Durham in History of the City of Spokane and Spokane country, Washington, from its earliest settlement to the present time. (Spokane, The S. J. Clarke Publishing Company, 1912. pp. 369-379) ca. 1911   1.0 item.


Clippings. Herbert Gaston. "The Back Trail, #6: Interview with Mrs. J. L. Paine," Spokane Chronicle, June 17, 1914. Henry Thomas Cowley. ["Reminiscences," in nine parts, lacking 2, 6, 7] Spokane Chronicle, November-December, 1916. 1914-1917   8.0 items.


H.T. Cowley, pioneer, dies, Spokane Chronicle. 29-Jan-17   6.0 items.


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Series 2: Photocopies and transcriptions 

Records of the Office of Indian Affairs, National Archives. Correspondents: John B. Monteith, Charles E. Monteith, Charles D. Warner, H. T. Cowley. 1871-1883   13.0 items.


Records of the Presbyterian Board of Foreign Missions, Presbyterian Historical Society. Correspondents: John C. Lowrie, H.T. Cowley, Edward R. Geary, H.W. Corbett, H.H. Spalding, William J. Monteith, John B. Monteith, George Ainslie. 1871-1876   48.0 items.


Clippings and other material. Includes the missing parts of Cowley's published reminiscences; clipping of an earlier reminiscence as well as a typescript reminiscence; the Elmer E. Alexander and A. J. Williamson reminiscences, and other papers. 1884-1916   14.0 items.


Cowley letters to H. H. Spalding 1871-1874   Typed transcriptions; bound volume.


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Series 3: Donor File 

Donor file. Includes preliminary list of the collection. 1949   5.0 items.


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