PUBLISHER: J.H.BEERS & CO., CHICAGO; 1903     P.  1255

F. J. COOLEY is a successful merchant at Rockville, Tolland county, and as a young man he was called upon to fill such positions of trust and honor in his native town as usually fall to the more aged and experienced.  He is still a young man, but has risen from the bottom and fought his way to the top, and is regarded as one of the sound and substantial business men of Rockville.

F.J. Cooley was born July 16, 1866, in Somers, Conn., and is the son of Levi and Mary (Batton) Cooley.  The earlier years of his life were spent in his native town, where he had but little education, as his parents were poor, and he had early to take up the work of life.  His last two years at school were spent in the home of his brother, George W., in Somers, where he did chores for his board and attended the Battle street school.  From a boy of ten or eleven years of age, he was put to hard work, as, though small of stature, he had great energy and determination; the work he did was remarkable considering his youth.  When little more than entered upon his ’teens, responsibilities fell upon him almost as upon a man with a family, and the boy exhibited a spirit that proved him to be an exceptionally dutiful son.  When but thirteen years old he earned a man’s pay, working for William Burden, of Somers, a farmer, and a noted business man.  All his earnings went to the support of his mother and the home.  There he early secured a knowledge of tobacco culture, as he was observing and manifested an adaptation one much older might not have shown.  After he reached fifteen years he was seldom out of employment, and wherever he worked he made a reputation that would always warrant his return.  When about eighteen years old he went to North Somers, Conn., where he worked for Fred Wood, who was engaged in work on the town roads.  In the fall of that year he was offered a situation as a clerk in a store in Somerville by  O.L. Dart.   This position he had not sought, and it was doubtless the result of his steady habits, industry and good reputation.  This was the beginning of his mercantile career.  He was engaged by Mr. Dart for three months, for which he was to receive twenty dollars.  Taking readily to the business, he made such progress in it that at once he became a valuable man, and continued with Mr. Dart as long as that gentleman was in business.  Mr. Dart was manager of the company store of that place.

Mr. Cooley left the store of Mr. Dart in 1886, and in September of that year went to Ellington to clerk for H.C.Aborn & Son, where he remained until August, 1889, when he became a member of the firm of  M.H. Aborn & Co.  Their place was on West street, Rockville, the establishment now under the management of Mr. Cooley.  After two years the business was moved for a few months, and then taken back to the present stand.

In 1892 Mr. Cooley became the sole proprietor of the business, purchasing the interest of Mr. Aborn, and conducted it alone until 1894, when the firm became Cooley & Thompson, A.M.Thompson becoming the junior partner; they remained in partnership till January, 1901, when Mr. Cooley succeeded the firm, the business being now conducted under the name of F.J.Cooley.  Mr. Cooley had been the active manager of the business and his close attention and his characteristic energy were invaluable to its progress.  During his entire career he has taken but a month's vacation.

Mr. Cooley was married Dec. 16, 1885, in Somers, Conn., to Miss Nellie Cady, a native of that place, born Feb. 18, 1864.  She is the daughter of William H. and Emma Jane (Hulburt) Cady.  Her father is the chief of police of Rockville, and his sketch may be found elsewhere.  Mrs. Cooley’s girlhood days were spent in Lakewood, N.J., the home of her parents for a time, but when she was twenty, they came back to Somers.  To this union were born:  Pauline May, born Feb. 1, 1887, now in the class of 1904, of the Rockville high school;  Leslie F., born April 14, 1888;  Percy Leroy, born Nov. 28, 1892;  Sterling, born April 20, 1894;  Winifred, born Oct. 18, 1895. 

In his political connection Mr. Cooley’s sympathy is with the Democratic party.  In 1897 he served on the board of relief, and was justice of the peace in 1895 and 1896.  His term as selectman expired in October, 1900.  For the strongly Republican Second ward he was elected alderman by a large majority, and while a member of the council he never missed a single meeting.  For a number of terms he was town auditor, and in social affairs is a member of the I.O.O.F., in which he has held prominent office.  Mr. Cooley belongs to Alden Skinner Camp No. 45, Sons of Veterans.  His position as a citizen and a business man is a prominent one, and he has gained it by his own efforts.  He bought his excellent home on West street in Rockville, and it is one of the most pleasant and attractive in the city.  Mr. Cooley is engaged in the tobacco business, and is very successful in all his enterprises. 

Reproduced by: 

Linda D. Pingel – great-great granddaughter of Cyrus White of Rockville, Ct.


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