Side A: “Uncle” George Lathrop Cooley (1861-1939) was known as the “Champion of the Farmer” for his advocacy on behalf of rural interests. He was born on a farm at the northwest corner of Dover and Hilliard Roads in Dover Township (Westlake). He attended area schools and Ohio Northern University and, in 1887, married Clara Hall. Cooley served as Dover Township trustee from 1901-1905 and as president of Dover’s village council in 1916. Cooley’s interest in better roads led him to supervise the hard-surfacing of Dover Center Road, which ran by his house. From about 1900 to 1913, he was involved in road construction and helped to organize state highway departments in Ohio, Louisiana and California. (Continued on other side)
Side B: (Continued from other side) Returning to agriculture, he helped found the Ohio Farm Bureau Federation in 1918 and served on its board. As the bureau’s legislative chairman, he advocated in the interest of its members in Ohio’s legislature. Earlier, Cooley had helped to organize the Dover Grape Growers Cooperative in 1893 and the Cuyahoga County Agricultural Association in 1915. In 1920, Cooley and Murray D. Lincoln founded the Ohio Farm Bureau Mutual Auto Company, one of a number of businesses established under the auspices of Farm Bureau. The auto insurance company became Nationwide Insurance in 1955. At the time of his death, Cooley was the company’s president. He was inducted into the Ohio Agricultural Hall of Fame in 1971.
Sponsors: Westlake Historical Society, The Cooley Family, The Stanton-Pfister Family, The Ohio History Connection