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Henry Noble Couden (November 21, 1842 – August 22, 1922) was a Universalist minister who was the 54th Chaplain of the United States House of Representatives from December 2, 1895 to February 21, 1921. He was the second blind religious leader to serve in this position, the other is William Henry Milburn.

Henry Noble Couden
Henry N. Couden.jpg
Born(1842-11-21)November 21, 1842
DiedAugust 22, 1922(1922-08-22) (aged 79)
Resting placeHenry N. Couden at Find a Grave
EducationSt. Lawrence University
OccupationChaplain of the U.S. House of Representatives
Spouse(s)Lydia Jane Dickinson
Harriet Dunbar
ChildrenHenry Noble Couden, Jr.
Fayette D. Couden
Henry N. Couden
Former House Chaplains James Shera Montgomery and Henry N. Couden


He was born on November 21, 1842, in Plymouth, Indiana,[1] the nephew of Noah Noble, governor of Indiana.[2]

Civil WarEdit

Days after the outbreak of the American Civil War, on 16 April 1861,[3] he enlisted in the 6th Regiment, Ohio Volunteer Infantry, serving in Company K, with the rank of corporal upon entering and the rank of sergeant upon leaving.[4] He was also a corporal in Company D, 1st Cavalry Battalion, Mississippi Marine Brigade. He was wounded at the Battle of Beaver Dam Lake on May 24, 1863, losing his sight.[3] He described his activity during this battle in a 24 January 1903 letter to Warren D. Crandall,[5] author of History of the Ram Fleet and Mississippi Marine Brigade.[3]

Education and ordinationEdit

He studied at the State School for the Blind in Columbus, Ohio, and the Divinity School of St. Lawrence University. He graduated from St. Lawrence in 1878[3] and was ordained to the Universalist ministry that same year.[6]

Offering prayer in Congress for the speedy recovery of President Woodrow Wilson, 1919


Universalist ministerEdit

After his ordination, he served churches in Madrid, New York; Willoughby, Ohio; Chatham, Massachusetts; and Port Huron, Michigan.[3]

Chaplain of the U.S. House of RepresentativesEdit

He became chaplain of the U.S. House of Representatives in 1895 and served in that post for 25 years, until February 21, 1921.[6]

A collection of his daily opening prayers for the 62nd Congress was issued in 1913. In his foreword, Rep. Champ Clark praised Couden's "prayers of excellent character, in both form and matter ... full of piety, sympathy, and philanthropy ... voiced in choice English".[7]

Other serviceEdit

He was a member of the board of directors of the Aid Association for the Blind of the District of Columbia.[8] He served in post and departmental chaplaincies for the Grand Army of the Republic[3] and as the chaplain for the Society of Marine Brigade Survivors.[9]


He died on August 22, 1922, at his residence at Fort Myer, Virginia, of bronchial pneumonia, after a nine-month illness.[6] He is buried in Section 15[10] at Arlington National Cemetery (Section FT MY, Site 695)[11] along with his second wife, Harriet Dunbar Couden, and one of his two sons, Henry N. Couden, Jr.[1]


  1. ^ a b "Henry N Couden". Find a Grave. Retrieved 4 June 2012.
  2. ^ Olstrom, Clifford E (2011). Undaunted by Blindness. p. 320.
  3. ^ a b c d e f Crandall, Warren Daniel; Isaac Denison Newell (1908). History of the Ram Fleet and the Mississippi Marine Brigade. St. Louis, MO: Buschart Brothers. Retrieved 4 June 2012.
  4. ^ "Soldiers and Sailors Database" (PDF). National Park Service. Retrieved 4 June 2012.
  5. ^ "A0339 - Warren D. Crandall ( -1919) Research Collection, 1863-1922" (PDF). Retrieved 4 June 2012.
  6. ^ a b c "Rev. Dr. H. N. Couden Dead" (PDF). New York Times. 23 August 1922. Retrieved 4 June 2012.
  7. ^ Couden, Henry N. (1913). Prayers Offered at the Opening of the Daily Sessions of the House of Representatives During the Sixty-second Congress of the United States (62nd Congress: 3d Session, House Documents, Vol. 126 ed.). Washington, DC: Government Printing Office. p. 137. Retrieved 4 June 2012.
  8. ^ Annual Report of the Commissioners of the District of Columbia – Year Ended June 30, 1908, Vol. I. Government Printing Office. 1908.
  9. ^ Crandall, W. D. (October 1908). "Officers of the Society for 1908-9". The Ram Fleet Recorder and Mississippi Marine Brigade Historian (27). Retrieved 4 June 2012.
  10. ^ Patterson, Michael Robert. "Henry Noble Couden". Arlington National Cemetery Website. Retrieved 8 June 2012.
  11. ^ "Nationwide Grave Locator". United States Department of Veterans Affairs. Retrieved 4 June 2012.

External linksEdit

Religious titles
Preceded by
Edward B. Bagby
54th US House Chaplain
December 2, 1895 – February 21, 1921
Succeeded by
James Shera Montgomery