Edward Henry Cotterell was born in 1855 in Moorang, Victoria, the third of four sons born to Dr William Cotterell (1829-1906) and Mary Ann Thomas. Two brothers, William and Charles, died young, while Joseph survived until adulthood. Edward's father, a medical practitioner from Shropshire, England, arrived in Victoria in 1852, where his children were born. After several years the family moved to New Zealand where William set up a lucrative medical practice for 16 years. After two years in England, in 1887 the family came to Launceston. Dr Cotterell set up a practice in St John Street. In 1902 he bought an extensive property in Sheffield. When Dr Cotterell died in December 1906 his two surviving sons, Joseph and Edward, were living on the property.
Edward's brother Joseph died on 26 Jul 1908 at the New Norfolk Hospital. Edward Henry died at 55 Tamar Street, Launceston, on 6 Apr 1910 aged 55 and was buried at the Carr Villa Cemetery.