David Cowan (1799-)

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Genealogical KeynotesEdit

The initial content of this page was created by: Margie Cowan


  • Born: 1799
  • Married: 13 Aug 1829 McMinn Co., Tenn. spouse:   Matilda Tempelton
  • Died: definitely after 1830 ... most likely between 1870 and 1880
  • Burial:

His wife's name was Matilida Templeton.


David Cowan is the son of William COWAN‎ and Jane Walker.


McMinn Co., TN marriage records show a marriage of a
David COWAN to Matilda TEMPLETON, 13 August 1829 -- David Barden, Security

  • Not sure if this is Rosanna's son.
  • Does account for the eldest female (15-20) in the 1830 McMinn Co. census for David Cowan.
  • The census would also indicate that David and Matilda had a daughter between the date of August 1829 marriage and the date of the census enumeration.
  • The female (10-15) could be a sister (or niece) of either David or Matilda?

Child ListEdit

They were married August 13, 1829 in McMinn Co. Tn. They had twelve children. 1. Elizabeth (Eurphura) married Samuel Clark Stafford 2. Mary P B:1829 in Ga.

Marcia Cowan's tree for David and Matilda (Templeton) Cowan's children

Ronald Wardlaw's tree for David and Matilda (Templeton) Cowan's children

David Cowan's birth dates are in question. David is my great-greatgrandfather. If you have questions about this Cowan, you can contact me at

Family HistoryEdit

Per Marcia Cowan's family tree, David and Matilda are found in the following census:

  • 1840 Census - Benton Co., Alabama
  • 1850 Census - DeKalb Co., Alabama
  • 1860 & 1870 Census - McDonald Co., Missouri (Richwoods & Pineville)

David must have died between 1870 and 1880 as Matilda appears in 1880 as follows:

  • 1880 Census - McDonald Co., Missouri (Center)

What is known is primarily from the 1960s and 1970s correspondence with Miss Jessie Lee Cowan, as well as articles she wrote for Cowan Clan United, etc.
Her correspondence and writings contended that William Cowan and Jane Walker had three children not listed by Rev. Fleming in Cowans of County Down: William, Polly, and Anne.
Note: Jessie Lee Cowan died in 1994 at the age of 105! Her correspondence about the Cowan family put her knowledge back to the early 1880s ... not unlike a person in 2011 knowing info (and having artifacts) for their great-grandfather who was born in 1843 (roughly 170 years from the current date), who fought in the Civil War, etc.

Additionally, the 1906 letter from Andrew Finis Cowan (Andrew2, William1) to Miss Columbia Cowan stated that his father had brothers named David and William:

"I have kept trace [sic] of all my father's brothers and sisters except David and William."

He starts the letter by stating:

"You are right about my father's name being Andrew Cowan."

The original of this letter is in possession of James Freeman, Camas, WA. (A scanned digital copy of this letter was submitted by Margie Cowan with applications for First Families of Tennesse for William Cowan and John [Alexander] Cowan. Interested researchers can obtain a copy either from the McClung library, Knoxville, TN or from Margie Cowan.)

Alternative InterpretationEdit

Known Facts:

  • David Cowan is in the 1820 AL STATE census, living alone, and listed as over 21 ... (1820 - 21 = 1799 or before).
  • Also in the 1820 Dallas Co., AL state census are brothers: John Cowan (Rosannah's husband) and Robert Cowan.

Conclusions, based on the meager 1820 census information:

  1. To be born in 1799, David had to be born at least 9 months after the birthday of his brother, James Walker Cowan, on 09 April 1798.
  2. Thus, the earliest David could have been born was January or February of 1799.
  3. In the 1830 census, a David Cowan is in McMinn Co., TN
    Additionally, there are the following COWANs listed in the 1830 McMinn Co. census:

    David Cowan (Rosanna's brother-in-law?)1421(20-30)1(under 5) 1(10-15) 1(15-20)
    Rosanna Cowan (John [Alexander] Cowan’s widow)1721(10-15) 1(15-20)1(15-20) 1(20-30) 1(50-60)
    Campbell G. Cowan (John/Rosanna’s son)1721 (under 5) 1(20-30)1(under 5) 1(15-20)
    Robert (Rosanna's brother-in-law)1722(under 5) 1(10-15) 1(20-30) 1(40-50)2(10-15) 1(15-20) 1(15-20) 1(40-50)
    William (John/Rosanna's son)1711(30-40)1(20-30)
    James Cowan Sr (unknown)1811(10-15) 1(50-60)2(15-20) 1(20-30) 1(50-60)
    James Cowan Jr (unknown)1812(under 5) 1(20-30)1(under 5) 1(5-10) 1(30-40)
    Andrew Cowan (unknown, son James Sr?)1822(5-10) 1(10-15) 1(30-40)2(under 5) 1(10-15) 1(30-40)


    • Andrew Cowan, 1830 McMinn Co. census, cannot be Andrew (m. Hetty Houston) because Hetty's husband was born 1782 and would be 40-50 years old at the time of the 1830 census.
      As the Andrew Cowan in in the 1830 McMinn Co. census is on an adjacent page to James Cowan Sr. & Jr., it is likely to conclude this Andrew is a son of James Sr. and brother to James Jr.?
    • Andrew Cowan, brother to William Cowan, is found in Bradley Co., TN in the 1840 census.
    • William Cowan, 1830 McMinn Co. census, is most likely Rosanna's son, William L. Cowan (b. about 1805, making him 20-30 years old in the 1830 census.)
      Rosanna's brother-in-law, William Cowan, was born (most likely) between 1784 and 1798 and would fall in either the 40-50 or 50-60 year age ranges.

  4. ASSUMING the David Cowan in the 1830 McMinn Co., TN is the same David Cowan from the 1820 AL census, he would be 29 or 30+ in the 1830 census ... depending on the date of the 1830 census.
  5. Since the information for the David Cowan in the 1820 Dallas Co., AL state census "matches" the information for David Cowan in the 1830 McMinn Co., TN census, it likely that they are the same David Cowan ... especially given the proximity to Rosannah Cowan and other of her brother-in-laws/son in the same McMinn Co., TN census. (As with other census, ages can be off by a year or more depending on the date of each census.)

The burning "issue" remains to determine WHO the James Cowan Sr is/was and his relationhip to John [Alexander] Cowan. It would appear, just based on the 1820 Dallas Co., AL state census and the 1830 McMinn Co., TN census that these are the same family groups; however, more investigation and documentation is needed.


  • In 1820 Dallas Co., AL (state) census, David is living alone is shown as over 21.
  • McMinn Co., TN marriage records ... IF this is Rosanna's son.
  • 1906 letter written by Andrew Finis Cowan to Miss Columbia Cowan re Cowan family history.


Research NeedsEdit

Please help other researchers by posting your tombstone photos at

If you are a COWAN male, the Cowan DNA Project needs you to help establish links between the various Cowan branches. Click the link and sign up!
  • DNA from descendants of McMinn Co., TN COWANs desperately needed -- James Cowan Sr & Jr., David Cowan, Andrew Cowan

  • Determine WHO the James Cowan Sr (McMinn Co., TN) is/was and his relationhip to John [Alexander] Cowan.
  • Genealogies (documented) by descendants of the McMinn Co., TN COWANs.
  • Bible records, old letters, etc. from descendants of the McMinn Co., TN COWANs.

Page NeedsEdit


If you are a COWAN male, the Cowan DNA Project needs you to help establish links between the various Cowan branches. Click the link and sign up!



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