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William Cowan (1750-1809)

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William Cowan
Birth: 1750 Virginia
Death: 1809 Tennessee
Spouse/partner: Jane Walker (1755-1806)
Sex: Male Icon
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Genealogical KeynotesEdit

The content of this page contributed by: Margie Cowan

VitaEdit

  • Married: c. 1773 [Botetourt or Fincastle Co., VA]. The eldest child of this couple was born in 1774, implying a 1773 marriage. It is possible that the marriage occurred earlier than this. Given her birthdate in 1755, as commonly accepted but unconfirmed, Jane Walker would have been about 18 in 1773. A marriage earlier than 1770 would be hard to accept without good evidence.
  • Died: 1809 [Blount Co.?] TN
  • Burial: William Cowan's DAR Marker, Clarks Grove Cemetery, Maryville, Blount Co., TN

See Alternative Interpretation section below ...

AncestryEdit

The identity of William Cowan's parents is not known. It is generally assumed that his family was on Beverly's Manor prior to 1756. Many think that his father was John Cowan; although, the basis for this is not clear. It is worth noting that identifying his father as "John" is consistent with child naming patterns among the Scotch-Irish (See Albion's Seed referenced below — i.e., naming the:

  • first son for the paternal grandfather
  • second son for the maternal grandfather;
  • first daughter for the maternal grandmother; and
  • second daughter for the paternal grandmother.

The first-born son of William Cowan and Jane Walker was named John [ Alexander] COWAN; this may indicate that the name of William's father was indeed "John". The Beverly Patent map (by Hildebrand) for this time period shows parcels belonging to a John Cowan and a William Cowan. It is reasonable that one or the other could be William's father. (See "Research" below).

Spouse(s)Edit

m. 1773 (Botetourt or Fincastle Co., VA)

Marriage date based on the birthdate of the eldest child, Eleanor (Cowan) Gillespy. Eleanor Gillespy's tombstone states:

Beneath Sleeps
the mortal part
of
Eleanor Gillespy
Wife of
James Gillespy
Deposited here
November 23, 1831
Aged 57 years
(d. 1831-57 = b. 1774)

Religious AffiliationEdit

Presbyterian



Children


Offspring of William Cowan and Jane Walker (1755-1806)
Name Birth Death Joined with
Eleanor Cowan (1774-1831) 1774 23 November 1831 James "Smoking Jimmy" Gillespy (1772-1861)

John Alexander Cowan (1775-1821)
Samuel Cowan (1779-1828) 23 July 1779 30 December 1828 Esther Jane Gillespie Houston (1792-1844)

Andrew Cowan (1782-1872)
Robert Cowan (1784-1869)
Polly Cowan (c1787)
Ann Cowan (c1790-bef1850)
William Cowan (c1796-)
James Walker Cowan (1798-1870)
David Cowan (1799-)
Edit child facts
  1. Eleanor "Ellen" COWAN b: 1774 in Washington Co, VA d: 23 Nov 1831 in Blount Co., TN
    m. James "Smoking Jimmy" GILLESPY b: 02 September 1772 in Gillespy's Gap, VA d: 06 January 1861 in Canonsburg, PA
  2. John [ Alexander] COWAN b: 1775 in Washington Co., VA d: 12 Oct 1821 in Dallas Co., AL
    m. Rosanna "Anna / Annie" GILLESPY/GILLESPIE, sister to James "Smoking Jimmy" GILLESPY, b: 07 October 1777 in VA d: 17 August 1857 in Pleasant Hill, Lowndes Co., AL
  3. Samuel ______ COWAN b: 23 Jul 1779 in Washington Co., VA d: 30 Dec 1828 in Blount Co., TN
    m. Ester Jane Gillespie HOUSTON b: 22 August 1792 d: 1844
  4. Andrew COWAN b: 02 May 1782 in Washington Co., VA d: 10 Jan 1872 in Cleveland, Bradley Co., TN
    m.#1 Effie F______ "Hettie" HOUSTON b: 19 July 1795 d. 12 August 1850 (1st cousin to Ester Jane Gillespie Houston)
    m.#2 [Mrs?] Margaret FISHER m: 12 January 1859 in McMinn Co., TN.
  5. Robert COWAN b: 22 Jun 1784 in Washington Co., VA d: 17 Sep 1869 in Lowell, Benton Co., AR
    m. Elizabeth COLVILLE b: 15 April 1793 d: 26 December 1865 in Benton Co., AR
  6. Polly COWAN b: Bet. 1785 - 1798
    m. ______ ______ MITCHEL
  7. Ann COWAN b: Abt. 1790 [d: Bef. 1850? in Hickman Co., TN?]
    m. George PEERY?
  8. William COWAN b: Abt. 1796
  9. James Walker COWAN b: 09 Apr 1798 in TN d: 22 Jul 1870 in AR
    m. Catherine COLVILLE, sister to Elizabeth Colville, b: 10 November 1799 d: 07 July 1872 in Benton Co., AR
  10. David COWAN b: 1799

TableEdit

Children of Jane Walker (1755-1806) by William Cowan (1750-1809) Edit This List
Name DOB POB DOD POD Spouse DOM POM Notes
Eleanor "Ellen" COWAN 1774 Washington Co, VA 23 Nov 1831 Blount Co., TN James GILLESPY (1772 - 1861)      
John Cowan (1775 - 1821) 1775 Washington Co., VA 12 Oct 1821 Dallas Co., AL Rosanna GILLESPY (1777-1857)     Name sometimes given as John Alexander Cowan
Samuel COWAN (1779 - 1828) 23 Jul 1779 Washington Co., VA 30 Dec 1828 Blount Co., TN Ester Jane Gillespie HOUSTON (1792-1844)     Ester was b: 22 August 1792 d: 1844
Andrew COWAN 02 May 1782 Washington Co., VA 10 Jan 1872 Cleveland, Bradley Co., TN 1) Effie F. "Hettie" HOUSTON    
2) Margaret FISHER (?-?) 12 January 1859 McMinn Co., TN Margaret may have been previously married.


Robert COWAN b: 22 Jun 1784 Washington Co., VA 17 Sep 1869 Lowell, Benton Co., AR Elizabeth COLVILLE     Elizabeth b: 15 April 1793 d: 26 December 1865 in Benton Co., AR
Polly COWAN         ? Mitchell     b: Bet. 1785 - 1798
Ann COWAN b: Abt. 1790   Bef. 1850? Hickman Co., TN? George PEERY?      
William Cowan (c1796-) Abt. 1796              
James Walker COWAN (1798 - 1870) 09 Apr 1798 TN 22 Jul 1870 AR Catherine COLVILLE (1799 - 1872)     spouse was sister to Elizabeth Colville, b: 10 November 1799 d: 07 July 1872 in Benton Co., AR


David COWAN (1799 - ?) 1799              

Military ServiceEdit

(Click the document image to view p. 229 ... or ... right-click to save the image to your computer.) ... or ... Search Virginia State Library
1773 -- William Cowan shown on the list of militia soldiers under Captain William Russell for the first pay period just prior to the outbreak of Dunmore’s War in the fall of 1774.
  • Clark, Gerald H; Militia of Washington Co., VA; Officers 1777-1835; Militia Men 1798-1835, Mountain Press, Signal Mountain, IN; 1979, p. 13. (Fairfax Co., VA Library)
1777 -- Recommended Lieutenant in Capt. Snoddy's Co., Washington Co., Militia (27 Aug 1777)
1780 -- William Cowan was at the Battle of Kings Mountain under Col. William Russell (October 7, 1780).
1782 –- William Cowan was “Recommended to his Excellency the Governor as fit and Proper Persons for Captains of Militia in the County of Washington” on March 20, 1782
1785 -- Mentioned as Captain, Company No. 9, 1st Battalion.
  • White, Kathrine Keogh, The King’s Mountain Men …, Joseph K. Ruebush Company, Dayton, VA; 1924,
p. 162: “Andrew and William [Cowan] are listed by Summers and Eckenrode. They were captains in the militia of Washington county, 1777-1780, and were under Campbell at King’s Mountain.”
  • Hamilton, Emory L., The First Militia Roster of the Clinch River Area of Russell County, 1978 ...
"In the Archives of the Virginia State Library is found one of the most interesting documents pertaining to the earliest settlers of the Clinch River Valley in what is now Russell, Scott, and Lee Counties, but then a part of Washington County. It is pages 229 and 230 of the Dunmore's War Records, and is a roster of 72 names of Militia soldiers under Captain William Russell. The roster is for the first pay period just prior to the outbreak of Dunmore's War in the fall of 1774.
While this document does not list everyone living in the area, it does give an insight into some of the very earliest settlers. On the ensuing pages [Hamilton lists] by number and name each of the Militiamen, with a brief biography of what I[he was] able to find pertaining to each man."
Of note for purposes of this page:
"1. WILLIAM RUSSELL - He was Captain of Militia and lived near the present Castlewood High School. His first wife, Tabitha Adams Russell died there in 1776 and was buried there. Russell later married Elizabeth, the widow of General William Campbell and lived at Saltville. The second Mrs. Russell was a sister to Patrick Henry. At the outbreak of the Revolution, Russell became a general in the Continental Army. It was for him that Russell County was named."
"4. JOHN SNODDY - This was Captain John Snoddy, born circa 1739 and who was a militia captain on the Clinch until his removal to Kentucky around 1780. He had married Margaret Walker, a daughter of John Walker who lived at the "sink" of Sinking Creek on a farm he called "Broad Meadows". Snoddy at one time owned Moore's Fort at Castlewood, which he sold prior to his removal to Kentuckyto Frederick Fraley. He was a brother-in-law to Patrick Porter, and the Cowan brothers, David, William and Samuel, all having married Walker sisters. John Snoddy died in Madison Co., Ky. in 1814, and should not be confused with an older John Snoddy who served on the Washington Co. Court who lived at Abingdon. The older Snoddy married Agnes Glasgow in Philadelphia in 1741 and moved to Tennessee where he died in 1786."
"28. WILLIAM COWAN - William Cowan was a Captain in the militia and his wife was Jane Walker, daughter of John Walker. His brothers David, Samuel, and Andrew also lived on the Clinch River. William Cowan lived two miles below Moore's Fort on land he bought from Capt. David Gass, his brother-in-law. Cowan sold his land to James Osborne and left the area around 1780, probably for Kentucky. The old log house where Gass, Cowan, and Osborne lived still stands in lower Castlewood. Captain William Cowan made several trips into Kentucky before leaving the Clinch."
"30. DAVID GASS - Capt. David Gass was born in Pennsylvania in 1729. He settled early in Albemarle Co., Va., where he was serving in the militia in 1758. In 1769 he moved to Castlewood and prepared to go with Boone to Kentucky in 1773. After the Indians attacked Boone's party in Powell Valley, Boone came to Castlewood and lived in a cabin on Capt. Gass's land until he moved to Boonesboro in 1775. Capt. Gass made seven trips to Kentucky before finally moving his family there in 1777. Gass sold his home place on the Clinch to his brother-in-law, Capt. William Cowan, who in turn sold it to James Osborne, Gass died in Madison Co., Ky."

Family HistoryEdit

Bill Willis notes:
William, and his brothers Samuel, and Andrew, along with a David Cowan whose relationship is not known, came to the Castle's Woods area (modern Scott County, VA) about 1770. William married Jane Walker, the daughter of John Walker III (1705-c1776) who had moved there from North Carolina about this time, along with other family members. Williams brothers, Samuel and Andrew also married daughters of John III, though whether these marriages occurred in Castle's Woods, or earlier in North Carolina, or perhaps even earlier in Borden's Grant (modern Rockbridge County, VA), is not clear. In any case the Walkers and Cowans were among the first settlers of this community, which at the time of their arrival was the most westwardly frontier settlement in Virginia. The Walkers and Cowan's remained in this area until shortly after the close of the Revolution. At that time William and his brother-in-law, John Walker IV (?-c1817) moved their families south to what is now Blount Co, TN. Here, William settled on the west bank of the Little River; his property extended from the mouth of Crooked Creek southeastwardly almost to Davis Ford. Brother-in-law John Walker IV (aka, "Indian Killer"), settled slightly further upstream, probably in the Long Bottom area near Tuckaleechee Gap. One of William's nephews, John Cowan (c1776-?), son of Samuel Cowan and Ann Walker, settled further to the west near what would later be called the Tellico Block House. Robert Cowan (?-?), possibly a brother or cousin of William, settled in this same area. William died in 1809. The DAR erected a bronze marker for him at the Clarks Grove Cemetery, though it is likely that he was not actually buried there. While Jane's death is claimed to have occurred in 1806, there is no proof for the date nor is her finally resting place known; although, while some reason she died in Blount County there is a possibility she may have died in Warren County (see Alternative Interpretation below).

Alternative InterpretationEdit

While many written sources claim William Cowan was buried in Clarks Grove Cemetery, there are questions and reservations about where he died and where he is buried because the BRONZE marker erected by the DAR is right in the middle of a chronological row of approximately 12 tombstones for Christopher Columbus Cowan and his descendants, beginning with Christopher Columbus Cowan (d. 1873) and ending with Margaret (Eagleton) Cowan (d. 1904). It would be difficult for someone to plan things out so that William, who is thought to have died in 1809, would be buried in the exact middle of that future row of graves. This suggests that at a minimum, he is not buried where the marker is placed. It may also be that he is not buried in Clarks Grove cemetery at all.

The question arises whether William Cowan and Jane (Walker) Cowan died in Blount Co., TN -- as he does not appear on the Blount Co. tax rolls for several years immediately preceeding his death. In 1803, he settled/lived on land owned by sons Robert and David in Warren Co., TN.

  • Womack, Walter; McMinnville at a Milestone, 1810-1960; Standard Publishing Co., Inc. & Womack Printing Co., McMinnville, TN; 1960, p. 120-121. [DAR Library]
“The Bentley papers aver that Robert and David Cowan were living somewhere on the eastern side of the present Riverside Cemetery [need the county] as early as 1803. The same source states that a grant to William Cowan in 1803 is described as beginning at a poplar tree on the north bank of Baren Fork at Polly Black’s ford.”]

Thus, there is reason to believe that he and wife, Jane, were living in Warren Co., TN when they died.

Additional Information of InterestEdit

Email ... from Andy Cowan, dated 27 Nov 2006

Dear Margie,
My name is Andy Cowan and I have noted your postings on the subject. I don't know if I can add anything of value in documentation of the surname of David Gass' wife, Sarah but I do have some information pertaining to David Gass and William Cowan.

William and his wife are not in my line of Cowans and from the Cowan Family DNA project not closely related. My interest in them came from my ancestor Jane White McPherson Cowan, wife of Charles Cowan of Lebanon Ohio. Jane was born in Bourbon County, KY where her father Adam had settled in 1785. I have located the land he bought in Bourbon County. I found that one of the boundaries of his land lay along the land of William Cowan. I was naturally very interested in this close proximity of William Cowan to the McPhersons. I now believe that it was just coincidence that Jane later married into my Cowan line.

William Cowan sold a part of his 1000 acres to Alexander Breckenridge in 1790. The deed reads "William Cowan of the County of Greene and the State of North Carolina and his wife, Jane.....". Greene County later became part of the State of Tennessee. The William Cowan land deeded to Breckenridge is described as beginning at a corner to David Gass.

David Gass and William had both been among the early settlers Clinch River Valley near Castle's Woods. David, William, and a William Bush seem to have explored and entered land in Kentucky and requested that the land be surveyed for them.

In a deposition, Michael Stoner was quoted as saying that he knew of no claim on certain land except that of David Gass who had marked trees at a spring now occupied by Mr. Breckenridge.

I believe that I have notes that establish that William Cowan sold his cabin at Castles woods to David Gass. Daniel Boone accepted an invitation by David Gass to live in a cabin on his property in Castles Woods.

My notes are not in electronic form but if some of this is of interest I could copy them for you. I have a map of Bourbon County on which I have located this William Cowan land that could be included. Some other stuff. David Gass' mother may have been a Margaret Cowan, married to John Gass in Lancaster, PA.

Is any of this of use to you?

Sincerely,
Andy Cowan

RecordsEdit

Printed Sources:
  1. Clarks Grove Cemetery, Maryville, Blount Co., TN ... transcriptions at DAR Library.
  2. Cowan Bible Records in possession of Margie Cowan, Reston, VA (as of August 2006) ... starts with John [Alexander] Cowan and his wife, Rosanna Gillespy/Gillespie.
  3. Fischer, David Hackett, Albion’s seed: Four British folkways in America, Oxford University Press, New York, 1989 (ISBN: 0195037944)
  4. Fleming, John Kerr; Cowans of County Down, Derreth Publishing Co., Raleigh, NC; p. 371-376. (DAR Library)
  5. Houston, Blaine and others, Maxwell History and Genealogy; C. E. Pauley & Co., Indianapolis Engraving Co., 1916, p. 6. [DAR Library]
  6. Houston, Samuel Rutherford, Brief Biographical Accounts of Many Members of the Houston Family accompanied by a genealogical table, Elm Street Printing Co., Cincinnati, 1882. [DAR Library]
  7. White, Emma Siggins; Genealogy of the Descendants of John Walker of Wigton, Scotland, with Records of a Few Allied Families. Also War Records and Some Fragmentary Notes Pertaining to the History of Virginia. 1600-1902, Tiernan-Dart Printing Company, Kansas City, MO; 1902, p. 282-283. [DAR Library]
  8. Wiseman, Eugene M.; The Warren County Story, Genealogy Publishing Service, Franklin, NC 28734, 1995 (DAR Library)
  9. Womack, Walter; McMinnville at a Milestone, 1810-1960; Standard Publishing Co., Inc. & Womack Printing Co., McMinnville, TN; 1960, p. 120-121. [DAR Library]
  10. Land Records, Library of Virginia:
    1785  01 January  --  Grant 400 acres on the waters of Licking Creek adjoining David Gass (Fayette Co., [KY])
    1785  05 July   --  Grant 400 acres Castles Woods
    1797  13 September  --  Grant 100 acres Rockbridge Co.
  11. Land grants for Blount County show that William Cowan secured a parcel on the west bank of the Little River, near Davis Ford. The following shows this parcel in relationship to land holdings by his brother-in-law, John Walker IV.
    WilliamCowanLandHoldingProperty of William Cowan: "400 acres in Castles Woods on the waters of Clinch River adjoining John Cowan’s land."Property of John Walker Jr.- possibly John Walker IV
    About this image
  12. Hamilton, Emory L.; The First Militia Roster of the Clinch River Area of Russell County, 1978
    "DAVID GASS - Capt. David Gass was born in Pennsylvania in 1729. He settled early in Albemarle Co., Va., where he was serving in the militia in 1758. In 1769 he moved to Castlewood and prepared to go with Boone to Kentucky in 1773. After the Indians attacked Boone's party in Powell Valley, Boone came to Castlewood and lived in a cabin on Capt. Gass' land until he moved to Boonesboro in 1775. Capt. Gass made seven trips to Kentucky before finally moving his family there in 1777. Gass sold his home place on the Clinch to his brother-in-law, Capt. WILLIAM COWAN, who in turn sold it to James Osborne. Gass died in Madison Co., Ky."
    NOTE: David Gass has been mentioned by several sources as being William Cowan's brother-in-law.
  13. Tinkling Springs Presbyterian Church (today, Staunton, Augusta Co., VA) shows John Cowan as one of the founding members of the church. See Research Needs below ...
  14. Land records for Warren County, TN show land transactions (before 1809) for William, John, and Robert – Surveys Around McMinnville from Tennessee’s 3rd Surveyors’ District Plat and Survey Books
    Shows land granted to:
    35-145, John Cowen 1807 156 acres
    35-124, Jno Cowen 1808 200 acres
    34-071, Wm Cowen 1808
    Colville and Mitchell families are neighbors to the Cowans on the plat map.
  15. Orphan Court minutes in Dallas County, AL tie brothers Robert (William1) and John (William1) together ... separate transactions, but on the same day and same page. (Dallas Co., AL Orphan’s Court records, p. 73-74 … where (i) there are 2 transactions at the top of the page involving Robert and a (ii) third transaction at the bottom of the page where Robert (William1) and John (William1) are involved in the estate of David Mitchell and, in the same transaction, James G. Cowan (John [Alexander]2, William1) is named guardian of the Mitchell minor children.)
  16. Additionally, the 1820 Dallas Co., AL State census shows three Cowan brothers: John (William1), Robert (William1), and David Cowan (William1) residing in Dallas Co.

      Other Sources:
  17. Clarks Grove Cemetery, Maryville, Blount Co., TN ... personal tombstone photos taken by Margie Cowan (many posted at Find-a-Grave.com). See the online transcription for ... Clarks Grove Cemetery.
  18. TN Land Grant #544 for William Cowan [Tennessee State Archives, Nashville, TN] ... dated October 17, 1783 for 250 acres in Greene Co., NC (part of Greene became Sevier Co., TN; then part of Sevier became Knox Co., TN; then part of that became Blount Co., TN)
  19. TN Maps -- 1820-1840
  20. Key document to establishing identity of several of William Cowan & Jane Walker's children is Andrew Finis Cowan's (AFC) Letter (June 7, 1906; Indian Territory/Oklahoma) to Columbia Cowan (John Alexander4, Campbell Gilmer3, John [Alexander]2, William1) in Pierce City, Lawrence Co., MO.
    (Original in possession of James E. Freeman (Ruth (Ginder) Freeman6, Florence Edna (Cowan) Ginder5, Richard Tankersley4, Campbell Gilmer3, John [Alexander]2, William1), Camas, WA as of August, 2006).
    Note:   A copy of the AFC letter was included with Margie Cowan's First Families of Tennessee applications for William Cowan and John [Alexander] Cowan (William1)
    • Of note, Andrew Cowan (William1), father of Andrew Finis Cowan, was 90 when he died in 1872.
    • Since Andrew Finis Cowan was 43 when his father died, it is likely he heard many stories first hand about his grandparents (William & Jane) as well as his aunts/uncles, interacted with the remaining aunts & uncles and/or their children (his first cousins), was aware of correspondence between the families, and/or that the families visited each other ... especially so since many of these aunts/uncles remained in Knox/Blount/Loudon counties, which were in relatively close proximity to McMinn and Bradley counties, where AFC and his father lived for many years.
    • The letter was written by Andrew Finis Cowan (Andrew2, William1), who was 77 years old (b. December 1829), in an apparent response to Columbia’s request for information about their ancestors, initiated because of a “claim” (scam?) that the Cowans were potential heirs to a part of Central Park and she was trying to “prove” whether her Cowan ancestors tied into the Central Park “ancestors”.
    • Thus, Andrew responds with information about his aunts and uncles, makes “honorable” mention to several of their children, and a reference to his grandmother, Jane (Walker) Cowan.
    • While Andrew Finis Cowan's eldest three aunts and uncles died at relatively young ages (either before AFC was born or shortly thereafter), their spouses did not die until many years later.
    • The 1857 letter written by Andrew Cowan (William1) to Rosannah (Gillespy/Gillespie) Cowan shows, that despite considerable distance, the two branches of the family remained in contact.
  21. Key document to establishing relationship of Andrew Cowan to John [Alexander] Cowan is the letter written Andrew Cowan (William1) on May 17, 1857 from Bradley Co., TN) to Rosanna (Gillespy/Gillespie) Cowan (addressed as "Dear Sister Roseanna") ... original in possession of James E. Freeman, Camas, WA (as August, 2006).
    (Copy of the Andrew Cowan's 1857 letter was included with Margie Cowan's First Families of Tennessee applications for William Cowan and John [Alexander] Cowan, along with a copy of his pension application for War of 1812 service to prove that the signatures matched on both documents.)

    Both letters below have similar details to the AFC letter and/or either further substantiate his info or add further details of family relationships.
  22. W. E. Parham Letter to W. D. Newberry re Cowans [McClung Library, Knoxville, Parham Collection; Blount Co., TN Library]
  23. R. M. Johnston (Jane Walker (Cowan) Johnston3, Andrew2, William1) letter to first cousin, James H Cowan (George Washington3, Samel2, William1) [McClung Library, Knoxville, Parham Collection; Blount Co., TN Library]
    • R. M. Johnston's mother was Jane Walker (Cowan) Johnston (Andrew2, William1), a daughter of Andrew Cowan (William1) and his wife, Esther F. "Hettie" (Houston) Cowan.
    • Thus, R. M. Johnston was a grandson of Andrew & Hettie ... and AFC's nephew.
    • (The Johnston family is buried at Steekee Creek Cemetery, Loudon, Loudon Co., TN. ... listed at findagrave as [Steekee Cemetery]. While I have many pictures of Johnston tombstones, I have not had time to post them at findagrave. However, see the online transcription of the Steekee Creek cemetery ... Part 1 and Part 2)


      Cemetery Records/Tombstone Photos

  24. Clarks Grove Cemetery (Findagrave.com), Maryville, Blount Co., TN ... Clarks Grove Cemetery transcriptions.
  25. William Cowan's DAR marker, Clarks Grove Cemetery, Maryville, Blount Co., TN
  26. Eleanor Gillespy's tombstone, Clarks Grove Cemetery, Maryville, Blount Co., TN.


ReferencesEdit

  • First Families of Tennessee applications for William Cowan

Two Tennessee DAR books list William’s children:

  • Bates, Lucy Womack, TN Society NSDAR, Roster of Soldiers and Patriots of the American Revolution Buried in TN, 1974 (revised 1979 by Helen Crawford Marsh), p. 42 … lists children: “Andrew b 5/2/1780 m Hetty Houston; Samuel b. 7/23/1799 m. Ester Jane Houston; Eleanor b. 1774 m. James Gillespie; John Alexander; James; Robert; David. Ref: DAR #435539 [Barbara Gillespie]”
  • Hudson, Mary Kay Parrish, TN Society DAR, Register of Qualified Soldiers and Patriots of the American Revolution Buried in Tennessee, p. 24 … lists children: Andrew, Samuel, Eleanor Gillespie, John Alexander, James, Robert, David.
The dates listed above for Andrew, Samuel, and Eleanor are also found in DAR applications 475597 (Francis Thornton Bryant) and 489340 (Lorinda Farley Thornton).
  • Hagy, James W., Castle's Woods Frontier Virginia Settlement, 1769-1799, Masters Thesis for Department of History East Tennessee State University, 1966 [Virginia State Library, Richmond, VA ... by interlibrary loan]
  • DAR Applications, National Society of the Daughters of the American Revolution, 1776 D Street, NW, Washington, DC.
The following is a list of applications submitted to the DAR on the Revolutionary War service of either William Cowan or James Gillespy, Sr.
Most of the applications are on James Gillespy Sr’s service, through his son (James “Smoking Jimmie” Gillespy). The (S) beside the child’s name indicates this was a supplemental application applying for membership based on William Cowan’s service, through his daughter Eleanor Cowan.
(Copies of DAR applications are available from the National Society Daughters of the American Revolution, 1776 D Street, NW, Washington, DC. Cost is $10 for each application, which includes the four pages of each application.)

DAR # Date Applicant's Name Cowan Child's Name Rev. War Ancestor
088306   10/04/1911   Annie (Cowan) Stephens  Andrew CowanWilliam Cowan
22454906/09/1926Bessie Helen (Cowan) McCallSamuel Franklin Cowan   William Cowan
16609303/20/1943Mayme R (Maxery) BissnarEleanor CowanJames Gillespy, Sr.
26537410/15/1930Sallie E. (Gillespie) AmbristerEleanor CowanJames Gillespy, Sr.
28100004/01/1933Maude (Ambrister) WycheEleanor CowanJames Gillespy, Sr.
36242210/11/1946Carrie Irene (Ambrister) ClarkEleanor CowanJames Gillespy, Sr.
37981209/17/1980Emma Elizabeth (Ambrister) Carpenter  Eleanor CowanJames Gillespy, Sr.
42372911/20/1953Sabina E (Ambrister) BeckmanEleanor CowanJames Gillespy, Sr.
42646404/17/1954Elizabeth (Gillespy) BrinegarEleanor CowanJames Gillespy, Sr.
43553902/25/1955Barbara (Gillespy) JarrettEleanor CowanJames Gillespy, Sr.
47559709/20/1960Francis (Thornton) BryantEleanor CowanJames Gillespy, Sr.
48934008/10/1962Lorinda (Farley) ThorntonEleanor CowanJames Gillespy, Sr.
60887804/06/1976Lorinda (Thornton) WilliamsEleanor Cowan (S)James Gillespy, Sr.
66736207/15/1982Lorinda Christine (Thornton) OrlowskiEleanor Cowan (S)James Gillespy, Sr.
70602612/11/1986Lynne (Farley) WilliamsEleanor Cowan (S)James Gillespy, Sr.
71298810/25/1987Mary (Wyche) RescendesEleanor CowanJames Gillespy, Sr.
71790808/01/1988Ann Maude (Rescendes) GuttierezEleanor CowanJames Gillespy, Sr.
78177309/30/1997Kenlyn Christina (Foster) SpencerEleanor CowanJames Gillespy, Sr.
8227492005Margaret Ann "Margie" CowanJohn [Alexander] Cowan(S)William Cowan



  • 1906 letter written by Andrew Finis Cowan (Andrew2, William1) to Miss Columbia Cowan (John Alexander4, Campbell Gilmer3, John [Alexander]2, William1
  • Columbia Cowan, the recipient of the letter, was living in Pierce City, MO.
  • At the time the letter was written, Andrew was 77 years old (b. December 1829) and was living in Indian Territory (later Oklahoma).
  • AFC's father, Andrew (William1), was 90 when he died in 1872 in Bradley Co., Tn.
  • AFC's three eldest aunts and uncles died at relatively young ages either before Andrew Finis Cowan was born or shortly thereafter:
  • Eleanor (William1) (d. 1831),
  • John [Alexander] Cowan (William1) (d. 1821), and
  • Samuel Cowan (William1) (d. 1828).
  • Many of the remaining aunts and uncles remained in Tennessee in neighboring counties to McMinn and Bradley Co., TN.
  • Thus, it is likely he interacted with them and/or their children (his first cousins), was aware of correspondence between the families, and/or that the families visited each other.
  • Therefore, he likely knew first-hand at least the names of aunts and uncles (living or dead), cousins and some details of their lives, as well as information about his grandparents (William Cowan and Jane Walker).

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 ( William1). Interested researchers can obtain a copy either from the McClung library, Knoxville, TN or from Margie Cowan.)

Research NeedsEdit

Please help other researchers by posting your tombstone photos at findagrave.com

  • If you are a COWAN male, the Cowan DNA Project needs you to help establish links between the various Cowan branches.

  • If you claim descendancy from one of William Cowan and Jane Walker's children, please contact Margie Cowan -- mcowan @ erols.com.
    (I am also looking for photos of ancestors and/or current descendants as well as tombstone photos.)

  • Does anyone know what the tax laws were in early TN? I'd heard that there was an age at which a man no longer paid tax ... which could provide an alternative explanation for why William Cowan does not appear on Blount Co., TN tax rolls after a certain date.
    • I'm not sure about TN, but in 18th century VA there are numerous records where the county administrators grant exemption from taxes due to "old age and infirmity". I don't think there's a specific age when that was done, or that it was done in every case. it appears to me to be more a matter of case-by-case decision making. Bill 23:58, 29 August 2006 (UTC)


  • Parents of William Cowan (1750-1809. Oral tradition suggests his father was John Cowan. This is consistent with child naming patterns among the Scot-Irish, as characterized in Albion's Seedi.e., naming the first son for the paternal grandfather; second son for the maternal grandfather; first daughter for the maternal grandmother; and second daughter for the paternal grandmother. The first-born son of William Cowan and Jane Walker was named John [Alexander] Cowan; this may indicate that the name of Williams father was John.

    Jane's parents are identified as John Walker III and Ann Houston of the Wigton Walker line. Her parents were living in Borden's Grant or perhaps Beverly Manor in Virginia in the early 1750's. It is commonly speculated that William's parents came from Beverly Manor, though evidence for this seems lacking. However, the Beverly Patent map (by Hildebrand)for this time period shows parcels belonging to a John Cowan and a William Cowan. It is reasonable that one or the other could be William's father.

Page NeedsEdit

LinksEdit

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!

Utilities

ContributorsEdit

  • Margie Cowan -- Cowantex 14:55, 12 August 2006 (UTC)

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