By Terry Cowan, from email to WMWillis 24 August 2010
Re: evidence of “David” as father of 3 brothers
The early Pequea tax records IMPLY that David was the father—2 Davids being listed, seemingly father/son.
The Dr. Cowan letter (1884) states categorically that David was the father of the brothers. Who was Dr. Cowan and what about this letter?
My John Cowan (immigrant) had a son Thomas Cowan, who died in 1770. He married Susannah Cowan, daughter of his uncle William Cowan in 1760. Thomas and Susannah stayed on the Cowan farm. After his death, Susannah married Philip Connell. Thomas and Susannah had 4 children: John who died young, George who died unmarried, Ann who married Nathaniel Rutter but had no children, and William who married Mary Rutter and fathered a lot of children. </blockquote> Dr. Cowan (born 1811) was a son of William and Mary Rutter Cowan. William Cowan died when Wm. L. Cowan was a small boy, but he grew up in the household of his mother, his Aunt Ann Cowan Rutter and his grandmother Susannah Cowan Cowan Connell. Their farm was on Peters Road, directly across from the old Cowan farms. In fact, in 1884, he said this birthplace was only ¼ mile from John Cowan’s old stone house, still standing at that time. When he became a doctor, he moved into Reading, in the next county, and lived the rest of his life there. So, Dr. William L. Cowan was the grandson of TWO of the grandchildren of the immigrant David Cowan, Sr. He lived in the area where the Cowans first settled his entire life. He was intimately acquainted with Susannah, a granddaughter of the immigrant. In short, there was no one better positioned to know this information. He wrote this letter to his niece, Miss Sarah Rebecca Carson (1826-1926) of Port Deposit, MD. She never married but helped raise her own orphaned nieces and nephews. While Miss Sarah Rebecca was a custodian of the family saga, the real genealogist was her niece, Miss Virginia Carson Vanneman (1859-1929.) Miss Vanneman’s adult life well overlapped with that of her aunt Carson and great-uncle Cowan. Miss Vanneman passed her information on to her niece, Eleanor Vanneman Benson (b. 1906.) This letter was passed down in that line. And the descent from David Cowan was common knowledge among them—as is more specific information about where they originated in Scotland. (FYI, I have done some preliminary research in this particular area of Scotland, which also conforms to the known source of origins for the non-Pequea YDNA matches, Valorie Zimmerman’s and Brian Cowlings’ ancestors, and have found a John Cowan, born 1686 and a David Cowan, born 1695, both sons of a David Cowan. This still to early to call, but it looks promising.) Anyway, this branch of the family always knew descent from David and had the letter to back it up. They were long disconnected from NC and KY kin, and so this knowledge faded in other lines.