Facts and Events
David Cowan (1) is believed to be the son of a John Cowan and wife Eleanor, who settled before 1745 in the Meachums River Watershed in what is now Albemarle County VA.  They came to the area in association with the extended family of Person:Michael Woods (1) many of whom settled in this same area beginning about 1733. Other members of John's family settled on Beverley's Manor in Augusta County.
We know that David himself was probably born before 1739, as land records show him to be an adult in 1759  Those same records show that the name of his wife was "Jane", though we do not know her last name. 
Michael Woods (1) appears to have been the head of a large inter-related kinship network living in Albermarle, Augusta, and Amherst counties of Virginia. His death in 1761 is followed by the out movement of a number of individual families related by marriage to Michael. For the most part these families moved to the Carolinas. Some settled along the Savannah River, living either on the northern shore in North Carolina, or on the southside of the River in South Carolina. Others settled further north in northeastern North Carolina. Shortly before the Revolution some members of these families moved back north into Southwestern Virginia, while others moved into what is now east Tennessee. We know that David (1) remained in Albemarle as late as 1763 when his brother Andrew (in Augusta County) wrote him to say that he was "going to Carolina". David may have left the area at this time as well, as we have no documentation for him in Albemarle after 1763. He may have gone to the Carolinas with his brother and other kinsmen, but we have nothing to confirm that.
Our next record for David comes in 1769 when he acquired land in the Castle's Woods area of southwest Virginia. Other kinsmen settled nearby, including brother Andrew, and a William and Samuel Cowan Other kinsmen who settled here include David Gass who had previously been living in Albemarle County near Michael Woods (1), and is commonly identified as a brotherinlaw of the Cowans, person:John Walker (81) whose daughters married Andrew, William, and Samuel Cowan, and a William Houston believed to be the nephew of Ann Houston, wife of JOhn Walker (81), show settled at Houston's Fort adjacent to John Walker son of John (81).
David settled in the eastern portion of Castles Woods, his land lying immediately uphill of the modern community of Place:Castlewood, Virginia. Other kinsmen, including Andrew, William and Samuel Cowan, as well as inlaws including John Walker III, David Gass, Patrick Porter, and John Snoddy, settled nearby.
Dunmore's War ended with the Battle of Point Pleasant in October of 1774. Indian attacks on the settlements ceased for a time, though theyweould resume in 1776, and continue through the revolution, with the last raid occurring in 1794. During the brief lull in hostilities in 1775 many of the settlers headed west with Daniel Boone to Kentucky. As far as we know David's immediate family was untouched by attacks during Dunmore's War, and later raids on the settlement, though a number of his kinsmen suffered greatly during the period of Indian hostilities. Kinsman Samuel Cowan, for example, was killed about 1776 while warning the settlers of Houston's Fort of an impending Indian attack. His wife, Ann Walker and nephew William Walker were captured (probably the next year), and taken north into captivity. Ann would later return to her remaining family who by this time had moved on to Kentucky. William was a child of about eleven years at the time of capture, and adapted to captivity, eventually marrying into the Wyandotte tribe, where he rose to a leadership role. Ann's brother Samuel, was killed at the same time as Ann and William were captured. Some members of David's extended family headed to Kentucky with Boone, only to be forced into retreating back to Castle's Woods by Indian attacks in the "Dark and Bloody Ground" of Kentucky.
The end of the Revolution brought major changes in opportunities for many of the western settlers. Of particular importance was the policy of giving land to veterans of the Revolutionary War, by Virginia and North Carolina. Many of the settlers of Castle's Woods took this opportunity to move either west into Kentucky, or southwest into northeast Tennessee. David Cowan was among the latter, moving to what is now Sevier County in the foothills of the Smoky Mountains, about 1786. Not surprisingly, numerous kinsmen settled nearby, particularly in adjacent Blount County.