m. BEF 1725
Facts and Events
My grandfather, Hugh Cowan, native of North Ireland immigrated to America about 1700 then about 21 years of age. After his arrival, he settled in Chester County, Pennsylvania about 40 miles west of Philadelphia on what is now the Great Western Turnpike Road. There he took up a large track of land on part of which he resided until the time of his death. He here married Ann Matthews a native of Pennsylvania. By this marriage, he had four children; namely James, John, Jane, and Joseph. His wife afterwards dying, he married Mary Davidson, a native of Ireland about 17 years of age. I am not informed in what years these marriages or the deaths of his wives or his own death happened. By his last marriage, my grandfather had twelve children. Namely, Elizabeth, Mathias, Mary, Ann, Kitty (died in infancy), David, Sally, Kitty, William (my father born December 1749), Susan, Margaret, and Hannah (twins). [Margaret and Hannah were twins.] Concerning these Children:
Hugh Cowan is believed to have been born in Ireland about the year 1700 He married Ann Mathias probably between 1721 and 1722. Ann is said to have born Hugh five children, before her death in 1734. Hugh remarried to Mary Scott, by whom he is said to have had an additional six children. Hugh's will, written in 1776, and probated in 1783.  See: Analysis: Children of Hugh Cowan of Octoraro Creek
See also:Family of Hugh Cowan for a previous view of this lineage.
The following children are as listed in various sources, in the order of presentation in those sources. Hugh's will lists only a wife Mary, and sons Mathias and David, and daughters Anna and Hannah. Based on the will alone you'd have to presume these children were born by Mary.
The following summarizes information about Hugh's children. These materials were originally taken from Fleming 1971. The family history by WIlliam Cowan, grandson of Hugh, written after 1820, provides a more comprehensive set of information, and differs to some extent from the information provided by Fleming. '
Male line of descent from Hugh Cowan is shown below. James, John, and William had no known descendants. Joseph moved to what was then Bedford County, but later became Westmoreland, settling on the Youghiogheny River near Scott Haven. He had a single son James. Mathias also moved to the Youghiogheny and had three sons. David moved initially to Cumberland County, but after the death of his first wife, he returned to the Octoraro. He died shortly after remarrying. His widow raised the children by the previous marriage. His three sons are believed to have moved to Bourbon County, Ky.
A. James Cowan. The oldest of Hugh Cowan’s children, James, was born on May 4, 1725, and died on October 1, 1751. At death he was little more than twenty six years of age. The brevity of his life largely prevents any conclusion asto what his ability or usefulness might have been. The little informationobtained about him indicates that he was just getting settled and was in theprocess of establishing a home when he was cut down by severe illness anddeath.He married Catherine, a daughter of Thomas and Jannet Hope. Date of his marriage has not been learned. It was probably in the early or middle part of1748, for on November 7 of that year, his father, Hugh Cowan, deeded him atract of 100 acres of land. In this deed is a genealogical record of highimportance. It identifies James as Hugh Cowan’s oldest son:“THIS INDENTURE made the 7th day of November in the year of ourLord 1748 between Hugh Cowan of Sadsbury Township in the County ofChester Yeoman of the one part and James Cowan of the same place,Wheelwright, the eldest son and Heir at law of him the said Hugh Cowanof the other part”.1It may be observed from the above that James’ occupation was that ofWheelwright. His business then would be that of making and repairing wheels,especially of wagons. This was a most important kind of work during pioneerdays.When he died, his wife Catherine was expecting a baby. It is believed thatthe child died at birth, for there is no further mention of the matter. His will made two days before his death, follows:
THE WILL OF JAMES COWAN
In the name of God. Amen, the twenty ninth of September in the year of our Lord 1751, I James Cowan in the County of Chester being very sick and week in Body, but of perfect Mind and Memory thanks be givenunto God, therefore, calling unto Mind the mortality of my Body, and knowing that it is appointed for all Men once to die, do make and ordain this my Last Will and Testament That is to say, principally and first ofall, -I give and recommend my soul into the hands of God that gave it;and for my Body, I recommend it to the Earth, to be buried in a Christianlike and decent manner at the discretion of my Executors, nothingdoubting but at the General Resurrection I shall receive the same againby the mighty Power__________1 Chester County, Pa., Deed Book R, p. 513.********** 9of God. And as touching such worldly Estate wherewith it hath pleasedGod to bless me in this Life, I give, devise and dispose of the same in thefollowing manner and form.Imprimis, It is my Will, and I do Order, That in the first place, allmy just Debts and Funeral Charges be paid and Satisfied.Item I give and bequeath unto Jean my Dearly beloved Sister theSum of ten pounds Currency of good and Lawful Monies to be raised andLevied out of my Estate.Item I give and bequeath unto my Dearly Beloved Father my blackbritches and Saddlebags and fur hatt. Item I give and bequeath unto Joseph my Dearly beloved brother my pocket Byble.Item I constitute and - allow my Estate together with all my Household goods and Moveables to be Set up at Publick Vendue and afterbeing Sold the Produce to be Equally Divided Unto three parts Katrenmy Dearly beloved wife to Injoy the One third part the remainder to be forthe - (benefit) of the child or children and if it please God to bring thischild that she shall suckle and provide for it or cause to be suckled andprovided for till it Arive to two years of Age. I likewise constitute, and ordain Hugh Cowan my Father and Thomas Hoapp My only and Sole Executors of this my Last Will and Testament, Ratifying and Confirming this, and no other to be my Last Will and Testament. In Witness whereof I have here unto Set my Hand and Seal, the Day and year above written Signed, Sealed Publshed,Pronounced and Declared by the Said James Cowan as his Last Will andTestament, in the Presence ofus the Subscribers viz: James Cowan.John Russell)4th of November 1751James Leard) Inventory 4th of DecemberChester County November 4th 1751 THEN personally appeared John Russell and James Leard and made oath on ye holy Evangelists ofAlmighty God that they were personally present and did See and Heardye testator above named, Sign, Seal Publish pronounce and declare yeabove writing to be their Last Will and Testament and That ye doingthereof he was of sound mind and Memory to ye best of theirunderstanding.
Surratte L. Cowan Jo. Parker, D. Reg.