b.abt. 1763 Virginia
m. est. 1762
Facts and Events
*Originally placed in the WeRelate "Digital Library". That resource was an early approach taken to documentation, that ultimately proved unsuccessful. It is no longer online, but the data can probably be recovered from storage.
John Cowan was the son of person:Samuel Cowan (1) and person:Ann Walker (39). His father was killed by Indians in 1776 and his mother taken prisoner in a separate raid the next year. (See Indian Captivity Stories of the Cowan Family). John was a minor at the time, but eventually inherited the property of his father which lay adjacent to the property of his uncle Person:William Cowan (12) in Castles' Woods Virginia. After the Reolution he moved (briefly) to what is now Madison County KY. Here he settled ner his uncle William Cowan, and kinsman David Gass. Within a year or so he moved south to wht is now Blount County TN, again in the company of his Uncle William.
John married Agnes Martin on August 2, 1788 in what was then known as Greene County, NC, but was probably in the area that later became Blount County, TN. About 1806 he moved with other family members to Franklin County, TN. He served with the Tennessee Volunteer Mounted Gunmen, a militia unit, from 28 September 1814 to 27 March 1815 during the Creek Indian War.) The regimental history identifies him as a Captain under Major William Russell.  Governor John Sevier, mentions "Major John Cowan" in an 1804 letter (see Transcript:Sarah H., March 2005). This maybe a reference to John (12), but could be a reference to a different John Cowan altogether. John Cowan of Franklin Tennessee is commonly known in his family line as "Major John Cowan". As such he is frequently confused with a "Major John Cowan" who is supposed to have married a Mary Walker; that Major John is said to have been killed by Indians on the Clinch River in Virginia in 1779, and wife Mary to have been captured by Indians. While this story line is frequently cited (it appears in Fleming, 1971) and is based on letters JB Cowan, a descendant of John (12), its obvious that he can not be the John Cowan (12) as the latter was still a minor child in 1779. No original source record has been located for a John Cowan who is supposed to have been killed on the Clinch in 1779. That individual probably did not exist, and represents a complex confusion in the Cowan family history. This is discussed more completely in Indian Captivity Stories of the Cowan Family.
Major John Cowan is buried in Goshen Cemetery, near Cowan, TN, in Franklin County.
"SALE OF ELIZABETH M. COWAN'S DOWER RIGHTS: Wm. M. Cowan bought the dower rights of Elizabeth M. Cowan, widow of John Cowan, for $220.00 on 15 May 1837. Witnessed by John Handley & Robt. Cowan. (Deed Bk P, P 401) [Presumably a Franklin Co TN land transaction. John Handley is presumably the son of Samuel Handley (1751-1840) who married Nancy Cowan, daughter of Major John Cowan and Agness Martin. Elizabeth was John Cowan's second wife.