m. BEF 1725
Facts and Events
Fleming, 1971 identifies Mathias as the son of Hugh Cowan (4) of Octoraro Creek in Lancaster County, by his first wife, Ann Mathias. Hugh's Grandson WIlliam left a family history, in which he identifies his grandfather as Hugh, and list his grandfathers children. He identifies Mathias as the first child of Hugh's second wife, Mary Scott. Hugh's will seems to identify only children by his second marriage; since he includes Mathias as an heir, it seems likely that Mathias was indeed a child of Hugh's by his marriage to Mary Scott. The fact that Hugh named this child "Mathias" would seem to be a memorialization of his first wife's maiden name, rather than indicating that Mathias was a child by Ann Mathias.
Mathias is identified as the first known settler in Huntingdon Township of Westmoreland County, having come to the area in 1761, with his wife Rachel Gray. Since Mathias brother David (11) married a Mary Gray, presumed to be Rachel's sister, we can probably assume that the marriage took place in Chester County, prior to 1761 Mathias died in 1819 at age 84 per a transcription of his gravestone, indicating that he was born about 1734-1735. He would have reached adulthood about 1754-55, so that is probably the earliest that this marriage could have occurred. There is a 1771 record for a Mathias Cowan living in Bedford County. Other known descendants of Hugh Cowan (4) lived in this same area adjacent to Cumberland and Franlklin County so it is possible that this is a record for Mathias (1). If so, then his 1761 arrival in Westmoreland County may be in error.
Mathias is believed to have come to Westmoreland County in company with his brother James. Half-brother William had settled initially in the Cumberland County area of Pennsylvania, but about 1788 moved on to Westmoreland County, where he lived out his life with his second wife, and their children. In later years contemporary records show a number of Cowans living in Westmoreland County, and areas that had once been included in Westmoreland County. At some of these records undoubtedly refer to descendands of Mathias, or one or another of his brothers who also settled in the area. There may, however, be other Cowan lines in western PA with whom they could be confused. Traceing out the family relationships of the Cowans in the area after 1800 may provide additional information about the family of Mathias.
The Long Run Presbyterian Church was organized under the supervision of the Red Stone Presbytery, about 1790. Its present edifice is of brick, and was built in 1865. Near by is the graveyard, and these are a few of the names, with the dates of birth and death, which may be deciphered from the mossy headstones : :Catherine Gregory, died December 18, 1833, aged 92.
Original Source:Source:History of the County of Westmoreland, Pennsylvania Intermediate Source:Ancestry public member tree, originally added by Mark Connar
The first know settlement was made in 1761, by Matthias Cowan, who married a Miss Gray, and came in a cart, in which they lived until he built his cabin on the farm now owned by Matthias Cowan Ekin, his grandson. Cowan's brother-in-law, Abner Gray, was captured on this farm by Indians and carried into captivity." ... In 1761, Matthias Cowan, who had married a Miss Gray, settled in the township. He was a Scotch-Irishman. His children were James, Joseph, George, Martha (married to William Ekin), Mary, Betsey, and Ann (married respectively to three brothers named Hughey), and two daughters who died young and unmarried. ...... (the farm) lies about four miles south of Irwin Station, between it and the Youghlogheny River, and is the place where his maternal grandfather, Matthias Cowan, first located one hundred and twenty one years ago, during all of which time the homestead has been in the family and belonging to three generations.