Analysis. Vita for the family of Robert Cowan and Susannah Woods



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Person:Robert Cowan (10)
Ancestry Trees Robert Cowan=Susannah Woods


Robert Cowan 10 is commonly said to have been born in 1746, though there is a wide range of DOB's for him in Ancestry listing. Susannah Woods is also commonly said to have been born in 1751. This couple is said to have had about eight children, with DOB's ranging from 1763 to 1784. The DOB of only one of these children has been confirmed: a grave marker at Goshen Cemetery, Franklin TN, for Robert Cowan (11) gives his vita as 26 Feb 1776, to 14 Sept 1847. FInd-A-Grave includes an entry for John Cowan (51) that gives his vita as 1763 to 1837, but a photograph of the gravestone is not provided, and the dates could be based on unverified family genealogical information.

Some of the DOB's for the children of Robert and Susannah conflict with Susannah's 1751 DOB. In particular, if John Cowan (51) was indeed born in 1763, Susannah would only have been 12 years of age at his birth. There are three explanations that can be given for this discrepancy:

A. John's DOB is wrong, and was born considerably later than 1763
B Susannah was born considerably earlier than 1751
C Robert (10) was previously married, and John is the son of his first wife.

We can partially verify Johns approximate DOB through tax records for his father. In particular, in 1783 Robert made a statement that his son John was under age and not yet an adult. This statement may indicate that John was still living at home, but not yet old enough to require Robert to pay a tith for him. Additional data on this is needed, but this may show that John was close to, but under the age of 16 in 1783, and that his probable DOB was close to, but later than 1767. This would be consistent with his mother being age 16 at marriage. While somewhat young by today's standards, this is certainly possible.