Analysis:Death of William Cowan, 1809



Smoky Mountain Cowan Tapestry
Cowan Tapestry
Cowan Links

The Tapestry
Families Old Chester Old Augusta Germanna
New River SWVP Cumberland Carolina Cradle
The Smokies


While many written sources claim person:William Cowan (25) was buried in Clarks Grove Cemetery, there are questions and reservations about where he died and where he is buried. The BRONZE marker erected by the DAR is in the middle of a chronologically ordered row of approximately 12 tombstones for Christopher Columbus Cowan and his descendants, beginning with Christopher Columbus Cowan (d. 1873) and ending with Margaret (Eagleton) Cowan (d. 1904). It would be difficult for someone to plan things out so that William, who is thought to have died in 1809, would be buried in the exact middle of that future row of graves. This suggests that at a minimum, he is not buried where the marker is placed. It may also be that he is not buried in Clarks Grove cemetery at all.

The question arises whether William Cowan and Jane (Walker) Cowan died in Blount Co., TN. He does not appear on the Blount Co. tax rolls for several years immediately preceeding his death. In addition, in 1803 he is said by some have been living on land owned by sons Robert and David in Warren Co., TN. According to Womack, Walter; McMinnville at a Milestone, 1810-1960; Standard Publishing Co., Inc. & Womack Printing Co., McMinnville, TN; 1960, p. 120-121. [DAR Library]

“The Bentley papers aver that Robert and David Cowan were living somewhere on the eastern side of the present Riverside Cemetery [in Warren County?] as early as 1803. The same source states that a grant to William Cowan in 1803 is described as beginning at a poplar tree on the north bank of Baren Fork at Polly Black’s ford.”

Thus, there is a plausible reason to believe that he and wife, Jane, were living in Warren Co., TN when they died. Nonetheless, the current concensus opinion seems to be that while she may have moved to Warren County after his death, he himself died in Blount County. If so, whether he is buried in Clarks Grove cemetery or elsewhere is unknown.