Notebook:Cowans of SWVA



Cowan Tapestry
Cowan Links

……………………..The Tapestry
Families Old Chester OldAugusta Germanna
New River SWVP Cumberland Carolina Cradle
The Smokies Old Kentucky



Link Needed

Cowan, David - 24 June 1785 Washington County. 264 a. on both sides of Mill Creek a South Branch of Clinch River

Grants R., p 146

Washington County, Virginia, Deed Book No. 1, page 33:

David Cowan and Wife, Jane, by deed dated Jany 30, 1786, recites...between David Cowan, late of the county of Washington, of the first part and Charles Bickley, of the other part, Conveys a tract of land on the waters of the Clinch River.

A certificate attached reads as follows:

This is to certify that we, David Craig and John Clack, two of the Justices of Sevier County, having received a Commission from the Court of Washington County to take examination of Jane Cowan have according to said Commission this fourth day April A D 1786 went to the house of David Cowan, husband of said Jane Cowan & c.


from "Patrick Porter, A Family Biography", by W.M. Willis:

Porter connection in the general area, but not in the immediate vicinity of Fall Creek include John Snoddy and the Cowan brothers. Snoddy (1739-1814) = Margaret Walker) owned Moore's Fort near Castle's Woods (63) and was one of the Commissioners of the Peace during the early years of the Castle's Woods community. William Cowan = Jane Walker (64) lived two miles below Moore's Fort on land acquired from David Gass (65). Samuel Cowan = Ann Walker acquired 254 acres of land on both sides of McKinney's Run (66). David Cowan settled on 264 acres on Mill Creek in 1774 (67). John Cowan settled on 235 acres of land on McKinney's Run (68). Both McKinney's Run and Mill Creek appear to be in the immediate vicinity of Castle's Woods, though they do not show as such on modern USGS surveys of the area. Moore's Fort in Castle's Woods, commanded at one time by John Snoddy (Patrick's brother-in-law, was the nearest such fort, and is the likely location where the Porter's and other's retreated. Cowan's Fort, on the land of David Cowan, was also in the Castle's Woods area, but was considerably smaller than Moore's Fort (71). Source:,_A_Family_Biography

From "Montgomery County, Indiana Biographies":

There were two forts in Castle’s Woods. The one on David Cowan’s land was called Cowan's Fort but in official correspondences it was referred to as Fort Russell because the commander of the militia there was Capt. William Russell. This fort was also called Fort Preston, Bickley's Fort, or Blackmore's Fort. ,[1] It was located behind the present-day Masonic Lodge Hall in Castlewood, Russell County, Virginia. The other fort, Moore's Fort, was the home and fort of two sisters and brothers-in-law of Samuel Cowan. It was a larger and more substantial fort. The brothers-in-law were first cousins to Ann Walker Cowan, sons of her aunt, Jane Walker Moore.

From post: Need link

Gordon Aronhime Papers - Southwest Virginia Card File - Library of Virginia

Cards 132 & 133
DAVID COWAN [Handwritten, difficult to read]
Born ----
Died ----
Wife: Jane (DB1, p.33)
08Apr1774 - 264A both sides Mill Creek, Plat _?_, p.72 06Jul1783 -
w/James Smith __ to govern road from Castlewood to El___ Gardner or Gordon - OB1, p. 73 Fincastle [Co.]
30Jan/Jun1786 - 264A land adj. "Porter's Line" to Charles Bickly 100 [pounds]. DB1, p.33
1786 - In Sevier Co, Tenn (18Apr1786) - DB1, p.33

FRONTIER FORTS OF SOUTHWEST VIRGINIA By Emory L. Hamilton From Historical Sketches of Southwest Virginia, Number 4, 1968, pages 1 to 26

Fort Preston. The fort that Russell named Fort Preston was on the lands of David Cowan in Upper Castlewood, (Russell Co., Va.) and stood just back of the present Masonic Lodge Hall. It was called Russell's Fort by some because it was here that Captain Russell had his military headquarters and used the fort also for personal shelter. It is also sometimes referred to as COWAN's Fort and later Charles Bickley bought the COWAN land and it was then called Bickley's Fort. A fort in this area was also called Bush's Fort and is probably this same fort, but some contend otherwise.


1. Patrick Porter, Sergeant 2. Lewis Green, Jr. 3. Robert Kilgore 4. James Alley 5. Charles Kilgore 6. Samuel Alley 7. Samuel Porter 8. Zachariah Green 9. John Alley 10. Alexander Montgomery, Sr. 11. Alexander Montgomery, Jr. 12. ANDREW COWAN 13. Frederick Friley 14. John Kinkead 15. John Barksdale 16. James Ozburn (Osborne) 17. Thomas Osburne 18. Nehemiah Noe (Draper Mss I XX 20 and I XX 24)


  1. A number of different names, including some not mentioned in this quote, were used at various times and circumstances for this fort. "Cowan's Fort" seems to have been used most frequently. The reference to this fort as "Blackmore's Fort" is incorrect. Blackmore's Fort was located well south of Castle's Woods, close to modern Clinchport, and was unrelated to Cowan's Fort.