Person:Andrew Cowan (32)

Andrew Cowan
Facts and Events
Name Andrew Cowan
Gender Male
Birth[2] 1742
Marriage 1763 to Ann
Death[1] 6 Nov 1786 Abbeville, Abbeville, SC


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Document. Abstract of will of Andrew Cowan, 1786, Abbeville, SC
Person:Andrew Cowan (38)


Andrew Cowan first appears in the records of Old 96 District in South Carolina, in 1773, when he secured a 300 acre Bounty Land Grant in Boonesborough Township. Boonesboro Township was established 10 years earlier to serve as a buffer between the settlements of eastern South Carolina, and the Cherokee Indians to the west. Many of the settlers of the township were immigrants from Ireland who were solicited by merchant groups, to whom the Colonial government paid a monetary bounty. This program ended in 1768. Andrew Cowan does not appear in the lists of immigrants who secured land under the terms of this arrangement. Nonetheless, Andrew referred to his his land as "Bounty Land". This may, or may not, indicate that he came to the area prior to the end of the Bounty program. The parcel that he obtained was substantially larger than most of the parcels in Boonesborough Township. This may indicate that he obtained the land under other terms of agreement than that of the Bounty program, and may indicate that he was not in fact an immigrant.

Andrew wrote his will in 1783, naming his wife Ann, and children John, William, Isaac, Mary, Ann, Elizabeth and Leaney. Some of these children were probably underage at Andrews death, as indicated by the fact that he refers to their guardian in his will.


Image:YDNA R1b.jpgSullivan County Cowans

Two individuals, claiming descent from Andrew Cowan, (Kits 104481, and 109152) of FTDNA's Cowan YDNA project, have been assigned to Suillivan County B subgroup. The relationship between many of the kits in this subgroup is unclear, and may not reflect the existence of a common ancestor in the relatively recent past. Kits 104481, and 109152, however, are clearly closely related, and it is reasonable that they share Andrew Cowan as a common ancestor.


From William R. Cowan January, 2014, personal communication, including photocopies of original land records.

1. Bounty Grant, 6 February 1773, 300 acres Granville County, Boonesborough Township, bounded on the southeast by land of William Rose. Surveyed 11 January 1773.

2. Purchase 21 January 1785, for 3 pounds, ten shillings, 150 acres, Ninety Six District, on Parke Creek, waters of Savannah River, survey recorded 17 January 1784.

3. Survey 14 June 1785, 76 acres on "Creek Waters of Savannah River" adjacent his own land, and that of James Seawright.

Image:Andrew Cowan lands in Boonesborough Township, Old 96 District, South Carolina, 1773-1785.jpg.


William R. Cowan has provided has provided considerable information on various Cowan records for the area relevant to his ancestors in Boonesborough township near Abbeville. Andrew Cowan first appears in Boonesborough Township records in 1773 when he secures a 300 acre parcel which he later refers to as his "Bounty Lands". That presumably means this parcel was obtained under the terms of state legislation designed to bring new immigrants to the area beginning about 1761. The problem of this interpretation is that this program is said to have ended in 1768. Yet the documentation that William provided (Grant transaction) refers to the land as "Bounty".

Does it mean that Andrew was an Immigrant (presumably from Ireland, as were others who settled in Boonesborough TWP) or does it mean that he was simply an immigrant from some other colony?

A Compilation of the Original Lists of Protestant Immigrants to South Carolina, 1763-1773 available on Ancestry that purports to document the protestant immigrants from Ireland who took advantage of the Bounty program. It does not mention Andrew, though it does make reference to a Robert Cowan who arrived as an immigrant on the ship Lord Dunlace, as recorded in the Council Journal, January 6 1773. Robert is in fact the only Cowan so identified in this work.

p. 121 et seq, gives

The following persons who had lately arrived from Ireland into this province in the ship Lord Dunluce presented petitions for warrants of survey agreeable to their Respective Famly rights, vizt [sic] a [very long list of names, including Robert Cowan.] ….. Ordered that the Secretary do prepared [sic] warrants of survey as prayed for the petitioners

So the state was clearly still granting bounty land to immigrants as late as 1773.

The forward to this work states that "The immigrants listed in this volume were Protestant refugees who came to South Carolina on the encouragement of an Act …[of]1761 called the Bounty Act. So despite some indications to the contrary, the Bounty act was still alive and well in 1773, and Andrew apparently a recipient of its benefits, despite the fact that he was not listed in the work being quoted.

Perhaps his records were simply missing. Or perhaps the courts weren't all that careful. It might still be that he came from elsewhere in the colonies, but available evidence suggests that Andrew was indeed the immigrant ancestor of this line. His YDNA matches (as well as one cans say something matches for t his group) the Sullivan County line. His relationship to them is something for further research.

  1. This is the will date. See:Document. Abstract of will of Andrew Cowan, 1786, Abbeville, SC. The estate was probated 7 May 1789. Andrew presumably died between these two dates.
  2. Place of birth is sometimes given as Abbeville SC. This seems too early for settlement in the area. Also, Andrew may have immigrated about 1773 since he received bounty land in that year in Boonesbrough Township, usually given to immigrants under the Bounty Act of 1761.