Person:James Cowan (13)

James Cowan, of Beverley Manor
d. unknown unknown
  • HJames Cowan, of Beverley ManorABT 1719 -
  • WUnknownBef 1721 -
m. Abt. 1738
  1. John Cowan1739 - 1792
  2. Andrew Cowan1742 -
  3. Mary Cowan1743-1748 -
  4. James Cowanest 1745 - bef 1815
Facts and Events
Name James Cowan, of Beverley Manor
Gender Male
Birth[1] ABT 1719 County Down, Ireland
Death[2] unknown unknown
Marriage Abt. 1738 Poss. Chester County, Pennsylvaniato Unknown

James Cowan was one of the Early Settlers of Augusta County, Virginia


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Source:Fleming, 1971:315 et seq.
Data. Cowan's in Chalkley's Chronicles, name ordered
Cowan Baptisms by Rev. John Craig, 1740-1749


Acquisition of Land from Chalkley's:

Image:CowanJamesBeverleyManorSW.JPG Image:Property of Andrew, William, John, and James Cowan, Beverley Manor Oct 2014.jpg

James Cowan's land (Beverley Manor SW, 375 acres, acquired from John Buchanan on 18 February 1746) as shown on the map meticulously drawn by J.R. Hildebrand, cartographer. This map is copyrighted©, used by permission of John Hildebrand, son of J.R. Hildebrand, April, 2009.

Acquisition of Land from Chalkley's:

  • Page 177.—18th February, 1746. John Buchanan, yeoman, to James Cowan, £18.10.0 current money Virginia; 374 acres in B. M. in Patrick Campbell's line; Reed and Moor's land; Col. Patton's land. Witnesses, Andrew Cowen, Robert Foyle, James Trimble. Acknowledged, 18th February, 1746. (Note: this was part of the 784 acre tract in Beverley Manor that he had received in 1741)

Disposition of Land from Chalkley's:

  • Page 485.--19th November, 1778. James Cowan, of Rockingham, to Anthony Gholston. Delivered: Stephen Beck, May, 1780. (Note: location and number of acres not listed).

Augusta Records

From Chalkley's:

  • Vol. 1 - SEPTEMBER, 1747. - Hughes vs. Sawyers and Cowan.--We jointly and severally promise to pay William Hughes, etc., for value received January 1, 1746, and when said money is paid, said Hughes is to return to William Sawyers one silver watch which he leaves in his hands to counter secure the aforesaid sum. (Signed) William Sawyers, James Cowan. Test, Andrew Kenny. Received from William Hughes, after the perfection of the above note, Capt. John Smith's note, payable to Patrick Dowdall, deceased, for £1, which sum I promise to pay said Hughes, or order, on demand, or return the said note. Witness my hand. (Signed) William Sawyers. January 1, 1746.
  • Vol. 1 - 1750 - Petition for road from Joseph Kennedy's mill by Francis Beaty's, thence to join the Landing Road and Court House Road above James Cowan's.
  • Page 275.--15th September, 1750. John Greer's nuncupative will--Debts to be paid to William Long, William Nul, John Kennedy, Nathaniel Patterson; son Alexander to be bound to a trade; one child to be bound to John Mitchell; one child to be bound to S D; oldest girl to go to some descent woman to learn housewifery. Executors, John Mitchell and Samuel Doak. Teste: James Cowin, Jno. Mitchell, Saml. Doak, Francis Beatey. Proved, 28th November, 1750, by Cowin and Beatey.
  • Page 272.--20th March, 1752. John Buchanan, miller, to Samuel Braford, planter, 410 acres. In Beverley Manor on head Christian's Creek; corner James Cowan. Patrick Campbell's line; John Mitchel's corner Teste: Charles Campbell, John Kerr.
  • Page 323.--14th August, 1759. Martlia Mitchell's appraisement, by John Mitchell, Jas. Cowan, Wm. Ledgerwood.
  • Page 102.--10th November, 1761. Wm. Reed's estate, appraised by James Cowin, Thos. Brown, Andrew Alexander.
  • Page 377.--17th April, 1769. Thomas Vance and Jenat ( ) to John Campbell, £35, 148 acres on North Branch of James; corner Mr. Thomas Vance's plantation. Teste: James Cowan, John Alison, Charles Campbell, John Shields, Jr. Delivered: Thos. Vance, 26th July, 1774.
  • Page 21.--16th August, 1769. John Campbell to Arthur Campbell, £100, 240 acres called the Royal Oak, on Holston or Indian River, patented to John Buchanan, gent., 22d August, 1753, and conveyed to John Campbell, 2d March, 1769. Teste: Pat. and Alex. Buchanan, James Cowan. Delivered David Campbell, May, 1771.
  • Vol. 1 - MARCH, 1770 (E). - Cowan vs. Cowan.--Letter of Andrew Cowan to David Cowan, living in Albemarle, dated January 13, 1766. Loving Brother: This comes to let you know that we are all in good health at present, blessed be God for his mercies. Hoping that these few lines will find you in the same, I desire that you will go to James Cowan's and ask him for a note of mine that lies in my little trunk--a note of 2 pounds and five shillings, which William Teas(?) is due me against March 25, and get the money, for I am going to Carolina. I have nothing material to write you, but desire to be remembered to you all. (Note: the Andrew and David Cowan listed in this record are likely the brothers of this James Cowan).
  • Page 483.--11th December, 1770. James Robinson's will, yeoman--To sons, George and David, plantation (bounded by widow Black's field); to wife, Jane; to oldest son, William; to son, James, to son, Joseph; to son, John; to daughter, Sarah McMullan. Executors, James Cowan, Samuel Hunter. Teste: John Black, John Wilson, Wm. Campbell. Proved, 20th August, 1776, by John Black, and on 18th March, 1777, by Wilson.
  • Page 292.--25th May, 1771. Mary ( ) Edmiston, of Philadelphia Penna., widow, one of the devisees named in will of David Moore, of Virginia, deceased, to Samuel Hunter, yeoman, £17, on head waters of Christie's Creek in Beverley Manor adjoining lands of William Thompson, James Cowan, William Hays and Robert Wilson, 94-1/2 acres. Teste: William Hutcheson, John Adudell, James Alexander, Benjamin McMechan, Alexander ( ) Thompson.
  • Page 3.--17th February, 1778 (March?). Recorded. John Hays' appraisement by Robert Wilson, Wm. Thompson, Thomas Shields, James Cowan.


Glover Family History (this is largely based on Fleming, 1971, and is largely undocumented, unconfirmed, and its accuracy is doubtful. It is likely that data for two separate persons (at least) is combined in Fleming's work, and what is presented before is a mix of information for those persons.


James Cowan was born around 1719 and most likely in County Down, Ireland. This would mean he was a very small child when he emigrated from Ireland with his six brothers and settled in Chester County Pennsylvania. The writer believes, that for children this young to cross the Atlantic, they must have had parents along. There were other unidentified Cowans living in Pennsylvania at this time, but enough information to tie the seven brothers to parents hasn't been found.

James is found paying taxes in Chichester Township in Chester County, Pennsylvania for 1739. All the Cowans did not remain in Pennsylvania, for in 1750, six of the seven immigrants were living in Augusta County, Virginia. Author F. B. Kegley in KEGLEY'S VIRGINIA FRONTIER supplies the following:

1. James Cowan was an early settler in Beverly Manor, receiving 374 acres there between 1747 and 1750.
2. Samuel and Andrew Cowan were also living in Augusta County.
3. James Cowan had left Augusta County sometime between 1758 and 1768.
4. Andrew Cowan was not living there in October 1765.
5. James Cowan could have lived for awhile in Albermarle County.

James Cowan's first wife, whom he married in Pennsylvania and whose name is unknown, died sometime during his residency in Virginia. They had three children:

John, who was born in 1739, probably in Chester County, Pennsylvania.
Andrew, who was born in 1742, probably in Chester County, Pennsylvania or Augusta County, Virginia.
Mary, her birth date would have to have been before 1748 and most likely in Augusta County, Virginia.

It's recorded that two of James Cowan's children were baptized at Tinkling Spring Presbyterian Church in Augusta County, Virginia in 1746 and 1748. These were Andrew and Mary and are of the correct age to be siblings of James' son, John Cowan. Their true relationship is open to speculation.

John Cowan later played an important roll in South Carolina and became the progenitor of thousands.

James Cowan, along with at least his son John, and brother, Andrew, moved into Old Ninety Six District South Carolina in the late 1760's.


In the late 1760's some of the immigrant Cowan brothers moved from the Great Valley of Virginia into Old Ninety Six District, South Carolina. James Cowan, his son John by his deceased wife, and John's wife, Margaret, were among those to make the move. The immigrant, Andrew apparently moved there for a time, but it appears he and all the brothers except James, went back to Southwest Virginia.

Another significant family moving into South Carolina at this time was the Michael Woods family. They had been living in the same area of Virginia as the Cowan brothers.

On December 24, 1767, James Cowan married Hannah, the sister of Michael Woods Jr. on the same day Michael married his second wife.

- it appears that the James Cowan that married Hannah Woods was James Cowan, Jr., and not Sr.

James and Hannah probably had four children:

James Hiram John Drusilla

All were born in Old 96 District, South Carolina.

James Cowan's name appears on maps of the Revolutionary War era for that part of South Carolina. He accumulated over 600 acres of land and was still living as late as 1798, for he received a tract of land that year. The Census of 1810 listed his wife, Hannah, as a Head of Household. He had died sometime between 1798 and 1810.

  1. Places of birth and death are totally speculative. So far, no evidence has been found to confirm this wide acepted datum. Source for this seems to be "Cowans of County Down" source:Fleming, 1971, but what evidence Fleming Cowans of County Down evidence to support this date is a circular argument, based on the unsupported idea that the Seven Brother Cowans came to America with the Wigton Walkers. The only source for the arrival of the Walkers in America is Source:White, 1902, and that work makes no mention of the Cowan's coming over with the Walkers. It might be that the Cowan's did in fact come with the Walkers, but we have no direct evidence to support that.
  2. Fleming's Cowans of County Down identifies this James Cowan as the one who moved to Old 96 SC c.1767, and who married second Hannah Woods day of Archibald Woods. He gives his DOB as 1719, and his DOD as 1798 to 1810. While there was a James Cowan who married Hannah Woods in Old 96, there's no obvious reason to believe that he's the same person as owned land on Beverley's Manor. While there's a record showing that a James Cowan did leave the area about 1767, there are other records to show that a person by this name remained in Old Augusta as late as 1789, and certainly after 1767. See Data. Cowan's in Chalkley's Chronicles, name ordered