Person:Margaret Cowan (16)

Margaret Cowan
b.est. 1694
  • HJohn GassEst 1690 - 1734
  • WMargaret Cowanest 1694 - aft 1758
m. c.1728
  1. Capt. David Gass1729 - 1806
  • HWilliam MagillABT 1690 - BET 1749
  • WMargaret Cowanest 1694 - aft 1758
m. aft. 1745
Facts and Events
Name Margaret Cowan
Gender Female
Birth? est. 1694
Marriage c.1728 Lancaster, PAto John Gass
Marriage aft. 1745 prob. Augusta County, Virginiato William Magill
Death? aft. 1758 prob. Augusta County, Virginia



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Notebook:Information on Margaret Cowan et alia, c1734
Document:Will of John Gass, Lancaster, PA, 1734
Document:Will of William Magill, Augusta, VA. 1749


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Margaret is generally said to have been born in 1694, probably in Ireland. The identity of her parents is not known, but are probably numbered among the Pequea Creek Cowans or Octoraro Creek Cowans. She is believed to have married John Gass in Lancaster County about 1728, as the only confirmed child of this couple, person:David Gass (1), is said to have been born in 1729.(Original source documentation for these data are needed.) . [1]

John and Margaret probably lived close to the Donegal Presbyterian Meetinghouse, near Mt. Joy, Lancaster, on the east side of the Susuquehannah. According to one source [2]

James Cunningham was one of the pioneers who settled near Donegal meeting-house in 1723. He took up several hundred acres of land adjoining the glebe land on the north. On the 10th day of March, 1730, he sold to John Gass, whose executors, in 1736, sold to William McClelland and Michael McCleery, who, in 1739, sold to James Kerr, who sold to Andrew Kerr, William Wilson, and William Kerr.

It seems likely that Margarets parents were living in this area at the time of marriage.

Shortly before his death John Gass obtained a Blunston license of land in what is now Cumberland County. [2]

25 Feb. 1734 Blunston Licenses 1733/34, Lancaster County, Pennsylvania - John Gass, 250 acres. No Survey returned. On the South side of the Conedogwainet about three miles above the Mouth of Letort Spring.
25 Feb. 1734 Blunston Licenses 1733/34, Lancaster County, Pennsylvania - March 2nd, for the use of Minister, 300 acres. No Survey returned. Between the tracts of John Gass and John Davis.
11 Mar. 1734 Blunston Licenses 1733/34, Lancaster County, Pennsylvania - John Gass, 150 acres, Assigned to Wm. Miller. No survey returned. On the North side of the Conedogwainet to be bounded to the Westwd with John Garner.

While the second license ("for the use of the Minister") may be in the Mt. Joy area, near Donegal Meeting House, the other two license' are clearly in what is now Cumberland County.

John died soon after the licenses were issued,. In his will he stipulates that he wished to be buried in the Donegal Cemetery. This may indicate that they couple had recently moved to the Conodoguinet area, and that with death imminent, John sought comfort in being buried in familiar surroundings. Whether this happened or not is not known, as a gravestone for him is not found in the Donegal Meeting House cemetery. Interestingly, soon after John's death Margaret Gass secured a warrant for land on the north side of Conodoguinet Creek. This may be one of the parcels for which John secured a Blunston license. The entry for this warrant in the PA Archives, does not show that the land was ever surveyed.


  1. The number of children which John and Margaret had is unknown. In his will Johnrefers to "my three older children" at the time of his death. Given that he had only been married to Margaret for six years, it seems likely that this refers to children by a previous marriage. Two of these children by this presumed marriage are believed to be Isabella and Henry Gass, but the identity of the third child are not known.
  2. 2.0 2.1 Intermediate sources attribute this to Source:Ellis and Evans, 1883, but the record could not be found in that work. Note also that some sources describe Donegal Presbyterian as near modern Hershey, PA