Person:Robert Cowan (10)

Robert Cowan, of Jefferson County
  • HRobert Cowan, of Jefferson County1746 - Bet 1789 & 1797
  • WSusannah Woods1751 - 1836
m. Est 1766
  1. Susan CowanEst 1766 - 1836
  2. John Finley CowanEst 1768 - 1837
  3. David CowanEst 1770 -
  4. Andrew Cowan1772 - Abt 1840
  5. Robert Cowan1776 - 1841
  6. Dorcas CowanAbt 1778 -
  7. Samuel Cowan1780 - Abt 1851
  8. William CowanAbt 1782 -
Facts and Events
Name Robert Cowan, of Jefferson County
Gender Male
Birth[2] 1746
Marriage Est 1766
to Susannah Woods
Death[1] Bet 1789 and 1797 Jefferson, Tennessee, United States


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This page is for Robert Cowan who lived in northeastern Tennessee about the time of the Revolution, and married Susannah Woods, daughter of Michael Woods Jr of Botetourt. Descendants of this Robert Cowan who have taken the YDNA test, share a YDNA signature with the Seven Brothers Core subgroup of the Seven Cowan Brothers Group. This Robert Cowan is sometimes identified as being born in Lunenburg County, VA. That is not consistent with what is known of the history of the Seven Brothers Core There is a second Robert Cowan about this time in this same general area, but a bit to the north in Sullivan County TN. Descendants of this Robert Cowan show a common YDNA signature with a group known as the Sullivan County Cowans. Data for the two Robert Cowans is frequently intermixed in modern genealogies, and care needs to be exercised when dealing with these persons.


Robert in Botetourt
Extracts from Chalkely's
Robert in Jefferson
Ancestry Trees
Robert Cowan=Susannah Woods
Person:Robert Cowan (10)
Person:Susannah Woods (6)
Person:Michael Woods (1)
Person:Michael Woods (2)
Sons of Robert
Vita for Susannah
Vita for Robert
Robert Cowan Family Vita
Data. Land Records for Robert Cowan (10)
Analysis. DOD for Robert Cowan of Jefferson County


Robert Cowan is said to have married Person:Susannah Woods (1), daughter of Person:Michael Woods (2) and Ann Lambert, by the year 1776 when her father identifies his daughter as "Susannah Cown" in his will. [3]Michael (2) previously lived in Albemarle County, VA, near a kinsman Person:Michael Woods (1), but moved to a parcel in Botetourt County about 1762. [4]

Robert is commonly said to have been born in Lunenburg County, VA. This seems unlikely, given the association with the Woods family of Ablemarle/Bedford/Augusta Counties of VA, and links to various members of the Seven Cowan Brothers YDNA group, who are also associated with the Woods Family in of Ablemarle/Bedford/Augusta Counties of VA. There may have been a Robert Cowan in Lunenburg County, but direct evidence that this is where Robert (10) came from is absent, and mitigates against the Robert of Lunenburg being the same person.

Susannah is commonly said to have been born in 1751, but documentation for this DOB has not been found. If her DOB was indeed 1751, than we can presume that the marriage occurred well after the move of her parents to Botetourt County. This implies that Robert's family was living in or close to that area. [5] See, however: DOB Analysis

Note 1

There is much conflicting information on this Robert Cowan. Some sources claim that his marriage date to Susannah Woods is 1775, but that would have been AFTER the birthdates of three of persons sometimes identified as his children. Also, based upon Susannah Woods' birthdate in 1751 (which also has conflicting dates), she would have been too young to have been the mother of at least one of these children. Some speculate that he had a previous marriage, a fact not particularly consistent with his commonly cited 1746 DOB. Obviously, more research is necessary to sort it out.

This Robert Cowan has been identified as a son of Samuel Cowan and Ann Walker, but based upon Robert's birthdate and the birthdate of Ann Walker, it appears she would have been too young to have been this Robert's mother. (She could have been no more than approximately 12 years old at this Robert Cowan's birth. Moreover, Samuel and Ann are believed to have not married until about 1763, and their eldest was was John Cowan, who was not yet of age by about 1783 when Robert (10) already has a near adult.

From posts:

From: Rosemary Ramsey Cox Subject: Re: [COWAN-L] Cowan Tibits - Items to file Date: Tue, 22 Jul 2003 18:30:28 EDT

... John Cowan who was at Harrods very early....John and James Cowan who were at Harrods. John Cowan kept a diary which is often referred to. I believe there is quite a bit of information about him available. Carolyn said she has information that James Cowan a brother to this John was a surveyor and was killed by Indians about 1774 while trying to dry his papers which had gotten wet in a storm. If anyone knows anything more about this James Cowan....

Note 2

From Laura Cowan Cooper, on Cowan List

[Seeking]... info on Caption John Cowan's Journal dated 1777 - it appears to be about the time that Harrod's Fort in Kentucky was about 3 years old and this John Cowan is called one of the early settlers of Harrods Town. It talks about Squire Boone and Jared Cowan arriving and then Boonesborough - there is mention of Fincastle County, VA so... it ties into the early settling of Kentucky. Laura Cowan Cooper

Note 3

From Thelma Cowan, 25 April 2014--personal communication

…[O]ne of Robert Cowan's descendants, William McRight Owen, for membership in "Sons of the American Revolution." I obtained this in 2000 at their Library. in Washington D.C.. The date was Dec 21, 1915.

National Number #26772, Robert Cowan, born in Scotland and died in Virginia. Mr. Owen states he was born in Lawerence Co. Alabama in 18 ?_. He is the son of William Pitts Owen, who was born 1838, died 1907, and his wife Martha Wert. She was b 1840, died 1906. Mr. Owen was the grandson of Michael Wert, b 1814, d 1893 and Esther Caroline Cowan, b 1820, d 1903. Mr. Owen stated he was the great-grandson of Samuel Cowan, b1780 , d _., and his wife Mary Dicson, b 1783, d _, married in 1803, Franklin TN.. Then to continue, Mr. Owen gave his last information as the great-great-grandson of Robert Cowan (blank) and his wife Susan Woods (blank).

Information follows that Robert enlisted March 6, 1778 as private in Capt John Steeds Company Forth Virginia Regt, commanded by Capt Neville. He was mustard out because of ill health on Feb. 16, 1779. There was mention of children, Andrew, John, Robert, two daughters mentioned but no names for them. Then Samuel (born 1780, died ?) married 1803?.


From Chalkley’s Augusta County Records:

  • Delinquents, Augusta County Levy for 1779: Robert Cowden, gone to Holstein. (Note: this record is likely be for Robert Cowan (10).The "Holstein" is presumably a reference to the Holston River, which flows south from Southwest Virignia, eventually discharging into the Tennessee River in Tennessee. Robert (10) lived in the Tennesse portion of the Holston Watershed.
  1. See: Analysis. DOD for Robert Cowan of Jefferson County
  2. POB is sometimes given as Lunenburg County, VA. This seems to be an improbable POB for someone this early in the Seven Cowan Brothers YDNA Group
  3. Robert is commonly identified as Susannah's husband. While we know from her father's will that she married a Cowan, direct evidence beyond "common knowledge", is needed to confirm that his first name was Robert."
  4. This is about the time of death of Michael Woods (1) and the relocation of his son Archibald and others to the Savannah River area, in SC. Many identified Michael 2 as a son of Michael (1), but the latter is not mentioned in the formers will, and this identification appears to be a confusion.
  5. On the otherhand, the Woods family was connected to various Cowan lines, and if Michael (2) was indeed related to these other Woods family (probablly true), then its possible that the intoduction of Susannah and Robert came though other family connections; in those circumstances it would not be necessary for Robert to be living near Michael (2) in Botetourt County.