Person:William Cowan (42)

William Cowan
  1. Abigail Cowan
  2. Margaret Cowan
  3. Jane Cowan
  4. John Cowan
  5. Henry Cowan
  6. Thomas Cowan - Bef 1775
  7. William CowanEst 1730 to 1738 - Abt 1790
  • HWilliam CowanEst 1730 to 1738 - Abt 1790
  • WSarah StewartBef 1742 - Aft 1807
m. 23 December 1759
  1. James Cowan1760 - 1825
  2. George Cowan1763 - 1855
  3. Sarah Cowan1770 -
  4. William Cowan
  5. Joseph W. Cowan
  6. Stewart Cowan
  7. Isaac Cowan
  8. Thomas Cowan
  9. Lydia Cowan
  10. Mary Cowan1779 -
  11. Moses CowanEst 1787 -
Facts and Events
Name William Cowan
Gender Male
Birth? est. 1730-1738 Lancaster County, Pennsylvania
Marriage 23 December 1759 Rowan County, North Carolinato Sarah Stewart
Death? abt. 1790 Wilkes County, Georgia


Cowan Tapestry
Cowan Links

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



YDNA. Pequea Creek Cowan Similarity Matrix, August 2012
Analysis. The children of William Cowan and Sarah Stewart, Wilkes County GA, after 1784

Estate Records

  • Cowan, William dec'd Sarah and Jas. Cowan app. admrs Apr. 4, 1791. Geo. Cowan, test. Called "Excrs of last will and testament of Wm. Cowan, dec'd"., they are ordered to appear at next term of court to say why they have not made returns. Signed Mar. 5, 1800. Bond of Robt. Jenkins to admr est of Wm. Cowan, dec'd Mar. 1, 1791. Benj. Allen, Sec. Martin Nalls, test. Returns of Jas. Cowan, admr in 1800. Paid sundry debts for the est but had lost some of the vouchers during the troublous times with the Indians. Received of Matthew Stewart $125.00, balance of cash on hand from sale of crops etc. James says his mother is so old and infirm she is not able to attend court. Notes of Wm. Cowan to Wm. McCree dated 1785, 1787 to be paid in corn, tobacco, cattle etc. Returns for 1801, nothing received or paid out. [Source: "Early Records of Georgia - Vol. 11, Wilkes County", abstracted and compiled by Grace Gillam Davidson, 1933].


From Terry Cowan fide John Cowan (August 2012 to WMWillis, personal communication)

John J. Cowan was a son of...Joseph W. Cowan who died in Limestone County, AL in 1832. Joseph was born probably about 1772 (a guesstimate) in Rowan County, NC, son of William Cowan and Sarah Stewart Cowan. He moved with parents to what is now Oglethorpe County, GA in 1785. Between 1801 and 1805, he joined the rest of the family in Jackson County, GA. Sometime between 1810 and 1820 he moved to Giles County, TN, on the border with AL. Apparently just prior to 1832, he relocated across the state line into Limestone County, AL where his sister Sarah Cowan Simpson lived. He died there in 1832, and there were documents filed concerning his estate. He left 8 surviving children: daughters Sarah Ross and Jane Johnston, and sons William Flemon, Joseph W., James M., John J., Elias L. and Harrison P. Cowan. At the time, 4 sons—James, John, Elias and Harrison were under age 21. Several of the sons moved into AR, and the oldest, William, moved from there to TX, settling first in Bell County and later in Mason County. His family is very well documented. Sister Jane remained in Limestone County. Sister Sarah moved into Tishomingo County, MS. She and husband, William H. Ross, were there in 1850, though they were in the southern part of the county while John J. Cowan was in the north. Still, I think it significant. In 1870, Alcorn and Prentiss Counties were carved off the west side of Tishomingo. Rienza and Jacinto are just barely into Alcorn County, just above the north boundary of Prentiss County. In 1870, Robert Ross, nephew of your John J. Cowan was living in Baldwyn, just a few miles south of Booneville, which is just a few miles south of Rienza. He died in the 1870s, but his wife, Sarah Ross, moved into Booneville. Also, there was a cousin of John J. Cowan and Sarah Cowan Ross living in the area. William Cowan Crockett, son of John Crockett and Mary Cowan Crockett settled there in the 1840s. He is buried in the Crockett Cemetery, a few miles out from Booneville (in Prentiss Co.), though he is said to have died in Alcorn County. Some of his children are buried in Booneville.
So, I am basing my theory on the fact that there was a John J. Cowan who was a son of a Joseph W. Cowan from TN who died in Limestone County, AL in 1832. The Cowans and Simpsons lived in far western Limestone County, just east of where the Elk River divides Limestone County from Lauderdale. Tishomingo is just the next county west from Lauderdale. Then in 1850, we find your John J. Cowan living in Tishomingo County, as well as Sarah Cowan Ross, a dauther of Joseph W. Cowan, and William Crockett Cowan, a nephew of Joseph W. Cowan. Once the new counties are formed in 1870, it is apparent that these Cowans, Rosses and Crocketts all lived in a tight geographical area.

From Tom Cowan August 2012 to WMWillis, personal communication)

Terry and I are descendant's of William and Sarah. Terry through Stewart and myself through Moses. You can check with Terry, but I don't believe that W & S bore a son named John J. They had 10 sons and 3 daughters. The only name I have been unable to determine is one of the daughters. According to my info there were no Johns in their children. There are Johns in each of the next two generations of mine, but one was John Stuart (from William J. son of Moses) born in 1852. The other John was born sometime between 1812 and 1818 (from Moses). Not much is know about him. Neither, of which fits your timeline. Keep in mind that when William relocated to NC, he was not alone. Perhaps one of his other siblings had a son named John J. I don't have a clear breakdown of their names. Just through my direct lineage. Terry, I'm sure, has far more info than I do. I agree, though, that it is worth exploring.

From Terry Cowan, personal commiunication to WMWILLIS

There is no hard proof that William Cowan was son of John the immigrant. Here is what we do have:
Each of the 3 immigrant brothers had a son named William (per their wills.)
Immigrant William, Sr.’s son, William, Jr. (1741-1806), married his cousin Ann Jenkins, and his life and descendants are well documented in Rowan County, NC records.
Immigrant David, Jr.’s son, William (1742-1814) lived out his life in Lancaster and Chester County, PA, and his life is indisputably recorded in those counties.
Immigrant John’s son, William, was alive at the time of his father’s will in 1758 and his mother’s will in 1775. In the 1758 will, the farm was divided between sons Thomas and Henry who remained on the land, whereas sons John, Jr. and William received nominal sums. This was often the case where some sons were already provided for and/or they had moved on to the frontier, never to return. This seems to be the case with John, Jr. and William, sons of John Cowan the immigrant.
Just looking at the document alone, it would seem that John, Jr. and William Cowan were probably far removed from Lancaster County by 1758.
John Cowan, Jr. was in NC by 1750.
We do not know when my William arrived there, other than he married there in 1759 and purchased a large tract of land in 1760.
The question is this: if my William (c.1734-1789) was not son of John and Elizabeth of Lancaster County, then who was his father? The question put another way: if my William (c.1734-1789) was not son of John and Elizabeth, then where was this son? Finally, there is this: In 1962, my granddad (b.1885) penned a short outline of the family to my cousin. He spoke of his great-grandfather, his great-great-grandfather, his 3rd great-grandfather and his 4th great-grandfather. Unfortunately, he didn’t write down their actual names (which added about 20 years to my research), except for the immigrant ancestor. The name of that man? He said it was John Cowan. Also, there is no more hard evidence to connect John Cowan the Gunsmith of Rowan County (John, Jr. in my designation above) to John the Immigrant than there is to connect my William to John the Immigrant. If we disallow William, we must disallow John the gunsmith, and I am afraid the howls of outrage from Rowan County would be too much to bear ;)