Transcript:Family History of Hugh Cowan, 1669-aft1749




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Intermediate Source:Rootsweb
Original Source:William Cowan (1779 - 1841), Cowan Genealogy (ca. 1700 - 1903)

Transcribers Notes

The original item was written by WIlliam Cowan in 1820, and others up to 1903. It was in the possession of Mary Brainard who transcribed the original notebook. The transcription (and perhaps the notebook itself) was sent to the Family History center in 1988 and microfilmed in 1992. The notebook was transcribed by Laura Cowan Cooper. Her notes:

Microfilm of a transcript done by Mary Allen Braniard of a notebook or diary kept by William Cowan in 1820 with additions by other descendants up to 1903. This was typed out to be 10 leaves. It was sent to the Family History Center after 1988 and was filmed in 1992. There was a letter that told the church about the information as well as the permission form. The original notebook was of course all done by hand in 1820 and was written in the present tense. The letter states that the grandson of one of the original settlers that had emigrated from Northern Ireland wrote it. This notebook was in the hands of Mary Brainard, 15098 Cameo Drive, North Sun City, Arizona 85351.


Person:Hugh Cowan (4) of Octoraro Creek


Cowan Genealogy (ca. 1700 - 1903) Author: William Cowan (1779 - 1841)

While on a visit to my father and family in August 1820 at their residence in West Moreland County, Pennsylvania I obtained from him most of the particulars contained in the following brief history of his and my Mother's family. The dates are from his memory and the family records and are believed to correct. What relates to myself from the time of my father's second marriage is from my own recollection. Signed in his own handwriting
Wm Cowan, Jr.

My grandfather, Hugh Cowan, native of North Ireland immigrated to America about 1700 then about 21 years of age. After his arrival, he settled in Chester County, Pennsylvania about 40 miles west of Philadelphia on what is now the Great Western Turnpike Road. There he took up a large track of land on part of which he resided until the time of his death.

He here married Ann Matthews a native of Pennsylvania. By this marriage, he had four children; namely James, John, Jane, and Joseph. His wife afterwards dying, he married Mary Davidson, a native of Ireland about 17 years of age. I am not informed in what years these marriages or the deaths of his wives or his own death happened. By his last marriage, my grandfather had twelve children. Namely, Elizabeth, Mathias, Mary, Ann, Kitty (died in infancy), David, Sally, Kitty, William (my father born December 1749), Susan, Margaret, and Hannah (twins). [Margaret and Hannah were twins.]

Concerning these Children

  • Joseph married in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania, where he resided until his death. His descendents mostly reside in that part of Pennsylvania.
  • Mary married Robert Cowan a native of Ireland. They had a number of children, which I believe reside mostly in the western part of PA.
  • Ann married William Ewing a native of Ireland. They had only one child, which died in infancy.
  • William, my father, married my mother, Isabella Henderson in Lancaster in Chester County, the 9th of April 1771. They had seven children. Namely:
a boy and girl twins who lived but a few days,
Hugh born 21st. December 1772,
Daniel born 15th. April 1775,
Mary born 21st July 1777,
William (myself) born 10th November 1779 in Shippensburg, PA.
One other child born, stillborn, 1782.

My mother, Isabella Cowan died January 1785 - age 44 years.

On the 17th November [1786?]], my father married Mary Wilson a widow with one child. This marriage took place in Chambersburg, Pennsylvania where my father then resided. By this marriage they have eight children:

Rachel, born 19th.Sept 1785 married John W. Clain [Note by MB, I can't read this name very well, but think this is correct.] Susan, born 13th April 1791 married Abraham Lewis. ::Thomas born 10th. August 1792 married Margaret Young 1820.
John born the 13th. March 1796 married ______ in 1817.
Isabella, born 18th. December 1798 married John Campbell 1818.
Maria, born 15 April 1805
[also says Wilson born 9 June 1801] [here a note has been added in another handwriting saying to see note] married David Markle 1821.

My brother Hugh learned the saddlers trade with a Mr. Regan (?) of Haggerstown. He died April 1794. Daniel was first apprentice to a John Scott a Watchmaker and Clockmaker of Chambersburg. He died the 15 of December 1793 or 98 [unreadable]. Both died the 24-year of their age with consumption. Neither of them were ever married. My sister, Mary, married Samuel Morrison of Lycoming, PA afterwards they moved to the state of Ohio where they still reside and have four children.

As respects myself, I lived at home with my father until Oct 1795 when I was put apprentice with John Scott of Chambersburg, Watch and Clockmaker with whom my brother Daniel had been put apprentice and was still living.

In May 1796 Danielís time having expired he went to Philadelphia and New York where he remained until Spring 1798 when he returned to Chambersburg about six months before his death. I continued with John Scott and his nephew Alexander Scott who succeeded his Uncle in the business until Nov 1800 when I was 21 years of age. Afterwards continued in his employ until Nov of that year _______. Having previously made an engagement with William W. _______ (can't read the name - MB) to come to Virginia. I left Haggerstown about the middle of November and traveled to Baltimore partly on foot availing myself occasionally of wagons on the road. On board one of which I arrived in Baltimore after three days journey. After remaining in Baltimore two or three days, I embarked on of a packet to where I arrived after passage of two days. At Norfolk, I remained two or three days and took passage aboard a Schooner to Richmond. When I arrived on the 29 or 30 of November 1801.

I continued in the employ of William McCay till the latter part of April 1803 at which time I removed to Fredricksburg, Virginia where I commenced business on my own account. I continued in Fredricksburg until November following. When not finding business to answer my expectations I returned to Richmond on the 30th and recommenced business with William McCay and on the 8th.Dec 1803 was married to Sarah Banister Henderson. On the 1st of March 1804, I commenced business on my own account in a house one door below the Eagle Tavern where I continued to do business till the 25th. November 1805, at which time I entered into partnership with William McCay and removed to the house he occupied. This partnership continued until 15th. September 1807 when it was dissolved by mutual consent. On the 1st day of January 1808 I removed to the house owned and occupied by Captain William Richardson a Silversmith and jeweler where I have continued to reside until this present time.

Our children are Mary Henderson Cowan born November 1804, Sarah H. C. born 6th 1806, Isabella V.N..C. 6th Oct 1809, Jane E. H. C. born 15th. December 1811, Pamela H. C. born 7th June 1814, Charlotte H. C. born 15th. April 1817, William H. C. born 16th. February 1819.

All my father's children, except Mary Morrison, myself, and Wilson (who lived with me from August 1814 to June 1822 at which time he went to GA and SC thence to Island of Cuba) are living in PA.

Sometime after my father's marriage (first) he moved to the town of Shippensburg in Cumberland County. It was here that I was born. Here he resided during the Revolutionary War where he received a Captain's Commission and commanded a company of militia where he preformed a six monthís tour of duty in the cause of his county in 1776. He afterwards preformed a second tour of duty for six months at a subsequent period of the War. From Shippensburg, my father moved to Franklin County in the neighborhood of Chambersburg where my Mother died. He moved to Chambersburg in 1785 and was married in the same year. He resided in Chambersburg till the autumn of 1788 where he removed to Shippensburg where in its neighborhood he resided until autumn of 1801, when he removed to the County of Westmoreland Pennsylvania where he and most of his children continue to reside.