William COWAN

On page vii of COWAN Connections, © 1994, by Michael S. Cole, M.D., are these two paragraphs:
      "There is no known proven list of children for Samuel and Sarah (KEITH) COWAN. The list used is based on what COWAN genealogists have accepted for many years. From my research I have no doubt that Riley, Eli, and Stephen COWAN were sons of Samuel and Sarah. I believe the evidence is compelling to count James Harvey and John Borden COWAN as sons. Though the tradition has been held for quite some time now, I have seen nothing to convince me that William and Samuel C. COWAN were sons of Samuel and Sarah. These two are included in this book because nothing has surfaced to prove that they were not sons of Samuel and Sarah.
      "Evidence is accumulating that a different William COWAN was very possibly a son of Samuel and Sarah. He was born about 1812 in Tennessee. He married Sarah HICKEY circa 1833 in McNairy Co., TN. He died in the 1850's in Texas. He can be found in the census records of 1836 Tishomingo Co., MS; 1840 Franklin Co., AL; and 1850 Titus Co., TX."

On page 2, following William COWAN (c.1801-1865) one can find "There is no PROOF for his parents' names."

The same thing follows Samuel C. COWAN (c.1806-1885) on page 3 of COWAN Connections.

  NOTE: In March 2003 DNA testing proved the direct male COWAN descendants of
William & Cynthia (MORGAN) COWAN are closely related to the
direct male COWAN descendants of Samuel & Sarah (KEITH) COWAN.

The evidence for including the William COWAN who married Sarah R. HICKEY in the Samuel and Sarah (KEITH) COWAN family is presented below in a chronological fashion. The * is used to show the children of Samuel and Sarah (KEITH) COWAN, so as not to confuse them with William & Sarah (HICKEY) COWAN's children. Based on family traditions for the number of children in the COWAN-KEITH family, the list is incomplete. This timeline will be changed if new evidence is uncovered. Much more information on the COWAN clan than this is available, mostly on the other lines. It would be too confusing to include everything, so only the lines pertaining to Samuel and Sarah (KEITH) COWAN are included here, combined with the information on the family of William and Sarah (HICKEY) COWAN. One can easily see that this appears to be one family.

Descendants of William and Sarah (HICKEY) COWAN claim the KEITH connection. It is strong in their family history. Contact with other relatives will add more to this timeline.

Cindy (HENSLEE) STAMPS, of Richardson, TX, a family researcher and descendant of William COWAN (m. Cynthia MORGAN), is actively seeking the parents of William COWAN and his brother Samuel who lived and died in Marion County, TN. She does not believe that her William and his brother Samuel are from this "KEITH bunch" of COWANs. We cannot even prove that the Samuel COWAN who married Sarah KEITH was ever in Marion County.

Though the descendants of William and Sarah (HICKEY) COWAN cannot understand why Dr. Cole chose to put the other William in the family in his book, COWAN Connections, instead of their William, what's done is done. Now it is up to researchers (not "copiers") to rectify this.

Hopefully this timeline is of benefit to you. It is by no means complete. If you have any source records which will help to verify the location of Samuel COWAN from 1819 to 1825, please contact Carol Baker Wahl.


TIMELINE of events for William COWAN (c.1812-1850's)

about 1800/1802: Samuel Cowan marries Sarah Keith, probably TN or VA (This conflicts with the date and place of the old piano book document.)

*1803, TN: Riley Cowan is born

*1806, TN: Hugh Cowan is born (unable to find researcher on this line for verification)

*about 1811: Margaret Cowan is born in TN (info from tombstone)

*about 1812 Bledsoe Co., TN: William Cowan is born in TN (age from 1850 census)

1812, Bledsoe Co., TN: Samuel Cowan is on Bledsoe, TN petition

1813 (30 Sept - 30 Dec)TN: Samuel Cowan in Brown's Regiment (East Tennessee Volunteer Mounted Militia). Roll dated in Washington (Rhea County, east of Bledsoe). Samuel was present at discharge.

1814 (20 Jan - 20 May) TN: Samuel Cowan in Brown's East Tennessee Mounted Gunmen. Roll dated in Kingston (Roane County, northeast of Bledsoe), Samuel was present at discharge.

1815 (30 August), Bledsoe Co., TN: Samuel Cowan authorizes James Keith to collect militia wages

*1816/19 TN (prob. Bledsoe Co.): James Harvey Cowan is born (birthplace from census records)

******Between the birth of James Harvey Cowan and Stephen Cowan, we have been unable to find any land, tax or court records to verify the location of Samuel Cowan. Bledsoe records are scant. The census records of Samuel's children vary, and researchers know that a person often claims as his birthplace a different place where he lived later, a place he remembers. It appears that Samuel Cowan was in Bledsoe TN until the 1826 Occupancy Law when he moved to McNairy. If anyone has evidence to the contrary, please share it.******

*1819 TN (prob. Bledsoe Co.): Eli Cowan is born (No evidence found so far places Samuel Cowan in AL. It is unlikely that the family moved to AL for the birth of one child and then returned to TN. But it is possible.)

*1823 TN (prob. Bledsoe Co.): John Borden Cowan is born (birthplace from census records)

*1825 (7 March) TN (prob Bledsoe Co.): Stephen Cowan is born (no evidence places Samuel Cowan elsewhere. The oft-cited Tishomingo MS as a birthplace for Stephen is unlikely because the land was not open for settlement until 1832.)

1826, McNairy Co., TN: Samuel Cowan and family relocate here (likely from Bledsoe) to get new land (1826 Occupancy law)

1827, McNairy Co., TN: Samuel Cowan claims land by means of Occupancy Law.

1830, McNairy Co., TN: Samuel & Sarah Keith Cowan family are on the census. William Cowan is enumerated with his parents, Samuel & Sarah Keith Cowan

1832/3, McNairy Co., TN: William Cowan marries Sarah R. Hickey. There are only two lines between Sarah Hickey's family (stepfather John Bibb) and the Samuel and Sarah Keith Cowan family on the 1830 census.

1834, McNairy Co., TN: James R. Cowan (believed to be JAMES RILEY COWAN) is born

1834/5, Tishomingo Co., MS: William Cowan family relocates across the state line

1836 (January), Tishomingo Co., MS: Polly Ann Cowan is born

1837, Tishomingo Co., MS: William Cowan, Sarah Keith Cowan, and Riley Cowan are all enumerated on the Tishomingo census. They all live in the same area. (on same census page). Living with Sarah were three of her sons.

1838 (February), Tishomingo Co., MS: John H. Cowan is born.

1838 (4 June), Tishomingo Co., MS: Eli Cowan marries Anna E. Hays

1838-40, Franklin Co., AL: William, Riley, and Sarah Keith Cowan relocate across the state line into Alabama

1839 (26 January), Tishomingo Co., MS: James Harvey Cowan marries Louisa Blassingame

1840 Tishomingo Co., MS, Census:
    230 498 Cowen Eli 00001-00001
    233 577 Cowan Hugh 112001-220001
    234 612 Cowan James 00001-10001

1840, Franklin Co., AL: William Cowan and Riley Cowan are enumerated on same census page. Sarah Keith Cowan has moved in with her son, William. Delila Cowan is born after census.
    Page 232
        Line 16: William Cowan 11001-10001001
        Line 25: Riley Cowan 122001-211001

1842, Franklin Co., AL: West Cowan is born

1846, MS (probably Tishomingo Co. again): William Isaac Cowan is born

1847-8, Titus Co., TX: William Cowan and family with Sarah Keith Cowan move to Texas. Rejoin other Cowan & Keith family members.

1848, Titus Co., TX: Elizabeth Ann Cowan is born

1847-9, Titus Co., TX: Sarah Keith Cowan dies and is buried in a family cemetery in Titus County, TX. (It is claimed that Sarah is buried in an old Keith cemetery, now on private land in Titus County about two miles north of Cookeville. This is not the Keith cemetery in Cookeville. An old letter says she was buried on James Harvey Cowan's land near Mt. Vernon, now in Franklin County. NO PROOF OF EITHER)

1850, Titus Co., TX: Family is on the 1850 census. Sarah Keith Cowan has died.

1850, Titus Co., TX after census: Emily Jane Cowan is born.

1850-56, Titus or Hopkins Co., TX: William Cowan dies. (Tradition says he is buried in the same cemetery as his mother, Sarah Keith Cowan. NO PROOF.)

1856 (7 October): Sarah Hickey Cowan remarries Isaac Robinson (Hopkins County Marriages, Book 3, Page 18). One known child born to this marriage: Amanda Ellen Robinson ca 1858, Hopkins or Erath County, TX.

1857/8, Titus Co., TX: William Cowan estate settled (Franklin TX records)

1860, Erath Co., TX: Family is enumerated on 1860 census.

Compiled from information from many researchers.
Provided 11 November 1998 by Carol Baker Wahl.
Updated 4 Nov 1999.

View copy of page from Song Book of Stephen & Elizabeth COWAN

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