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John Cowen Family
By Frances Fox
Taken from Ye Olde Ancestors, September 18, 1991
Written permission given by the New Boston Genealogy Society
to post this information to the Bowie County TXGenWeb site.


John Cowen was born about 1847 in Union Springs in Rutherford County, North Carolina.  He was the son of Joseph A and Margaret or Mary Cowen.  When he was about sixteen, John ran away to join the army.  He pretended to be older and was accepted and placed in the medics.  As the Civil War raged on, it found it unbearable and left without leave.  John Cowen came to Texas by boat from Mobile, Alabama to Galveston.  He worked as a cowboy around Waxahachie and Ennis and Ft Worth.  He eventually moved to East Texas and worked on the Lenox-Baker-Winston farms.  John Cowen bought some land in 1892 from Jane and Joe Gay at Springhill in Bowie County, Texas.

John Cowen married three times and there were children by each wife.  His first wife was Virginia Jones, 1860-1884.  She was the daughter of Charles William Montville Jones and Elizabeth Dorcas McCrary.  They had two children:
 1. Mary Johana "Jodie" married first H J Jackson and then James Garrison Pope
 2. Hewett Cowen, 1884-1899.
Virginia Jones Cowen died in her twenties and is buried in the Pine Springs Cemetery.

The second wife of John Cowen was Sally Jane Gay, the daughter of Joe Gay and Jane Oneil.  They had four children:
 1. Estelle "Essie", 1885-1972, married Butler McCrary
 2. Charley M Cowen, 1887-1887
 3. Eva Jane "Evie", married a Caldwell in 1908
 4. Infant son, born and died in 1892
Sally Jane Gay Cowen died in 1892.

The third wife of John Cowen was Cora Edna Askew, 1872-1922, the daughter of Britton Gatewood Askew and Susan Powell Ward.  They had eight children:
 1. Maggie May, 1893-1909
 2. Thomas Powell, 1894-1917, married Abbie Manor
 3. Susan Vela, 1896-1917, married Quitman Pope
 4. Madie Ora, 1898-1956, married Arthur Dunson
 5. Vadie, 1900-1983, married Julian Ambrose Brewer
 6. Johnnie Aubrey, 1902-1969, married Myrtle Louise Cleghorn
 7. Myrtle E, 1904-1907
 8. Ruby Volly Cowen, 1909-1984
John Cowen and his third wife, Cora Edna, are buried in the Spring Hill Cemetery.

We have an article on the David Looney family; this one is related.  Cora Edna Askew Cowen was a great-granddaughter of David Looney and his first wife, Isabella Lawhon.  Their daughter Mary Looney married John Askew and they were the parents of Britton Gatewood Askew.  Britton Gatewood Askew was the father of Cora Edna Askew Cowen. 

John Cowen was considered a good business man.  In 1900 he operated a post office and a small store in his home.  He sold groceries and medicine.  They say John would write bank checks on anything that was available and the bank accepted and cashed them.  We are talking about things like corn shucks.  For many years the First National Bank of Clarksville had on display a check that John Cowen had written and signed on a Bois d' Arc chip.  Can you imagine going into the bank and pulling a corn shuck out of your pocket and handing it to the teller, or a chip of wood and then how do you mail it back? 



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