Genealogical Keynotes[edit | edit source]

Vita[edit | edit source]

  • Born: 02 May 1782 in VA
  • Married:
    1.  Miss Esther F "Hetty" Houston ... 26 September 1816 in Blount Co., TN by Isaac Anderson, M. G.
    2.  Miss Margaret Fisher ... 12 January 1857 in McMinn Co., TN by Jonathan Thomas, J. P.
  • Died: 20 October 1872 in Bradley Co., TN
  • Burial: Flint Springs Presbyterian Church Cemetery, Flint Springs, Bradley Co., TN
  • Obituary:
    Cleveland Banner, October 25, 1872, p. 3, col. 1 [Cleveland, TN Public Library … mircrofilm]
    -- Died --
    "     In Flint Spring Valley, ten miles south of Cleveland, in this county, on the same evening [the 20th in notice above], of old age, Mr. Andrew Cowan. The deceased had lived over 90 years at the time of his death."

Ancestry[edit | edit source]

Andrew Cowan is the son of William COWAN‎ and Jane Walker.

Spouse(s)[edit | edit source]

  1. Esther F_____ HOUSTON b: 19 July 1795 d: 12 August 1850 in TN<
  2. Margaret ______ FISHER (Miss) b: c. 1799

Military Service[edit | edit source]

War of 1812 -- Pension application at the National Archives, Washington, DC

Andrew Cowan's pension application

Served in War of 1812:

  • Pvt., Capt. William Walker’s Co., TN Militia;
  • Pvt., Capt. John McNair’s Co., TN Militia
  • Enlisted 12/01/1812
  • Dischared: 03/25/1813; 01/10/1814, 05/18/1814
  • Pension file: SC 22947, SC 14706; Bounty Land 21717-16C-5C

The pension file appears to have TWO Andrew Cowans intertwined as one pensioner (as evidenced by the two SC numbers above). One document (dated 1873) states that the pensioner is being taken off the rolls because it has been determined that he fought against the Union in the recent war, with said document being written after Andrew's death in 1872!
However, Andrew's son, Andrew Finis Cowan, DID fight for the Confederacy and lost his right arm in the war.
Remarks in the file: Auditor’s report shows that Andrew Cowan was appointed Adjutant Genl. To Maj. Gen. Cock’s Div. E. Tenn. Volunteers 09/20/1813, but no period of service is given. (Because the two Andrews are in the same pension file at the Archives, it is difficult to determine which of the two Andrews these last remarks refer to.)

Child List[edit | edit source]

  1. Samuel Houston COWAN b: 1817 in TN d: 1864 during Civil War
    m. Sally ______ HUBBARD b: 1822 d: 1887
  2. Nancy Gillespy COWAN, dsp b: 28 Mar 1819 in TN d: 05 Oct 1846 in Flint Springs, TN
  3. Jane Walker COWAN b: 05 Jun 1821 in TN d: 19 Dec 1895
    m. Joseph A______ JOHNSTON d: 11 Dec 1875
  4. William Baker COWAN b: 1823 in TN d: Aft. 1906 in Lewisville, TX
    m. Malinda E______ COBB b: 1830
  5. Isabella Ann COWAN b: 1825 in TN d: 13 Aug 1908 in Wise Co., TX
    m. Pulaski Wallace NORWOOD
  6. Matthew Leonidas COWAN b: 1828 in TN d: 1914 in Waketon, TX
    m. Elizabeth ______ MITCHELL
  7. Andrew Finis COWAN b: Dec 1829 in TN d: Aft. 1906 in Wagoner, OK
    m. Elizabeth _______ "Lizzie" CLINGAN b: 01 Apil 1830 d:
  8. James Independence Gillespie COWAN b: 04 Jul 1832 in TN d: 1917
    m#1. Annie E______ GALBREATH b: 1834 d: 12 Oct 1857
    m#2. Mary Jane LINDSAY b: 1846 in Jackson Co., AL
  9. Martha Serena COWAN b: 1835 in TN d: 13 Jan 1928 in San Diego, San Diego Co., CA
    m. John McGAUGHEY b: 1823 d: 18 Oct 1874

Family History[edit | edit source]

From the Cowans of County Down:
"He moved as a child with his parents from Virginia to Blount Co., Tennessee. After marriage he settled on a farm three miles from Maryville where he lived for twenty years, then moved to a farm on Nine Mile Creek above Niles Ferry, living there nine years. He then bought and located on a farm ten miles south of Cleveland on the public road from Cleveland, Tennessee to Dalton, Georgia. There he lived until his death in his 91st year."

Alternative Interpretation[edit | edit source]

Biographical Directory of the Tennessee General Assembly, VOLUME I, 1796 - 1861, edited by ROBERT M. McBride and Dan M. Robinson (reprinted in 1975 by The Tennessee State Library And Archives and the Tennessee Historical Commission), p. 167.

Cowan, Andrew (1782 - 1840)
HOUSE, 14th and 15th General Assemblies, 1821-25; representing Blount and Monroe counties. Born in 1782, place and exact date not indicated; son of William and Jane (Walker) Cowan. Extent of schooling not determined. Twice married; nothing found to show name of first wife, date and place of their marriage or date of her death; the five children by this marriage were-Alfred, Albina, James Harry, Margaret, and Letitia Cowan; second marriage in Blount County September 25, 1816, to Esther F. Houston, daughter of Samuel and Nancy (Gillespy) Houston; nine children by this marriage-Samuel Houston, Nancy Gillespy, Jane W., William Baker, Isabella Ann, Matthew Leonidas, Andrew F., James I. G., and Martha Serena Cowan. Subject described as early settler and farmer living on Nine Mile Creek, Blount County. Delegate, 1822, to anti-slavery convention in Blount County. In War of 1812; enlisted December 1, 1812, as private in Captain William Walker's Company, East Tennessee Mounted Volunteers, commanded by Colonel T. H. Benton, enlistment dates February 10, 1813, and October 12, 1813. Ruling elder and trustee in Pine Grove Cumberland Presbyterian Church, then in Blount County but later in Loudon County. Died in Blount County September 22, 1840; place of burial not named.


* Athens, Hiwassee Patriot, November 17, 1840;

  • Burns, History of Blount County, 43, 58n, 106, 312;
  • "Blount County Marriage Records, 1795-1854," p. 36;
  • "Blount County Will Book," p. 19;
  • Fleming, John Kerr; Cowans of County Down, Derreth Publishing Co., Raleigh, NC; p. 371-376. (DAR Library)
  • Lyle, The Lyle Family, p. 177-80;
  • McClung, The McClung Family, p. 54-56;
  • Presbyterian records, Blount County file in Tennessee State Library;
  • War of 1812 files Tennessee Archives* War of 1812 file (Andrew Cowan), National Archives, Washington, DC

The green text is a questionable "fact".
The red text is incorrect.
Explanations of these errors and/or questionable facts are found on the Errors Explained page.

  1. It is highly likely the source’s information "merged" two Andrew Cowans into one biographical entry. Both Andrew Cowans presumably lived in Blount Co.
  2. One Andrew Cowan may well have died in 1840 and been the father of the five children listed,
    but ,
    the Andrew Cowan that married Ester F. "Hettie" Houston clearly died in 1872 in Bradley Co., TN
  3. As descendants of Andrew Cowan (m. Hettie Houston) have not referenced him being in the TN Gen. Assembly, this fact likely attributed to the “other” Andrew Cowan ... the "other" Andrew Cowan that allegedly died 1840?

Andrew Cowan's death, burial, etc. ...

As to the children mentioned in the bio:
Carl Brown's website claims there was another child … Alfred Cowan … but I haven’t been able to prove it. As Andrew was 13 years older than Hetty, it is possible (but not proven) that Hetty could have been his second wife. If he was married prior to Hetty, he could have had one or more children by his "first wife" as claimed by Carl Brown. If Andrew was married prior to Hetty, then his marriage to Margaret Fisher would be his third marriage??
Carl Brown's website has Hetty Houston [incorrectly] as daughter of James Houston and Phoebe McClung. (Perhaps, therein lies the potential error. Need to check to see if James Houston and Phoebe McClung had a daughter named Hetty ... and whether she possibly married an Andrew Cowan, who might be the Andrew Cowan that died in 1840????) His website shows Alfred in the 1850 Census, Missouri, Dade, District 25 with wife Jane Cowen (45 TN), Houston (22 TN), Hetty (20 TN), Andrew (17 TN), James (13 TN), Alvina (10 TN), Nancy (8 MO), Mary (5 MO).
The Alfred on Carl Brown's website is more likely the son of the Andrew Cowan that died in Blount Co., TN in 1840 (prior to the census) and, according to his will, was 68 years old (making him born about 1772). His will states he had a son named Alfred.

Records[edit | edit source]

  1. Andrew Cowan's pension application for his War of 1812 service, National Archives, Washington, DC.
  2. Blount Co., TN marriage records (for first marriage to Ester F. Houston)
  3. McMinn Co., TN marriage records (for second marriage, to Miss Margaret Fisher) Copy of the marriage license clearly indicates she was "Miss" Margaret Fisher.
  4. Key document to establishing relationship of Andrew Cowan to John [Alexander] Cowan is Andrew Cowan's Letter (May 17, 1857; Bradley Co., TN) to Rosanna (Gillespy/Gillespie) Cowan (addressed as "Dear Sister Roseanna") ... original in possession of James E. Freeman, Camas, WA (as August, 2006).
    (Copy of the Andrew Cowan's 1857 letter was included with Margie Cowan's First Families of Tennessee applications for William Cowan and John [Alexander] Cowan, along with a copy of his pension application for War of 1812 service to prove that the signatures matched on both documents.)
  5. Key document to establishing identity of several of William Cowan & Jane Walker's children is Andrew Finis Cowan's (AFC) Letter (June 7, 1906; Indian Territory/Oklahoma) to Columbia Cowan (Pierce City, Lawrence Co., MO) ... original in possession of James E. Freeman, Camas, WA (as August, 2006). (Copy of the the AFC letter was included with Margie Cowan's First Families of Tennessee applications for William Cowan and John [Alexander] Cowan.)
    • The letter was written by Andrew, who was 77 years old (b. December 1829), in an apparent response to Columbia’s request for information about their ancestors, initiated because of a “claim” (scam?) that the Cowans were potential heirs to a part of Central Park and she was trying to “prove” whether her Cowan ancestors tied into the Central Park “ancestors”. Thus, Andrew responds with information about his aunts and uncles, makes “honorable” mention to several of their children, and a reference to his grandmother, Jane (Walker) Cowan.
    • Of note, Andrew ("Sr." ... son of William Cowan and Jane Walker) was 90 when he died in 1872. While Andrew Finis Cowan's eldest three aunts and uncles died at relatively young ages (either before AFC was born or shortly thereafter), their spouses did not die until many years later. Further, since Andrew Finis Cowan was 43 when his father died, it is likely he heard many stories first hand about his grandparents (William & Jane) as well as his aunts/uncles, interacted with the remaining aunts & uncles and/or their children (his first cousins), was aware of correspondence between the families, and/or that the families visited each other ... especially so since many of these aunts/uncles remained in Knox/Blount/Loudon counties, which were in relatively close proximity to McMinn and Bradley counties, where AFC and his father lived for many years.
  6. Tombstone photos of Andrew Cowan, Hetty (Houston) Cowan, and Nancy Gillespy COWAN at Flint Springs Presbyterian Church Cemetery, Flint Springs, Bradley Co., TN


  • Andrew Cowan appears to have been a census enumerator on the 1840 census in Blount Co., TN as evidenced by his very distinct handwriting and signature. (This handwriting matches that found on his 1812 pension application (dated 1851) and also the 1857 letter written to Rosanna (Gillespy) Cowan.

    Andrew Cowan's family is enumerated as follows:
    1840 United States Census -- Blount Co., TN  M 1(5-10) 2(10-15) 1(15-20) 1(20-30) 1(50-60)   F 1(5-10) 1(10-15) 1(15-20) 1(20-30) 1(40-50)

    The people enumerated in Andrew's household in 1840 (Blount Co., TN) match what is known of his family ...

     Age RangeQtyCensus BirthMost Likely PersonReal BirthdateAge
      Males05-101b. 1830-1835James Independence Gillespy (J I G) Cowan07/04/183208
     10-152b. 1825-1830Matthew Leonidas Cowan
    Andrew Finis Cowan
     15-201b. 1820-1825William Baker Cowan11/25/182317
     20-301b. 1810-1820Samuel Houston Cowan181723
     50-601b. 1780-1790Andrew Cowan05/02/178258
      Females05-101b. 1830-1835Martha Serena Cowan183505
     10-151b. 1825-1830Isabella Ann Cowan11/27/182515
     15-201b. 1820-1825Jane Walker Cowan06/05/182119
     20-301b. 1810-1820Nancy Gillespy Cowan03/28/181921
     40-501b. 1790-1800Ester F. “Hettie” [Houston] Cowan07/19/179545

    Note: The Andrew Cowan in the 1840 Blount Co., TN census is not to be confused with the Andrew Cowan found on the 1840 Bradley Co., TN census. (See Research Needs below.)
    1840 census -- Bradley Co., TN  M 2(5-10) 2(15-20) 1(40-50)   F 1(5-10) 2(10-15) 1(40-50)

    Note: The Andrew Cowan in the 1840 Blount Co., TN census is not to be confused with another Andrew Cowan living in Blount Co., TN and who died in Blount Co., TN in 1840.

  • 1850 census, TN, Bradley, Subdivision 26, M432_871, 10/09/1850, p. 168; l. 19-24, 410/410, Farmer
    Last NameFirst NameAgeSexOccupationValueBorn
    Hester55F TN
    Matilda22F TN
    Andrew F20M TN
    James19M TN
    Martha15F TN

  • 1860 census, TN, Bradley, District 4, M653_1241, 06/23/1860, p. 90; l. 4-11
    Last NameFirst NameAgeSexOccupationValueValueBorn
    COWANAndrew78MFarmer TN
    Margaret60F TN
    COWANWm B35MFarmer40002000TN
    Malinda29F TN
    Andrew08M TN
    Hetta A05F TN
    Arta E8/12F TN
    COBBJohn O18M TN

  • 1870 census, TN, Bradley, Cleveland, First Civil District, M593_1515, 07/14/1870, p. 21-22, l. 30-40+1-2
    Last NameFirst NameAgeSexROccupationValueValue Born
    COWANAndrew88MW  Retired Farming 1200  VA
    Margaret65FW  Keeping House   TN
    COWANWilliam B46MW  Farming3500   TN
    Melinda E39FW  Keeping House   TN
    Andrew S18MW  Farm Laborer   TN
    Hetty A13FW   TN
    Arter E10FW   TN
    Martha E07FW   TN
    Mary R05FW   TN
    John O C02MW   TN
    COBBHenry C21MW  Attending School   TN

  • Andrew Finis Cowan's 1906 letter makes reference to having a brother, William B, living in Lewisville, [Denton Co., TX at the time he was writing the letter. William Baker Cowan moved from Bradley Co., TN to Texas in 1883.

References[edit | edit source]

  • Bates, Lucy Womack, TN Society NSDAR, Roster of Soldiers and Patriots of the American Revolution Buried in TN, 1974 (revised 1979 by Helen Crawford Marsh), p. 42 … lists children: “Andrew b 5/2/1780 m Hetty Houston; Samuel b. 7/23/1799 m. Ester Jane Houston; Eleanor b. 1774 m. James Gillespie; John Alexander; James; Robert; David. Ref: DAR #435539 [Barbara Gillespie]”
  • Boyer, Reba Bayless, Marriage Records of McMinn County, Tennessee 1820-1870, 1964, p. 64 (DAR Library)
  • Boyer, Reba & Reksten, Harald, Index to McMinn County, Tennessee Tax Lists 1829-1832, 1836 & Detail from 1836 Tax List, Heritage Books, Inc., 1996, p. 39, 78. (DAR Library)
  • Fagen, Barbara, Bradley County Will Book 1864-1883 Index, 1989, p. 4 (DAR Library)
  • Fleming, John Kerr; Cowans of County Down, Derreth Publishing Co., Raleigh, NC; p. 371-376. (DAR Library)
  • Hudson, Mary Kay Parrish, TN Society DAR, Register of Qualified Soldiers and Patriots of the American Revolution Buried in Tennessee, p. 24 … lists children: Andrew, Samuel, Eleanor Gillespie, John Alexander, James, Robert, David. (DAR Library)
  • Ross, Ernest Lafayette, Historical Cemetery Records of Bradley County, Tennessee, Vol. I, p. 158, (DAR Library)
  • Snell, William R., Death Notices in the Cleveland Banner (Tennessee) 1865-1883, 1991, p. 6 (DAR Library)
  • White, Emma Siggins; Genealogy of the Descendants of John Walker of Wigton, Scotland, with Records of a Few Allied Families. Also War Records and Some Fragmentary Notes Pertaining to the History of Virginia. 1600-1902, Tiernan-Dart Printing Company, Kansas City, MO; 1902. [DAR Library]
  • DAR Applications, National Society of the Daughters of the American Revolution, 1776 D Street, NW, Washington, DC.
    The following application was submitted to the DAR on the Revolutionary War service of William Cowan through his son, Andrew.
    (Copies of DAR applications are available from the National Society Daughters of the American Revolution, 1776 D Street, NW, Washington, DC. Cost is $10 for each application, which includes the four pages of each application.)
    DAR # Date Applicant's Name Cowan Child's Name Rev. War Ancestor
    088306   10/04/1911   Annie (Cowan) Stephens  Andrew CowanWilliam Cowan

Note: Annie (Cowan) Stephens application is a very, very early application and is not well documented. In fact, her documentation for William Cowan ties to a William Cowan with military service in Pennsylvania. However, her application is good for providing clues to her heritage. Essentially, the vital statistics she provides are able to be proven by census and other documents.

Research Needs[edit | edit source]

Please help other researchers by posting your tombstone photos at

If you are a COWAN male, the Cowan DNA Project needs you to help establish links between the various Cowan branches. Click the link and sign up!

  1. Need death date for second wife, Margaret (Fisher) Cowan, and place of burial. (She is not buried with or near Andrew, Hettie, Nancy G Cowan at Flint Springs.) She obviously died after 1870 because she is enumerated with him in the 1870 census.
  2. Athens, Hiwassee Patriot, November 17, 1840 ... need text of article;
  3. Burns, History of Blount County, 43, 58n, 106, 312 ... need text of referenced pages;
  4. Presbyterian records, Blount County file in Tennessee State Library ... need extracts;
  5. Lyle, The Lyle Family, 177-80 ... need text of referenced pages;
  6. McClung, The McClung Family, 54-56 ... need text of referenced pages;

Anyone with additional info on Andrew Cowan, please contact mcowan @

NOTE:  Andrew (m. Ester F. "Hettie" Houston) is not to be confused with another Andrew Cowan living in Bradley Co. at the same time.

  • This other Andrew Cowan (b. Jul. 24, 1857 d. Aug. 30, 1876) appears on the 1840 census of Bradley Co., appears to have lived primarily inside Cleveland, TN (while "subject" Andrew lived 10 miles south of Cleveland at Flint Springs)
  • This other Andrew Cowan is buried at Fort Hill Cemetery within Cleveland, TN.
  • Others buried with him at Fort Hill are:

QUESTION: Who are these Cowans? Their relationship to John [Alexander] Cowan and Andrew Cowan (of Flint Springs, TN)?
In the 1830 McMinn Co., TN census there are two sets (possibly 3) of Cowans, relationship to each other unknown.

  1. Rosanna Cowan ... plus Campbell, Robert, and William (pages 171-172) ... Campbell is Rosanna's son; Robert and William are brothers-in-law.
  2. James Sr. ... plus James "Jr." (by age range on census and proximity to James Sr. on the census page) (p. 181) ... is in the same age range as Rosanna. Could he be another brother of Rosanna's husband, John [Alexander] Cowan?
  3. David (p. 142) ... presumably this is another of Rosanna's brothers-in-law ... and, presumably, this is the same David Cowan found on the 1819 Alabama Census living near Rosanna's son, James Gillespie Cowan. (The ages match.)


Page Needs[edit | edit source]

Links[edit | edit source]

 :If you are a COWAN male, the Cowan DNA Project needs you to help establish links between the various Cowan branches. Click the link and sign up!


Definitions[edit | edit source]

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Contributors[edit | edit source]


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