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Below is a family biography included in The History of Dade County, Missouri published by Goodspeed Publishing Company in 1889.  These biographies are valuable for genealogy research in discovering missing ancestors or filling in the details of a family tree. Family biographies often include far more information than can be found in a census record or obituary.  Details will vary with each biography but will often include the date and place of birth, parent names including mothers' maiden name, name of wife including maiden name, her parents' names, name of children (including spouses if married), former places of residence, occupation details, military service, church and social organization affiliations, and more.  There are often ancestry details included that cannot be found in any other type of genealogical record.

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Robert Cowan, farmer and stock-raiser, residing three miles northeast of Dadeville, Mo., was born in Sullivan County, East Tenn., in 1827, and is the son of William R. and Nancy (Sursong) Cowan. The father was born in Sullivan County, Tenn., about 1790, was of Irish descent, and a farmer by occupation. He died in his native county about 1868. The mother was born in Washington County, Va., near 1800, and died in Sullivan County, Tenn., in 1878. They were the parents of eleven children, eight sons and three daughters, six now living. Robert Cowan was the second child in order of birth. He left home at the age of seventeen, and in 1848 he was united in marriage to Miss Mary J. McConnel, who was born in Washington County, Va., about 1828, and died in Dade County, Mo., in 1850, leaving one child, William R. In 1851 Mr. Cowan married his second wife, Miss Margaret E. Haley, who was born in Brunswick County, Va., in 1831, and is the daughter of Meredith and Dorothy L. Haley. Her parents came to Dade County, Mo., in 1838, and were among the pioneer settlers of that county. Here the father died in 1856. He was a native Virginian. The mother also died in Dade County in 1863. She was also a native of Virginia, born in the year 1800, and was of Irish descent. To Mr. Cowan’s second marriage were born six children, all living— Mary V., Anna L., wife of Thomas Davidson; James M., now in California; John A.; Dorothy, wife of W. R. Dye, in Dade County, Mo.; and Ella, wife of Solomon Wilson, and now residing in Aurora, Mo. Mr. Cowan moved to Cedar County, Mo., in 1844, and soon after settled in St. Clair, where he resided three years. He then moved to his present property, which consists of a fine farm of 320 acres, with about 180 under cultivation. In 1862 Mr. Cowan entered the army, in Company I, Sixteenth Regiment Missouri Cavalry, and served about three years. He was elected county judge of Dade County at one time, and affiliated with the Republican party until 1884, since which time he has been a Democrat. Mrs. Cowan is a member of the Cumberland Presbyterian Church. Their son, John A. Cowan, was born in Dade County, Mo., in 1858, and in 1882 married Miss Nora Dinwiddie, who was born in Dade County, Mo., in 1865, and is the daughter of Nathan and Almina (Morris) Dinwiddie, both deceased, the mother dying in Dade County about 1875, and the father in the same county in 1888. Both were natives of the State of Missouri. To John Cowan and wife were born two children. Mr. and Mrs. Cowan reside on the old homestead with the elder Mr. Cowan, but he is also the owner of 240 acres of his own. He is a Democrat in politics, and his wife is a member of the Christian Church.

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This family biography is one of 68 biographies included in The History of Dade County, Missouri published in 1889.  For the complete description, click here: Dade County, Missouri History, Genealogy, and Maps

To view additional Dade County, Missouri family biographies, click here

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