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Below is a family biography included in the book, Portrait and Biographical Record of Johnson and Pettis County Missouri published by Chapman Publishing Company in 1895.  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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WILLIAM GRANT COWAN, M. D., has successfully engaged in medical and surgical practice in Sedalia only since 1894, when he entered into partnership with Dr. John W. Trader, having his office at No. 420 Osage Avenue, but even in this short period he has become well known, and gained the entire confidence of the people. He is a young man of recognized ability, and is sure to make his mark in his chosen profession.

The grandfather of our subject, John F. Cowan, was born in the eastern part of Pennsylvania, near Philadelphia, and came to this state in an early day. He was educated at Princeton, and was a pioneer minister of the Presbyterian Church, often having to ride forty miles to deliver one or two sermons. He helped to establish Westminster College at Fulton, was on the first Board of Trustees, and later his son, Rev. John F., filled the same place of honor. For many years he was a resident of Potosi, Mo., but died in Washington, this state, at the age of fifty-eight years. The Cowan family are of Scotch-Irish descent, and have many worthy representatives among those who have borne the name.

Rev. John F. Cowan, father of our subject, is a native of Potosi, Mo. He received a fine education, obtaining the degrees of A. B. and A. M. from Westminster College, where he was a student, and after graduating with the degree of B. D. from Princeton commenced his pastoral work near Fulton, Mo. He has had charge of the Auxvasse Presbyterian Church for thirty-three years, and in 1888 was appointed Professor of Modern Languages at Westminster College, and is yet filling that position. In 1886 he was given the degree of D. D. by his Alma Mater. His good wife, who before her marriage was Miss Mattie Grant, died in 1884. She was born near Fulton, Mo., being a daughter of Capt. William Grant, a native of Kentucky, and an early pioneer of Callaway County, Mo. For many years he ran a hotel on the stage line between Boonville and St. Louis, and conducted a large farm also. To Rev. John F. Cowan and his wife there were born four children. Charles H., the eldest, is a farmer of Callaway County; Florence is the wife of H. H. Miller, of Chariton County; William G. is the next; and Robert M. is a student in the St. Louis Medical College.

Dr. Cowan was born near Fulton, Mo., June 20, 1866, and attended the district schools. In 1882 he entered the preparatory department of Westminster College, in 1884 was admitted to the freshman class, and was graduated with the degree of B. S. in 1888. From boyhood he had always had a great desire to take up the medical profession, and in 1889 he went to St. Louis, where he began the required course. After receiving his degree in 1892, he at once located in Webster Grove, Mo., where he practiced two years. Since 1894 he has been located in this city, as previously stated. He is a member of the Central District and the Pettis County Medical Societies, and strives in every way to keep posted on all of the latest discoveries relating to his profession.

In 1893 occurred the marriage of the Doctor and Miss Frances Forman, of Fulton, Mo. She is a native of the latter place, and is a daughter of Theodore A. and Mary E. (Bailey) Forman, early settlers of Fulton. Mrs. Cowan’s mother is a daughter of the late Judge William H. Bailey, formerly President of the Southern Bank of Fulton. The Doctor and his wife have one child, Helen Ogier by name. The parents are members of the Presbyterian Church, and take great interest in charitable work.

Socially Dr. Cowan is associated with the Legion of Honor, Knights of Pythias and the Royal Tribe of Joseph. In the last-named order he is serving as medical examiner, and fills the same position in the New York Mutual and other life insurance companies.

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This family biography is one of the numerous biographies included in the Pettis County, Missouri portion of the book,  Portrait and Biographical Record of Johnson and Pettis County Missouri published in 1895 by Chapman Publishing Co.  For the complete description, click here: Pettis County, Missouri History, Genealogy, and Maps

View additional Pettis County, Missouri family biographies here: Pettis County, Missouri Biographies

View a map of 1904 Pettis County, Missouri here: Pettis County, Missouri Map

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