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Below is a family biography included in the History of Allegheny County, Pennsylvania published in 1889 by A. Warner & Co.   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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JOHN ARMSTRONG COWAN, farmer, post office Upper St. Clair, was born Oct. 4, 1846, in Baldwin township, a son of John and Louise E. (Pryor) Cowan, natives of this county, born, respectively, Feb. 22, 1810, and July 30, 1815. His father was a tailor, but in 1841 began keeping the Union hotel, on the Brownsville road. He died June 14, 1883, his wife May 11, same year. Our subject’s paternal grandparents, David and Margaret Cowan, both born in 1775, came here from Chester county; the former was a carpenter and farmer, and died at the age of ninety-three years. The maternal grandparents of John A. Cowan were Silas D. and Elizabeth Pryor, who died April 1, 1851, and in 1850, respectively. Our subject received his education in the Moore schoolhouse and Hayslet Academy, on the Brownsville road. His father came to the present farm in 1863, and John lived at home and had charge of his father’s farm until the latter’s death, when he became the owner. He also conducted a sawmill on the place from 1864 to 1878. He married, March 12, 1873, Sarah V., who was born in Allegheny City, May 12, 1851, a daughter of John and Anna (Richardson) Cinnamond. Her father was a machinist in Pittsburgh, and was born at Lawrenceville in 1810; her mother was born in 1815, on Penn avenue, Pittsburgh. Mrs. Cowan’s maternal grandparents, Thomas and Jane (Benny) Richardson, came from Ireland, as did also her paternal grandparents, John and Jane (Johnson) Cinnamond. John Cinnamond was a chemist in the Pittsburgh arsenal. Mr. and Mrs. Cowan have one child, John Pryor. They are members of the Presbyterian Church, and Mr. Cowan is a member of the A. F. & A. M. and I. O. O. F. Mrs. Cowan’s father was a colonel in the Mexican war, and at the beginning of the civil war enlisted with the three-months men, then joined the Black Horse Cavalry for three years’ service, and was killed at the battle of Fredericksburg.

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This family biography is one of 2,156 biographies included in the History of Allegheny County, Pennsylvania published in 1889 by A. Warner & Co.

View additional Allegheny County, Pennsylvania family biographies here: Allegheny County, Pennsylvania Biographies

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