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Below is a family biography included in The History of Lincoln County, Tennessee published by Goodspeed Publishing Company in 1886.  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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JUDGE H. C. COWAN, farmer, was born in Franklin County, Tenn., November 15, 1809, son of Capt. James B. Cowan, who was of Irish descent, born in 1777, in Maryland. In 1797 he married Nancy Williams, who was born in Virginia in 1782. Their family consisted of six children. They came to Tennessee in 1806, locating in Franklin County, and there the father died in 1831. He was a captain in the War of 1812, and while living in East Tennessee two of his sisters were killed, while making maple sugar by a band of Indians who came upon them suddenly. Retribution soon overtook them however, for a company of men was raised and seventeen Indians sent to the “happy hunting grounds” by the outraged settlers. The mother of our subject died in 1818. H. C. Cowan clerked for about five years in several places, and taught his first school in 1826, then went to Jackson County, Ala., and taught two short sessions. He then sold goods one year in Sparta, White Co., Tenn., when owing to some little disagreement he returned home and taught two five months’ sessions, when he received apologies from his former employers and returned to them and sold goods a little over a year. He was then called home by the death of his father, and farmed and taught school, and in January 1830 he became a resident of Lincoln County, and taught about fifteen sessions of school in and around Fayetteville, and in 1841 purchased 150 acres of land, where he settled and has since resided. At different times he has purchased 137, 45 and 75 acres. Two of his sons live on the latter farms. Mr. Cowan served as magistrate for forty-four years, and for fifteen years acted as chairman and one of the quorum of the county court, thus illustrating the respect in which he was held by the people. In 1869 he was elected judge of the county court, for eight years, but only served three years, owing to ill health. December 22, 1843, he married Agnes B. McDaniel, who was born March 29, 1814, and six children blessed their union, of which three are dead. Those living are, Andrew J., William Thomas and Louisa E. Judge Cowan began life poor in purse, but now owns 413 acres of fine land. He has a remarkably retentive memory, and is a man, who, by his exemplary life, commands the respect and esteem of all. He is a Democrat and a member of the Cumberland Presbyterian Church. His wife died November 24, 1881, and since that time his daughter has been his housekeeper.

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This family biography is one of 137 biographies included in The History of Lincoln County, Tennessee published in 1886.  The History of Lincoln County was included within The History of Giles, Lincoln, Franklin & Moore Counties of Tennessee. For the complete description, click here: History of Giles, Lincoln, Franklin , Moore Counties of Tennessee

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