updated February 2019
Thomas B. Cowan and Martha Josephine Johnson Cowan are my 2x great grandparents, the parents of my great grandfather Albert Gibson Cowan.
Thomas B. Cowan was born in Arkansas in May 1855 according to the 1900 US Census. His parents were John Gillespie Cowan and Elvira Hubbard Cowan, and Thomas was the 3rd of their 8 known children. He had two older sisters, and three younger sisters and two younger brothers. You can see his parents’ Find A Grave memorials here. Read more about the family here.
Martha Josephine Johnston was born in Arkansas in June 1858. Her parents were Samuel Houston Johnston and Margaret Hickman, and Martha was the oldest of their 5 known children. She had one younger brother and three younger sisters. See her father’s Find A Grave memorial here. Read more about the family here.
On the 1860 US Census, Thomas was 4 and he lived with his parents and siblings in Colville, Benton County, Arkansas. Martha was 2 and she too lived with her parents and siblings in Colville, Benton County, Arkansas.
On the 1870 US Census, Thomas was 14, and he lived with his parents and siblings in Osage, Benton County, Arkansas. Martha was 12 and she too lived with her parents and siblings in Osage, Benton County, Arkansas.
Thomas and Martha were married December 25, 1876 in Benton County, Arkansas. Thomas was 21 and Martha was 18. In 1878, they had son Charles. In 1879, they had son John. Also in 1879, Thomas’ sister Bell died.
On the 1880 US Census they were farming in Colville, Arkansas. Thomas was 24, Martha was 21, their son Charles was 2 and their son Henry was 9 months old.
Son Charles died sometime after that census, with that being the last record I find of him.
In 1884, they had son Albert. In 1885, they had daughter May. In 1896, Thomas’ sister Elizabeth died, and in 1899 his sister Emma died.
On the 1900 US Census they were in Springdale. Thomas was 45 and a carpenter. Martha was 45. Son Albert was 18 and a day laborer. Daughter Mary M was 14. They’ve had 5 children, 4 of whom are living.
Martha’s father Samuel died in 1904, and she was listed as married in his obituary. Sometime after that, Thomas and Martha divorced. In 1907, Martha’s brother James died.
On the 1910 US Census, Thomas was 54, divorced, and he lived with his parents John and Elvira Cowan in Washington, Arkansas. He worked as a carpenter in the housing industry.
Martha married George Skeith in Washington County, Arkansas on April 20, 1907. George was a widower with three grown children. On the 1910 US Census, Martha was 52 and George Skeith was 63 (born in Scotland, a stock dealer). They lived in McAlester, Oklahoma with Martha’s daughter May Cowan who wa 24, and adopted daughter Edna Johnson who was 16. George died in 1913, and his will refers to his wife as Josie.
In 1915, Thomas’ father John died.
Martha married Isaac P. Brown on February 17, 1916 in Pittsburg, Oklahoma. Isaac was a widowed carpenter with three grown children. Martha died in 1920 and her Find A Grave memorial is here.
In 1919, Thomas’ mother Elvira died.
I can’t find Thomas in 1920. In 1930 he was still in Washington, Arkansas. He was 76, lived alone, and was a carpenter in a repair shop. I lose track of him after this.
The children of Thomas B. Cowan & Martha Josephine Johnston:
Charles E. Cowan – Charles was born in Arkansas in 1878, I have no record of him after the 1880 US Census when he is 2 years old.
John Henry Cowan – John was born August 5, 1879 in Benton County, Arkansas. He married Cora A. Smith in Washington County, Arkansas on January 22, 1902. They had 6 children. They were in Fayetteville, Arkansas in 1910 and in Tulsa, Oklahoma by 1920. John worked as a manager at a telephone company is 1910, as a warehouse foreman for Nichols Transfer Company in 1920, and as a farmer in 1930. He died in January 8, 1938 at age 58. His Find A Grave memorial is here. Cora died in October 1976 and her Find A Grave memorial is here.
His younger brother Albert worked for telephone companies most of his life, and I wonder if John didn’t get him started in that line of work.
Albert Gibson Cowan – My great grandfather was born March 27, 1884 in Benton County, Arkansas. He married Myrtle Bertie Cowan on March 10, 1902 when he was 17 years old. They had a son and divorced. Albert married Izora Beatrice Shirley on September 3, 1912 when he was 28 years old. They had 4 children. He died December 17, 1963 in Nevada, Vernon County, Missouri at age 79. Read more about him here and here and here. His Find a Grave memorial is here.
Charlotte May Cowan – May was born in September 1885 in Arkansas. On May 7, 1912 she married Ruby J. Cambron, a plumber, and they had 2 children. She died in 1960 at age 75. Her Find A Grave memorial is here.